Mary, like many of our clients when they first begin working with us, was very enthusiastic about a position she applied for with a top magazine publishing company. Mary was frustrated that she had submitted her résumé and had not been able to secure an interview. Mary asked if she should just keep calling until she was granted an interview.
We know from over 25 years of research that would not be a very effective technique. What Mary needs to do is prepare her search campaign and work her plan. Our clients are outshining their competition and landing great jobs even in this tough economy. Those who succeed understand what works and what doesn’t and devote their time in methodical pursuit of what research has proven effective!
One fundamental of an effective search campaign is including 200 positions in your target map. When we help clients identify their target or targets, we remind them they are not chasing openings, but including companies that would be appropriate for them. A target is defined by an industry or organization size, a position within that organization, and the geographic area. If any of those elements change, you have another target. You cannot have too many targets, but you must prioritize them. To come up with the 200 positions, you estimate how many positions would be appropriate for you at each company in your target.
Consider Bill, for example. Bill is looking for a position as a Regional Sales Director for commercial furnishings. He has determined there are approximately 50 companies that would each likely have one or two positions that he is well suited for. He now has around 80 positions in his top target. Since we know that in order to land a job in 10 – 12 weeks, you must have 200 positions in your target. Bill needs to add more targets. He decides to expand to two additional regions which will add another 120 positions to Bill’s campaign. Bill now has 200 positions in his target map which includes a total of three targets. He can be confident that his next job will be somewhere on this list!
The way to take control of the interview process is to be proactive rather than passive. You must begin to work your target map by scheduling meetings with the head of the department you would like to work for, whether or not they have openings now. You don’t care if they have a current opening. Remember, you are not chasing openings. Each meeting is an opportunity to exchange information, learn more about your target, and to expand your network. If you are not yet speaking to 6 – 10 people within your target on an ongoing basis, you have not yet begun an effective search. Job seekers who chase one opening at a time set themselves up for a very difficult rollercoaster ride that is impossible to sustain. Our clients have much smoother sailing as they insulate themselves from the highs and lows and anxiety through keeping constant forward momentum going.
Let’s get back to Mary’s question. Incidentally, we helped her get that and a number of other interviews, but she had to change her strategy. Mary began to experience success once she recognized the new paradigm of job search is all about DATA:
• Developing the right target(s)
• Acquiring the appropriate number of positions (200) in your target map
• Taking control of the interview process
• Adding value for the organization through consultative interviews
Trust the process. It worked for Mary and thousands of other job seekers over the years and it will work for you, too!