Thursday, November 27, 2014

8 Steps to Finding Your Next Job

By Liz Ryan
The best way to get a new job is to apply for lots of jobs, and not to get emotionally attached to any of the opportunities. Plant a few seeds every day. Some of them will grow. Some will wither. You only care about the ones that bear fruit!
That doesn’t mean mindlessly lobbing applications and resumes into automated recruiting portals. That’s a waste of time. The best way to apply for a job is to
zero in on the employer and beyond that, on the specific hiring manager who’s getting ready to hire someone. Before you say “But it’s so hard to find the hiring manager!”read this.
It isn’t hard at all, ninety-five percent of the time. We know this because we find hiring managers and help other people find them every day.
I understand if you don’t want to take the time to do that research, but in that case, what’s the point of job-hunting at all? You know you won’t get a job filling out endless forms online.
I write these columns because I hate to see brilliant people unemployed or working in the wrong job, running into brick walls on their job hunts and getting desperate. We can take a lot more control of our job hunts than most job-seekers do. We can run a job search like a business. After all, your job search IS a business! It’s your financial future.
As kids we were taught to follow rules. Unfortunately the old rules for job-hunting don’t work. You can pitch applications into Black Hole recruiting portals all day long. That doesn’t pay you anything. You have to take matters into your own hands and conduct your own research.
Read your local business paper. Who just got promoted, or just got appointed to a new position? Send that person aPain Letter. Before you send the letter, read up on the employer.
What’s going on in its industry?
Why did they hire or promote this person? Why did they tell the world about it?
Get behind the job ad. You don’t even need to focus your job search on posted job ads. Most new jobs are never posted.
There is the easy way to job-hunt, which only satisfies the people at the unemployment office when you tell them about the employers you contacted this week. The easy way is a waste of time. There’s a more in-depth, painstaking way to job-hunt, and that is the way that will actually get you a job.
Here’s how it works:
Step One: Choose Your Direction
Decide what you want to do next in your career. That could be exactly what you’ve been doing thus far, if there is a need for the services you’ve been providing and if you still like the work.
It could be something very different from your past job assignments. It’s up to you! You can reinvent and rebrand yourself at any age. The key is to choose your direction.
Otherwise, your message to employers will be “You guys look at my resume and decide what I’m supposed to be doing.” No way, baby! Your career direction is your decision, and as a self-directed job-seeker your story will be a lot more compelling.
Step Two: Brand Yourself for the Job You Want
When you brand yourself in your resume and your LinkedIn profile, your emphasis is not on the job titles you’ve held or the tasks you completed. Rather, you’ll highlight the problems you’ve solved for your past employers.
Organizations hire people because they have pain and they need relief. The pain is your focus, whether you’re a job-seeker or a consultant. Forget your skills – no one cares. Tell us what problems you solve, instead.
Step Three: Create a Target Employer List and Research Your Targets
Make a list of employers you’re interested in contacting. Research each of them, starting with their own website and then moving on to Google (web, news and images), LinkedIn and Glassdoor.
When you’ve spent a couple of hours researching a target employer, you’ll know a lot. Your mojo will grow. You’ll have formulated questions you want to ask your hiring manager at an interview. Knowledge is power!
Step Four: Find Your Hiring Manager
Now, start looking for your individual hiring manager at each firm. Your hiring manager isn’t an HR person, unless you want to work in HR. It’s the department manager of the group you want to work in. Here are step-by-step instructions.
Step Five: Write a Pain Letter and Send It
Compose a pithy Pain Letter to each manager you want to approach. Send your Pain Letter in an envelope together with your Human-Voiced Resume.
Step Six: Build a Tracking System
Create a spreadsheet that lists the employers you’ve contacted, so that you can ‘drip’ additional messages on them over the next few weeks.
Step Seven: Network!
If you haven’t networked much before, start networking now! One-on-one networking is the best way to dig into the specifics of your job-search (and whatever is going on in your friend or networking contact’s life) and generate great ideas, introductions and moral support.
Step Eight: Promote Yourself!
Lastly, get a job-search business card at vistaprint or your local office supply store. Include your name, email address, customized LinkedIn profile url, phone number and a couple of lines about what you do professionally. Hurrah – you’re a consultant now!
What Now?
Once you’ve written each Pain Letter/Human-Voiced Resume Combo and put it in the mail, and once you’ve logged the packet on your spreadsheet, go on to the next name on your list.
Don’t pin your hopes on any particular job. That’s the best way to keep your mojo level high!
Only the people who get you, deserve you. The rest are free to jump in the nearest lake or live a long and bountiful life without benefit of knowing you. It’s their loss. Any stress or anxiety you feel as you wait for people to get back to you is a drain on your precious fuel tank.
You can’t afford that when you are job-hunting, or any time. You need to keep all your mojo for yourself and your family!
If you’re not working, you can easily send out ten Pain Letters with Human-Voiced Resumes every week. From our experience that should net you about three callbacks. Be ready for those calls!
When a hiring manager calls you or sends you an email message, it’s because you nailed the pain point and he or she wants to pick your brain. Be ready to get on the phone and NOT solve the hiring manager’s problem. Rather, say “Shall we get together for coffee and chat?”
It’s a new day. You are not a supplicant or someone who has to bow and scrape and beg to get a job. You bring tremendous assets and talents to your next employer, but that’s only true if you believe it yourself!
Following the old, dusty job-search rules will not get you a great job, but stepping into your power will!
A hiring story: thank goodness Matthew broke the rules!
We heard from Matthew, who just got hired as a Production Supervisor. “I didn’t want to send a Pain Letter,” he said. “Why not?” we asked. “Because the job ad specifically said ‘No Calls and No Direct Contact.’ That scared me.”
“What made you go ahead and do it, in that case?” we asked.
“I sent the Pain Letter because after I’d submitted my application through the recruiting portal I didn’t hear anything. I waited two weeks. I was afraid they might have filled the job. I knew I was perfect for the job! I figured, my candidacy with this company is dead right now anyway. If it’s dead, I can’t kill it. I might as well take a chance and send a Pain Letter! So I did.”
“What happened?” we asked.
“I got a call from HR the next day. Remember that the job ad said ‘No direct contact,’ but I got the call anyway and the HR manager told me ‘Come in and meet us tomorrow.’ I went to the interview and talked with the HR manager and my hiring manager, the Production Manager. It was a great day. I had a good feeling about it. I got the job offer two days later.”
“Hurrah, Matthew!” we said. “What products will you be producing?”
“Biodegradable bandages and sutures,” said Matthew. “Hurrah!” we said. “That’s magnificent, man! Congratulations!”
“I’m really excited,” said Matthew. “When I was sitting in my boss’s office and he was making the offer, I said ‘Good thing I broke the rules!’ Your job ad said ‘No direct contact,’ but I figured I might as well send you that letter anyway.”
My boss said “We have that warning in there because people call us all day and write to us to say ‘Got any openings?’ We can’t handle all those inquiries, and we don’t think it’s a good use of our time when our job openings are listed right on our website. I’m glad you broke the rules, Matt. You used your good judgment, and that’s what you’ll do on the job.”
Hats off to Matt and all the rule-breaking job seekers – like you!
Liz Ryan is the CEO and Founder of Human Workplace.
(via Linked-In)


  1. Great post. Job hunting can be difficult but these steps show how to be successful. And even more important they can advance an individuals own personal freedom.