I found that the hardest part of job searching is getting an interview. Yet everything changed when I used this simple call script that consistently got me interviews with potential employers.
Don’t be misled by the simplicity of the script. It works.
There’s a subtle psychology behind it that makes it a priceless door-opener.
The 7-word phrase is designed to leverage the strength of existing relationships and get you in the door for an interview.
So here it is.
“Hi [name of contact], [referrers name] recommended I call you.”
The reason this 7-word phrase works so well is:
1) It starts the conversation with someone they know. The referrer becomes the bridge connecting the two of us.
2) It lowers the defenses of the person you are calling.
3) It leverages the existing relationship so that you are ‘pre-approved’ to get the meeting you want
You might be wondering, how do I get referrals?
I’m going to cover the entire method for getting up to 6 interviews a week on an upcoming FREE webinar for ambitious job seekers. Seating is limited so only signup if:
1. If you want to get more interviews
2. You are prepared to take action
On the FREE webinar, I’ll show you how to get interviews WITHOUT using a resume, network, or getting rejected. The best part about it is that you can start using it in just 10 minutes!
There is limited seating (only 200 seats). Last time the webinar was fully booked in just 4 minutes! Make sure to reserve your seat now before it’s gone.
Here’s what other participants have said after attending the webinar…
“I put this one tip into action straightaway and scheduled an interview with a global pharma company before the end of the day.”
– Larry Singer, Operations Executive
“I’ve spoken to dozens of my contacts who didn’t open a single contact to an employer. When I used this approach I was able to get 4 interviews in a week.”
– Venkatesh S. Consulting Manager
If you want to know how to get a job, then you’ll want to check out the video below.
In this video, I describe the simple change that you can use to open the flood gates to interviews and job offers.
Had I learned this approach earlier in my job search, I would have saved months of stress, frustration, and unemployment. With a simple change in your focus, specifically the question you ask as a job seeker, you’ll create a new set of outcomes in your job search.
I tried job boards, LinkedIn, and company websites to find jobs. In 9 months I didn’t land a single interview. I even got rejected when I applied to be a paperboy! I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. Then when I changed the question I was asking, I landed 34 interviews in just 5 weeks!
Not only did I get two job offers during those interviews, but my confidence was sky high after being in the ditches looking for a job day and night on job boards.
Free Training – How To Get A Job
If you want to know how to get a job and fast, I encourage you to watch this video and join me on an upcoming FREE training where we go in-depth into the method.
If you’re frustrated with the results of your job search, you need to read this. Why? Chances are, that right now you don’t see many opportunities within your reach. As a result your hope is dwindling. Maybe you can’t find enough opportunities, get a response to your applications, or something about your profile has become an obstacle (i.e. age, education, experience).
When times get tough, it’s easy to withdraw and limit your job search activities. We associate time spent job-hunting with disappointment, frustration and stress. I’ve been there myself.
After 3 major job-hunts in my life, I want to capture all of the best methods I’ve used to get attention and boost my chances of success. You see, hope is based on having alternatives. A Plan B.
Any one of these 29 shortcuts can create the job-hunting breakthrough you’re looking for. They’re designed to jumpstart your job-hunt and create opportunities – Plan B’s.
[You can download the cheatsheet with these shortcuts here.]
Prioritize offline job-hunting over online. – Studies show that 50-80% of jobs are not online. Despite more platforms to advertise jobs on, the majority of job openings are filled by word-of-mouth. The advantage to looking offline when everyone else is online is the huge ‘hidden’ job market has no competition. Tapping into this ‘hidden’ job market is easy when you have a proven process to follow.
Stop asking for jobs. – Have you noticed when you ask people for jobs they look at you like you have the cooties? To open more doors, ask people for career advice not a job. By reframing your ‘ask’, you remove the risk for your contact. You’ll also gain valuable contacts and insights while your contact is enjoying an overdue ego massage.
Don’t use your resume. – If you’re relying on your resume to get a job, chances are you’re searching amongst the advertised jobs. Instead create a Career Outline that outlines your talents, interests, and work environment preferences. This 1-pager captures what they would want to know about you in an interview. Avoid showing up to an advice meeting with a hiring manager with a resume in hand. Using a resume in an advice meeting indicates you’re looking for work and not advice. Build trust by designing a simple Career Outline.
Know what you offer, before asking for an offer – If you don’t know your own strengths, don’t expect the hiring manager to know either. Articulating your strengths in relation to the needs of the company will help establish and grow your value in the final negotiations.
Don’t focus on your resume – If you’re working on v32 of your resume, you’re spending too much time on a low value job-hunting activity. Resumes are used to search amongst the highly-competitive market of advertised jobs. The single most important activity for a job hunter’s success is face-to-face time with hiring managers. Review point #2 to discover how to fill your calendar with hiring manager meetings.
