You're out of work and want to get back as quickly as possible and are willing to be as aggressive as need be. You've heard this a million times, "Make looking for a job, your full-time job". The question is how?
You've got a goal, now here's a plan to get that new job:
1. Target Companies - Every week create a list of 15 companies that you'd like to work for. Don't factor in whether they're hiring or not. Even companies that have had recent layoffs still hire for certain positions. Organize the list into a spreadsheet or some document so that you can make notes and keep track of what progress you're making in each company.
2. Who to Write to - You are going to send a specific email to an individual at each targeted company. To do that, you'll need to find out who in that company would be your potential boss. Use Google, LinkedIn or look through the company's website to determine who you should send the email to. You can figure out their email address by finding a sample on the company's website.
3. Research - Find out what issues the company is facing. Do this by reviewing their annual report and current press releases. Google them to find out what's being written and use Google Alerts to keep you current with things happening in the company. Enter this information on your spreadsheet so you know at a glance what's going on in each company.
4. What to Say - The email you send needs to be company specific. Mention the issues they are facing and how your background can help them address these issues. For example, "I've read recently how the company is looking to deal with rising costs of raw materials. As a Purchasing Manager, I was able to reduce costs of goods by 10% and increase profitability. Given this, I believe I could be very effective on your team". Keep the email short -- no more than 200 words. Attach your resume and also paste it (below your signature line) in the email. Don't attach a link to your resume. You want to make it easy for someone to review it.
5. Follow-Up - Call each person a week after emailing them. That means 15 people each week. Have your spreadsheet handy so you can address specific issues if you are fortunate enough to get someone "live". Your follow-up call or message should state why you're interested in working at the company and how your background can add value now.
6. Network - Make it a point to connect in person with three people in your network every week. Attend networking events or form a group of your own which is a great way to learn what other people are doing in their job search. Take people who are employed out for coffee and find out what's going on in their industry. Ask them for a referral to someone who is working in an industry or company of interest to you. Even if the company is not hiring, get a name. There is always value in meeting new people. Regarding networking sites, keep your profiles in Linkedin and Facebook fresh. Put your email address on your LinkedIn profile. That makes it easy for recruiters to contact you.
7. Informational Interviews - Have one a week. This is a great opportunity to make new contacts and learn something valuable about a company or an industry. When you set up these meetings, make it clear that you're not asking for a job, you just want to learn more about that company or industry. Have at least three insightful questions to ask and get a referral. Send a thank you email as a follow-up. Informational interviews can turn into jobs!
8. Respond to Job Sites - Spend a couple of hours a week responding to job postings. Given the volume of people that respond to these jobs, we wouldn't recommend spending any more time than this.
So, work your plan: every week send 15 targeted emails, make 15 following up calls, meet with 3 people in your network, have an informational interview, research 15 new companies and spend a couple of hours responding to job postings. This will take you roughly 40 hours a week with about half of that spent out of the house (do #1, #2, and #8 at Starbucks). This plan of working fulltime to get a job - will get you a job - a paying one!
Fred & Gladys
Executive Search and Coaching
Authors of GOAL! Your 30 Day Career Plan for Business & Career Success