want a new job, so you call a few friends and answer an ad
or two each week until, months later, you finally land a job.
It's probably not a great job, but at that point you'd take
That's the typical job seeker. There's a better
way to land a job: I call it the One-Week Job Search.
You'll be in for a tough week (four weeks
if you're currently working full-time), but it will be worth
- You'll have completed most of a job
search's yucky tasks in just a week.
- Unlike when doing a job search in drips
and drabs, you'll build momentum, finding yourself getting
on a roll.
- Most important, having made all your
contacts in just a week, you've maximized your chances of
getting more than one job offer at around the same time.
Having that choice of job offers allows you to pick the
one with the best combination of good boss, good work, good
learning opportunities and reasonable compensation. Because
of that, most of my clients find that the one-week job search
is more likely to lead to career contentment than even pursuing
a so-called cool career.
My colleague, Libby Pannwitt, adds this thought:
"Before beginning, you must shut off all internal voices
inclined to say, 'I can't do that,' 'It's scary,' 'Eek,' 'Yes,
but,' 'I've tried this before,' etc."
MONDAY: Write your resume.
Use Microsoft Word's resume templates or Resume Maker software
to create or revise your resume. The current version of Resume
Maker is 11.0. You can get 10.0 at resumemaker.com for $7.99.
Incorporate into your resume two or three brief "P-A-R"
stories: a Problem you faced, the intelligent way you Approached
it and its positive Resolution. Also see if you can incorporate
praise quotes from bosses, peers, supervisees or customers.
Get feedback on a draft, ideally from people
you know in your target field.
Craft a 10-second, 30-second and 60-second pitch.
Each pitch must explain why you're looking for a job, what
you're looking for and proof you're good. For example, a 10-second
pitch might be: "The company downsized, so I'm looking
for another CPA position. I never thought I'd be looking for
a job. I have always gotten great evaluations, but that's
the way it goes." The 30- and 60-second pitch adds information
about the kind of job you're looking for or provides credible
evidence that you bring a lot to the table. You may want to
modify your pitch so it impresses the particular person you're
Have a ready answer for the questions you're
most afraid you'll be asked. For example, "Why such a
long gap in your employment history?"
TUESDAY: Identify 25
employers you'd like to work for, without regard to whether
they're currently advertising any openings. Most job
seekers should focus on small, growing companies and government
agencies in their target industry within reasonable commuting
distance. How to find them? One approach is to look for want
ads with multiple job openings at a company you've never heard
of. Those are usually small companies in growth mode -- the
ones most likely to be hiring for a wide range of positions.
Find those ads by entering your locale on major employment
Web sites. Government jobs are rarely advertised except on
their own Web sites. To find federal agencies with openings,
go to www.usajobs.opm.gov.
The site lists over half of the available federal openings.
Most of the remaining ones are on individual federal agency
Web sites. For a link to those, go to: www.federaljobs.net.
For links to state, county and local government Web sites
nationwide, go to http://statelocalgov.net.
Research the 25 employers. Take no more than
15 minutes on each. The time to put in more time per company
is when you have an interview scheduled. For now, do your
research simply by looking at the employer's Web site and
the employer's name. Have a file in which you store notes
about each employer.
Note: In some fields, much hiring is done by
agencies. For example, in accounting, the Robert Half Agency.
If so, add those agencies to your list of potential employers.
If you are looking for a job for which you are
unusually well qualified, also add headhunters to your list
of contacts. Find the right ones by calling a human resources
department of a large company and ask which headhunter they
use to fill the sort of position you're seeking.
Contact the 25 people in your network most likely
to help you get a job, especially a job at one of your 25
target employers. Use e-mail or phone, whichever you're more
comfortable with. Give your 10- or 30-second pitch and then
ask, "Might you know someone at any of these 25 employers,
or elsewhere for that matter, who you think I should talk
with?" If appropriate, also ask if your contact would
review your resume and cover letter or do a mock interview
WEDNESDAY: E-mail or phone any leads given
to you by your network that are not among the 25 employers
Try to contact the person who would be your
boss, but an HR person is OK too. Pleasant persistence can
help you get through.
Start with your 30-second pitch, enthusiastically
delivered. (Smile when talking on the phone.) After that,
listen more than talk. Ask questions about the employer's
needs so you can better understand how you might be helpful.
If you have an idea, propose it, but tactfully. For example,
"In listening to you, it would seem I could help you
by doing X. What do you think?" If you think it would
impress that particular employer, tell one or two of your
Visit each of the 25 employers' Web sites and
apply for any on-target jobs. Start your cover letter by mentioning
your referrer, if any. Then explain, point-by-point, how you
meet the requirements stated in the ad. Include a sentence
or two that capitalizes on the knowledge you obtained yesterday
about that employer.
Your goal is to, by the end of the week, have
applied for 10 openly advertised on-target jobs. You probably
won't find 10 on those 25 employers' sites. Find the rest
on employment Web sites. For links to dozens of the best general
and specialty sites, go to www.rileyguide.com/jobs.html.
THURSDAY AND FRIDAY
(and Saturday, if needed): On those 25 employers' Web
sites, if there is no listed job to apply for, write a brief
e-mail to the CEO or other senior employee. Example: "I'm
a good operations manager who's just been part of a downsizing
at the BigWhup Widget Corp. I'm attracted to your company
because I have experience in your industry, liked what I saw
on your Web site (insert a specific) and, I must admit, because
I live just 10 minutes away. I'm attaching my resume. I'd
welcome the opportunity to speak with you or a designee to
see if and how I might be of help to you.
Also, finish and send those 10 job applications
you identified on Wednesday.
If, within a week, you haven't heard from people
you've contacted, call to follow up. Don't hesitate to leave
voice mail. If, for example, you had cold-contacted an employer,
say something like, "I'm (insert your name), the operations
manager at the BigWhup Widget Company who was just part of
a downsizing and phoned you. I'm assuming that not having
heard from you, you're too busy to respond. I can understand,
but I know that sometimes things can fall between the cracks,
so I'm taking the liberty of calling to follow up. If you
or one of your people is interested in talking with me or
have any advice as to where I should turn, I'd appreciate
a call. My phone number is (repeat the number twice.) And
my name, again, is (insert name.) Thank you."
Of course, you won't hear back from most of
the people you contact, even from the employers whose ads
you're responding to, but you'll likely get at least one bite.
Often it's from an employer who has been thinking about hiring
but hasn't gotten to the laborious process yet. Sometimes,
an employer finds it easier to just vet you and be done with
If the above method doesn't bear fruit, repeat
the process with a different job or industry target and/or
seek assistance from a private career counselor or government-sponsored
One-Stop. (To find your local One-Stop, go to www.servicelocator.org.)
Mark, who had been a dot.com project manager,
wanted another job like that. He came to me having tried for
two years with no success. I said, "The world is telling
you it has changed or that the world doesn't want you in that
job. Let's change focus." He started looking for a job
as a manager in the field of corporate security and, in a
month, landed a job.