Grab a PINT before each meeting – According to author and career design guru Tim Clark, job creation is driven from 4 factors known as P.I.N.T. After researching your target company, grab one of this topics and design a dialogue around it. If you want a job to be created for you, you’d be wise to bring PINT with you to every meeting. Here they are:
Pain: something isn’t working right, for example a product isn’t performing
Issue: nothing’s broken, but rules, regulations, or conditions are changing
Needs: something is missing, or there’s desire for something new or different. For example, the need for international expansion to drive growth
Trends: things are changing or moving in new directions that drive job creation.
Don’t select a job based on passion – “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” How many times have you heard that quote? The issue with using passion at your selection criteria is that it assumes you’re passionate about something. Few of us are born with passion. Passion isn’t discovered, it’s developed over time. In other words you don’t find it, you create it. Instead, focus on competencies that you’re good at or want to strengthen. Passion will follow as your competencies or skills get better.
Hope is not a strategy –In a recent study, thirty to fifty percent of U.S. job seekers give up hope in the second month of their job hunt. Why? Most job hunters base their job search on one strategy. If it fails to produce a job, they lose hope. To keep motivation high, you need alternatives. Always have a Plan B. I recommend 3-4 approaches to the job market with face-to-face time with hiring managers the highest priority and online job searching the lowest.
Stop selling yourself – We’ve all be told job hunting is comparable to “selling yourself”. While there are many similarities, it often does more harm than good. Most of us genuinely dislike selling. (Me too) Asking me to be good at something I don’t like isn’t going to make me better. Instead I changed my mindset to consider a job-hunt a learning journey. I want to learn what industries, companies and roles I might apply my talents in. Asking for advice from the mindset of a learner is a whole lot easier than pretending to be a good salesperson.
Remove your chock – Have you ever noticed that the momentum of a enormous jumbo jet is stopped by small triangle chocks placed in front and behind the tires. What are the chocks holding you back from finding your next job? Most of us point to a weakness in our profile – our age, experience, or education. With little chance of making a significant change in your profile in the short-term, focus on changing your method for how you job search. Small changes in how you job search yield bigger results than small changes on your profile.
Do the job – Hiring an employee is a risky proposition for a manager and company. An easy way to stand-out from other applicants and de-risk the decision in your favor. How? Do the job you’re applying for in the interview. If you’re applying to be a sales person do a sales presentation. If you’re aiming for a role in marketing do a competitive analysis. If you’re going to be a CFO create an insightful financial analysis.
Live the #1 metric – Most job hunters measure progress in their job search by how much time they’ve spent looking for a job online or by how many applications they’ve sent in. However, there is one metric that is the tipping point in your job search. Like the 80/20 rule, this single activity has a disproportionate effect on your job search. It’s face-to-face time with hiring managers. Measure how much time you’ve spent in front of managers this week and you’ll have an accurate measure of the progress of your job search.
Headhunter’s Insider Tip
“It takes an average of 6 first-time, face-to-face interviews to land one placement.”
~ Skip Freeman, Author of Headhunter Hiring Secrets
Limit your search – It’s much easier to job hunt when you’ve limited the number of companies you want to work in. Why? It’s easier to research unmet needs of companies, you can ask for specific help from your contacts, and your resume / business proposal can be crafted to the specific company you want to work in.
Send a business proposal – A resume is useful for getting a job you’ve already proven how to do. But what if you want to stretch your potential? Send the executive a proposal of what you would do to solve their unmet need. In the proposal ask for a meeting to discuss it in more detail. Since this requires initiative and a proactive approach it’s almost never done by job seekers which is why it’s so effective in your job search.
Boost your value – Laslo Bock, Senior VP at Google, wrote that the easiest way to increase your value on your resume is to highlight your achievements, not just your work history. His advice was to frame your skill strengths as: ‘I accomplished X, relative to Y, by doing Z.’ Most people would write like this: ‘Wrote editorials for The New York Times.’ It would be better would be to say: ‘Had 50 op-eds published compared to average of 6 by most op-ed [writers] as a result of providing deep insight into the following area for three years.’
Professionalize your email – First impressions matter. When you send an email from [email protected] it leaves the wrong impression. With unlimited availability to email addresses, create a new email address for your job search so that it comes across professional. Use the BigDaddy address for keeping in touch with the family.
Match the job requirements – Identify the top 4-6 skill requirements of the jobs you’re applying for. In the top section of your resume, highlight accomplishments that match the requirements. For example, a bullet point might read, Customer Service: 22% reduction in customer complaints
Use only job-targeted resumes – A resume needs to be focused and highly relevant in order to gain the attention of a hiring manager. Using a general resume for all types jobs of interest will prevent you from standing out. Use a separate job-targeted resume for each type of job you’re apply for. This way your skills and achievements will match the job’s requirements.
