Candidates

Step 5: The Plan

It is time for ACTION! Now we have to plan our effort to maximize our results. The MOST IMPORTANT part of this effort is when you are talking to people. They could be people at target companies, people whom we can network with, people who can give us information or leads. The best results come from this communication. It is not from mailing things or hoping someone is paying attention to the mail. We KNOW they are paying attention to you when you are speaking to them.

Quick Review

You have completed the inventory of achievements

Then you broke it all down into categories and ranked them

From that you have a list to use to make several powerful resumes and a list to review before interviews

Completed the Perfect Job summary and the Long Range Plan

Target Lists (come from the Perfect Job and Personal assessment section)

Now What?

You need a PLAN that covers all of the bases and will get you results as soon as possible. Before you can make a plan, we need to establish the targets.

What kind(s) of jobs do you want to pursue?

Will we consider relocation?

Do you want it in our town? How far will you commute?

What industries are you going to watch for?

What size of company?

What compensation range?

What is my time commitment?

There are usually one of two choices:

I am employed and want to pursue different work on a part time – spare time basis OR I am unemployed and I need a job ASAP in which case this is an Eight Hour a day Job!!

Now would be a good time to download the planning sheets. These will help you keep track of all of the necessary information. The Job Hunter’s Daily Planner and Interview Tracking forms will also be required.

Part Time Strategy Overview

I must set the targets as planned

I must set a weekly time commitment, 6 hours, 12 hours 20 hours?

I will have two modes, inbound and outbound. Inbound is when I am considering and applying for jobs that I have discovered are available through my research or reading or Career Alerts. Outbound is when I am sending applications to companies that I don’t know are actually looking, but I would like to work for that company.

Full Time Strategy Overview

This is a full time 40-hour per week job. The mindset that leads to success is to imagine that you are not “unemployed” but you have a job. You are the Sales and Marketing Manager of Yourself. As a matter of fact, you should be excited. You are more prepared than the majority of job seekers. You know your “product” (yourself) in great detail, and soon you will have a complete strategy on how to use that to get the best job possible!

You want to have daily activities that will keep you constantly focused on the task at hand. Your own preferences are important and you will want to structure the lists and activities to suit you. You may gain some benefit from a bit of advice that my daddy gave me “Do the thing you like to do the least, FIRST.” Then you work your way through the list in reverse order until the last thing, which you would like to do the most of all of the tasks.” This is different for each of us. If you hate to maintain the lists of resumes sent out and when, do that first. It makes the work go better, and you are less likely to procrastinate.

Post My resume on the Internet?

This is a very good step, but there are a few risks. If you are currently employed, when you post your resume, your own company, or someone else who may report it back to your employer might find you. Be Careful. In this case you would be better off using the Career alerts.

KEY: Remember, posting your resume is only half of the on line effort. Searching for jobs where you can apply is the bigger of the two tasks and will produce more specific results.

Where to post?

Welcome to Pandora’s box!! There is NO CLEAR ANSWER to this. If you are ONLY interested in a local job, then most of your effort should be on placing your resume on local job boards. Ask yourself this question “Would the hiring companies be looking for me on a local board; a national board or a specialist board?

TIP: Call up some of your target companies and ASK THEM where they look!! Human resources will tell you most of the time and then you get REAL advice instead of guessing.

On the other hand , if you are a chemical engineer that wants to continue working in Petrochemicals and it could be anywhere in North America or overseas, by all means use the national boards.

JUST REMEMBER, if it is free to post, then why not!! Just keep a good list so you can take them down when you get a position.

There are several choices.

National Boards

Examples would be like Monster.com or .ca, Headhunter.net, Workopolis.com, Yahoo, and a wide array of others. Many of these allow you post for free. Warning: KEEP AN ACCURATE LIST OF WHERE WHEN AND WHICH VERSION YOU POSTED. This is really important because you may want to update the versions, measure the results from the various posting sites, or REMOVE the resumes when you get a job.

Monster.Com has some regional plans you should be aware of. It is possible to post so that it only shows up if the job is in this region, or in the event you do not want to relocate. Other job boards may have this capacity, and knowing about it could alter your plan

Also, use the electronic version of your resume that is in Text Format or RTF (a Microsoft Word format that is very compatible) at most. Do not use or post .Doc formatted versions. Remember that the version you use will have as the last paragraph the keywords that match us and our interests and may not have been included in our choice of words for the resumes. We will still be found. Review this section in resume creation if necessary.

