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Relational Versus Transactional Job Search

Are you struggling to land a new job? You may have to switch your focus from a transactional approach to one focused on building relationships.

With the influx of layoffs across multiple sectors, job hunting is rising. Everyone is looking for a fresh start in a new role. But, how you job hunt can dramatically alter the effectiveness of your search. Are you searching in a relational or transactional way?

Some friends and colleagues have lost their jobs or are unhappy in their current roles. They frantically submit job applications to employer portals one after the other. It’s an exhausting, impersonal process, not to mention time-consuming. It can be demoralizing, too. When those rejection emails come rolling through, one after another, you question if you’re even worthy of a better role.

You may have less than a 1% chance of getting a job that way. You’re suddenly in a pool of a hundred other candidates with similar backgrounds. Your digital resume gets lumped in with all the rest as a recruiter skims one after the other. This reflects the transactional approach to job hunting.

The transactional approach centers around sending in your resume or filling out an application on the company website. That’s it. There’s no follow-up or personalization on your part. Instead, you treat the job search like a transaction where you send your information and await the company’s reply.

 In many ways, this is the traditional way people have been job hunting—Monster and Indeed run on this premise. You put your resume out there and hope for an interview to promote the skills that set you apart. But who says you need to wait for an interview to showcase your expertise? 

This is where relational job hunting comes into play. Instead of applying on the company website like hundreds of others, you build authentic relationships through networking. You’re still job hunting, but you’re adding a personalized twist. Instead of just being a name on a resume, you’re a name with a personality and meaning. This sets you apart from others by building trust with the people who may be hiring now or in the future.

Relationship building allows you to ask questions about the job. You can understand the company culture by chatting with someone who works there. Or you can focus on any qualifications that make you a more competitive candidate for future roles. A chat with a recruiter or person working for the company can give you valuable insight that a job posting doesn’t offer.

Relational job hunting makes the entire process less intimidating and more personal. Instead of posting your resume on a faceless job platform, you connect and chat with real people. It may give you the confidence boost you need to keep searching for your perfect role.

Unlike Indeed and Monster, which are transactional platforms, LinkedIn centers around building relationships. You can still apply to the jobs listed with a transactional mindset, or you can go a step further and connect with the hiring manager.

 Relational job searching is more effective, personalized, and forward-thinking than the transactional approach. In today’s ever-changing job market, it pays to go the extra step and connect with companies and their staff.

 Here are some ways you can change your approach from a transactional to a relational job search:

  • Use LinkedIn to research industry leaders to connect with
  • Set up coffee chats with your connections to build an authentic relationship
  • Reach out to a hiring manager directly

 I adopted the relational approach as I pivoted my career. As a result, I’ve been connecting with colleagues virtually, making new connections, journaling, reading, and drinking coffee with my wife, Lauri. Over the past few weeks, I’ve talked to at least 20 CEOs, two authors, ten sales executives, six freelance writers, and five recruiters.

 I’ve spent very little energy applying to anything. It’s invigorating. I’ve met so many interesting people. For me, it’s been like a party minus the alcohol. LinkedIn is an excellent resource, and people are willing to take a 20-minute video call.

 Focusing on building relationships has opened the door to different opportunities that weren’t even on my radar with the transactional approach. It’s also less stressful. Instead of just applying for a job, I brainstorm with people from different niches. As a result, we are creating new business ideas and even forming partnerships. This proactive approach helped me find opportunities and create new ones in different areas.

 Now, I’m putting my energy into learning about others and building my strong network of connections. Then, when a job opens, my network will be available to tap into authentically. It has taken the stress out of applying for a hundred jobs and not getting a single interview.

 If you’re struggling with a job search, please consider switching gears. Instead, adopt a more relational approach and enjoy the process. Not only will you find more success, but you’ll also be less bogged down by the monotony of the transactional job search and the rejection rate that comes with it.

 If you would like to learn more about Jeff Lewis and relationship building, you can connect with him on LinkedIn here

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