The hardest part of any
journey is taking the first step.
Once you are in motion, momentum becomes your friend.
As with a physical journey,
the hardest step in most job searches is getting started. Here are
our suggestions on how to manage your time, and how to create the
marketing materials (resume, cover letter, elevator speech) you
will need to have before you start meeting prospective employers.
your time with this stage – since you only have one chance to make
a good first impression.
We all have different
stories to tell about how we ended up where we are. For some, it's
the first time in their career they are out of work. It's a genuine
shock to the system. For others they may have had advance warning
or have gone through a layoff before. In all cases, a week or two
to recover, regroup and mentally prepare for your job search "job"
is encouraged. Get the word out, and talk to your family, friends,
pastor, and confidantes.
In our networking group
there are people working 60 hours per week on their search and others
25 hours. Is the number of hours indicative of your success in finding
a job? What's the optimal level for you? How much rejection can
Nearly every book on
job search [and certainly every outplacement firm] says it's a numbers
game. The more contacts, applications, e-mails, letters, networking
meetings the better. How do you allocate your time? You can't do
it all. And being stressed out over finding a job on top of the
stress of being out of work does not bode well for presenting well
in person or over the phone.
Opinions abound on how
to manage your time. But the pre-search effort is absolutely critical
in maximizing the effectiveness of your day-to-day job search activities
or schedule. These include what this member is calling - preliminaries
or assumptions. Essentially, you have …
- Researched the job
of finding a job
- Conducted self assessment
to understand or revisit your accomplishments and skills
- Created your first
set of marketing materials - resume', cover letter, e-mail introduction
- Entered various search
criteria into all of the job boards you think appropriate for
- Posted your resume
to few job boards and recruiters (Eventually you may have a dozen
or more boards and the same number of executive or contingency
recruiters. But for this initial push - pace yourself and attend
to all of these preliminaries.
- Attended at least
one meeting of two or three networking groups (WIND, 495, Acton
…) just to dip your toes in the water, so to speak.
- Begun developing a
list of companies in your targeted geographical area from which
you can select to study further and target for networking
- Created the following
folders in your web site favorites
- Target Companies
[you are or will be actively pursuing]
- Networking groups
[Alumni links, TENG, FENG, IEEE, etc)
- Research Outlets
- You've passed your
materials by a few business and networking people for input.
- Selected a contact
- Set up a Targeted
company binder to receive all printed information you develop
over time - this could be invaluable when you finally get inside
the company. Short of this consider entering salient data into
- Established your weekly
- "Work hours"
- Number of networking
phone calls per day
- Number of networking
e-mails per day
- Number of informational
interviews both face-to-face and by phone
- You've made a list
of your "contact inner circle" of direct family,
friends, acquaintances, business associates, church members etc.
that you know personally or who know you or of you. This is your
first generation of networking contacts.
Some outplacement firms
believe you need to maintain a quantitative record of your activity
to maintain the pace and keep the carrot out in front. Keep comparing
the results to your target. Items included can be
- The total hours per
week on all aspects of the search
- Number of letters
mailed, Ads responded to, search firms contacted.
- Number of phone calls,
e-mails - both original and subsequent
- It's a job. At the
end of the day go home, relax as best you can and spend time with
your family and friends - just as you did before.
- Allow time for recreation,
- See a funny movie
often - the more hilarious the better
- Networking Meetings
scheduled to attend
- Informational Interviews
Daily - pick from
the following activities and structure your "average"
- Phone calls:
Don't make them if you're having a bad day. Best before 9AM and
just after 5 (best chance to avoid the gatekeepers) Prepare well,
smile and stand up (yeah, even though you're on the phone.)
- Networking -
to people to whom you've been referred. Remember to get
new contacts from each.
- Cold - to
people you have not had any luck networking in to but need to
- Recruiters -
both cold and network calls
- E-Mail networking:
Not being a sales rep, this member choose to use e-mail as
a method of first choice for all networking contacts beyond the
first generation. [You introduce yourself. Tell who referred you
to them and ask if you could contact them to discuss your job
search etc (Also see Chapter on Networking)]
- Local newspaper
- If you find a match
and the company name is listed, resist the temptation to fire
off a response. You'll be one of hundreds. If you want the edge,
research the company, send out a network contact request to
your groups, try to find the hiring manager and differentiate
- Target Company
research - Select 1 company from your target list for in depth
- Add to your favorites
- Look at career opportunities
- Identify Company
management personnel (You can ask if anyone knows so and so)
- Update your Targeted
Companies spreadsheet (See above)
- Go to Quicken.com,
enter the ticker symbol, Go to Quotes & News for multi-source
news info (better than the company's press release section (you'll
get these too)
- To get competitors
go to "Compare to Industry" (lower left corner of
screen) but be careful, many times the competitors are really
not true competitors.
- Get the E-Mailing
convention - example: Lastnamefirstname@xxxx or first initiallastname@xxxxx
- You can usually
get this by identifying anyone at the company and then calling
the switchboard and ask, "Gee my e-mail to XYZ keeps
bouncing. Can you tell me his/her correct e-mail address?"
- Another way is
to go to google.com and enter @companyname.com and surf the
results for some contact list to get the convention.
- LUNCH - Always
take a break
- Job Board searches:
The Internet and e-mail can be a very tempting time absorber.
You could literally a large number or work hours per week electronically
searching and replying. You "feel" productive
but are you really? Remember, this is only one of the many ways
to locate positions and, more important, 70+% of all new positions
are landed through person-to-person networking. All things in
- Hard copy letter
- Informational interviews
- Don't overbook. Allow 3-4 hours, including travel time each.
Always leave plenty of excess time, just in case you hit a home
run and need to extend. Avoid scheduling more that two in a day.