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01 What To Do For A Quick Job Search

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If you're in a hurry—and most job-hunters and career changers are—you'll make the best time if you do things in exactly this order. Remember, any contact information you set up—such as addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses—should last the duration of your career transition. It would be a shame if an important contact, recruiter, or prospective employer couldn't find you.
  1. Establish a career transition budget to cover likely expenses: computer hardware or software, office supplies, printing costs, books, clothing, travel. Consider budgeting for networking breakfasts, lunches, or dinners, organizational memberships, and career consulting. Although this may be a time to tighten your belt, don't cut expenses that might get you hired sooner. (I once watched an executive lose a $100,000 job offer because he wouldn't buy a $35 necktie.)
  2. Rule of thumb for your budget: 10% of your annual salary, so $2,000 if your salary is $20,000/year, or $15,000 if your salary is $150,000. Ten percent of salary may seem high. If you can't allocate 10%, decide what you're willing to spend. No matter how you approach the market, you'll have some usual and necessary expenses.
  3. Make sure your telephone is always answered. Cell phones typically include voicemail. If you don't have a cell phone, get a telephone answering machine (about $50-$100), use an answering service, or subscribe to an electronic voice mailbox (about $20 per month). Some voice mail services give you a new phone number which you can use on letters and resumes as your "office" number, if you're unemployed. Put a businesslike message on your recorder or voice mailbox (no cute messages featuring your kids).
  4. If you're based at home, you might want to add a second line for business calls, unless you plan to use your cell phone. If your home office line doubles as a FAX line, indicate that on your stationery and correspondence. And include your e-mail address on your resumes and letterhead. If you have a personal website or subscribe to social networks like Facebook, LinkedIN, or Twitter, include those URLs too.
  5. Sign up for a business-like e-mail address. E-mails linked to your personal hobbies are out: fishbaiter@example.com, supercook@example.com. So are absurdly complex addresses no one can remember: grn82ancy@example.com. I especially dislike jimsmith54193@example.com. Couldn't jim think up some combination of his name that would work better?  

    The ideal e-mail is some version of your name. On free sites like Yahoo or Hotmail, you might have to look long and hard to find a name that's not taken. But it's worth the extra effort.

    Try using combinations of your name in your e-mail address. Here are examples for a person named "First Middle Last." If a full name like "William" is taken, try using a nickname like "Bill." Avoid pet nicknames like "Sparky," "Gadfly," etc. In the examples below, "f" means "first name," "m" means "middle initial," and "n" means "nickname." All names below would be attached to a domain such as AOL, MSN, gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, or "yourname.com."

    • first.last@example.com
    • first.m.last
    • first_last
    • f_last
    • fm_last
    • first_m_last
    • firstlast
    • flast
    • fmlast
    • nlast
    • n_last
    • n.last
    • n.middle.last

  7. Create a detailed work history or high-impact resume to showcase your background. Be sure your resume is loaded with work results and accomplishments.

