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How to Design a Successful Job Search Strategy. Stop Following Random Paths. It is time to stop following random avenues that may lead nowhere or even worse to a position and on a career path to nowhere.
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Stop Following Random Paths • It is time to stop following random avenues that may lead nowhere or even worse to a position and on a career path to nowhere. • People who find themselves unemployed are often in panic mode. While this is not surprising, you have to stop and realize that a job search is like any other project and can be approached with a well thought out strategy and more importantly – appropriate and effective follow-through. • Yes, it’s that simple… that boring, and (here’s the good news) that easy. • Without clear objectives and a well thought-through plan you will find yourself running down any rabbit hole that opens up.
Where to Start: • Designing your personal search strategy • A job search is a personal journey, so each one of us must divine and design a strategy which will work towards our personal goals. • Okay here’s another analogy and another movie reference. Have you ever embarked on an exercise goal? My favorite exercise objective and movie line comes from the movie American Beauty.
Exercise Goal – Same as Job Goal • If you’ve seen it, you will remember what I’m talking about: • Kevin Spacey runs up beside two of his neighbors who are gorgeously fit and who are also running. Spacey is asking for exercise advice. His neighbors ask what he wants to improve upon physically. Finally he blurts, “I just want to look good naked”. For Spacey’s character, his exercise goal was that simple..
Here’s the Great News For Job Seekers • Once you’ve got a clear career goal, achieving a successful job search strategy, is as simple and clear as what Spacey boiled his goal down to: He just wanted to look good naked. • Every job search goal is essentially as simple: You just want to be employed. After that your results depend on your investment in the project. How many times have you heard Confucius quoted? “Every journey starts with the first step.” Your first job search step starts by taking personal inventory.
A Job Seeker’s Journey • Althougheach job seeker’s journey will be different, the process or cycle and steps involved are the same: • Define your goal: (Gain Employment) • Find & Apply to Positions • No Respone? Evaluate and adjust • Repeat until you land an interview
The Interview • Once you have an Interview the Process looks like this: • Request for Interview • Prepare • Interview • Follow Up • No thank you – Evaluate and Adjust • NO Feedback? - Evaluate and Adjust • Yes – Congratulations. Is this job right for you? Yes, great, negotiate if necessary and accept.
5 Steps for Success • Okay so that’s the Job Search Strategy in Concept. Here are 5 steps for a success job search strategy: • Define your career goal: Get a Job. • What kind of job. If you aren’t sure take personal inventory: • Whatskills do you truly have that will make you employable and include a passion • (Competence + Passion = Employability) and as an added bonus: Career Satisfaction • Create and implement a search strategy based on the resulting positions identified from your personal inventory • Follow-through • Repeat
Biggest Mistake • Okay… Here’s where job seekers usually make their biggest mistakes. You must follow this process for EVERY SINGLE POSITION. And you need to be applying for multiple positions for many reasons, but the least of which is that you may be applying to non-existent positions or positions that are already filled. It’s grueling and boring… just like exercise but it’s the only way to have successful job results. Otherwise, to draw on Cheshire’s analogy, any road will lead you to a job… but is it the best job for you? This is a marathon not a sprint.
Personal Inventory • How Do You Define your Personal Inventory? • Start with your passions. • What you want (Magic wand: If you could wave a magic want this is what you really want to do) What makes you jump out of bed in the morning, or as a fighter jet pilot we work with in Wired4Hire says, what blows his hair back, what are these to you? • Now make a directory of your strengths • This is what you offer right now. What are you qualified to do either based on your education or your career experience. • Armed with this information your ready to start looking for jobs for which your competence matches your confidence. REPEAT. These components combined can get you started on the path searching for a position that applies to your strengths, and feeds your soul.
Your Strengths • Now make a directory of your strengths • This is what you offer right now. What are you qualified to do either based on your education or your career experience. • Armed with this information your ready to start looking for jobs for which your competence matches your confidence. REPEAT. These components combined can get you started on the path searching for a position that applies to your strengths, and feeds your soul.
