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The One-Week Job Search

Want to find your next job in just one week? If you're willing to plow through the most unpleasant job search tasks in that time, you'll be able to. What's more, you'll maximize your chances of getting multiple offers at once, so you'll be able to pick the job that offers the best combination of interesting work, sound learning opportunities, reasonable compensation and a good manager.

Here's the schedule:

Monday
  • Write your resume: Incorporate two or three brief PAR stories: a Problem you faced, the intelligent way you Approached it and its positive Resolution. Get feedback on the draft from people you know in your target field.
  • Craft your elevator pitches: Each one must explain why you're looking for a job, what you're looking for and prove that you're good. Here's an example of a 10-second pitch: "The company downsized, so I'm looking for another CPA position. I never thought I'd be looking for a job -- I've always gotten great evaluations, but that's the way it goes." In the 30 and 60-second pitches, say more about the kind of job you want and provide credible evidence of your competence.
Tuesday
  • Identify 25 employers you'd like to work for: Focus on small, growing companies in your target industry within a reasonable commuting distance. Look on major employment sites like Monster for companies you've never heard of with multiple job listings. These are usually small companies in growth mode.
  • Email or phone the 25 people in your network most likely to help you get a job: Give your 10 or 30-second pitch and ask, "Do you know someone at any of these 25 companies, or elsewhere for that matter?" If appropriate, ask if your contact would review your resume and cover letter or do a mock interview with you.
Wednesday
  • Follow up on the leads from your networking that are not among the 25 employers you've targeted: Deliver your 30-second pitch enthusiastically. After that, listen more than talk. Ask questions about the employer's needs. If you have an idea, propose it tactfully. For example, "Listening to you, it would seem that I could help you by doing X. What do you think?" If it would impress the interviewer, tell one or two of your PAR stories.
  • Visit each of the 25 employers' Web sites: Apply for any on-target jobs. Start your cover letter by mentioning your referrer, if any. Then explain, point by point, how you meet the requirements in the listing. Your goal is to apply for 10 openly advertised on-target jobs by the end of the week.
Thursday, Friday and (If Needed) Saturday
  • If there are no jobs to apply for on those 25 employers' Web sites, send the CEO a brief email: Here's an example:

    "I'm a good operations manager who's just been part of a downsizing at BigWhup Widget. I'm attracted to your company because I have experience in your industry, liked what I saw on your Web site (insert a specific) and, I must admit, because I live just 10 minutes away. I'm attaching my resume. I'd welcome the opportunity to speak with you or a designee to see if and how I might be of help to you."
If, within a week, you haven't heard from the people you've contacted, follow up. Leave voice mail if necessary, saying, "I'm the manager from BigWhup Widget who was just
part of a downsizing and phoned you. I'm assuming that, not having heard from you, you're too busy to respond. I can understand. But I know that sometimes things can fall between the cracks, so I'm taking the liberty of calling to follow up. If you or one of your managers is interested in talking with me or can offer advice as to where I should turn, I'd appreciate a call. My phone number is (repeat the number twice). Thank you."

You won't hear back from most people you contact, but you'll get at least one bite, most likely from an employer who has been thinking about hiring but hasn't gotten around to it yet. Sometimes, an employer will find it easier to vet you, make you an offer and be done with it. If that's the case, the time and effort you will have invested in your one-week job search will have paid big dividends.

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