Job hunting is a challenging task even in the best of times. It becomes even more challenging when the economy is in a slump and there are fewer jobs available with more people competing for them. This requires the job hunter to become more creative and use all the tools and resources available to them in order to be more efficient and effective.
One way to increase your chances of finding a position is to take a systematic approach to looking for a job. What do I mean by a system? Well what I’m talking about is using the same techniques that professional salespeople use to sell their products. If you think about it, you are a product and the end result of your activities should be getting a contract with an employer. If you accept this premise, implementing a process to accomplish this will make it very easy. I believe I can provide you with a step-by-step process that will enable you to get a job in about 90 days. The secret is to commit to this and to adhere to the plan which incorporates a rigid schedule, specific activities and a commitment to follow through. These are the same components critical to success with any other objective you’re attempting to achieve.
I’m confident this system will work for you because it worked for my daughter Danielle who graduated college earlier this year. She was able to find her dream job within 45 days of implementing the techniques discussed in this article.
I’m a professional sales manager. By “professional” sales manager, I mean that I treat sales as a profession, not just a job. It truly is a profession which you have to train for and continually update your skills and tools if you want to be successful.
It occurred to me that finding a job is a lot like what my sales team does every day trying to sell our company’s products and services.
You have to send out a lot of information such as product literature, specification sheets and informational flyers to try to get a prospects attention. In the case of the job hunter it’s resume’s and cover letters
You need to follow up with phone calls, notes, emails and other forms of communication to open up a dialog with your prospective customers (employers.)
You are trying to make them aware of the need for your products (skills and experiences)
You need to differentiate yourself from your competitors (other job applicants)
You need to convince them that your sales claims are true (the ability to do the job)
It can be a numbers game: 100 letters and phone calls gets you 10 conversations gets you 3 interviews, gets you one job (maybe)
Success comes from 3 things: Hard Work, Timing, and Luck, with Hard Work being the most important.
So, since we were both trying to sell something, I recommend that you go to “work” and your new job is finding a job. I believe that if you do the work and follow the plan I outline below, you can close the sale (i.e., find a job.)
The general plan is:
Commit to “working” 8 hours a day. This consists of;
Working at a “temporary” job in order to pay your living expenses
Volunteering or some other activity which helps you get to know a profession, industry or specific employer which you might be interested in.
Using the “Selling Yourself Into a Job” system to find permanent employment.
Your day starts at 8:00 and ends at 5:00, 5 days a week, unless the temporary job or volunteer position requires time during evenings or on weekends. The objective is to put in a 40 hour week which includes all three of these activities.
You should try to max out the time you spend at the temporary job and volunteering. One gives you money and the other provides you with experience and exposure to potential employers.
When you’re not working or volunteering, you need to be doing the same things a sales force does every day:
Researching potential employers (we look for customers)
Visiting Job Search sites looking for tips and tricks (become a professional job seeker by educating yourself, just like you would for any other profession)
Improving your resume’ or customizing it for a specific job opportunity (we create marketing materials)
Sending out resume’s (we send out letters & brochures informing people about our business offerings)
Applying on company web sites (we respond to bid requests)
Making follow-up calls (we do this…ALOT!)
Going on interviews (we have customer or prospect meetings)
Here is where you may need additional help:
Finding information on companies and the contacts at the companies you want to apply to, using tools like Linkedin, Jigsaw, etc…
Reviewing and editing your resume’, cover letters, etc…
Providing guidance on interview techniques and business conversations.
Keeping on track with your activities, focus, and results.
Finding tips to help you manage your time and be more effective (i.e., blind copying yourself on every email you send out so you can reuse it and not have to create everything from scratch.)
Preparing interview plans and strategies (company research, timing the commute, a list of questions for the interview, etc…)
Debriefing after each interview to see how you can improve on them
The resources you need to assist with these items are readily available and will be discussed in future articles.
The plan you develop has to have a specific goal, a set of objectives and an activity schedule.
The goal is to find you a job in 90 days (accept the fact that it might take this long)
The objective is to get at least one interview a week after the first 3 weeks.
