If you’re looking for a job and haven’t found one
yet, by definition, you have a problem.
There’s something standing between you and
What is it?
Surprisingly, when I ask most job hunters what their #1
job-search problem is, they answer, “I don’t
Think about that. How can you solve a problem if you
don’t know what it is?
So, the first step is to define your biggest job-search
problem. Only then can you solve it effectively.
Here's how ...
1) What’s Your Biggest Job-Search
What’s the one thing which, if you could fix it, would
quickly result in your getting your ideal job, at your ideal
Write all the possible problems down on paper without
- I send my resume to employers … and nothing happens
- I can’t get past HR gatekeepers and meet with hiring
- I’m getting interviews, but no job offers
After you write down all your problems, rank them in order,
from big to small.
Now, choose your biggest, most-frustrating problem.
Congratulations! You’re ready for …
Step 2) How Do You Solve Your Biggest Job-Search
Heh. That’s a trick question.
If you actually wrote down your #1 problem, you are halfway to
solving it already.
That’s because when you outline a problem in writing,
you demystify it. Defined on paper, a problem loses most of its
power to frighten. It’s like turning on the light after a
nightmare -- there’s nothing scary under the bed when you get
a clear look at things.
So, with most of the fear factor gone, you can now solve any
job-search problem by restating it as a question, with the help of
one word: How.
To illustrate, here are the problems from earlier, restated as
- How can I make sure employer get my resume?
- How can I get past HR gatekeepers and meet with hiring
- How can I turn more interviews into job offers?
Now -- on paper, because that’s the only way to
think clearly -- let’s brainstorm possible solutions
Problem: How can I make sure employer get my
Possible solutions: Let’s define
“send my resume.” For most people that means email. And
email is about as reliable as the pony express.
So, you need to know if your email was received and
The simplest way is to pick up the phone, call the employer,
and say: “I’ve been having some trouble with spam
filters. Could you verify that you got the resume I emailed you
yesterday?” Here, spam is your friend -- I’ve met
several job seekers who turned such a phone call into a long
conversation that led to an interview. Try it.
Or, try a free email notification service like MSGTAG
(www.msgtag.com), or search Google for “read receipt
email” and “delivery receipt email” for other
But why limit yourself to email? Let’s brainstorm
Why not differentiate yourself by printing and sending your
resume (with cover letter) to the decision maker by postal
Find their name by calling the employer and asking for the
correct spelling of the person in charge of your department --
that’s likely your future boss. You can also find names at
www.jigsaw.com and www.zoominfo.com.
Bonus: Make contact with people at your target company and ask
them to walk your resume into a manager’s office the same day
you submit it by email. This can start a conversation among
executives that pushes your name to the top of the pile.
Problem: How can I get past HR gatekeepers
and meet with hiring managers?
Possible solutions:Why not go around the
Instead of going through HR and hoping to make it to the next
security checkpoint, start at the top by contacting the person you
want to work for -- they can then call down to HR and put you on
the interviewing schedule.
In any case, strive to meet someone at your target employer.
You may already know someone there. Or, someone they know may know
Online, you can make contacts at LinkedIn.com and
Offline, call the five most-successful people you know and
ask, “What would you do if you were in my shoes?” This
simple question instantly engages listeners and can produce a slew
of solutions for any job-search problem -- try it.
Problem: How can I turn more interviews into
Possible solutions:Job interviews are like
golf swings. No matter what you’re doing wrong, others have
faced the same problem -- and solved it.
As in golf, you need to identify what you’re doing
wrong, then practice new techniques. You’ll likely find the
answers from a book or a coach. Amazon.com is full of the former.
The latter can be found by Googling “job interview
coach” for helpful links.
Now, go out and make your own luck.