  9. Get letterhead, envelopes, and business cards printed on white or off-white paper. No "parchment." Five hundred of each should be plenty. Use an executive-looking type style, like a lawyer might have—nothing fancy, and no large computer fonts. Vistaprint is the premier provider of high-quality yet inexpensive business cards, envelopes and letterhead. 80% OFF Premium Business Cards & FREE Return Address Labels
  10. Get set up with a secretarial service, or with your own word processor. Don't try to type correspondence on your dad's old Underwood, unless that's your only choice. Don't do your own letters, unless you're a good typist. Even then, make only six to twelve originals. (Don't force your spouse/partner to type for you, either, unless he or she really loves the idea.)
  11. If you can afford it, use a secretarial service for mailings of 12 or more pieces. This is cheap compared to the value of your time. Your time is better spent on the telephone or in face-to-face meetings.
  12. Read the section in this collection called " The Most Important Letter You Will Ever Write." Take great pains remembering the names of everyone you've met, and adding them to your contact list.
  13. Send a "friendship letter" to close personal friends, and include a resume. (Since 80% of all good jobs come from friends and acquaintances—or their friends and acquaintances—this is the single most important strategy you can follow.) Jonathan Greenberg's friendship letter is superb, and you might want to review it.
  14. Call your friends after they've had a chance to review your letter. Ask them if they got it and what they think of it.
  15. You'll be amazed at how many will say, "I've been meaning to call you, but didn't quite get around to it." You'll also be amazed at how many acquaintances are actually glad to hear your voice.
  16. Begin to set face-to-face informational meetings with anyone who seems interested or especially helpful. Follow up on every lead you get, no matter how "silly." Don't prejudge what others will say before you call them.
  17. Write a series of tailored "friendship letters" to the most powerful and influential people you know: your banker, your stockbroker, your former employers, your spouse's friends, and so on. You'll see examples of friendship letters right here.
  18. Contact search firms, also known as recruiters and headhunters. Use Kennedy's Directory of Executive and Professional Recruiters to broadcast your letter and resume to recruiters locally, regionally, or nationally.
  19. Write to members of your professional association(s) or organization(s).
  20. Develop a generic letter and begin to answer want ads or online job postings. Customize the letter for important positions, but only devote 5 percent of your effort to answering want ads or online job postings—not 95 percent, as is all too common.
  21. Select a mailing list and write a high-powered sales/marketing letter. Mail 50-100 pieces as a test with no resume included. Mail on Mondays, telephone two days after the letter is received. Record your results, then adjust the letter and the list and mail again if necessary.
  22. Send a thank-you letter after every marketing contact, social occasion, telephone call, and personal visit—no matter how insignificant. Job-hunting is a public relations campaign, and you're trying to build good will.
  23. Look through this collection to find clever ways to introduce yourself to companies, and begin some one-shot, highly targeted mailings. Follow as many letters as possible with phone calls.
  24. Once calls start coming in, keep meticulous records to be certain nothing falls through the cracks. Review your records every few days to be sure you haven't missed anything. Microsoft Outlook and Google calendars work well. Give them a try.
  25. Continually reprioritize and devote time to only the most important people. As management expert Peter Drucker says, "Do first things first, and second things not at all."
  26. Spend as much time as you can talking on the phone or visiting with others. Letters are useful, but it's not wise to try to conduct an entire job-search through the mail. Real opportunities come in face-to-face meetings, because as theologian Martin Buber said, "All real living is meeting."
  27. Career transition is a complex process involving hundreds of steps. Consider hiring a career counselor or executive coach to guide you. A counselor can help you focus, add structure and expertise, serve as your campaign manager, and shorten your career transition by as much as 50%. A job search or career transition is like climbing Mt. Everest. You could climb Everest alone, but wouldn't you be better off with a guide?  
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William S. Frank, M.A.,
25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
  1. Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn't request outplacement in their severance package. They said, "I want Bill Frank."
  2. Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
  3. White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
  4. Pay. I can be paid to do things I'd gladly do for nothing.
  5. Variety. Every day is different.
  6. Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
  7. Talent. I'm using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
  8. Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you're a McDonald's franchisee, you don't say, "Hey, I've got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let's try it out today." In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
  9. Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
  10. FUN. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
  11. Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "My next one."
  12. Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, "Pack up your stuff . . . You don't work here anymore." In 29 years, I've only had one employer: ME.
  13. Travel. I don't have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it's both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
  14. Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There's seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
  15. Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
  16. Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
  17. Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
  18. Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I've done it all.
  19. Passive Income. I've developed several products that provide "mailbox money." I earn while I'm sleeping.
  20. Ethics. I've never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I've never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can't deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn't mean there's never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices.
  21. Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
  22. Purpose. I make a difference in peoples' lives every day. I see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
  23. Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
  24. Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
  25. Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but in a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.