A couple of weeks ago I attended an awesome presentation delivered by Bob Burg, the author of Endless Referrals, The Go Giver, and several other mindful books on learning not only successful sales skills but also how to be a business professional that others deem full of character and integrity. What I have discovered and love about Bob’s books and his presentation is that his message also works perfectly for job seekers.
Why? Because job seekers are acting as sales agents but instead of selling a product they are selling their own skills, experience and unique values they can bring to an employer. One of the many valuable points Bob made in his four-hour seminar at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan was that you can not make up other people’s minds for them. The decision ultimately is theirs. What you can do is provide exceptional information, examples and reasons why you are the right choice.
Employers and recruiters will not know you are the right choice unless you tell them. It is your responsibility as the job seeker (whether you want that responsibility or not) to get noticed by the right contacts. Sometimes that can be tricky. You have to be creative and relentless, especially in today’s economy, but if you put a plan into action it will be much easier to stay focused. Targeted contacts will get to know you not through a job board but through networking communities both on and off line and through the contacts you know and use as your trumpeters.
One way to stay motivated is to have a written set of networking and job search goals that you keep close and look at often. Keep the set of goals in your purse, briefcase, on your computer desk top or phone. Do whatever you can to keep moving forward towards accomplishing the goals.
What can you do to influence the decision makers? Give them what they want! To do this you will need to find out what they want. During Bob Burg’s seminar he advised (as he does in his books too) that if you want to develop strong referrals you must listen not talk to get noticed. With job seekers, listening involves reading articles, websites, blogs, and profiles of those that work at the company you’ve targeted. Find the influencers in the company and hang out where they do, find out what they need and are looking for and then figure out how you can be their solution.
Once you know what your target companies are looking for you can once again set goals to network with employees, recruiters and hiring manager affiliated with those companies. By participating in discussions, articles, or tweets that address and generate answers to their problems you can promote your value. Establishing common ground such as discussions within networking groups is a great way to break the ice and build a connection with contacts that can provide potential for opportunity. Even if nothing comes from the communications with the new contact you will have befriended someone in your arena – a relationship worth nurturing and maintaining.