The Job Search Process
It all starts with you
Start with looking at yourself. The best career for you is not found by looking at what job is in the highest demand. The best way is to start with looking at yourself. What are your biggest talents, skills, and strengths (see Chapter 2)? What are your dreams and passions? What career would you pick if you could choose anything? These are the kinds of questions to consider. 80% of finding a job is looking inside yourself. When you know what you want to do, it makes it a lot easier to find a job. I cringe when I hear clients tell me “I just need to find a job quickly.” I know those are the ones who are going to take the longest to find a job. Focus is power. A laser that can cut through steel uses the same energy that a light bulb does. Get focused on what you want.
A job search isn’t very complicated. However, finding a job isn’t easy. It is similar to losing weight. All you need to do to lose weight is to eat less and move more. But I still haven’t lost that weight yet!!
Job search Methods
There are lots of ways to find a job. Some people find their job using temporary agencies, job fairs, and employment centers. “A blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.” Most people spend the majority of their job search time applying for jobs on the internet. There are several problems with this approach. The first problem is that everyone is applying for jobs on that way. The average job has 70- 100 people apply for it. Unless you are a superstar, it’s hard to stand out with that many. I have never found a job by applying on an internet job board (such as Monster.com). The other problem is that a lot of jobs never make it to the internet. If an employer can hire a good potential employee without going through the hassle and costs of advertising it, they will. They don’t want 100 people calling about their applications if they don’t need to. A lot of the jobs on the internet are the left-over jobs. I’m not saying ignore the internet. You can still keep an eye on the internet, but I wouldn’t be spending more than 20% of my time on it. A better use of time would be to focus mostly on networking and locating companies you want to work for that are looking for people like you.
It is estimated that well over 50% of jobs are found using networking. Networking is using someone you know, or someone who knows someone you know, to help you get the job. I would define people in your network as someone who would go out of their way to help you. It doesn’t have to be someone you know super well. You might have just met them yesterday. My experience has been that most people like to help other people. Networking is the easiest, fastest way to get a job. My dad once got me a job without me even asking. He told me, “I got you a job. You start on Monday if you want it.” When you talk to people you know, ask them if they know anyone that works at the company you want to work at, or the industry you want to be in. Don’t just go ask if they “know anyone who is hiring?”
Most people have at least 100-200 people in their network. Here is the beautiful thing. You are not just using your network. You are also using the people in their network. 100 times 100 is 10,000. Someone is going to know someone that can help you. When you talk with these people, ask them questions such as “How long have you worked in this industry?” “What do you like and dislike about it?” Tell them what kind of job you want and ask them if they have any advice for you. Keep the meeting or phone call under 10 or 15 minutes.
The Job Search
The next thing you want to do is identify 15 or 20 companies that you want to work for and are qualified for the job. The key word there is “want.” Don’t waste your time applying for jobs you don’t even want. You are most likely not going to get a job you don’t want. If you do get, you should be scared. It’s probably a really crappy job. The reason you are not going to get the job is because someone applying for the job is actually going to want the job. They are going to convince the Hiring Manager that they are the right person for the job and really, really want it. Some people think they are going to go in and make some stuff up, and get the job. Hiring Managers are usually pretty good at telling when people are full of it.
Spend some time researching these companies. Look them up on the internet and learn as much as you can about them. Don’t worry about whether they are hiring or not. Even if they are not hiring right now, there is good chance they will be in the near future. Don’t call up and ask them “Are you guys hiring?” First of all, how do you know this person even knows what they are talking about? Secondly, someone might quit or get fired tomorrow. They weren’t hiring today… but they may be hiring tomorrow. Just assume they will be hiring soon, and go apply for the job even if they don’t have an opening yet.
Now you want to find out who the Hiring Manager is. Who has the authority to hire you? All you have to do is call and ask who does the hiring for the position you want. It really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Human Resources usually doesn’t make the final decision. The Hiring Manager is usually the one that makes the final decision.
Applying for the job is the next step. You are going to attach a resume and a cover letter with the application. A resume tells the employer what your education, experience, and skills are. It is cut and dry, and not very exciting. A cover letter is your sales brochure. You miss a huge opportunity to sell yourself if you don’t send in a cover letter. I would send a cover letter in for just about any job. Make sure the cover letter is addressed specifically to the Hiring Manager. I always take my resume and cover letter personally to the Hiring Manager. That way I have a chance to make a good impression and sell myself.
