The Real Difference Between Job Hunting and Job Search

Russell M. Angelo

Any active job seeker will find that these terms are used interchangeably in articles, blogs and other literature. There is in practice a fundamental and distinct difference.It is important to embark on both a structured and a more flexible approach to job hunting to secure a new role successfully.

In a recent study, a group of executives were studied prior to making a presentation. By observing these executives at an evening party, prior to making their presentations the following day, researchers were able to correctly predict the winning presentation, just by observing and listening to the way these executives. Their language, the way they talked and listened were all valuable clues about the level of the effective interaction and communication skills.

Job search can be defined as the systematic and structured process of searching for a new role, as a result of outplacement or the desire to change roles or careers. Common methods include job search engines, job boards, newspaper ads, recruiters and company web sites.

Job hunting is a more creative, unconventional and non-rational process by using a variety of effective methods to find new employment, but relying more on informal networks and unconventional approaches to find jobs in the hidden market.

Let me share with you one example in my own career of using job hunting effectively to secure good roles. Years ago I decided to immigrate to New Zealand and during my first holiday trip I was talking to my immigration agent. When I mentioned I had a strong interest in technology she suggested I meet with an IT company. After a couple of meetings the company created a new position and offered me this role, which I held for three years. It was never advertised and I was the only applicant. All it required from my side was effective sharing of my skills and connecting with the right company, using effective networking skills.

Since that role, I have also been appointed into two other roles that were never advertised:

(1) As part of my consulting practice I was doing a strategic assignment for a large recruitment company. After the assignment, they mentioned to me that one of their clients was looking for a new head of HR. After a meeting with the MD and another meeting with the Board, I was offered the role and worked seven years for this company.

(2) After being invited to complete a strategic consulting assignment with a listed company that took six months, they asked me to join their executive team. I was known the MD and Board, there was little due diligence required, and again the position was never advertised.

Let me close off with a good example of job hunting. If you have ever been to Africa, one of the things most people on a wildlife safari strive to do is to take pictures of the Big Five (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, and leopard). Finding these five animals on an African safari is no mean feat.

How would you go about making sure you get these five animals in your sights? Well, first of all you would want to go to a safari camp that have all these animals in their reserve. Then you would want to get a good tracker and game ranger to help you find these animals. You would need to bring with you a good camera and ensure you are in the right position to take your picture, so that months and years later you can still savour the memories of taking those perfect pictures.

As you embark on your job search, ensure you incorporate a bit of the primitive hunter in your job hunting, using your instinct and gut feel. In today’s competitive market, it is really survival of the fittest.

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