In yesterday's blog post on Hunting Companies, Not Jobs, I offered another approach to the job search, based on a model I learned years ago in the book What Color Is Your Parachute?, and later reinforced by HR Guy Dick Stone, one of my job search coaches.
Richard Nelson Bolles identified a key ingredient: You must identify the decision maker, the "Person-who-has-the-power-to-hire-you," as Bolles puts it.
Dick Stone added an important element: Have an insider walk your resume to the decision maker.
I can still remember my reaction when I first heard him say this many years ago: How in heaven's name could I ever get someone to do that for me?
I have since learned that it is doable. So let's break it down in the following guide to Hunting Companies.
1. Identify the target company (see prior blog post for questions to ask yourself)
2. Research (using LinkedIn) the company, and identify (using LinkedIn) who you know that works there, used to work there, or is connected to someone who works there
3. Contact those individuals and make a connection, letting them know of your interest in working at Company X
4. If your contact works there, ask her two questions: Does she know who the decision maker is for the area(s) where your skills would fit best? --and-- Would she be willing to walk your resume over there and personally deliver it to the decision maker, with a positive verbal endorsement?
For those of you reading this right now, who are scratching your head and doubting that the above process could work, let me illustrate with a true life story.
After a downsizing, I sent a note to my network, letting them know that I was on the market again and looking for learning, coaching, and OD opportunities in the New York area. My phone rang shortly thereafter from a contact in San Francisco. She asked me if I'd be interested in outplacement work. I had always wanted to do that type of work! So I said yes. She then offered to connect me with someone she knew in a firm in New York. She made some calls on my behalf, praising me to them, and forwarding my resume. This led to a round of interviews. And an offer.
So what are the key ingredients?
Visibility to Your Network - You can drop off other people's radar screens very easily and quickly in today's economy. If you are on the market, stay visible to your contacts.
Update Your Contacts - In staying visible, be informative. Let your contacts know what you are looking for. This will equip them with the info they need to look out for you.
Asking Your Contacts to Help You - Your contact wants to help you! If they can, they will, in most cases. But you have to ask them. While you may hesitate, thinking that asking them to walk (or convey) your resume to a decision maker is an imposition, the truth is that your contact would be pleased and proud to be your advocate.
There is one more thing that helps: chutzpah, a Yiddish term that means nerve or audacity. Remember the Pixley Formula:
Believe in yourself.
Put yourself out there.
Posted by Terrence Seamon, March 3, 2010