Tune into WIIFM – In the top section of the resume we have tendency to write about our Career Objectives. Instead, tune into the employer’s favorite radio station (WIIFM = What In It For Me) and list out your top skills you bring to the job title your aiming for. (Hint: Use the keywords from the job description)
Be Found Online – Being visible online is a must. Without an online profile recruiters and mangers will assume you’re out-of-date. Optimize your LinkedIn Profile and check what’s visible to the public on your Facebook and Twitter profile. It’s better you check what’s appropriate before a hiring manger makes that decision for you.
Publish on LinkedIn – To gain both visibility and credibility, publish posts on LinkedIn. Pick a topic you know well and write about it. The rewards won’t be immediate, but the exposure is valuable. With each post your picture, title and headline appear in the news feeds of others for up to 14 days. This helps you stay top of mind and position yourself as an authority.
Use Status Updates on LinkedIn – Are you on LinkedIn frequently? Share your thoughts on articles you’ve read or professional events you’re attended by using the status update feature. Keep it brief with 140 characters. It’s another simple way to keep your name and headline in front of people in your network.
Start at the top – “Don’t accept a ‘no’ from a person who doesn’t have the power to say ‘yes’.” Your aim in a job hunt should be to connect with the hiring manager (aka. decision make)r. If you want to get a job created for you, aim high in the organization to ensure the person can say ‘yes’ to creating the budget for your job. Avoid HR and the talent acquisition specialists who are gatekeepers to the decision makers.
Research before applying – When you find a job of interest, research the company and role before applying. Use LinkedIn to find a mutual connection. Ask them for advice. Get recommendations on how to get your resume in the right hands.
Watch your language – Specifically your body language. In an interview consider your posture, tone of voice, and hand movements. What impression do you want to convey? With two thirds of your communication related to body language, consciously think about how your come across in an interview.
Become a fan – Are you following your target companies online? Create a free Google new alert to follow updates related to the company and the executives working there. Follow the company on social media channels and engage with their content and leave messages.
Send a video message – Want to really leave a memorable first impression, send a video message to the hiring manager. Use the video to introduce yourself, explain what you can do for them, and how they can connect with you. Smartphones and most computers comes with quality video recording. Practice to get the lighting, audio and message just right.
Thank you notes matter – In a head-to-head competition for a role, a simple gesture like sending a personalized, hand-written thank you note after an interview is all it takes to tip the scales in your favor. Saying ‘thank you’ is never going out of style.
Leave your comfort zone – If what you’re doing to find a job isn’t working, reevaluate what you can do differently. If you’re online approach isn’t yielding results, re-prioritize your offline approach (i.e. networking). If recruiters are hiring in your field but aren’t noticing your profile, refine your LinkedIn profile to get more attention. If you’ve applied for “all sorts of jobs”, consider being laser focused targeted specific companies and showing them exactly what you could do for them
[Download the 29 shortcuts on a cheatsheet here.]
If you want to dig deeper on some of the best techniques within job-hunting, check out this list of job-hunting classics. These are my all-time favorites based on how many times I’ve re-read them, highlighted their pages, and used their methods.
I’ve read the book and attended a two-day workshop by the author. His method will help you redesign your career by asking a fresh set of questions and brainstorming the answers on your personal business model.
A job-hunting classic. This book changed my career and life. It opened my mind to how to spend more time in interviews and less time looking for a job online.
As a job seeker it isn’t easy to stand-out against the competition. One way to flip the odds in your favor is to use LinkedIn to connect with a hiring manager.
Have you ever gathered the nerve to call a hiring manager out of the blue? Chances are you were stopped by their assistant who promised to “pass on the message”. Did you ever hear back?
I remember applying for a job and calling the hiring manager 8 times over two weeks. Nothing would get her to pick up the phone. That’s when I turned to LinkedIn for help.
One of the benefits to using LinkedIn is that most people use their primary email address with LinkedIn. This means the message you send will end up in their inbox.
Here are three quick ways you can use LinkedIn to get around gatekeepers and connect with hiring managers so you stand-out from the other job applicants.
1. Connect Directly on LinkedIn
The first option is to connect directly with a hiring manager using a personalized message. When connecting as a job seeker, select ‘I’ve done business together’ and use your most impactful job title that’s relevant for the job you’re applying for.
Before you click ‘Send Invitation’, take a moment to personalize the message. Give them a reason to want to connect with you. Build intrigue and interest.
Here’s an example of what you might write.