I would keep the cover letter fairly brief. Hiring Managers spend about 10-15 seconds on resumes. They are not going to read a 3 page cover letter. Three paragraphs (about a half a page) for the body of the letter should be adequate. In the first paragraph make it very clear why you are writing and sum up your resume. List any relevant experience. In the second paragraph, explain why you are a great candidate for the position. What are the 3-5 reasons they should hire you? You have got to have some good reasons. What are your unique abilities, experience, and strengths? Explain why you are passionate about working for that specific company. In the last paragraph, thank them for their time and consideration and give them a way to contact you.
You can use example cover letters from the internet to help you, but make sure that your cover letter is in your own words. They will probably look over your cover letter right before your interview and you should be saying the same things in your interview that you do in your cover letter.
Now we are to the follow-up stage. When I apply for a job, I never expect to hear back from an employer. Even if the job listing said “No Phone Calls”, I am never just going to sit around and hope someone calls me. If I was the hiring manager, I would never call someone who turned in an application. I would wait and see who calls me. Someone who really wants the job is going to come find me. A lot of the people that don’t really want the job, or just kind of want it, will never even follow up at all. Follow up 3-5 business days after you turn in your resume, application, and cover letter. You don’t want to appear desperate. They want to hire someone who really wants this job, not someone who is just desperate for the paycheck.
You want to be in touch with a potential employer about once a week. Of course there are some exceptions to this depending on the company and the industry. When I was in sales, I often heardthe phrase “Contact your potential customers every week until they buy or die.” I honestly would take the chance of possibly ticking someone off with how often I followed up, versus just sitting around and hoping someone calls me. Most employers will be impressed by someone who follows up every week. It makes the employers feel like you really want the job and are motivated and determined. If you followed up every week for 2 months, and then a position came available, who do you think they are going to think of first? You. No one else is going to do that. It’s a great way to set yourself apart. If you do the same thing, say the same thing, and look the same as everyone else, you give the employer no reason to hire you.
The only thing you want from a follow up call is an interview. Don’t be afraid to ask for an interview. In my opinion, enthusiasm is your number one goal for the interview. Be confident, smile, and look them in the eye. Employers have told me 80% of what they looking for in a potential employee is attitude. They can always teach you how to do the job. But you really can’t teach someone how to have a good attitude. Never say anything negative about anything, anyone else, and especially anything bad about yourself. I’m not saying to lie. I am saying to always focus on the positive. There are positives to everything.
Tell the employer how you are going to help them. Focus on your skills, abilities, talents and passions. Of course be professional; but be yourself too. People hire people they like, even if someone else is more qualified. If they don’t like you, they won’t hire you no matter how great you are. Try to find something in common with them. You have more things in common, than not in common. You live in the same part of the country and are in the same profession etc. This person sitting on the other side of the desk is a human being just like you. They might have more money, a better job, and a nicer car, but that doesn’t make them any better than you.
Thank you and follow up
After your interview, send a thank-you letter or note right away. It’s a small thing that can make a big difference. Follow up again in another week if you haven’t heard back. Sometimes it takes quite a while. I would continue to be in contact about every week. Even if you don’t get the job, keep following up. If it is a job you really want, and are qualified for, eventually you will get it. Persistence wears down resistance.
If you are getting interviews, then you application, resume, cover letter, and follow up are working. If you are getting interviews and not getting the job, you are doing something in your interview that is making them decide they don’t want you on their team. On paper you have what they are looking for, or they wouldn’t have had you come in for an interview. Get some feedback from people that are close to you. Do a practice interview with someone.
There it is. That is the Job Search according to Brian Gough (of course Brian just borrowed it from the top Career experts). This approach has worked great for me. I have never had a hard time finding a job. And I have had lots of jobs!
The hardest part is staying motivated. The average unemployed person spends 3-5 hours A WEEKlooking for a job, and it takes the average person six months to find a job. Finding a job is a full-time job. If you bust your butt, and work 30-40 hours a week, generally speaking, the average person should have a job in 4-6 weeks. Of course there are some exceptions to that. The biggest obstacle really is the space in between your ears.