In the days before the internet and email I’d hear people say, “I sent my resume to hundreds of companies and nobody has called me!” (BOOHOO!!) Today I hear people say, “I’ve emailed my resume to thousands of companies and nobody even emailed me back.” (BOOHOO!!) Really! What did you expect? Did you think the process of emailing your resume to thousands of strangers would get you a job? Did you think that broadcasting your resume to the world would have people knocking on your door? Actually this method is successful just enough to keep the myth alive. But it’s a low probability method. If this is all that you do, then you’re in for a long, long period of disappointment and failure. In the pages that follow we hope we’ll convince you of a better way.
So you've been fired! Or laid-off or down sized, or however you want to put it. Perhaps you're in a dead end job and need to escape. Fantastic! This may be the greatest opportunity of your life. Is that hard to believe? I'm sure that you find it impossible to believe that right now, especially if you are going through the pain of being out of work. The truth of the matter is that you just may wind up in a much better job, in a company that you really like better. In fact if you like the new job at all, it almost has to be better than the old one. It is most likely that you knew something was coming. That can't have been any fun. So being out of that situation has got to be a good thing in your life. During the early eighty's I went through a similar period when I had eight jobs in 54 months. During this period I was fired three times and failed in business once. This was a very exciting time in my life. I can understand just how exciting life is for you now, if you're going through the same kind of adventure.
On the other hand, perhaps you are a first time job seeker. You’ve just graduated from college or high school and you never had a serious job before. Well, I can understand just how exciting life is for you. Perhaps your parents are nagging you to get out and get a job. I’m sure you have some anxieties. This book is for you, too.
Not that I'm about to tell you that this is not a period of high stress. It is! Let me say that again, "IT IS!" It may be the most stressful time of your life. The point is that aside from the usual methods of reducing stress, you can minimize the stress by having a concrete plan for landing your next job. If you have a plan and you're following that plan, then you'll know that in due course you'll get the next job. It may take weeks or it may take months. But if you follow a good plan, then eventually you’ll get a new job. That has got to make you feel better.
When I was doing my most extensive jobs-searching – in the early 1980’s – things were different than now. I didn’t really appreciate just how different until I recently read two books. The first was The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. Friedman lists the 11 things that have flattened the world. The fact is that the world is smaller and flatter than it was in the 1980’s. This is something that you’ll have to take into account. The job that is available today may not be there tomorrow. Somebody who lives in some far away county may be doing that job. Or the economy may take a downturn that may eliminate the job. In fact that may be why you’re interested in looking for a job right now. There was an article in the Reading Eagle recently about how to look for and find a job that won’t be affected by the economy (Reading Eagle, June 4, 2008, quoting Erin Burt, Kiplinger’s Magazine). The suggestion is that there are several areas that might be recession proof. These are:  Health Care – This is an area that will have continually growing demand as our population ages.  Education  Security – Crime doesn’t stop in a recession. In fact it may very well increase.  Environmental Sciences – One would think that with all the crazy talk that goes on today about the environment this may be a growing area.  Government – Even though we would seem to have too much government already, the demand for government workers continues to grow; not just at the federal level but at all levels of government.
The second book was Jobshift – How to Prosper in a Workplace Without Jobs by William Bridges. While this book is not new, the idea is one that is becoming more and more important. Bridges’ idea is that jobs are not just being exported, they are also disappearing. In the first place we are becoming more productive so we need fewer people to do the same amount of work. This of course doesn’t help you find work. However, the second aspect may help. Jobs are disappearing because more and more business is being done by what have been called virtual companies. There is someone down the street from you sitting in their underwear in front of their computer running a multi-million dollar manufacturing company from their bedroom. They are doing the whole business over the computer. They have farmed out engineering, marketing, sales and accounting to others like themselves. The manufacturing is done at some contract manufacturing facility far away. Order fulfillment is being done by a 4PL taking orders over the internet. This may be an opportunity for you but you won’t find this opportunity in the usual places. If this is something that you think might be of interest, then you’ll want to market yourself as a freelance worker and be alert for opportunities in this area. The beauty of this is that if you’re doing a job for say six virtual companies and charging each one of them say one quarter of what you would normally expect to get in salary then that would be a very attractive situation for you.
I've talked with many, many people over the years who were out of work. Because of my own experience with unemployment, people have sought me out for advice on how to get a job. Usually people take a long time to get a new job because they don't have a plan to follow and because they don't work hard enough at getting work. Getting a new job is hard work. They send out a few resumes and then sit back and wait for someone to call them. Trust me. That won’t work. If this is your plan, then you’re in for a long wait.
What I need to tell you is no one ever calls. Your letters will not get answered. Your phone calls will not be returned. You will not hear that annoying ding as you receive an email offering that dream job. The good fairy is not going to call you with a job offer. It doesn't work that way. Well actually, it works that way just often enough to keep the myth alive. If you count on this method, however, you're very likely to be in for a great disappointment. You're also in for a long stretch of unemployment. Remember, whatever else is going on in the world, Murphy's Law has not been repealed.
If you want a new job, you're going to have to work at it. You're going to have to make phone calls, write letters, and do research. Yes, and you’ll even have to send out some emails. You're going to have to get out and talk with people. It may be the hardest you've ever worked in your life. If you can't handle this, then you’re in for a rough time. You'll just have to remain unemployed much longer than would otherwise be necessary.
In the chapters that follow we'll deal with all of the various aspects of how you should go about getting your next job. While we'll outline the methods, I want to make it quite clear that this is not a "cook book." No one can put the exact words in your mouth. The exact method has to be yours. I can tell you how to build the engine but you'll have to put in the gas and you'll have to steer the car. Most of all you’ll have to put your foot on the accelerator. The harder you work, the sooner you find your new situation.
The bitter truth is that getting a job is about sales. If you’ve been in sales you’ll immediately understand what I’m getting to. If you’ve not been inclined to take on sales jobs then you may be repelled by the thought. You’ve never been in sales and you don’t want to be. Well, I’m as sorry as I can be about that. (NOT!) If you’re looking for a job, then you’re in sales. The good news is that there is a process to sales, that if you follow it, you’ll make the sale. If you follow the process, you’ll get the job you want. If you follow the process, getting your next job will be easy. It will be easy but it will be hard work.
The sales process is:
· Get to know the product. (That’s you, Bunkie!)
· Find out who you suspect might be a customer for your product.
· Through research turn your suspects into prospects.
· Through presentation and closing make the sale.
In the pages that follow, we’ll take you through this process.