What exactly does it take to find the right job? How long will it take? How can you make it happen faster? Are you beginning to think that finding the job you really want is impossible?
Finding the answers to these questions may not be as hard as you think. In this special report, you will learn why you may be struggling in your job search, what does and doesn't work to find jobs, and three techniques to eliminate roadblocks, find the right opportunities, and land the job you want.
The secret to finding a job in twenty-eight days or less is not hidden in a new use of technology, an innovative approach to interviewing, or paying for a service that blasts your résumé out to thousands of recruiters or employers. The real secret lies within you. If you are prepared to commit yourself to working a simple and consistent approach to finding a job, then you are already on your way.
WHY DON'T YOU HAVE A JOB YET?
If you're like most people looking for a job or changing careers, one or all of the reasons below will sound familiar:
You don't know where to start. Finding the right job seems like an overwhelming task. There are either too many job listings to sort through, or you can't find any opportunities that seem to fit. You make a few stabs at job-hunting but you get nowhere. Interviews aren't coming your way; nobody is calling you back, so you end up feeling frustrated and do little else.
There are too many things to do. You realize that you need to increase your network, but you think your résumé isn't quite good enough, so you work on that. You know that contacting potential hiring managers is important, but it's easier to look at the help wanted ads in the paper. You question whether all of your time spent in informational interviews will ever be worth it. You don't have a way to prioritize your job search activities and manage your time.
It's difficult to stay motivated. You may know exactly what you need to do, but you avoid doing it. It's much easier to surf the Internet or watch television than go to an association meeting where you might meet the right person who can lead you to a great job opportunity. You've gone weeks or months with few interviews and no job offers. When you get a rejection letter or no response from companies you've contacted, you take it personally. It's easy to blame the economy, lack of job openings, or the time of year.
If any or all of these obstacles have stopped you in your tracks, then you are in good company. Job-seekers rarely fail because there are no job opportunities. More often, they fail because of three fatal mistakes:
- They don't have a clear picture of what they want.
- They don't have a strong network.
- They don't have a plan.
We're about to teach you exactly how to overcome all these obstacles and put your job search on the fast track. Here are the three secrets to landing the job you want in twenty-eight days or less.
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
If you don't yet know what you want to do, it will be almost impossible for you to know where to look for it. There are thousands of jobs posted on the Internet and listed in the want ads on any given day. How can you sort through all those listings to find the right position if you don't have a reference point? As you'll discover below, we believe that a strong network is one of the keys to finding a job quickly. But your network can't help you if you can't tell them what you are looking for. Once you do manage to get an interview, how are you going to convince an employer you are the right person for the job if you don't know yourself what you want?
The first stage of a successful job search is to define the type of job for which you are looking. In creating that definition, you are determining which positions, organizations, and industries match your unique and marketable skills and fit with your personal vision for your career. Just like a company targets the market that is best suited for its products, you also must make choices about where your skills, abilities, and desires will fit best. That will enable you to actively market yourself as a job-seeker.
To determine exactly what job you want, you'll need to use a combination of three different methods:
- Getting to know yourself better
- Gathering more information about industries and jobs
- Finding out what others think about where you fit
Getting to know yourself better
A successful job search is more like a marketing campaign that reaches out to many potential buyers than it is a "search" for something that already exists. In this marketing campaign, you are the product. If a product has the right features, benefits the customer, can demonstrate value, and is available at the right price, it is considered marketable and will sell. In choosing the right job to pursue now, you must consider how marketable your skills are to prospective employers and their hiring managers.
Start by creating a skills inventory. Your marketable skills consist of both functional and unique skills. Functional skills are essential for handling the basic functions of the position and performing adequately. Some examples include project management, market research, selling, word processing or training. Unique skills are exceptional abilities that others in your field may not have or haven't perfected as well as you.
Another tool for getting to know yourself is a career assessment; a personalized survey of you. Like a survey, an assessment consists of a series of carefully crafted questions spanning a wide range of topics. Its purpose is to produce an appraisal of who you are, what you are good at, and what you want.
Gathering more information about industries and jobs
When you learn more about various industries, companies, and positions, you can begin to see which ones match up with your skills and fit into your career vision. You may need to conduct industry research. If you know you want to stay in the same industry but want to change the type of work you have been doing, industry research will tell you what other jobs you are qualified for and likely to get. If you are new to the job market or pretty sure you want to change to a new industry, research will help you learn what an industry is about and whether it could be right for you.
