The following tips, pointers, and commentary are based on the author’s personal experience as well as that of clients of all ages and backgrounds. They are all long proven to be effective, and when used properly, will greatly reduce the elements of risk and luck in a job search while insuring the fastest possible way to secure a great new job.
Common Mistakes in Job Hunting
- Job hunting is a solvable marketing problem. It isn’t a resume problem or a matter of finding the right recruiter — nor the need to know an insider at the company where you wish to apply, though knowing an insider might be helpful by telling you who the hiring authority is.
- The hardest part of a job search is getting interviews with someone that can hire you.
- Finding a suitable opening is relatively easy to do, thanks mainly to the Internet.
- Do not allow anyone that can’t hire you to decide your fate.
- Apply directly, and only, to the hiring authority — unless you have been first contacted by a recruiter.
- HR’s role in the hiring process is to screen people out, not to find reasons why you should be contacted for an interview.
- Defense is more important than offense in job hunting because the hiring process today is more about elimination than selection.
- Retained search recruiters do not want to hear from active job hunters. Contingency recruiters often just blast resumes to companies in your industry. Thus, it’s more productive to spend your time and energy on known openings.
- If you are a member of a networking group for people in your industry, another member might be able to help you by telling you who the hiring authority is at companies that you want to target. Networking at meetings such as the Chamber of Commerce might also prove to be helpful.
- Whether you are targeting lateral positions, higher-level jobs, or trying to make a career change, it’s vital that you get yourself evaluated based on factors that give you the most advantage in the mind of the hiring authority.
The Most Effective Way to Generate Interviews
- Giving the signs of someone who is making an effort to sell their services. Far better to be seen as someone who is making an offer to be of service. Remember: The hiring authority wears the hat of a prospective customer, and thus is far more interested in his or her concerns rather than yours.
- Failing to understand that the best-marketed person is who gets the job.
- Failure to realize and act upon the most likely needs and wants of the hiring authority.
- Failure to differentiate your candidacy from others in a way that is more relevant than merely touting how experienced you are. Experience is where you find it, and a degree from an elite university may or may not be as important as other factors that you can bring to the table.
- Incorrect use of your resume. Sending a resume for the purpose of trying to get an interview is highly risky, because it will almost always be used to screen you out.
- Even a well-written cover letter is usually unhelpful to your cause.
For more than 25 years, the absolute best-proven way to get interviews is to send a marketing letter (only) directly to the hiring authority. The reason I call it a marketing letter is because I’m a longtime student and practitioner of direct-response marketing, and getting a (positive) response directly from the hiring authority is your goal.
Your letter should focus on some of things that you can do for the hiring authority as the result of your education and experience. The other main point you should make is why s/he should invite you for a brief meeting (interview). Save your resume until after interest is expressed in you.
Contact Tom Kellum for information on his job-getting service, personal career briefing, or if you want him to personally design a marketing letter for you.
Tom Kellum is a job hunting consultant, helping people's dreams come true since 1987. He specializes in providing a personal job-landing service based on proven marketing strategies and methods. For more information, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.