TIP: Most national boards list the results of a search in descending order from the most recent to the oldest. Also, most boards count your most recent revision as the “Posted” date. You should have a plan to return to your file on these boards, go to the place that allows you to revise the online resume, open it, make some minor change, then save again and, Voila! You are listed as posting your resume as of today. This is important because even if you are listed on Monster AND you show up in our search AND match my criteria BUT look like you posted 60 or 90 days ago, guess what? I’m calling everyone else FIRST, and I will only call you if I do NOT get a good field from the freshest resumes. Imagine for a minute the search returns 231 hits, and if you are 60 days old you may be number 200!! If you “revised ” the resume last week you may be number 20. It is much more likely that you will be read if you are more current, so make it part of your plan to not let your resume look more than two weeks old no MATTER where you posted it.

Resume Blasters

Are you starting to see a few problems with resume blaster services?? For instance, you don’t know where it went, or how to revise it to avoid the previous problem, and people could be calling you months after you find a job.

Local Boards

These tend to be ones that deal with your city or state exclusively. They are often a low budget project and are a service which means the searchers do not pay or pay very little. Many of us who search for candidates go there to find local candidates inexpensively, so do not underestimate their value. Ask the library if they know of any, ask potential client companies where they look and feel free to post, but ALWAYS keep track of where and when.

Specialty Boards and Associations and Newsgroups

In the early days of the Internet, Newsgroups were created and they were the BEST place to look for candidates and post your jobs, but a lot of that has changed. There is still traffic and advice on them but they change so quickly that our job posting can be pages back after only a day. You must decide if they will be of value. Internet searching will turn them up if you are curious about hoe they work or if they would be of value.

The specialty boards and Associations are still great places to search for work and post resumes. As an example, the Professional Engineers always have regional boards, and client companies LOVE to look there first. It is usually full of qualified local people where the skills are close to our needs and they are at least inexpensive and often free for us to search for candidates. So if you have skills that would qualify you for membership, even Associate membership, it is well worth the look and small expense.

Fee Paid Posting Sites

There are a growing number of sites that charge you, the candidate to post and be seen there. I think Six Figure Jobs and Execunet have a fee attached, but they also have some great jobs and a focused search clientele that often produce excellent results. My rule is that unless the site will attract the kind of company that you want to see my resume AND they can prove it, be cautious. I saw one the other day that promised to send your resume to recruiters ( thousands of them!) based on geography and specialization. Two days later I was invited to register as a recruiter for my “Free” resumes. They are charging you what seems to me to be a LOT of money to do something you could do on your own. The true value is they have already identified a few thousand recruiters that will receive your resume. The “”jury is still out”” on these services in my opinion.

Summary Re: Posting

That concludes the more obvious parts of getting the resume “out there” where you can be found. It is important and could lead to the results you want and provide a shot at your next good job. However, our next topic is where the bulk of the work is and is the most likely place you will get results.

Searching for Jobs and Submitting your Resume

In earlier lessons we have created several versions of your resume that were “targeted” We are now ready to start to send them out.

Job Boards

If you are using the Career Alerts available on many large job boards and you have done an effective job of selecting the keywords that apply to you, you probably DO NOT have to search those board regularly. The open jobs will be showing up in your email for you to decide whether to respond or not.

You will want to visit these other job boards (that do not have Career Alert services) on a regular basis. That will be your individual decision, but I would recommend weekly or more often. You are looking for any job that may be of interest to you. Once found, and you decide to submit your resume, make a note of the date and how it was submitted and any clue as to whom it might have been submitted, if possible. You then want to set a follow-up for two weeks. This is true no matter where you sent it or whether it was a recruiter or an online service or any other format. The reason this is important is that it gives you a perfectly valid reason to contact them again to follow-up. Now we must walk that fine line between being persistent but not annoying. It also shows that you take initiative and are serious about your interest in your job.

Target Company lists

This may well be THE MOST IMPORTANT part of the exercise!!

There are many ways to find potential companies where you can send your resume. By having this list, it also will allow you to target companies by looking at their websites regularly to see if they have any “unadvertised” openings. Their website can also be a great source of contact names at the company where you may want to send directly.

