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January 6, 2015
Timing: When to Do What in a Job Search
Applying for a Position
Wait a few weeks after you learn of the opening. Most companies do not make quick hiring decisions. Let the rookies flood HR with resumes, then, after a few weeks, if you do what I recommend and send a marketing letter (only) directly to the hiring authority for the purpose of getting an interview, it will come as a breath of fresh air after all those “brag and boast” resumes from people trying their (hopefully honest) best to sell themselves as the “most experienced or uniquely qualified” person for the position. At last, someone offering to be of service, rather than trying to sell their services.

Sending a Resume
Send it after interest in you has been expressed and it’s specifically requested. 

Follow Up
Give them two to three weeks to respond to your letter. If they don’t respond, it’s usually a waste of time to try and contact them. 

Best Day of the Week to Have the Interview
If you can, try to schedule it for the next Tuesday.

Best Time of Day for The Interview
2:30 in the afternoon. Early mornings they’re still putting out fires from the day before. After 10 a.m., they’re thinking about lunch. Right after lunch, they may be drowsy. Around 2 p.m., it’s coffee break time. Caffeine kicks in after 20 minutes or so. At 2:30, they’re most alert — which is the state you want them in. After 3 p.m., they’re thinking about going home.

Ideal Length for an Interview
20–25 minutes. Far better to have three 20-minute meetings than a single 60-minute meeting. By the third meeting, it will almost seem like you already work there!

How Long to Wait Before Accepting an Offer
Five to ten seconds max! Just kidding. Thank them for the offer, express your enthusiasm for the opportunity, etc., and tell them you’ll let them know in a day or two. That way you’ll have time to think about whether you should do some bargaining with them for a compensation package that you won’t regret later.

When They Call, How Long Should The Conversation Last?
Long enough to maintain positive momentum for the process. You don’t want them to try and interrogate (i.e., screen) you in a brief phone call.  Suggest that you’re in the middle of something or walking out the door to pick up your daughter at school — anything to defer the conversation to a later date…such as Tuesday at 2:30 in their office.

How Long Should You Spend on the Markting Letter for Each Entity?
No hard and fast rule. Depends on how much research you do, how much you know about persuasive writing, etc. Remember: companies don’t hire. People do. The more you know about human nature, how it works, and how to harness that knowledge to serve a particular purpose, the less time it should take to compose a marketing letter. If you aren’t exactly sure how to write a strong letter, consider hiring a copywriter to do it for you. Note: hire someone with experience in direct mail copy if possible, not merely someone who writes cover letters. 

Timing may not be everything, but in job hunting, some times are better than others.

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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 careerkeysman@gmail.com.
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