“Hi Tammy! I came across your profile while researching your job post for a senior marketing manager. The job description looks like a perfect match with my talents and experience. I would love to connect if you’re open to it. Thanks, Ian”
Now Tammy is curious about my profile. The easiest way for her to view it is to simply click ‘Accept’. After she accepts, there’s the added benefit of being able to send messages directly to her inbox.
2. Connect via LinkedIn Groups
Another approach to connect with a hiring manager is to review their profile and join a LinkedIn group that they’re currently in. LinkedIn allows members of the same group to send messages to each other without having a premium account, even if you’re not directly connected.
I’ve recently used this approach to connect with several executives in order to avoid using the InMail function of the premium account in LinkedIn. Keep in
mind that many groups are closed and require an admin to gain access. For this reason, consider joining multiple groups in common with the hiring manager so you get in at least one.
3. Upgrade To LinkedIn Premium
If none of the methods above work, you can always pay for LinkedIn’s premium service which allows you to send InMail’s directly to a person without having to be connected with them.
The premium subscription can be very valuable as a job seeker because not only does it provide the ability to message anyone, it also provides enhanced search capabilities which is useful when you want to create a target list of hiring mangers or companies you’d like to connect with.
With these three approaches to connect with a hiring manager on LinkedIn, you’ll be able be able to eliminate gatekeepers, stand out from other applicants, and create a valuable relationship inside a company.
Thanks for reading.
– Ian Jenkins
“The beauty of LinkedIn is that it eliminates the power of gatekeepers.”
Is there a quick way to find a great job in Norway during a down economy? There is and I want to share it with you. I figured this out the hard way. I was unemployed for 8 months, and got rejected 63 times before I learned the quick way. As an immigrant, I had a long list of reasons for why I couldn’t succeed with finding a job in Norway.
I didn’t speak Norwegian fluently
My professional network consisted of two people (family)
The country was facing a recession
I wanted to work in the industry hardest hit by the recession
When I started job-hunting in Norway, I was naive as young boy on his first date. Yet, I was still hopefully despite the obstacles. That was until after 8 months of searching. I looked at the pile of rejection letters and counted 63 of them. 63 rejections and not a single interview. I felt the last drop of hope disappear when in an act of desperation I applied to work as a delivery boy for Aftenposten (I had a MSc from BI). Even Aftenposten didn’t want me on their team.
“Where you stumble is where your treasure lies.”
– Joseph Campbell
Little did I know how correct Joseph Campbell was. Rejection #63 was my turning point. I had stumbled and fallen. I was laying face first in the mud. Sometimes you have to hit the wall to become open minded to other ideas.
That’s when I became obsessed with finding a better way of finding a job. I read as many job-hunting books, blog posts, and articles as I could. I experimented with every technique. I had nothing to lose. What I ended up discovering was a simple process based on three ‘secrets’ that has changed my career and my life in Norway.
How to Get a Job In Norway
The first secret is that 60%+ of the jobs in Norway are not advertised. When I recently met with Einar Wergeland-Jenssen, CEO of AS3 Norge, an outplacement and career development service, he said the number is closer to 75%! What this means to an immigrant without a network or even a Norwegian transitioning to a new industry, is that only a fraction of the jobs available are advertised online.
After discovering a simple technique for getting access to existing professional networks, I’ve landed 107 meetings with hiring managers as high up as the CIO of Norsk Hydro, partners in major consulting companies, partners within the 7 largest venture capital companies in Norway, CEOs, CFOs, project managers, account managers, engineers, and entrepreneurs. I’ve never been rejected when asking for a meeting – not once.
I didn’t change my profile, only my job-hunting approach.
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the CV being obsolete after an article on the subject in DN. Yet there’s much life left in the CV because there’s 1,000+ ways to write one. However, when I’m a job hunter in Norway, I’ve found that it’s not the right tool for me.
Instead I created a simple one-pager that captures my skill strengths, interests and work environment preferences that intrigues hiring managers. What many hiring managers have said, is that this one-pager is what they would have written down as their interview notes.
The Career Outline has become my secret weapon (secret #2) to gaining valuable career advice that has pointed me in the direction of the unadvertised jobs (remember that’s 60%+ of the Norwegian job market).
The third secret is having a referral blueprint. Have you ever noticed how someone looks at you when you ask them for a job? You shouldn’t be surprised because you’re asking them to put their reputation at risk for you. I never ask contacts for a lead to a job because the chances of landing one is thinner than Donald Trump’s hairline.
Instead each meeting with a hiring manager is carefully crafted to build trust so that at the end I have a good chance of landing 2 or more referrals. (The current record of referrals is held by one of my students in Norway. She landed 9 referrals from one executive!) Why are referrals so important?