The library is a place to start. Get a librarian to help you. Think about what you want in advance but tell her your goal.

You want:

  • Local companies in your industry or target company size and you need names addresses and websites.
  • National companies who may employ people like you in the neighborhood. For example, there are Pharmaceutical sales reps in every major city, but the head office is probably in New Jersey!
  • You want companies listed by size and location
  • You want companies listed by industry and then size and location
  • You want list by any other criteria that will help you target them
  • You want their web page address if possible. It is most often identifiable from the email address. The name that follows the “@” sign is usually the website if you add www. To it. For example, if you find a company that you are interested in, that only gives an email address such as “mikesmith@jonestools.com, then the website will be www.jonestools.com. It’s easy but not obvious if you do not use the Internet a lot.
  • Take lots of Quarters!! Many of these “Lists” are in book form and the only way to get the information in a format you can use is for you to photocopy them, so be prepared. It is more economical to copy ten pages and extract what you need (at$.10 a copy you just spent a dollar) rather than copying each one out in longhand, but do not worry, you will be doing some of that as well.

Your goal is to come away with enough information to keep you busy for WEEKS!! After all, it is your full time job!!

I would suggest you break these companies into groups. This will allow you to work on one Group at a time and it is easier to plan your daily effort and your follow-ups.

For the local target companies it is often a good idea to call them and confirm the names of the potential recipients, but DO NOT tell them you want to send a resume!! For instance, if you are looking for a laboratory or engineering job, the library records may indicate who the appropriate manager is. If not, call and ask for “the Lab” or “Engineering” When they answer, tell them you are sending some info directly to the manager and can they confirm name and email? Half of the time they won’t tell you. That leaves you with the other half of the time when you are applying directly to the hiring manager and the others who are applying are sending theirs to Human Resources!! Half of the time is a BIG advantage!! ALWAYS ask what their website address is.

Then you get the opportunity to call back in a few weeks and ask for the manager and follow-up on your resume. DO NOT WORRY if even the managers say they had to send it to Human Resources. He or she has had a look at it and they know your name. When you call, and they say they are not hiring, ask if they know anyone who is hiring.

TIP:Ask if they have recently filled a position, and if so, what company did the employee come from? Because that company just lost someone with a background similar to yours, this is a great lead to a possible job opening that may not have been advertised yet!! This is also true of ANY JOB you have seen in the paper that you think you want. If they have hired someone else THEY HAD TO COME FROM SOMEWHERE, and if you discover where it was THAT Company may need someone like you. See how you have to think like a detective!

If you can’t get a name, send a resume anyway. After two weeks, call on the phone and say you are following up on your resume and they will connect you to the correct person.

You have to act like a detective!!

Plan to visit the websites of your “A” list local or national companies to see if they have posted any jobs on their own website. Companies like to do this in advance of any other advertising, in the hopes that a good candidate or two may come walking through the door, free and clear. You can set bookmarks for these sites, and set them for the specific employment page. The first time through this is painstakingly slow, but once it is set up you could check 30 or 40 sites or more in an hour using Bookmarks.

This illustrates how you could check 300 company’s websites in about 8-10 hours. Spread over the 5-day week it means you would be planning 1 1/2 to 2 hours a DAY checking websites. If you find it tedious, you could do 45 minutes to an hour in the morning and the same later in the afternoon. You could then know for certain, you are monitoring 300 target companies EVERY WEEK to discover the newest job listings that may be perfect for you and NEVER advertised anywhere else. Can you claim that now? This would even fit into a part time search effort. Have you ever known anyone to do it? Imagine the possible advantage to you if you apply this one idea to your search plan. This is the power of the Internet when used to its greatest power on your behalf.

We told you it would be work, but you are worth the effort!

War Plans

Before we go any further, lets discuss our War Plan. Every great General figures out what he wants to achieve. A good General thinks in Campaigns. You need to do the same thing. This effort links to the work you did on Targets. You figured out what industries that you would target. Here is where you put that into action. We want to remind you about that work. We hope you created three or possibly four targets. These also should have an order of preference. You are going to start with your favorite of the choices. See the time line chart for a clearer “Picture” of your plan”.

