November 26, 2012


When I received my degree in human resources in 2007, our graduation speaker told us we ought to plan on three or four jobs in our careers. When my friend graduated from college just a few years ago, his graduation speaker predicted that they ought to plan on three or four different careers in their work lives. Today, the average person changes jobs every three years. Job change is one of the less desirable tasks we must perform in life, right up there with a root canal, for many. Why? We don’t like rejection. We don’t like to be judged. And as if we only played golf once every three years or so we wouldn’t be too good at it, so if we go through the job seeking task every three years or so, we probably are not going to be comfortable with our skills.

There are lots of resources to help in networking, sending resumes, and interview preparation. Let’s discuss here how to do all that in half the time.

First, if you were out of work tomorrow, voluntarily or by choice, how long would you estimate it would take you to secure your next employment? We never know for sure, but it is important to form an educated guess so that we know what we are up against. To find out, talk with 5-10 people who have recently gone through the same type of job search you are about to do. Ask them how long it took to secure their new positions. You will quickly get a sense of an average length of time it is likely to take. Let’s assume that for your objective, in your industry, at your skill level, and desired geography, it takes about 90 days to successfully complete the new employment campaign. Certainly you may beat those averages or maybe take considerably longer, but it is useful to know a range of probability.

Next, analyze the three building blocks for getting a new job. It starts with resumes, targeted to specific recipients. This leads to interviews done well. Get enough good interviews completed and you will receive offers.

Let’s assume you would like to have three offers to consider. How many interviews does it take, in your area, to get one offer? Few really know. How do you find out? Talk with 5-10 people who have recently secured the type of job you want and ask how many interviews they conducted and how many offers resulted. Talk with hiring authorities for your type of position and ask how many interviews do they typically conduct to generate one offer. Let’s assume you have ascertained that it takes, on average, five interviews to get one job offer. If your goal is three job offers, you need to create fifteen interviews.

How many resumes does it take, on average, to generate one interview at your job objective level? Don’t know? Most don’t. How do you find out? Ask. Who? Talk with 5-10 people who have recently secured the type of job you want and ask how many resumes they had to send out to secure one interview. Talk with hiring authorities for your type of position and ask how many resumes do they typically generate for your type of job and how many interviews do they extend? Let’s assume you have ascertained that it requires ten resumes to generate one interview. If your goal in fifteen interviews, you need to send out 150 resumes during your campaign.

Why go through all this? Job-hunting is a sales operation. Like good sales people you need to know your “numbers.” If you don’t know your numbers, the temptation is to “work hard,” in the blind, not really knowing how far along you truly are on the path to that new position. And when you just don’t know, it builds in stress, fatigue and fosters discouragement.

Now having determined that it takes, on average, three months to complete the job search campaign, knowing that you need to circulate 150 well placed resumes, you now have a monthly goal of 50 resumes or approximately two per business day. So what’s your goal tomorrow? Get out two targeted resumes. Does that get the new job for you? No. But when you go to bed tomorrow night, you know you have taken the right first step on this journey. A week later, you have sent out ten resumes, received three rejection letters, and no interviews. Are you discouraged? No, you’re on target. You’re developing the quantity to get to the quality. You understand your numbers.

So, how do you get a job in half the time? Double the daily output of targeted resumes sent from two per day to four per day. You will “expose” yourself in the quantity necessary in half the time and increase the probability of getting the required quantity of interviews and resulting job offers in significantly less time.

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