The daily activity plan was as follows:
Research and collect information on 10 target employers
Send out 10 resume’s
Apply on-line to 10 prospective employers
Make 10 follow up calls
Don’t worry if this sounds overwhelming right now. Once you begin working on this and have the research tools, a library of resume’s and cover letters and a workflow set up this will be easy. This methodology is classic Sales 101 and has been proven time and time again. It may take some time, but it will be successful.
During that first week all you need to do is to locate 10 target employers within the local area. You’ll need to find out their contact information, try to determine who you should be communicating with and do some research on their website. By the end of the week you’ll have a list of 50 companies. However you may not have all the contact information you need to apply for a position. This is not a problem. As a professional salesperson, I’ve developed a portfolio of tools that I use to identify specific contacts within an organization. I will share these with you in future articles.
On Monday of the following week begin to send out 10 resumes and apply to 10 companies online each day. You also need to research another 10 companies and add them to your list. By the third day you will have sent out 30 applications and applied online to 30 companies. You then need to begin calling the companies that you applied to two days earlier. I have put together a series of telephone scripts for you so that you’ll know what you are going to say when you get somebody on the phone.
The process needs to be repeated daily. Initially there may be little or no response from the companies you’ve contacted. However, during week 3 you should started hearing back from the prospects. Often it will be a polite email, call or letter explaining that there currently were no positions available but they’ll keep your information on file. Sometimes the employer will ask for additional information about your background, skills or experience. On a couple of occasions they may have you come in for a “group interview,” at which there may be as many as 30 applicants were in attendance. Don’t be discouraged by this. It’s part of the process.
Soon you’ll begin getting invitations for interviews. This should be encouraging, even though several of the opportunities may be for positions you’re not interested in for a variety of reasons, including location, the industry, company or specific position. However you should go on every interview to either genuinely apply for the position or to practice and refine your interview skills.
By week 5 it should become apparent that the program is beginning to pay off. By this time you’ll have contacted over 150 companies, followed up with most of them and begin getting call backs and interview requests on a regular basis. I believe that this is a result of what I called the “cow patty” theory. By putting enough information about yourself out into the local business community, people will start to “step” in the patties and will begin to respond.
I believe you will be successful at reaching your goal of finding a job using the Selling Yourself Into a Job” system for the following reasons:
The structure of the process provides a framework within which the job search could be executed in a regular and systematic way.
There were specific goals, objectives and processes which drive the process and will keep you focused.
Specific activities were required every day which keep you accountable.
A structured, repeatable process made the tasks easier the more they are done. This reduces the time required to do the tasks which should encourage you to complete them.
Getting results in only a few weeks will motivate you to continue to execute the plan.
You will become more comfortable and confident when you do things that you’ve done before and are familiar with. There will be a noticeable change in your communication skills and confidence level several weeks into the process.
The resources I’ve located and which can be used during the process will help keep you focused and will provide good advice and tips on creating resume’s, writing cover letters, developing phone scripts and improving your interview behaviors
I firmly believe that if this process can work for anybody. The key elements are;
The process needs to be treated like a job. Your job is to find a job.
There’s a definitive process. You wake up every morning knowing exactly what you need be doing in terms of your job hunting process.
Locate additional resources which will help you in this process. Web sites, on-line resources, tips and tricks related to your job search.
The more you do the process, the more repetitive it is, the easier it’s going to be, and the better you’re going to become at it.
I hope you’ve found this information helpful in your job search process. I will publish additional articles about the specifics of this system. The information I’ll provide will include:
Resume’ and Cover Letter Tips
Resources for Reaching Prospective Employers
Where to find Information on Job Hunting Tips and Tricks
Telephone Scripts you can use to get through “Gate Keepers” and increase your level of Confidence when calling a Prospective Employer
How to Prepare for an Interview
If you have specific questions or would like to discuss my Selling Yourself Into a Job” system in more detail, please feel free to contact me at the following email address: William.Swansen@gmail.com
Bill Swansen is a Sales and Marketing Executive with thirty years of industry experience. Bill has sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of products and services to companies ranging from small and medium businesses to Fortune 50 companies. He has written several articles on selling and sales techniques and is now applying these same skills and experiences towards helping recent college graduates find their first career position.