It is NOT a good plan to just blast out hundreds of resume with the hope that something will happen. You need to spread it out, because one of the most powerful elements you can add to increase success is FOLLOW-UP. By staging your efforts in Campaigns, you even out the work and allow for company contact, and particularly follow-up with recruiters and companies.

Let’s call it Target A. You would have listed companies, local and national that you would like to work for in this section. The way to start a Campaign is to work in waves. This first target will be your Sendout activity for the first week. In the first week, you identify and send resumes to clients on this list. It could be local companies or national companies that could hire you in your current geography. You have created your target resumes, list companies and contacts, and you are going to get your resumes into their hands. In a week two we will be dealing with the results from this effort, and getting ready to launch Target B. That means the same level of research and effort to deliver resumes to this second target AND dealing with the results of this weeks work. This is repeated, and will keep you VERY BUSY, I promise.

Now you are ready to send out resumes.

Mail vs. Email vs. Fax

Email is ALWAYS our first choice. It is free, it provides a trail to follow. Potential employers can share it, store it, search it and confirm its receipt electronically. They then have my email address as the sender on file and can reach me easily and inexpensively. Attaching your Resume to the email in Word format (.doc) it is universally acceptable and can show all of your layouts, bolding and formatting to their best advantage. If you want something that is more universal, use .RTF – NOT Text. Text is useless and never makes a good impression. Most mail programs store your sent email in directories. Create a directory or a group that makes sense, perhaps buy industry group or geography. Now, every time you send out a resume, you store a copy in the sent directory you just made. When you want to follow up, you have a dated version to refer to. Also, computers do not care how many directories you make. This is an important part of a good plan. Perhaps you need a directory for each week that contains another group of directories sorted by any groups you choose. Now, in two weeks when you have to follow up, you simply open this week’s directory and call them all back! This is just one option, it’s up to you to figure out a system that works for you.

Neither Fax nor Mail have any of those advantages. Fax delivers plain paper, and the only advantage to mail is the recipient can see that funky letterhead paper you chose. They are always more impressed by substance. This is true with all EXCEPT Executive level jobs. In that case you would also send a mail version on your great letterhead to follow after your initial email.

National Companies

Let’s go back to the Pharmaceutical sales job. There are probably a hundred or more viable targets and probably none of them have an office locally. You want to watch their websites (part of your 300 target sites) regularly and apply directly to them stating your interest and your preference re location, i.e. will you move or will you only work in the local area. There are literally hundreds of national companies that employ people who work in your area. There may be a local manager, and there is a good chance he works out of his home office. We need to look at the industry segment and apply to any viable company who may have people in the area. Then follow up in two weeks! You have to walk that fine line between being persistent and being annoying. This forms a part of your Master Plan.

We tell people that they will have to TALK TO possibly 300 people to get their new job, so, get busy!!

KEY: Record all calls, contacts, what was said and plan a follow-up. Microsoft Outlook is a great tool for this. You can drag an email onto the contact icon and instantly create a contact record. These records can be grouped in many ways. You can open the calendar and set the follow-up through the contact record in one click and set the date to recall. On that date, you have a list of tasks waiting for you to do right there and then. The organization does not need to be hard but it does need to be well thought out. Some extra time in planning will make the daily routine a lot easier. Planner & Checklist.

Local Companies

Remember our Research at the Library? There should be 200-250 local companies that might be of interest that are in your geographical neighborhood, and who might be looking for someone like you even if they have not advertised. You have to be your own judge, but my theory is, the more names you have compared to general contacts, the better off you are and the quicker you will get the job. It may seem like a daunting task to get all of those names, but it really is not that impossible, it just takes WORK. We suspect that the lists you generated at the library have some kind of contact name. This is a place to start. Lets say you have an engineering managers name and you want a job in sales. Call and ask for them and inquire, “would you be the right person to submit my resume to for a —— job?” Now don’t be silly about it, Don’t ask the engineering manager if he is the right person to submit a resume for a secretarial job, he will think you are nuts. The other thing you could say, is “Hello Mr. Smith, you are listed as the main contact in the ——-Directory, Could you please tell me who the best person would be to submit my resume to for a —– type of job?” What could it hurt?

Then you get another small advantage. Let’s say he said that the right person is Mrs. Jones in Human Resources. Call Mrs. Jones and tell her that Mr. Smith advised me that you would be the right person to talk to about submitting my resume. Could you tell me if you have any positions open in the —— area? And how would you prefer to receive my resume?