Ask Yourself • You need to ask yourself a few more questions to really get down to core of your inventory. These include: • What do you need (monetarily and location). • What are your financial goals versus your financial obligations? If you are currently out of balance in terms of your competence for your dream job. Can you afford to take a job at a lower income that will lead you to your dream vocation? IF you can’t maybe for now you need to find a job that meets your monetary commitments and satisfy your passions by volunteering or taking courses that will build on your future success at landing that dream gig.
Ask Yourself • Continued…. • What kind of company do you want to work for? People seeking employment find themselves chasing any job lead when they forget that they have choices and the more proactive they are at defining their career objectives, the more successful they will be in designing a rewarding job search strategy.
The Evolution • This Stage can also been called the Evolution of discovery. • Know yourself and understand your accomplishments and be ready to talk about them. This is one of the things men often do better than women. We naturally play down our important role in our own success. Men will take full credit as long as they were physically present. They would say something like “Oh yeah, I was instrumental in the success of amazon.com.” Even if all they ever did was buy a book from amazon.com. As women, we tend to underplay our successes. Being able to articulate and own your own success is a large part of your own personal inventory .
Finding Positions • Now that you know what you want and what you have to offer, its time to find the match! This is the legwork and the next step in the cycle of activity. There are three approaches at this step. They are the Warm, Cold and Passive Searches. • Start with passive searches. A passive search is when companies search for you. You post your resume and are contacted if you are a fit. Passive opportunities include: • Posting resume on job boards and company sites • Complete LinkedIn profile • Blog posting about information relevant to your Industry which showcase your expertise in the field.
Continued • Warm Network Lead: • Family • Friends • Religious Affiliations • Professional Affiliations • Career Contacts
4 Layers of Contacts to Start You Level 1 Contact Level 2 Contact Level 3 Contact Level 4 Contact Your Friend Gretchen Gretchen’s Friend Courtney Courtney’s Friend Mark Mark’s Boss David
The Warm Search • Your warm search is where you ask friends, family, and teammates on your softball team, church connections, Special interest clubs and professional organizations for support. Support can be leads to open positions, contacts at their company and even recommendations on Social media sites like LinkedIn. • You must educate these connections on how to help you. Most people are eager to help others. Don’t be scared off by the occasional rotten apple that doesn’t. Most people enjoy helping others. Tell them in specific and CONCISE detail what you are asking of them. “Hey Jane, I see that your company has a posting for xyz. I’m really interested and based on the job description, I’ve got all the skills they’ve requested. Could you refer me to the hiring manager?”
Tailor your Resume • Once you identify a position, tailor you resume. The biggest mistake a jobseeker can make is to send the same resume for every job. Your resume is a living, breathing document. It is important to use the terminology used in the job description. Why? For two reasons: psychologically people are drawn to people who are like them. Using their vernacular will make them respond positively. Secondly, most company use resume scanning software which does keyword searches. If your resume does not include these words, your resume may never make to a set of human eyes.
Submitting Online • Submitting Your Resume to a Job Online • Submit online ONLY if you are a PERFECT FIT. • If you are a 75% fit, get creative. Find another way to submit your information. Start with your network and social media. • Do not erode your opportunity and personal brand by practicing in span submissions. That’s when you submit your resume to every job opening in a company you want to work at hoping that one will fit. What will happen is that you won’t be considered reputable if you only try to be a broken clock. Even a broken clock works twice a day.
Following Up • Wait 24 hours and if you have no response or further instructions it’s time to begin the follow-up. • Follow up can be: • Email which may or may not be successful… but it does give you something to refer to for your next step. • Cold Calling. The classic stalling technique I hear from candidates is that they don’t have a name of the person or number to call. With the advent of LinkedIn, this excuse no longer flies. • Human Resources. You can find them either through LinkedIn or by calling a Corporate Main number. • Department Manager to whom you best guess this position would report.
