One of the more depressing aspects of the job search process is the feeling that you aren’t making any progress.
You are even worse off than a salesman selling big ticket items. While a salesman selling planes or expensive yachts may only make 5-10 sales in a year, YOU can only make one sale. And, if you haven’t made that one sale, you can easily feel like a failure.
Let’s be clear, this is a terrible job market. Posted jobs have disappeared for many reasons. With the economic uncertainty we face, folks who are currently working are staying put eliminating what might be considered normal churn in the market.
The search community has also been hard hit by this downturn and I understand that as many as 80% of those doing search have left the business in the past several years eliminating a reliable source of postings for our newsletter. Although the creation of new jobs hasn’t stopped, they are being filled through networking and the new tool of choice for corporate recruiters, LinkedIn, often without really being posted. And as far as the major posting boards are concerned, it is unfortunate, but I can’t think of more than a very small number of folks who have ever gotten jobs from them.
So, if you can’t count the number of ads you answered on a particular day as your “score,” what exactly can you keep track of that will give you some comfort you are on the right track?
Over the years I have been involved with several organizations that engaged in personal selling and the primary activity to be measured (second only to actual closed sales) was call counts. It was argued by one of the sales managers I came to respect that if you made 20 calls a day, no matter how bad a salesperson you might be from a skill perspective, you were almost guaranteed to make your quota.
So, what are the “call counts” appropriate to a job search?
Let’s start with emails sent out to “qualified prospects.” Building up your inventory of individuals you should contact is the first step, and I would offer as a resource our very own Member Directory Search feature. Have you honestly researched and tried to track down all of the folks you have ever known who have worked at all of the firms you ever worked for? Old friends are the best, and they are always delighted to hear from you, and to help. Next on your list should be research of firms from your industry. Who knows, you might have met some of the folks from our membership at industry meetings. It is a small world.
You are also welcome to create a list of “strangers” from our membership directory. Strangers by the way are only friends you haven’t met yet.
I am not suggesting you send out mass mail. Mass mailing is forbidden in The FENG in any case. No, what you need to do is research each potential contact and come up with a “hook” you can use when you write to them. Of course, the greater portion of your outgoing messages will be boilerplate of sorts, but for any of your communications to count, you must personalize them so they don’t look like boilerplate.
Telephone work also counts, even if all you get to do is leave a message. Hopefully they will call back. Of course, we can’t give you as many “points” as you get for actual completed communications, but a call is a call.
In person meetings, of course, you should give a higher point value. Face to face meetings are they only way to actually get great additional networking contacts. By the way, thank you notes should also be given a value in your “call counts.”
Anything measured gets better. Set up a spreadsheet and keep track of your accomplishments. (I assume you know how to set up a spreadsheet.)
You will soon be able to step back after the end of every day or each week and sense your progress. In addition, by measuring your activities you be better able to keep your sense of pride about all you have accomplished.
Anyone who would like to share with their fellow members how they track their search activities should send a note to Leads@TheFENG.org and Leslie will publish them in our Notes from Members section.