Persistence Is Key to Job Hunting Success

Five tips show you how.

July 12, 2007
by Debra Feldman, the JobWhiz

Here’s a “Golden Nugget” that is extremely valuable to furthering your career objectives. Networking, the sine qua non of job-hunting, cannot be emphasized enough. Networking is essential because over 85 percent of executives find new opportunities through word-of-mouth referrals. Just as critical to career success, is persistence — because following up is the key to job search success.

Once you make that all-important networking connection, you can’t let go. Candidates are the sellers and employers are the buyers. The job hunter must track down prospective employers and keep themselves top of mind until the job is done.

As a job search consultant, I am regularly told about the challenges of getting appropriate employer feedback. Job hunters often feel ignored and mistreated by prospective hiring companies who fail to acknowledge their candidacy, don’t return their phone calls or are in many other ways evasive. Candidates want to know how they can draw more attention to their qualifications and receive timely responses to their inquiries. There are umpteen complaints about the lack of regular updates on their status following even the most enthusiastic, positive interactions with prospective employers. Are there some proactive steps that candidates can take to accelerate their progress? Yes! Candidates have to be experts at 360-degree follow-up.

Are there any magic bullets for candidates to stay on top of things and feel in control?

The approach used to contact employers for information and the frequency with which this is done influences the individual job hunting experience. Probably the most important point to remember is that the employer’s behavior is most likely not directed personally towards a particular candidate. It’s just the nature of job-hunting in a buyer’s market. The impersonal nature of the job search process reflects the effect that the Internet has had on escalating recruiters’ workloads and the challenges of using new technology like applicant tracking software.

Don’t Take It Personally

Once you recognize that a prospective employer’s behavior is not necessarily a personal insult, but just one symptom of the company’s corporate recruiting system, you should be able to grab the positive replies when they arrive and turn them into golden opportunities. After all, you need just one offer from the zillion irons in the fire. The trick is doing consistent and appropriate follow up until you have a signed employment agreement in hand.

Five Bs Bring You Success

Here are some tips you can use now to be more effective and turn those live networking leads into genuine offers.

  1. Be Organized. Set up a system to help you remember your activities, keep track of information, establish a routine and note who you need to contact and when you need to initiate this using what methods.
  2. Be Courteous. Acknowledge that you are the one seeking assistance and have to be perfectly well mannered and extremely patient all the time. Smile when you speak on the phone. Ask if this is a convenient time or suggest that you can call back when it would be better for them. Offer to get them the information they need to take the next step with you, etc. Be conciliatory. Be nice. Go out of your way to put their needs first.
  3. Be Creative. You want to stand out from the throngs of applicants and job seekers. Do something that’s remarkable, that will distinguish you from others — whether it’s hand-delivering some materials, leaving a captivating voice message or otherwise capturing attention in a positive, highly professional way. Build up some intrigue and the probability of getting others to respond increases.
  4. Be Persistent. Do not give up. Use your creativity, stick to your schedule and results will come. The only way to move forward is to have a positive interaction to take you to the next level.
  5. Be resilient. Remind yourself not to take things personally. You’ll keep your spirits up and recognize that employers have a lot on their plate and that you are likely not among their top priority.

Now that you’re armed with these five tips, you’re already on your road to job-hunting success.

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© 2007 Debra Feldman

Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally-recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic, and customized senior level executive job search campaigns, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for positioning candidates and making direct contacts, executed with high energy and savvy panache, commands the attention of the right hiring decision managers. not HR. Network Purposefully™ with the JobWhiz, and compress your job search into mere weeks, using groundbreaking techniques profiled in Forbes magazine. In addition to her private practice, writing featured columns and conducting exclusive workshops, Debra is a recommended resource to alumni of top-tier business schools. Contact Debra at www.JobWhiz.com to expedite your executive ascent.