Remember I didn’t have a network and nor did I have time to build my own. My best strategy was to piggy-back on the existing networks of industry veterans in Norway by knowing how to consistently get referrals. Did it work? Within 5 weeks I landed 34 interviews with hiring managers.
Sure beats waiting for my dream job to show up on Finn.no.
The truth is, had I not hit the wall trying to find a job in Norway, I would have settled for any job. Little did I know that the mud on my face from stumbling 15 years ago, would shape the careers of thousands of job seekers around the world (107 countries and counting!).
Which of the 13,223 job-hunting books on Amazon.com is going to help you land your next job? When I look at my bookshelf next to my desk, I wonder if I haven’t bought them all, plus a few more.
“In just one week, 26 new books were added to the ‘job hunting’ category on Amazon!
How can you keep up?”
The job hunting books that rise to the top of my list provide valuable insights, different perspectives, or an unconventional tactic that I have used to help land a job opportunity. In the early days of my book collection, I remember glancing through a $7 negotiation book for tactics moments before negotiating my salary at a fast growing IT company. When the HR Director presented the offer over the phone, I used one of the tactics and added another $9832 to my salary.
The Best Job Hunting Books
To make in on my list below, the job hunting books had to have that kind of impact on my career. With so many good books on how to uncover your talents, write a resume, prepare for an interview and negotiate salary, I’ve limited this list to my favorites that can help you find a job.
It’s easy for us job hunters to get stuck in a rut. Usually it’s because we’re betting on a single job hunting strategy that isn’t producing results. This book opened my mind to new strategies (999 to be exact) that cover both online and offline job hunting. Have you ever considered running a Facebook ad of yourself to target your exposure to employees of specific companies? Or harvested the full value of LinkedIn within your network?
If you need to get re-energized, then keep this book handy to kickstart your job hunt. There are pages and pages of useful ideas. I found it easy to get overwhelmed. Look at it as a menu and not a manual and you’ll find plenty of value between the covers.
If you’re mid-career and want to stand-out from the crowd in an interview or want a company to create a job for you, then you’ll want to consider this book. The BMY approach will help map your value for your target company’s business model. Imagine walking in to an interview, storyboarding a company’s strategy on one-page, and then showing how your value will turbocharge their business model. This is eye-candy for an executive!
The model is a simple and easy to use. It consists of a 1-page canvas with 9 blocks that can even be drawn on the back of a napkin on on a whiteboard in an interview. The author has a reasonably-priced course on Udemy that complements the book.
Nick’s weekly blog posts are the ‘Dear Abby’ column for job hunters. His posts are respond to reader submitted scenarios. Wow – do people get themselves in awkward situations! My favorite posts involve predicaments involving botched offers, crazy negotiations, and working with shady recruiters. Although his website (www.asktheheadhunter.com) is difficult to navigate, his e-books (for purchase) hold valuable insights on specific topics.
The Library of Congress puts this book on its shortlist of ‘The Most Influential Books Ever Written.’ It certainly lived up to its reputation with the impact it has had on my life. Richard is a former clergyman who has written what many refer to as “The Job Hunter’s Bible.” The introspective exercises and the introduction to informational interviewing were breakthroughs for me in my job hunts.
What this book does better than the others is it covers not just the tactics of job hunting, but the emotional side as well. In the middle of a major economic downturn, this book exposed me to an approach that turned my 100% rejection rate (after 63 applications) to a 100% success rate in getting meetings with hiring managers. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Skip’s approach comes across like a drill sergeant. It’s hard-hitting and to-the-point. His book covers the ‘how to position yourself’ through every step of the job-hunt. The bite-size chapters, help you craft your marketing plan, direct your sales approach and assist you in closing the deal. Coming from the recruiters point-of-view his insights often feel like industry insider knowledge. If job hunting isn’t one of your passions, then you’ll appreciate the level of detail Skip provides from what to say to how to label the file name of your resume before sending it.
Do you have a favorite job hunting book or blog?
Which job hunting book made a difference in your career?
Leave a note in the comments field and ‘pay it forward’ to other job hunters. In the meantime, I’ll be following your recommendations and looking to add to my collection of job hunting books.
Thanks for reading.
– Ian Jenkins
Most people think rejection from employers is the most emotionally painful part of job hunting. It’s not. After graduation, I was unemployed for several months in the midst of an economic downturn. During that tough time, I learned many painful lessons. Rejections from companies was hugely disappointing, however there was something even more painful, which I felt on a daily basis.
When I graduated from college, I looked to the future with a twinkle in my eye. My optimism was shattered when Microsoft announced it’s first profit warning in a decade.This started the fast decline in the tech sector in what we now call the ‘doc.com bubble’. Although it happened many years ago, the financial crisis of 2007-2009 and the oil industries trouble in 2015 all share the same characteristics – lay-offs, slashed hiring budgets, and extraordinarily difficult job-hunting conditions.
