9) Follow Up After You Interview for your Job Search

Another client, we’ll call him Chuck, hand-delivered the resume we wrote for him. He applied for a warehousing/electrical position at a local firm near Detroit, Mich.

When we called the next day to check on his progress, he told me the hiring manager loved his resume and that the interview went well. So far, so good.

Then we asked him if he had written and mailed thank-you letters to the people he had interviewed with.

“No, gosh, I forgot. Oh, well,” he said.

Fighting the urge to jump through the phone and strangle him, I said: “Chuck, you’re making a critical mistake. Never assume the interview went perfectly. It’s essential that you sit down right now (it was Saturday), write and mail a thank-you letter to everyone you spoke to. Thank them for their time, restate your best qualifications and tell them how much you look forwarding to working with them.”

“OK,” he replied.

Two days later he called back.

“I got the job!” he said. “The hiring manager appreciated the thank-you letters I sent. He said nobody he’s interviewed in the past year did that, so I really stood out.”

Normally, I hate to say, “I told you so.” But not this time!

You’ve heard it again and again that you must send a thank-you letter to everyone you interview with. Yet, so few people take the two minutes to do it. Their loss is your gain.

Action Step: Assume nothing. Diligently follow up, before and after the interview, until you get that job. You and your family deserve nothing less than your best efforts here.

10) Accelerate your Job Search With A Recruiter

Want to access the hidden job market and find a job faster?

Working with a recruiter may be just the ticket.

But how do you locate one? What should you look for? And what should you expect?

To find out, I interviewed two experienced recruiters: Rick Fox, Branch Manager at the Minneapolis office of MRI and Pat Riley, principal of Houston-based, 10 Abbott Street, a national search firm.

Where do you start looking for a recruiter?

An excellent ways to locate a recruiter is the same way you’d look for a barber or dentist — ask around, according to Pat Riley. “I suggest using the ‘friend network’ first by asking friends and family if they know any good recruiters,” he says.

Other avenues include the Yellow Pages (look under Employment Agencies) and the Internet (visit www.google.com and search for “recruiter” plus any industry or geographic terms that apply to you; example: “recruiter retail Chicago”).

“Look for a recruiter who specializes in the industry you’re in and want to stay in. Recruiters really can’t help those who want to change industries or careers — this is a common misconception,” advises Rick Fox.

What are the benefits of working with a recruiter?

A good recruiter can introduce you to good jobs before they’re ever advertised.

“If an opportunity is available in your industry, you may get a call from a recruiter with information that very few people are going to know about,” says Fox.

A recruiter may offer tips on interviewing, too. “The headhunter will probably know at least a couple of questions the hiring manager is going to ask you. They should never put words in your mouth, but they can at least tell you what to expect,” says Riley.

How much, if any, should you pay a recruiter?

“Not one red cent,” says Riley. “The hiring company should pay the recruiter to fill the position. This is known as a contingency search, and it forces the recruiter to find the right person more quickly and work harder for you.”

Fox concurs. “If you’re a candidate going to a search firm, you should never pay a fee.”

Is it OK to work with more than one recruiter?

In a word, yes. “I view recruiters as strong horses that you hitch to your wagon — you want to have as many pulling as you can,” says Riley.

Every recruiter understands that you want a job and that you’ll work with whoever can help, so don’t worry about hurting their feelings.

BUT … if a recruiter takes you to market and starts shopping your resume around heavily to companies, it’s wise to stay loyal. “They may feel cheated if you use someone else,” says Fox.

How can you get the most from working with a recruiter?

It may help to call and offer to sit down face-to-face with a recruiter. “Only 5-10% of job seekers do this. I respect the initiative of those who come and see me, and I tend to work a bit harder for them,” says Riley.

You can research your way to better results, too. “If you call up and say, ‘I’ve prepared a list of 15 companies I should be working for — companies that need me — and here’s why,’ that recruiter will be all over you, because you’ve just made their job really easy,” says Fox. You can do corporate research and find target companies at both www.dnb.com and www.resource.referenceusa.com

Action Step: It’s easier than you think to find and work with a recruiter. There’s one for almost every career and level of experience, so why not hook up with one this week?

11) Contact Employers Directly

In our ongoing series of interviews with job search experts, Kevin Donlin tracked down Marky Stein, a career coach in San Jose, Calif., who’s perfected a strikingly innovative approach to finding a job fast – in any economy.

She’s the author of “Fearless Interviewing: What to Do Before, During and After an Interview” (iUniverse.com Press, 2001). Her Web site is https://instituteforcareercoaching.com/

Kevin questioned Marky to get her very best tips to help you access the “hidden job market,” where upwards of 70% of all jobs are filled. Here’s their conversation…

Kevin: “Let’s cut to the chase — what’s the very best way people can uncover and apply for job openings right now, in this time of economic uncertainty?”

Marky: “Study after study and my own 10+ years of experience have proven that, hands down, cold calling employers is superior to all other methods.

