After helping more than 20,000 job seekers since 1996, I’ve met a small number of people who seem to sail from one position to the next, no matter what the economy is doing.
What do they do differently from average job seekers, who, according to August 2009 figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, take 24.9 weeks to get hired?
Several things. Three of them, actually. And they do them habitually.
Best part: These habits are recession-proof. They work in good times and in bad.
Here they are — three habits that can get you hired faster …
1) Focus on results, not processes
People who struggle to find work always seem to be in the process of doing something.
They can’t tell friends exactly what job they seek because they’re in the process of deciding. Or they can’t improve their Linkedin profile because they’re in the process of revising their resume.
Highly successful job seekers know that results are what count. So, they just get stuff done.
Think about last week. How many people did you meet to discuss your job search with?
A job seeker who meets three networking contacts with an imperfect resume will get hired faster than one who spends all week revising their resume and zapping out emails. Every time.
2) Pick up the phone and call
I’ve yet to meet anyone who was hired solely on the strength of their resume or cover letter. You have to talk to and meet employers first.
In other words, it takes multiple conversations to get a job.
Successful job seekers know this. They stack the odds in their favor by proactively calling, talking to, and asking to meet employers they’ve sent resumes to.
What’s the worst that can happen if you call and ask an employer to meet?
They say no.
But … if you wait for a phone call that never comes, you’re still getting a “No” from that employer, albeit a tacit one that can take weeks to play out.
Make your own luck. Call to verify that employers got the resume and cover letter you emailed.
Better: Print and mail your documents. In your cover letter, say: “I will call your office at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday to answer any questions you may have.”
Two very good things can happen when you call at a specific time to follow up:
- Your call may turn into a phone interview, if you establish rapport with the hiring manager and demonstrate your smarts.
- If you get voicemail, your message will be stamped with the time you called, which should be exactly when you said you would in your cover letter. Congratulations — you’ve proven that you’re detail-oriented and keep promises. And you’re not even on the payroll yet.
3) Contact employers 7 times
In sales, it’s a rule of thumb that prospects must be exposed to your ad or sales pitch at least 7 times before they buy.
Successful job seekers recognize this. You should, too.
Create a plan for contacting your target employers 7 times in the next 3-4 weeks. Be sure to vary the means of contact and — this is important — always have something important to say. In other words, give employers another reason to hire you with every contact.
Here’s an example campaign to illustrate:
- Day 1: Mail well-researched cover letter and resume to ABC Corp., promising to call in two days to follow up.
- Day 3: Call, as promised. Ask for interview.
- Day 5: Mail newspaper clipping of interview with company president, underlining comments about strategic plan that I can help achieve.
- Day 8: Visit company office, saying I was “in the area.” Ask if president got article by mail.
- Day 14: Mail hiring manager a white paper, “5 Ways to Save on Purchasing at ABC Corp.,” based on research done on days 1-10.
- Day 16: Call hiring manager to follow up. Ask for interview.
- Day 22: Email company president with 5 news items about ABC Corp. found via www.Google.com/alerts in days 1-21. Offer suggestions for how I could help with each.
Now. Does contacting one employer 7 times seem like a lot of work to you?
The answer is yes.
But … do you think any other job seeker is going to create and follow such a detailed plan of action?
The answer is no.
And that’s good news for you, if you’re willing to make these three habits are part of your job search.
About the Author
Kevin Donlin is contributing co-author of “Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0: How to Stand Out from the Crowd and Tap Into the Hidden Job Market using Social Media and 999 other Tactics Today” and “Guerrilla Resumes“ (Which I review here). Since 1996, he has provided job search assistance to more than 20,000 people. Author of “51 Ways to Find a Job Fast — Guaranteed,” Kevin has been interviewed by USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, CBS Radio and others.Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people. To learn about Guerrilla Resumes and how it could help you, visit his site at www.GuerrillaResumes.com