Be Proactive And Increase Your Odds Of Getting A Job

Martin Yate CPC
NY Times Bestseller
Professional Resume Services

We all have 168 hours in a week. When you’re looking for a job, how you manage these hours will help determine your success. The following tips will help you think beyond just uploading resumes so you’ll work smarter and increase your odds of getting interviews and job offers: 

Start conversations. It has been said that in order to gain that next job it takes on average twenty-five conversations with men or women who have the authority to hire you. What do we learn from this? Make every effort to get into conversations with decision makers with hiring authority and sooner or later you will get that job offer. It doesn’t matter if it takes 25 or 125 such conversations, the essential truth still holds: Get into conversations with enough hiring authorities and you will get that desired job offer. To get into those critical conversations isn’t easy; it might take you hundreds of contacts, but if you make the commitment every day of your job search, you will succeed, and you will succeed more quickly than your peers. Google+
Work at getting a new job. Work forty hours per week at it. Divide your time equally between all the intelligent job search approaches. No one knows which tactic is the one that will work for you, but this integrated approach gives you the shortest odds.

Research the companies you contact. In a tightly run job race, the candidate who is most knowledgeable and intelligently enthusiastic about the employer has a distinct advantage


Follow up on the resumes you send out with phone calls. Resubmit your resume to 

identified openings after six or seven weeks. Change the format of your resume and submit it again. (See Knock ’em Dead Resumes for specific ideas on how to do this.)

Stay in telephone contact with your job leads. Call them back on a regular basis to maintain top-of-the-mind awareness. If you find yourself needing to call existing contacts more than once every couple of months, you should be putting more emphasis on
building your networks and doing direct research.


Develop examples of your professional profile that make you special—and rehearse
building these examples into your interview responses.

Send follow-up  emails with relevant news clippings, cartoons, and so on to those in your networks. It’s a light touch that helps people keep you in mind. 

Work on your self-image. Use this time to get physically fit. Studies show that unfit,
overweight people take longer to find suitable work.

• Maintain a professional demeanor during the workweek (clothing, posture, personal
hygiene).

Use regular business hours for making contacts. Use the early morning, lunchtime,
after 5 p.m., and Saturday for doing the ongoing research and writing projects that maintain  momentum.

Take off the blinders. We all have two specific skills: our professional/technical skills—
Professional/technical skills can be transferable to other industries, and industry skills can open other opportunities in your industry. For example, that programmer, given decent communication skills, could become a technical trainer and/or writer for programmers or technophobes.

Don’t feel guilty about taking time off from your job search. Just do it responsibly. If you regularly spend Saturday morning in the library doing research, you can take Wednesday afternoon off to go to the driving range once in a while.

Maintain records of your contacts in the career management database. They will benefit not only this job search but also those in the future.

Never stop the research and job search process until you have a written job offer in hand and you have accepted that job in writing with an agreed-upon start date. Even then, continue with any ongoing interview cycles.

Remember: It’s all up to you. There are many excuses not to make calls or send resumes on any given day. There are many excuses to get up later or knock off earlier. There are many excuses to back off because this one’s in the bag. But there are no real reasons. There
are no jobs out there for those who won’t look, while there are plenty of opportunities for
those who work at it.

Follow-up: The Key Ingredient
In theory, the perfect e-mails you send cold or as a result of phone calls will receive a response rate of 100 percent. Unfortunately, there is no perfect letter, e-mail, or call in this less-than-perfect world. If you sit waiting for the world to beat a path to your door, you may wait a long time.

An IT executive of my acquaintance once advertised for an analyst. By Wednesday of the following week he had over 100 responses. Ten days later he was still plowing through them when he received a follow-up call (the only one he received) from one of the respondents. The job hunter was in the office that afternoon, returned the following morning, and was hired before lunchtime.

What’s the take-away? The candidate’s resume was still sitting in the database, waiting to be discovered. The follow-up phone call got it discovered. The IT executive just wanted to get on with his work, and the job hunter in question made it possible by putting himself on the employer’s radar. Follow-up calls do work.


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Martin Yate
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