Free buffets aren’t for everyone
One of the advantages of being a graduate is that companies come to the university with job openings. Given my Masters degree in Strategy many of my peers were aiming for consulting gigs. Despite their delicious buffets at recruiting events, the consulting life wasn’t for me.
After the ‘dead-ends’ at the job fairs, I focused my search on the popular online job bulletins. I found very few jobs in the tech sector, which is where I had stubbornly decided to focus my job hunt. (Remember this sector was firing people by the thousands. One might say I was naive.) As the number of rejections piled up, two things happened.
First, my search went wider. I started to apply for jobs that had less to do with my skills and interests and more to do with simply getting a paycheck. My bank account was thinning faster than my hairline. I was getting desperate.“Just get a job and then keep looking for a job”, is what I told myself.
Second, I became a recluse. I searched for jobs online, day and night. I wrote and rewrote every resume umpteen times. My cover letters had more effort behind them than my thesis. Every word was carefully written and checked again. I was stretching each task to fill the available time. Sound familiar?
Rejection: Dark times get darker
Since I was an American living in Norway, my poor Norwegian language skills significantly limited my job opportunities. I had also decided to work in the most depressed industry at the time. I was aiming for the near impossible. (Did I mention I was naive?)
As Fall rolled in, the daylight hours got noticeably shorter in Oslo. With only a few hours of grayness in the afternoons, it was hard to get excited about anything. By this time I had faced 52 rejections. As if to punish myself further, I limited my exposure to light to the glow from my computer screen.
Emotionally I was nearing an all time low. I had been rejected every time I extended my hand and had isolated myself to “focus more on the job hunt”. What I was really doing, is avoiding the most painful part of job-hunting – especially when you’re an unemployed job-hunter.
If you’ve been in a similar situation, you know what it is. It’s that moment when close friends and family ask, “How’s the job searching going?” That question hurt more than anything else.
What little confidence I had left was being chipped away each day that simple question. Admitting defeat and failure to those close to me was painful.
I knew they meant well, but they were emotionally closer to me than any company or organization I had applied to. Having to answer that question everyday from caring friends and family was truly the most difficult part of my job hunt.
Desperate times, desperate measures
Rejection #63 changed everything for me. When I couldn’t even land an interview to be a paperboy in the neighborhood, I knew the problem wasn’t me. It was my job-hunting approach that needed an ‘extreme makeover’.
I got so desperate, that I listened to the career advice of a college professor. Now that’s desperate! He introduced me to an unconventional job-hunting approach, one that changed my life. Within a week, my 100% rejection rate changed to a 100% acceptance rate. I was getting each and every meeting I requested with a hiring manager. I filled my calendar with meetings for the coming weeks and found my dream job without any competition.
I went on to re-use this amazing job-hunting approach during three major job shifts in my career. As a result of my success, I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to share my experiences for with other job-hunters for the past 13 years. It’s provided tremendous satisfaction helping job-hunters from around the world create their own career breakthroughs using the same simple strategies I used. It’s my way of ‘paying it forward.
Thank you for reading.
– Ian Jenkins
Ask career changers what consumes most of their time and they’ll say “searching for jobs” or “(re)writing my resume.” Unfortunately what takes up time and creates value are very different in a job hunt. Of all the activities in job-hunting, there is one that acts as the tipping point. It requires a small change in strategy, but has a disproportionate impact (up to 21x) on a job-hunter’s ability to land their dream job.
The one measurable activity that has a disproportionate impact on a job-hunters success is face-to-face time with hiring managers. Despite jobs being distributed across more online platforms, hiring people is still a face-to-face process. By focusing on this metric of job-hunting success, it becomes easier to experiment with unconventional approaches for landing meetings with hiring managers.
Several years ago, I discovered a short-cut that bypasses the need for spending time writing resumes and searching for jobs online. These two activities lead job-hunters to the small market of advertised jobs which is full of competition and rejection. Instead, I sidestep the traditional process and jump right into face-to-face meetings with hiring managers.
Skip Freeman, author of the job-hunting book Headhunter Hiring Secrets, states that the recruiting industry norm is that it takes six first-time, face-to-face meetings to generate one offer.
“On average it takes six first time, face-to-face meetings to get one offer!”
What if you could land six face-to-face meetings with hiring managers this week, would that get you closer to an offer? It’s not difficult to do when you know the recipe.
Stop asking for a job
The ironic part about look for a job, is that when you ask people for help they become reluctant. Why? As you get farther from your inner circle of colleagues and friends, the less people know what you’re like as a person and as an employee. It’s risky to recommend someone you don’t know. It puts your reputation at risk.
