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Two Ways to Get Unstuck in Your Job Search

The following post is courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap:

From: Kevin Donlin

You can find great job-hunting ideas by reading publications that have nothing ostensible to do with job hunting.

Example: a new book by seminal marketer, Jay Abraham, called "The Sticking Point Solution."

What, you may ask, does a book for entrepreneurs and marketing/sales professionals have to do with your job search?

Nothing. And a whole lot.

You'll find nothing in it if you're satisfied with ordinary job-search tactics. There are no mentions of networking, dressing for success, or answers to the top 10 interview questions, for example.

But Abraham's new book (or any good marketing publication) can help you a lot if you extract just one new idea to use in your search for work.

Because, ultimately, every job search is really a marketing campaign.

To that end, here are two marketing ideas of Abraham's that can get you hired faster ....

1) Get all you can out of all you're doing

If you're like most job seekers, you're rushing from job-search tactic to another. And it's understandable, given human nature, which makes us eager to rush after the "new" and "improved" rather than slog it out and get the most from existing efforts.

As Abraham writes: "Optimization and innovation are both crucial to your success, but the order is important." He goes on to describe that, in marketing (as in your job search), you should make current activities perform as effectively as possible before seeking out new, untried options.

OK. Time for some hard questions:

  • Question 1: Before giving up on and moving on to Employer B after applying and not hearing back from Employer A, have you verified that Employer A actually got your resume? Especially if you emailed or submitted it via their web site?
  • Question 2: Have you tried blogging to attract recruiters and employers ... for about two weeks -- then given up and tried Twitter and/or Facebook?
  • Question 3: Have you tried "networking" by calling 10 people and asking if they knew anyone who was hiring ... then given up and decided that networking didn't work?

If you answered yes to one or more questions, you're "innovating" at the expense of optimizing. And it's prolonging your job search.

Action Step: Get the most out of your current job-search tactics before trying something new.

Start by analyzing your efforts -- if you're not getting results, why not? Benchmark yourself against people who have succeeded. What did they do differently? How can you emulate them?

2) Prescribe solutions to employers, like a doctor

Another marketing tactic that can help your job search is consultative selling. Abraham defines it as "helping prospects get what they want, facilitating the cure."

Which is exactly what you're trying to do as a job seeker -- help prospects (potential employers) get what they want, which is, ultimately, higher revenues, lower costs, or both.

Imagine how powerful your cover letters and job interviews would be if you first researched employers to find where they "hurt" and how hiring you would provide a "cure"?

Example: What if you learned that your target employer, ABC Corp., was suffering from sluggish sales? What if, in visiting one of their stores, you noticed all the shopping hand-baskets stacked near the front door? What if your research found that hand-baskets displayed within the first 10 feet of a retail entrance tend to be ignored by shoppers, and that scattering them throughout the store can increase sales?

And what if you wrote a cover letter to ABC Corp., that alluded to (but didn't give away all of) your field research? Do you think this "prescription" might help you stand out among ordinary job seekers?

By the way, the foregoing data on merchandising is from the book, "Why We Buy," by Paco Underhill. It took me five minutes to find it online.

Action Step: What can you learn about an employer's problems and possible solutions? How could you deliver solutions as a "prescription" to make hiring managers view you as a trusted advisor -- the same way you'd view a favorite physician -- instead of a job-seeking supplicant?

Now, go out and make your own luck.


Kevin Donlin is co-author of Guerrilla Resumes. Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people. Author of 3 books, Kevin has been interviewed by The New York Times, USA Today, Fox News, CBS Radio and others.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.


Jon Jacobs

The idea of handing the prospective employer a bit of potentially useful information that shows you've thought about their business problems and can help solve them, is in principle a very effective asset for landing a job offer.

But I think the author muffed the execution, in the retail-store scenario presented above.

If you as a candidate managed to generate an original business improvement idea that really and truly might help that employer, you'd be wasting a great asset by stating it in your cover letter. Why? Because cover letters rarely get read. And if they do get read at all, they'll be read first by HR - who would never have a clue whether your business improvement idea was good, bad or in between. So if HR screens you out after reading (or not) your cover letter, then that great medicine you formulated specifically for that prospective employer, will have done nothing to make you stand out...because it never reached the eyes of the individual who it might have impressed.

Instead, if I had an idea I thought would impress a hiring manager, I'd hold onto it until I actually met that hiring manager.

In other words: Don't waste it in a cover letter; save it for the interview!

In fact, if my first interview was with HR, I'd probably even save the idea for the second interview, when I'd expect to be meeting the actual hiring manager. THAT's the guy (or woman) whose business problems you have to solve. Not an HR screener.

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