One of the best places to start your research is at your local library. There you'll find extensive collections of reference books, guides, directories, and other sources about most industries. You can further expand your industry research through sources like trade journals, professional association newsletters and web sites, business periodicals (e.g. Business Week or Fortune), company annual reports and web sites, books written about (or by) industry leaders, and local or national newspapers.
Finding out what others think about where you fit
A highly effective method of learning what job might be right for you is through conducting informational interviews. Informational interviewing is like what journalists do to get information for articles they are writing. You learn more about a company or industry in a non-threatening setting. You set up meetings like these not to interview for a job, but rather to explore your interview subject's industry, company, and opinions on the marketplace. With informational interviews, you can ask knowledgeable people to help you determine what job you should be pursuing.
You'll find that getting people to spend a short time with you to talk about what they do is much easier than getting a job interview. Ask for informational interviews with successful people in your industry, officers of professional associations, or alumni from your school. Many people will be willing to help you if you approach them respectfully. BUILD A POWERFUL NETWORK
Finding a job is all about people. It's the people you know, people you meet, and people you locate who have information, who will inevitably help you get a job. Sending out your résumé to hundreds of companies won't work; neither will sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring. You have to find and connect with the people who will ultimately pave your way to getting hired.
Finding the right opportunities, getting a company to invite you in for an interview, and then having to compete with so many other candidates for the same job appears to be a daunting task. So how do job-seekers find open positions and eventually get hired? Ask any successful job-seeker that question and here is what you'll hear: "my network," "referrals," "a lead from someone inside the company," "word of mouth," and "contacting people."
Networking is the process of developing relationships with people who can help lead you to job opportunities. When you attend an event of any kind, you may meet hiring managers, job lead sources, and other valuable contacts. When you follow up with the people you meet, you begin building relationships. Your network is a community from which you find out about open positions, companies needing your expertise, and influential people who can facilitate your job search. You are creating a word-of-mouth system that will constantly feed information and referrals to you.
Building your network requires spending time actively pursuing connections with people that can lead you to great job opportunities. Here's a list of activities you should consider:
- Attending networking events, classes, or workshops
- Lunch or coffee meetings
- Personal calls and letters
- Working as a volunteer or serving on committees
- Participating in an online community
- Attending sporting or cultural events
- Participating in job clubs
- Contacting alumni of your school
- Contacting professional associations
- Reading the trade press
- Writing articles in your field
- Public speaking in your industry or community
Remember that if you don't follow up with the people you meet, you are wasting your time in meeting them. It is simply untrue that someone will call when they have a lead for you. The truth is that if they have only met you once, they probably won't remember you. Marketing yourself as a job-seeker means telling the right people what type of job you are seeking, over and over.
All too often, networking is thought of as a process of bouncing around a room and meeting everyone you can in record time. Unfortunately, this negative image has discouraged people who really need to develop a network in order to succeed. Instead of focusing on having as many first meetings as possible, concentrate on developing relationships. Find ways to build on your connection by asking your contacts to coffee or lunch, setting up an informational interview, or inviting them to another event you are attending.
People are the most precious resource you have in finding the job you want.
YOUR 28-DAY ACTION PLAN
The third and most important element of finding a job in twenty-eight days or less is to design and implement a specific, organized action plan. Without a plan, you will find yourself taking action haphazardly and wasting valuable time. In order for your plan to work, it must include the following key components:
Job Search Approaches
These are the two or three overall strategies you plan to use in looking for a job during the next month. Finding job opportunities takes a disciplined approach using strategies that are proven to work.
There are six different approaches you might consider to conduct your job search like a marketing campaign. Here they are, listed in order of effectiveness:
- Networking and referral-building
- Contacting potential employers directly
- Informational interviewing
- Employing recruiters and agencies
- Searching specialized job listings
- Using help-wanted ads
Instead of trying to use all six approaches at once, we suggest you limit yourself to only two or three. It's almost impossible for one person to successfully use all these strategies at once, so it's better to choose just a few. That way you will have the time and energy to follow through on each activity instead of scattering your efforts with too many ideas.