Several years ago I got an unexpected call from a young, ambitious chap who had recently moved from the U.S. to Norway like me. He was in high-gear networking to find a job. Within the first minutes of the conversation, he was assertively asking me to connect him to executives in my network. I’m all for taking initiative, however this fellow was going about it all wrong.
One secret I discovered to getting people to open doors for me, is to stop asking for a job and starting asking for advice. Chances are you have questions about where you might apply your skills, how someone of your background gets a job in your target industry, and what trends are creating new job opportunities. Everyone loves to give advice, few like to give job referrals.
Don’t approach it like a sales call
Countless books recommend approaching job-hunting like a sales process. While there are many similarities, most of us don’t like sales and are turned-off by the analogy. Me too. Although there are many benefits from learning about sales best practices, I don’t benefit from the selling mindset when I’m job-hunting for my dream job. Let me explain.
When I job-hunt, I design a learning journey. After I create a Career Outline of my skill strengths, interests, and work environment preferences, I then present it to people in the industry I want to work in. My goal isn’t to look for a job, but to learn, to get advice from those in the market space where I want to work. As I progress with the process of gathering advice, my questioning gets more specific, the advice more pointed, and the list of target companies becomes clear.
Reframing the meetings around learning makes it easier to land meetings with hiring managers. Something that most job-hunters have trouble with because they’re in sales mode, not learning mode. Not only does this re-framing create precious time in front of hiring managers, it also elicits invaluable industry insights.
Dream Job: Ready, Aim….
It’s not uncommon for job-hunters to not know what they want to do with their careers. I’ve been there too. 99% of us have been there. Before I start my learning journey, I spend time to clearly identify and my skill strengths in detail in the Career Outline. This 1-pager is quite different than a resume because it outlines what you can do for your future employer. A resume simply shows your previous results, which you may not want to do anymore or may not relate to your next job. This is especially the case if you want to change industries or roles or you’ve recently graduated from school.
After creating descriptive one-liners for each of my skill strengths, I then use this list to drive the discussion with hiring managers. By describing your talents in a simple and concise manner, hiring managers can then provide both direction and advice regarding the roles that fit your description of your dream job.
When I changed my focus from searching online and customizing resumes to landing meetings with hiring managers and collecting advice, I saw a complete reversal in my rejection rate.
“I went from being rejected 100% of the time, to landing meetings with hiring managers 100% of the time!”
It was just the strategy I needed to beat the odds and land my dream job in a tough job market.
Thank you for reading.
– Ian Jenkins
Are you looking for new career opportunities while currently employed? Searching for a new job can quickly become a full-time job. How do you look for a new job and avoid conflicts with your existing job? Here are some tips on how to professionally manage both job-hunting and your current job at the same time.
Avoid advertised jobs
The temptation to look for jobs online is high when you’re currently employed. Job-hunting online feels non-intrusive to your current job. The thought of your dream job showing up tomorrow in your inbox is tempting, but highly unlikely (less than 4%). Even if it did, think about how many others you’ll have to compete against to win the job.
An unconventional job-hunting approach is what leads career changers to jobs fast. According to The Wall Street Journal and Forbes…
“Between 50 to 80% of job openings are not advertised!”
The benefits to concentrating your search on unadvertised job openings while being employed is that there’s no competition for the jobs. With no competition, you avoid lengthy application processes, which can be frustrating in a role where you’ve already mentally checked out.
Stop looking for a job
To tap into the huge market of unadvertised jobs, the first thing you need to do is to change your mindset. Consider the path to your next job as a learning journey, not a job hunt. Do you have unanswered questions about the industry, companies or role you’d like to move to? Use your career change as an opportunity to discover answers to your questions by asking contacts for advice.
When you ask contacts for career advice from a learning mindset, you’ll get an open and welcoming response from others. When asking contacts for a job or referral from a job-hunters perspective and you’ll get a cold shoulder. Which do you use?
Asking for advice works wonders in a career change while employed. Here are several reasons why you should consider doing it.
it opens doors in industries, companies and roles of interest
it appeals to human nature and works everywhere
it provides access to difficult to reach hiring managers
it gives you an opportunity to expose your talents to relevant managers
it builds confidence, insight and focus unlike online job-hunting
I recently facilitated a job-hunting workshop where the students adopted this successful approach to getting advice and subtly selling themselves to hiring managers. One woman went from great uncertainty about what she wanted to do in her next job, to knowing exactly where she wanted to work using this approach.
“In less than 3 weeks, she landed 17 meetings with hiring managers!”
How do you find time?
Hiring managers prefer to hire people they know. By asking for advice meetings in the industry, company, or roles that interest you, you increase your exposure in a subtle but highly effective way. The more hiring managers that know you, the easier it is to land an unadvertised job (or get one created) that’s perfect for you. So how do you find time for advice meetings?
