February 26, 2010
Job seekers hear a lot about not spending “too much” time posting on job boards. They are often told to network, network, network. They are advised to seek the decision maker.
But, job seekers are never told how to FIND the decision maker! Who is this person? Wouldn’t it be great to go to their office and see their title on the door: “Welcome to the Decision Maker’s Office!”
It doesn’t work that way, but here are 6 easy steps you can take to find that person:
- Target who you want to work for: Too many applicants take the “I’ll take any sales job that comes along” approach. The approach SHOULD be: “I want to work for company XYZ.” You can research XYZ’s history, needs, personnel, competition, business success stories, and more using your tools (listed above) and other internet sources. Then, go AFTER them. Show them where your skills, abilities and competencies fit their needs. You may not get a job this week, but most companies experience turnover at least every 3 months. You can get your foot in the door first if you are already on “the inside.”Be the expert they’ve been looking for.
- The organizational chart. The ‘who’s who’ inside any company. Most online business references can provide some of this information for free. The Houston Book of Lists is a great place to start for only $65.00 for the print edition. You can share with other job seekers…and be a HERO. You can also get the data download or CD version for $169.95. This way, you get the name of an executive in the company. Next step is to find them on LinkedIN.com and introduce you. A sample of what you will find in the book: http://www.bizjournals.com/bol_misc/list.pdf and Hoovers.com. Free sample: http://www.hoovers.com/products/100000984-1.html You can also look at the lobby directory in many larger companies!
- Raw nerve: One of my favorite applicants contacted my office and asked if they could take me to lunch to learn more about our company and about my expertise in the field. As an egotistical manager (and most of them are!) I was more than happy to take a free lunch, share my knowledge, and make a new friend. That “new friend” was hired within 3 weeks. Great approach!
- Respect: Tell every contact that their picking up the phone is appreciated, and make it brief. This sets the tone and conveys immediate courtesy and respect. Never fear calling the CEO directly. A human resource representative or hiring manager is used to taking direction from the boss. If the boss says, “You’re hired” – they will figure out a way to get you processed quickly!
- Follow-up: Yes, there are many “easy” tools to use in today’s technology, but I can promise you – a neatly written, handwritten note will get to the boss a lot faster than an e-mail. Maybe not in speed of delivery, but in lasting impression.
- Don’t give up: You may not get the “right person” the first contact with a company. You may get someone trained to be a roadblock. Try to get information from them…you never know! Remember this: at ALL levels, be professional. The person at the front desk may also express an opinion to the boss and “Hey – I had a great applicant come by today to meet you” is much nicer than “This incredible jerk dropped off his application. I sure hope you don’t hire him!”
Contact James Hamilton: firstname.lastname@example.org or find me at: Twitter Houston’s Economic Policy Examiner LinkedIN MySpace
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