Scripting Cold Calls • Remember to script your message for both an answering machine AND a REAL Person! • You should use open ended questions that make it difficult if not impossible to say no. For example, “Hi my name is and I recently applied for xyz….” Expect to get a blow off… You will receive information via email…. Oh that’s terrific. I was wondering, can you tell me where are you in the decision process?” “Have you started interviewing finalists or are you just beginning to schedule interviews? • Your goal is to find out if you should continue to follow-up or move on.
In Person Interview • Once you receive an invitation to interview with an Organization you will need an Interview Strategy • Once again your personal inventory will be helpful. Know your story and be able to speak about it: Out loud! Seriously, practice in front of your bedroom mirror. Talk to your dog…. But not your spouse or kids – unless you are very confident… While they are trying to give constructive advice… this is where you are allowed to get it wrong until it’s comfortable… too much feedback at first will derail you! Speak only to the position at hand – not in generic terms. Everything should be pertinent to this new position and remember to stay on topic.
Interview Day • The Old School Advice Still Holds True: • Dress for Success • Be in the moment • Manners – Don’t speak over the interviewer • Active listening • Ask for a Business Card • Most job seekers do this well, but forget to: • Ask for the job!!!!
Post Interview Follow Up: • Thank you notes are back in vogue. Send one the day after your interview. That’s why you asked for a business card. If you can’t get one…don’t worry. Ask the receptionist for the address and spelling of the names of those you met. Even if you forget this step you can get the address and name information by calling into the main corporate number and simply saying. I was in yesterday and had a great conversation with…. But I forgot to take their business card when I left. I am about to send them a thank you note and need their name and address. • Wait a week. Send a follow email again thanking them for the opportunity and highlighting something positive. Either a newsworthy event that you can help support or solve for them or your best attribute for the role. Ask for feedback and next steps.
Closing the File • If you get no response. Wait one Wait one more week and either call or email. This is the hardest step and it’s one I learned from Sandler training. It’s my version of what they call closing the file. You want to recap the role and your interview experience to date as well as your continued interest. And then say, “I realize that you are incredibly busy and that you may have already filled this position or had a shift in priorities, pushing this opportunity to a back burner. Your organization is on the top of my list of companies and but I would still be okay knowing that I am not the right fit if that is the case so that I can move forward with my search. If this is the case, please let me know. If the position is still open and I’m still being considered can you tell me what next steps look like?”
Closing the File Continued…. • This type of communication will certainly get you a response if you are still in contention. If you are not, you will be amazed at how often it will also give you the news that you are not a viable candidate.
Still Hear Nothing • If you hear nothing, consider yourself no longer in consideration and move on. Close the file on your own. • This is cycle of continuous motion and this cycle continues from beginning to end until you receive your job offer and it can feel exhausting unless you have qualitative and quantitative objectives. • You have actionable activities that can be done every day for your successful job search. • Networking • Warm • Cold • Passive • Applying to positions • Following Up • Interviewing • Following Up
Keep A Calendar • Keep a calendar of when to follow up for each position so that you don’t lose track. Maintain your focus and set your schedule to address this cycle for at least 3 hours per day. Only you will know how many jobs you need to apply to before you get an interview. It might be three or it might be 15. If you hear NOTHING you need to evaluate and revamp and then move forward. Remember to reevaluate your personal inventory regularly to account for self discovery and growth, find positions that are a good fit for your and don’t waste your time and energy on those that are not.
Wrap Up • It’s a grueling and boring… just like exercise but it’s the only way to have successful job results. Otherwise, to draw on Cheshire’s analogy, any road will lead you to a job… but is it the best job for you? • And unlike Alice who can take any road because she doesn’t have a destination, you will find yourself on the right road that will get you to your next career move highly in a rewarding job.
Thank you! • Contact: • Gretchen Gunn • email@example.com • Office: (877) 643-8378 • Mobile: (973) 945-9817 • www.mgdservices.com