Consistently speak with as many people as possible about your job search and career goals. Something magical happens when you get out and talk to people about the changes you desire. New relationships and new ideas will arise that will help you in your search.
How does this happen? Conversation can be a powerful learning experience. As ideas and questions are exchanged and processed, participants think of things that they didn’t know or understand before.
Speak to people about what you are doing, what you want to be doing, and how you hope to accomplish your goals. More importantly, ask about what other people are doing for work and how they are achieving their goals. As you engage with friends and colleagues, you will gather valuable information that will help you refine and adjust your goals.
For most of us, creating these kinds of interactions can be difficult. Talking to others about work is often intimidating. This section will guide you to see how essential these connections are to your success and increase your confidence to create them. When I begin an interaction with someone, I watch for the moment that a bond is formed. If it happens, it’s usually after we have had some meaningful dialogue. At a particular moment, we connect on a personal level and an unspoken alliance is formed.
One day a prospective customer joined me for lunch. At a certain point in our conversation, he apparently felt enough trust to tell me about some problems he had been having at work. We spent most of our lunch talking about his situation and brainstorming ideas that might help him. By the end of the meeting I noticed that the nature of our relationship had changed significantly.
We went from being business acquaintances to friends intent on helping each other. I became a confidant for him, and he became an ally for me, helping me to close a $200,000 sale. Each of us had a new perspective about the other, underwritten by the trust of having shared personal challenges and deliberating with one another about solutions.
Once this flash point of trust occurs, the relationship changes; both parties become intent on helping each other achieve their goals.
The most important element in a job search is consistent action, and the most important action is direct contact with prospective companies. Hiring managers’ minds are distracted by everything from sales quotas to their bad golf game. Direct contact is the quickest and most efficient way to break through this distraction, get their attention, and uncover new opportunities.
When I was sixteen, I bought an old truck that wouldn’t start unless I put a few drops of fuel directly onto the carburetor. Making a call directly into a targeted company is like putting fuel right on the carburetor—it tends to start the engine right up.
As a job seeker, you may be reluctant to make direct contact with employers. It might seem easier to pursue more indirect methods for finding a job. Responding to ads and sending out resumes is not as intimidating as calling a person directly.
However, pursuing traditional newspaper job ads has a very low rate of success. Most opportunities (approximately eighty percent) are filled before they are even advertised. Your efforts to connect with prospects will be more immediate and more productive if you contact companies and initiate interviews yourself.
When I am coaching, I often make cold calls with job seekers to demonstrate the process. On one occasion (and this happens often), the first manager that I called was at that time looking for someone to hire. If it can happen in the first call for me, it can happen in the first call for you.