In part one, I shared with you the benefits of creating your own “A” list of target companies. I also provided you with two examples of gathering research. Today’s article outlines what to do next in steps 3 through 5.
Tip #3: Create an Abundant List
The general rule of thumb is: the smaller your geographic parameters are, the more you really need to dig to add anyone and everyone that meets your career focus parameters to your list. If your list is too small, you minimize your responses. Try to begin with 30 to 50 companies, ideally.
Conversely, you may develop over 150 potential company picks in your industry of choice. If this is you, then consider sending your mailings out in phases or hiring a printer (I like Insty Prints) to help you with your mailings.
At Jobbait.com, you can find a “do-it-yourself” direct mail campaign kit for $150. If your list is large, you owe it to yourself to invest in this manual – it will save you a ton of time and money.
There is another industry school of thought that touts concentrating on just a few companies at a time. If you are highly specialized or not in a hurry and are willing to invest in learning about and networking with key decision makers in each of these companies, then I would agree this method is also effective.
Tip#4: Get to the Decision Maker
Sending all of your correspondence to the human resource department will get you far less valuable connections and interviews – primarily because unless HR has been handed a job description that closely matches your qualifications at the exact time you send them your resume, they are probably not going to show you much interest.
So, don’t gamble your confidence away! Though rarely you might hit the jackpot, these just aren’t very good odds. Get to the decision maker… the person two to four levels above your ideal position that is going to be interested to hear about your successes in productivity, profitability and problem solving.
No offense to my human resource friends that serve a valuable and honorable function.
Tip #5: Follow Up
You have to be prepared to follow up with a phone call once you have sent out your correspondence.
I know, you are thinking, “but it is so uncomfortable to follow up with someone I don’t know and ask them for a job!” Good news! You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) come right out and ask them for a job.
As a professional, one of the things you must do in your job is learn the basics of networking. We ALL have to do it, so let’s discuss for a moment the value of learning how to network in a way that is comfortable and breeds confidence.
Here is a technique that I use: when I network, I think about it in a way that does not put undue pressure on the outcome of the situation (I don’t like pressure)!
In other words, when you follow up, don’t set yourself up by rationalizing that the only acceptable outcome is a job interview. Here is your realistic goal: to make an introduction, either personally or via voice mail that you feel good about. That’s it. When you go on a first date, do you berate yourself that no one got married at the end of it? Of course not! So just take a deep breath and give the situation a chance to materialize into something positive.
Okay, so here is how to leave a nice message you can feel good about. Try something like this: “Hi this is ____, perhaps my name sounds familiar – I sent you some correspondence last week and indicated I would be following up with you. It’s Wednesday, 10am and I will be in the office all day. Please feel free to call me back at ____ and I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.”
This is a nice general introduction. Not too short and not too long.
If you connect with your contact live, this is even better! Say hello, inform him or her why you are calling and then share what you specialize in. Perhaps you increased revenue in your division by 57% last year, you are a turnaround expert or you just led your corporation through a very successful merger. Whatever your latest and greatest achievement is, this is what you lead with.
State your achievement in just a sentence or two and then say that you greatly admire their company and for these reasons you wanted to introduce yourself and find out if he/she might have an interest in learning more. This structure concentrates on your quantifiable achievements and is, in short, flattering…a recipe for success!
Using these simple tips will put your job search focus in order and allow for a smooth transition from one objective to the other so in no time at all you will have garnered positive results from your ideal companies!