What “could” she assume? That you know Mr. Smith in some way!! You are not pretending to know him, but if she jumps to that conclusion, good for you!! You should always tell the truth if asked. Also, it allows you to get into a conversation with the right person. Five good conversations are worth 50 resumes blasted off into space. If they do not have any positions you ALWAYS ASK the three key questions, whenever you speak to a potential hiring company:

ONE:

Are there any plans that you know of that would be creating this kind of opening in the near future?

TWO:

Do you know of any other companies who may be hiring? (and if they do, you ask, “Is there someone specific over there I should be speaking with? AND Can I mention I heard it from you?”

THREE:

Have you hired anyone of similar qualifications to me recently, and if so, what company did they come from? Link to paragraph above that goes into more detail.

If she says that you can mention her name, guess what?? When you call and ask for the contact she mentioned you get to say” Hi my name is—— and Mrs. Jones at —— company suggested that I call. She thought, perhaps you were looking for someone with my qualifications. Could I submit my resume, and how do you normally prefer to receive it?”

What MIGHT they think? That you know Mrs. Jones pretty well!!!! It could help you a little, and if they jump to that conclusion and don’t ask, you’re not going to explain!! And you have a lead you never had before, and how did you get it? You had the courage to pick up the phone! That’s it and you are now ahead of everyone who is just broadcasting resumes and hoping for the calls.

GOLDEN RULE:

You need to have the courage to pick up the phone to find that job that you seek.

GOLDEN RULE TWO:

MANY of the people you call will not help you at ALL, and will just try to get rid of you. Oh, well, at least you are making progress against the competition EVERY TIME you learn something helpful or get another lead.

Optimism Versus Pessimism

The Pessimist says “Another person who won’t help and another rejection.” The Optimist says ” If I have to talk to 300 people to get my job, thanks for not helping, now I am down to 299 calls, one closer every time!”. Be an Optimist!

Job Hunters working at it Part Time

The program is the same, but there are some risks you need to manage. If you are currently employed and have decided to leave for whatever reason, it is critical that your company not find out. It is NEVER better to quit so that you can be “looking for a job full time” I am here to tell you its is between 3 and 5 times HARDER to find a job if you are unemployed!

Career Alerts are your BEST Friend

Career Alerts are a service provided by many of the job boards. They invite you to register, and then choose a group of key words. In many services they will allow you to select more than one group of keywords. Then, when a job is posted to their service that contains a few of your chosen words, the system automatically sends you an email indicating that there was a job posted that may be of interest, and they contain a direct link to the posting. You click on the link, read the job, and decide whether to apply.

You do NOT have to post your resume to the system, no searcher can ever find you, and if you are clever about your choice of words, you will be advised of EVERY job ever posted to their system without having to search it on a regular basis. I cannot believe the number of people I talk to who have no idea a service like this exists, and usually its FREE!

There is a Job Board in Canada called Workopolis.com who send out 1.4 Million alerts a MONTH!! The service is available on Monster and a range of other big services.

Do I choose to post?

It is your call. You must weigh the risks of someone seeing it and decide how damaging that might be. No one can fire you because you have posted your resume. It just gets very awkward. Some groups are more sensitive than others, like sales or senior management. Also remember, that not everyone CAN search. You usually must be a paid subscriber to the service, but I have known managers who take the “free Trial Search” and type in their own company name to see if anyone is listed!!

Otherwise, as a part time job hunter, you need the same commitment and organization plan, you will be just working at it as opportunity allows, but you should still PLAN a minimum number of hours per week to commit to the work

Summary

Now you have to work the plan. You know what resumes you are sending, to whom and when. You plan to follow up and pick up the phone and make an effort to learn the small things that will get you ahead in spite of the rejections. The reward is that you can have a clear conscience about the job search. You can sleep easy and perhaps share with your partner, that you are doing everything you possibly can to get this next job. That peace of mind is invaluable. One of the biggest complaints I hear is that the nagging doubt that job hunters are not doing something, but they do not know what or they are approaching it wrong or leaving something out nags the heck out of you. It’s the last thing you need right now, isn’t it? If you get this into action, you are well on your way to success, and these fears will disappear.

Step 6: Interview and Negotiations