Choosing Where to Focus
Not every job search is stuck in the same place. But while each person's job search is unique, you may be surprised to learn that the general route every job seeker follows is quite similar. Each job-seeking journey is made up of five separate stages:
- Knowing what you want
- Finding opportunities and contacts
- Applying to employers
- Getting interviews
- Landing the job
By knowing in which of these stages your job search may be stuck or lost, you can focus your energy in the right area. If you don't yet know what you want, it isn't yet time to focus on Finding opportunities and contacts. If you seem to be finding many opportunities, but aren't yet getting your résumé in the mail, you should concentrate on Applying to employers. If you've been getting a lot of interviews but no offers, your energy should be placed on Landing the job. Once you determine exactly where your job search needs more effort, you'll know what to do next at each step of the way.
These are the missing ingredients you need to address the stuck or lost area you have discovered in your job search. Success Ingredients are tools, information, or skills essential to your success. Each stage of your job search may require a different list of crucial ingredients for effective job-seeking. If you are working on the Finding opportunities and contacts stage, for example, you may need to find some sources for new job listings. But if your focus is on the Landing the job stage, this ingredient won't be helpful. You might instead need to work on your interviewing skills.
The place to begin in choosing the right Success Ingredients is to ask yourself why you are not making progress in your chosen stage. "Why can't I find opportunities and contacts?" you might ask. Or "Why aren't I getting interviews?" Your answer may point you to a needed Success Ingredient right away. Stop and think about this: what tools, information, or skills are you missing to help you know what you want, find opportunities and contacts, apply to employers, get interviews, or land the job?
Your answer will tell you some specific projects you may need to accomplish for your job search to succeed. A Success Ingredient might be getting some business cards printed, updating your résumé, learning better networking skills, or composing a telephone script. Just as with job search approaches, limit yourself to only two or three Success Ingredient projects at any one time. As you complete one, then you can begin another.
These are the very specific steps you plan to take on a daily or weekly basis over the next twenty-eight days. Suppose you are focusing on the Landing the job stage and you have chosen contacting potential employers as one of your approaches.
How could you use this approach to move toward landing a job? Perhaps you could follow up better by re-contacting people with whom you have already interviewed, but who didn't call you back or make you an offer. The position you interviewed for may still be open, or another position may have opened up in the meantime. To turn this into a specific, consistent action, give it a time frame and quantify it—for example, "Contact 2 employers each week who previously didn't hire me."
Other examples of specific Daily Actions you might take would be:
- Go to 1 industry networking event per week
- Contact 3 alumni from my school weekly
- Call or write 1 new contact per day
- Spend 2 hours per week searching for job listings
- Schedule 2 lunch or coffee meetings each week
- Visit a career center or job fair once weekly
- Follow up on all applications once per week
- Role play a job interview twice per week
Make a list of seven to ten specific daily or weekly actions, like those above, that you believe will move your job search forward. Then keep track each day of how many you actually do. To find a job in twenty-eight days or less, you will have to stay in action consistently.
This is the permission you will grant yourself to assure success in areas where you have failed in the past. If you have ever before attempted a program (for example, dieting or regular exercise) taken a motivational seminar, or made some New Year's resolutions, you have probably experienced the following familiar scenario: you make new commitments when you are feeling enthusiastic, reenergized, or just plain fed up with the way things are, but then something stops you from following through.
If you are truly serious about making this time different—about following through on your commitments and getting the results you want—look at what may get in your way. Are you worried or afraid? If so, of what? Are you resisting something? If so, what is it? Ask yourself, "Is there some special permission that you need in order to be successful with your job search?" The best way to design a Special Permission is to ask yourself what you routinely think or do that prevents you from being successful at job-seeking.
Here are some examples:
- I am able to do things I fear.
- I deserve to be successful.
- I can look for a new job and still have time for fun.
Read your Special Permission out loud each day of your job search to keep yourself motivated and in a positive frame of mind.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
In order to find a job in twenty-eight days or less, you need to pull all these elements together. Start by determining exactly what you want, concentrate on building a strong network, and make a plan that includes job search approaches, choosing where to focus, Success Ingredients, Daily Actions, and a Special Permission. Put your plan in writing and post it where you can see it often. In our book Get Hired Now!, we provide you with step-by-step instructions for designing an action plan that is customized to your situation. We provide detailed instructions for each job search approach, illustrations and worksheets to help you choose where to focus, a shopping list of Success Ingredients, a Daily Action Plan Menu, and recipes for cooking up a successful job search.