“Now, before your readers say, ‘Yuck! I don’t want to cold call anyone – I’m not a sales person,’ read the following facts.

“The firm JIST Works, in Philadelphia, trained 1,000 job seekers in cold calling during the last recession, in 1990. These 1,000 people were trained to devote 25 hours per week to their job search and cold call employers to ask for a face-to-face meeting. As a result, 66% of them were employed within 2.3 weeks and 90% of the rest were employed within 90 days.

“In my own study, from 1992 to 1998, I trained over 700 disabled job seekers to spend at least 17.5 hours per week cold calling employers. Of those I counseled during those six years, 90% found jobs within 90 days.

Kevin: “OK. So what is cold calling? How is it done?”

Marky: “It’s simply direct contact to set up an interview. And it works for anyone, from entry-level job seekers to CEOs.

“To succeed, you must stop seeing yourself as a job seeker and think of yourself instead as a business person making a proposal. Instead of thinking ‘Please give me a job,’ think, ‘Here are all the good things I can do for you.’”

Kevin: “Who, specifically, should job seekers try to get on the phone?”

Marky: “Try to connect with a decision maker above your future boss. This is important.

“The person directly above you may, and often is, threatened by such a call. They may figure, “If this person is so assertive NOW, they may be after MY job in the future”.

“Also, a more senior person, such as your potential boss’ boss, has a more expansive view of the kinds of changes that could result in a new job being created or in someone being replaced.

“Third, executives often enjoy mentoring junior people, and those with a generous character can do wonders for job seekers, even if that means referring you to someone DOWN the ladder. If you get such a referral from an executive, other members of the team are likely to be open to meeting with you.”

Kevin: “Is there a script job seekers should use?”

Marky: “Yes, you can use the following example script to get started:

“Hello, my name is _________. I have _______ years’ experience as a ____________, specializing in _____________, ____________, and ______________. I have a (B.A., M.S., certificate) in _______________ and I recently completed (name a recent successful project with a measurable result). When may I come for an interview?”

Kevin: “What can job seekers expect when they start calling employers?”

Marky: “Cold calling has about 1 in 20 success ratio, in general. Of course, 19 ‘Nos’ on the phone may hurt more than 1,000 rejection letters, but you’ll hear it less often. Just make those calls until you connect!”

Action Step: Cold calling can dramatically shorten your job search, by putting you in direct contact with employers who can hire you. You’ll have no competition, because 99% of job seekers would rather answer classified ads and complain about the economy than be assertive and proactive.

12) Use Temp Agencies To Get A Full-Time Job

Ever considered temporary work? For many job seekers, it’s the pathway to a full-time position with a dream employer. And it may be easier than you think.

To give you the inside scoop, I tracked down a veteran job seeker and an employment expert for their views.

According to Chad Deckard, CEO of InfoGeneratorPRO.com, an Internet marketing consulting firm, you can use temp agencies to uncover good jobs with top companies. He should know.

He first arrived in Atlanta, Ga., with no local contacts or job prospects, and went on to get hired for full-time positions at CNN, the advertising firm BBDO, and Time-Warner. All by using local temp agencies, with a twist that can work in any city, in any economy.

“After I arrived in town, I pulled out the Yellow Pages and started calling temporary employment agencies. I asked them: ‘Who are your biggest clients?’ With that knowledge, I was able to pick the right agencies to get me into the companies I wanted to work for,” says Deckard.

Of course, he didn’t strike gold right away. He first had to take on three short-term assignments with companies he didn’t care for. But because he completed every task with enthusiasm, he built up a record as a conscientious, hard-working employee. This led to his big break.

And how did he turn a temp assignment at CNN into a permanent position? He did something unusual. He asked!

“I did the obvious things, like showing up on time every day and doing everything that was asked of me. On top of that, I studied the company, its products/services, market, competitors — everything — thoroughly, until I knew more than most permanent employees. Then I just asked my supervisor for a full-time position. She hired me,” says Deckard.

He also turned a temp job into permanent work as an Advertising Rep at Time-Warner. “After building a solid track record, I called the same temp agency and asked them to place me directly at Time-Warner,” says Deckard.

By doing good work and having the right attitude, he was able to turn that temp assignment into another full-time job, again, by asking his supervisor.

Chad’s experience dovetails nicely with advice given by Bob Picha, founder of San-Diego-based Ideas At Work, a company dedicated to the release of human potential in individuals and organizations.

“Many savvy employers use temporary agencies as a screening device. It’s a chance to put temp workers through a trial period. And, if the employee is talented enough, a job can be created just for him or her,” says Picha.

Temporary agencies are all around you, too.

In addition to your Yellow Pages, you can visit www.google.com, search for “temporary employment,” and you’ll find a huge number of temp agency listings. You can refine your search by adding terms to locate agencies them by city/state, industry, etc.

Action Step: With a little hard work and the right attitude, you can turn a temp agency into your own personal headhunter, at no cost. Why not start today?

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