Everyone involved with sales is familiar with prospecting, which is the activity that finds someone to talk to. Most sales people know exactly how many people they need to contact to obtain an appointment, and how many people they need to see in person to make a sale. Few, if any, get an appointment every time they try, or close the sale every time they make a presentation. The basic three-part rule for professional sales people is, you must talk to enough people, they have to be the right kind of people, and you have to tell them your story. All three of the actions must happen to ensure success. They are the keys to success in sales.
Drumming Up Interviews
You have to get interviews to find a job, so let's concentrate on obtaining an interview? If you agree with the principle that your services are a product and the product is for sale, then you will probably agree to use some methods successful sales people use to find and obtain interviews. Understand that you are going to have to follow up on a lot of leads in order to get each interview. You probably won't be successful every time you try.
You need to use all of the sources you can develop and rely on no single source (such as the newspaper) to find leads. Keep the three-part rule in mind throughout the job search and apply it every day. Unfortunately, you won't know how many people (leads) you have to contact in order to get an interview, so you have to go after a lot of them to increase your chances.
In drumming up interviews, you've got to realize there are only three ways to let people know you want a job: you can call them on the phone, you can talk to them in person, or you can send them a letter. There are no other ways. Forget about hiring a skywriter, forget the blimp idea, forget the idea of plastering your name and qualifications on the backs of matchbooks.
To search for employment, then, you've got to make telephone calls, make personal visits, and send out letters. Nothing else works. It sounds so obvious, yet many people believe job searching involves some highly complex mechanism, some sort of out-of-this-world experience. It doesn't. It involves calling people, visiting people, and sending letters to people.
Drumming Up Leads
Here are some suggestions to uncover some leads so that you can make telephone calls, make personal visits, and send out letters. You will note that some of your best leads will come from some of the same publications and sources that you used for research.
The Sunday newspaper from the major metropolitan area where you plan on settling will be your major source of leads. Unfortunately, it is also the major source for a lot of other job seekers. Although you will find some great opportunities, the competition will be stiff. Remember, a good-sized help-wanted ad in a major paper could produce as many as 1,000 responses for the position. And as discussed, not more than 10 percent of the respondents, and maybe as few as 1 percent, will get interviews. Because of these statistics, many job-search experts denigrate the classifieds and even encourage job seekers to ignore the news paper. However, why do you think companies spend thousands of dollars on classified advertising? They're spending it to generate their own leads to finding employees, their leads to finding you. So figure it this way; you have as good a chance as everyone else to be called, so don't neglect this source.
National publications such as trade journals and the National Business Employment Weekly (NBEW) offer lots of advertisements for specifically qualified people and are a great source if you are willing to move to accept employment. The NBEW generally carries advertisements for positions above the $35,000 per year bracket. Again, these publications enjoy a wide reader ship, so there will be many people responding to the same ads.
Search for articles written by people in your industry. Write to the author and praise the quality of the article. People love praise. It makes them feel you are an excellent judge of character.
Tell the writer your situation concerning leaving the service and your job search. Send your resume and ask for advice on your marketing plan. That will get your resume into the hands of a corporate executive. A friend of ours recently noted an article in the local paper about the goals of a new city manager. He responded to the article by writing to the manager directly and congratulating him on his plans for his tenure in office. He also explained that he had recently left the service and thought he could bring much in the way of training and experience to the manager's administration. Significantly, he stressed that he shared the views of the city manager. The letter was referred to the city personnel department, which wrote back and requested a resume for an upcoming position vacancy.
Getting an Address List
Use the target list you developed from your library research in directories and trade publications. Many of these directories will have the names of executive officers.
You should, of course, write to employment managers. Watch for the titles vice president of personnel or vice president of human resources. If you know the exact kind of position you seek, you should also write the executive in your field. If you want an advertising job, write to the vice president of public relations or of marketing. If you want a sales position, locate the executive whose title reveals a direct interest in sales. The same holds for computer positions, editorial positions, or any other job: try to identify the person who might end up being your ultimate boss. If you can identify both the recruiter and the ultimate boss, include both on your address list. Send a separate letter to each. If you cannot identify a person, you're stuck with addressing your letters to the personnel office and using the salutation, "Dear Sir or Madam."
Doing What Everybody Else Doesn't Do
Finally, to become an expert prospector, it's a good idea to realize that thousands of other people are prospecting too, looking for the same gold, in the same territory, using the same techniques.
Scads of other people are sending out resumes (lousy ones, you hope) and preprinted run-of-the-mill cover letters. Your job is to be different, to do what everybody else does not do.
Everybody else sends boring cover letters, so you send a letter of transmittal. Everybody else has professionally written resumes, so you write your own or play a large role in its creation. Everybody else sends letters in a business envelope, so you use a nine-by-twelve envelope so that your letter and resume arrive unfolded. Everybody else uses regular postage stamps, so you get a supply of commemorative stamps. Everybody else just responds to classified ads, so you respond to classified ads, launch a direct mail campaign, write letters to the authors of articles, call up old friends in your newly discovered network, read professional or trade journals, make telephone calls, and make personal visits.
Figure out what everybody else doesn't do, and then do that. Indeed, that's the way to succeed in almost everything you do.
Sources of Job Search
- Tips to Help You Market Yourself in Your Career
- Planning Initial Steps of Your Job Search
- On Speculative Applications
- Packaging for Success in Jobs for Mid-Career Changers
- Answering Employment Ads
- Follow These General Tips to Prepare Well for the Interview!
- What You Should Not Say in Your Sales Letter
- Approaching Jobs in the Visible Market
- Some Tips on Writing Good Thank-You Notes
- Improve Your Chances of Getting a Job