Revamping Your Career Campaign Strategy

Eight steps to higher-potential job opportunities.

February 21, 2008
by Debra Feldman

Common job-hunting frustrations include the inability to make measurable progress toward your career goals, failure to gain consistent traction and lacking the know-how to improve your results dramatically. Sometimes all you need to do is revamp your campaign strategy to tap into higher potential opportunities.

If you are ready to throw in the towel, discouraged by a poor rate of employer interest or not getting any reaction from employers, understand that there is probably nothing “wrong” with you, your resume or even your interviewing skills – it’s your job search technique.

Can a résumé get you in the door? Sometimes. Can a personal recommendation do it? Your best bet! Therefore, it’s logical that job search efforts focusing on furthering your direct contacts with hiring managers is likely the surest method for accelerating a successful landing.

Once you are aware of an opportunity through an ad or personal tip, your primary goal should be finding a ways to present your qualifications to the hiring manager personally. The employer needs to know that you exist. If the job has been formally announced, an inside contact still confers a competitive edge worth pursuing by promoting you as a reliable, trustworthy colleague.

Knowing and using the right approach tailored to today’s environment makes an incredible difference. Get ready to lift off your targeted, high velocity campaign with these methods and techniques!

  1. Identify the employers that you want to work for and that are most likely to appreciate your initiative in contacting them. Refine your efforts to focus on those companies that meet your criteria. For example, you can improve your chances of attracting an employer’s attention by establishing a relationship with companies in your industry — the closer to your niche or expertise the better. Today, more than ever, companies want to hire only round pegs to fit their round holes.
  2. Show employers what they want and need to see and tell them exactly what they want to hear. Make it easy for a decision-maker to recognize instantly that you are a perfect match. Lay out for them very clearly that you are exactly what they need to get a job done. Even better, provide potential employers with evidence that demonstrates how you can make them more money or save them money. This way they’ll value you as a new asset, not just an employee.
  3. Create your presentation tailored to each employer opportunity. Use terms that potential employers use to show you speak their language. Emphasize your immediate value as the key resource to resolve a specific challenge they have. Keep your remarks to the point and simply tell them enough to get them interested in you, period. You can sell them on all the extras to increase your compensation package from their initial offer once you are in the door and they are interested in you.
  4. Emphasize creating and investing to make genuine relationships with insiders. By some reports, over 80 percent of new executive hires found their new jobs through personal referrals. In fact, many employers have instituted reward programs for employees to recruit talent for them. Do not be bashful about asking for a referral if you already know someone connected where you want to work (it could be a job for you and dollars in their pocket) If you don’t have a contact, tell those you trust that you are interested in a particular company and ask if they have any inside connections that they feel comfortable sharing with you. Nothing ventured is nothing gained.
  5. Make it easy for employers to discuss a potential job with you. Provide your contact information, repeat your phone number, check for your messages frequently and follow up when requested. Don’t drop the ball once you have made contact. Even if circumstances aren’t favorable now, companies are dynamic and their needs are constantly in flux.
  6. Make it simple when asking for help with networking to an inside contact. Be clear in what you want someone to do for you and if appropriate, outline what you want him or her to say on your behalf. Most people enjoy lending a hand if it isn’t a big challenge or doesn’t appear to complicate their already hectic lives. Asking if someone has specific connections or knowledge is an easier request to handle. For example, get a phone extension or e-mail address of a specific person or by title.
  7. Repay favors. No one is an island. You need help finding a job. This can be a recruiter, a friend, good timing, a lucky day, a resume matching a corporate search algorithm, your guardian angel, etc. It’s a fact of business life. Just by remaining connected, you are positioned to repay favors because you will learn of circumstances where you realize that you can initiate an offer to help the person who helped champion you or someone else who asks for your advice.
  8. Allocate your job search time appropriately in accordance with how you are more likely to find a new opportunity. Yes, do “play” the job boards online. Once you’ve uploaded your credentials — provided you don’t want to make your transition confidential from your current company — make a promise to yourself to accomplish two networking calls a day, minimum, related to your job search seeking leads, exchanging ideas with a colleague, following up connections, finding out about meetings, sharing news, etc. The more influential decision-makers are aware of your potential value to their organization, the quicker you will land a new job. Stay connected.

Job hunting is not easy. Treat it as a learning experience and an intellectual exercise. View your time devoted to networking as a lively exchange of ideas — additional opportunities to interact with established and new contacts in your industry. Figure out where you are and where you want to be. Set your goal. Get organized. Get your resources assembled. Then kick off the adventure! And stay with it until you reach your chosen destination.

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© Debra Feldman, 2008

Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally-recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic, and customized senior level executive job search campaigns, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for cold calling, executed with high energy and savvy panache, connects candidates directly to decision makers, not HR. Network Purposefully™ with the JobWhiz, and compress your job search into mere weeks, using groundbreaking techniques soon to be profiled in Forbes magazine and featured in an upcoming syndicated television series. In addition to writing columns and conducting workshops for several revered professional associations, Debra provides career guidance to alumni of top-tier business schools. Contact Debra at www.JobWhiz.com to expedite your executive ascent.