By Kevin Donlin,
This week, Iâ€™ll address two common job-search frustrations found in the hundreds of emails Iâ€™ve received this year from people across America
Do either of these apply to you?
Frustration #1: There just arenâ€™t enough jobs out there to apply for.
Solution: Letâ€™s analyze this one â€¦
When I speak to job hunters, in seminars, by phone, or via email, I ask the same question: â€œHow are you looking for jobs?â€ Almost invariably, the answer is: â€œI look online or in the paper.â€
So the actual frustration here is this: There arenâ€™t enough advertised jobs to apply for.
Now. If you look only for advertised openings, as most job seekers do, you set yourself up for the sort of frustration most job seekers face.
Youâ€™re like a penguin, scrambling with 5,000 other penguins for a handful of fish scattered on the tip of an iceberg. (Visualize that.)
Pssst! If you dive below the exposed (advertised) part of that iceberg, youâ€™ll find â€¦ fish (jobs). Plenty of them. And almost no competition.
In fact, for every job posted online or in the newspaper, Iâ€™ll bet there are at least four other openings NOT advertised.
Should you ignore advertised job postings altogether? No. Should you spend most of your time chasing them? No.
Spend no more than 20% of your day on posted job openings. Spend the remainder — fully 80% of your time — making contact with people at your target employers.
In other words, networking.
But ordinary networking will likely get you â€¦ ordinary results. And how are ordinary job hunters doing these days?
So, analyze your networking efforts to date. Ask yourself three questions:
- What have I said to or done for people in my network that has led to interviews? Examples: Being useful to others by sending them news, information, leads, etc. to help them do their jobs. Do more of this.
- What have I said or done that has NOT produced job leads? Examples: A 30-second â€œelevator pitchâ€ that seems to fall flat, or conversations with personal (as opposed to professional) contacts. Change or stop doing this.
- What will you do to meet your goals by this time next week? You must set specific, measurable goals in networking — and all your job-search efforts.
Example: There are 40 people in your professional network and you want to add 20 more this month, resulting in four job interviews. When you break it down, thatâ€™s one person added to your network per weekday and one interview per week. Measure your progress weekly, correct as necessary, and you will reach your goals. But you canâ€™t improve what you donâ€™t measure, so start measuring today.
Frustration #2: After job interviews, I get no email, call or letter from employers. What am I doing wrong?
Solution: This has two parts: Stop waiting for employers to contact you. And find out what, if anything, youâ€™re doing wrong in interviews.
First, ALWAYS take the initiative on follow-up. At the end of every interview, ask when the employer expects to make a decision. Tell them you will follow up by phone, giving a specific day and time. Then â€¦ call on that day, precisely at that time.
Congratulations. Youâ€™ve proven that youâ€™re detail-oriented and organized — two traits every employer wants. If you get voicemail when you call, state that youâ€™re calling as promised and that you will write, call, fax, or drop by (pick one) to follow up after this contact. Repeat as necessary.
Second, when it comes to interviewing, you can never be too good. Think of a major league baseball player analyzing his swing. He hits off a tee and with a batting practice pitcher. He videotapes his swing and watches it in slow motion. He works with a coach, etc.
Why all this work? If he canâ€™t hit, he wonâ€™t play — and he wonâ€™t get paid.
Right now, if you donâ€™t make a â€œhitâ€ with employers in interviews, you wonâ€™t get paid either. So practice and analyze how you interview — video and/or audiotape yourself, review your answers, work with a coach (if necessary), and keep improving until you get hired.
Now, go out and make your own luck.
Kevin Donlin is contributing co-author of â€œGuerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0.â€ Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people.