If you work in a results-based work culture, then you probably have the advantage of home-office or flexible work-time. Use this to your advantage and plan advice meetings accordingly. I’ve booked them just before or after business trips, doctor visits, and personal events that take me away from the office. Consider using breaks and lunches as possible meeting times. I’ve found that it’s easiest to squeeze in advice meetings with contacts when they’re positioned informally, over a cup of coffee, and no more than 30 minutes long.
What about confidentiality?
If you are in a job-hunting mindset, the issue of keeping your hunt confidential becomes an obstacle. However, when you’re looking for advice there is much less risk. If the contact I’m speaking to is connected to my existing employer in some way, I do ask them to keep this meeting confidential despite it being an advice meeting.
I never recommend bringing a resume (“CV” in Europe) to an advice meeting. As you meet contacts, you’re building new relationships. Establishing trust early on is critical. If you ask for an advice meeting and show up with a resume, it’s game over. They immediately assume you want a job under the premise of asking for advice. That’s why I recommend creating a one-pager I call a Career Outline. It describes your strongest skills, interests and work environment preferences.
By presenting yourself through a career outline, contacts quickly understand what you offer a potential employer. This makes it easy for them to make useful recommendations and referrals over a quick cup of coffee so you can get back to your current employer.
Don’t be surprised if a hiring manager sudden presents you with an awesome job opportunity in an advice meeting. It frequently happens with this approach. With a fresh approach to looking for your next job, there’s no reason to hold-off, even if you’re currently employed.
Thanks for reading.
– Ian Jenkins
Searching for your next job opportunity can be filled with excitement, disappointment and frustration. As the emotional roller coaster wears on, how do you stay motivated when there is no end in sight in your job hunt? Here are some favorite motivators that can keep you going, when the going gets tough.
Although it’s tempting to stay inside and focused on finding a job, your productivity drops after 90 minutes. Take a break and get out! A favorite respite from the trenches of job hunting is to step outside and exercise. A power walk in the neighborhood, a jog along the harbor-side, or a bike ride through a nearby forest can be a dynamite re-energizer.
The ironic part about exercising is that the best time to do it is when you have the least amount of energy. You may find that your best job hunting ideas and decisions come when you’ve created distance from your desk.
Watch the Tube
Sometimes you need a short burst of motivation to get your resume finished, polish a cover letter or make a call to a hiring manager which you’ve been putting off. YouTube has a great assortment of motivational boosters. The catch is not to get sucked in watching endless Fail Compilations because they were ‘Recommended For You’.
There are two channel types to check out. The first are videos of ordinary people who surprise you with an extraordinary talent. Shows like the ‘X Factor’, can remind us all that there is the extraordinary in all of us.
The other channel to consider is pure, unfiltered motivation. Type in ‘motivational video’ on YouTube and you’ll be greeted with awesome compilations combining famous speeches, legendary movie clips, and music to pump you up and get you energized again. Play this in the background while you finalize the details of an important email, letter or resume and you’ll feel like you’ve already landed the job.
Hang-out, don’t hang-up
There are two categories of job searchers, those who have a job and want something better and those who are unemployed and looking for a job. When you’re the latter, it can be hard to meet with friends because they frequently ask, “How’s the job search going?”
If you’ve been unemployed for several months, you may find yourself dodging friends so you can avoid that question. Although they ask because they care, answering surfaces a feeling of defeat. It’s natural to start declining the invites more than accepted them.
However friends can be the very people, who introduce you to the next opportunity, reshape your perspective and provide the reassurance that you’re not alone.
Have a Plan B
Richard Bolles, author of the best selling job-hunting bible, What Color Is Your Parachute, advises his followers to always have a Plan B. A strategy of hope isn’t a good job-hunting strategy and can often lead to a dead-end. He offered this valuable advice on a recent blog post.
“People who are not good at job-hunting tend to fixate on just one way of doing things.”
Bolles recommends staying motivated by following the approach of good job-hunters who create alternatives using this advice.
Instead of just focusing on job-titles, they can name their individual skills.
Instead of just field-titles, they can describe their favorite interests.
Instead of just large organizations, they target small organizations also.
Instead of just going after vacancies, they go after any place that interests them.
The proactive job hunt
Most job hunters spend weeks searching for jobs, applying online and hoping for an interview. What if you flipped the job hunt and started with interviews? Only if you liked the job and the company, you would subsequently apply for a role. This is the approach I teach my students to use.
Discovering how to consistently land meetings with hiring managers is the secret to creating breakthroughs in a career change. The feeling that comes with filling your calendar with interviews will boost your confidence and increases your chances of find a job by 21 times.