Re-Networking to Keep Her Career on Track
Julie found that, although she was an HR recruiting professional, there were ‘no tricks of the trade’ to get her through “the nightmare landscape I was in for a while.” For many months she faced a bleak job market for recruiters, and admits that she was “in pretty down spirits” when she arrived at the Five O’Clock Club. “I was on the board of an association of professional recruiters,” she recalls, “and all six of us were either unemployed or had settled for positions outside our careers.”
I talked to people I hadn’t been in touch with for months, and that’s what led to getting the interviews that paid off.
Julie found the Seven Stories and the Forty-Year Vision helpful, because they “showed me that my career really fits me, and that I wanted to stay in it. And I became determined to use the skills I learned at the Five O’Clock Club to figure out where the jobs were and to eliminate the competition when the time came. I told myself, ‘I’m going to be prepared to be the candidate who gets the job.’”
Julie realized that she hadn’t been networking properly—she really hadn’t made it to Stage 1, i.e., keeping in touch with 6 — 10 networking contacts on an on-going basis. “The lecture on re-networking really made sense. I went back and talked to people I hadn’t been in touch with for three months or six months, and that’s what led to getting the interviews that paid off”—at a major media company. One of the VPs who had to sign off on hiring a new senior recruiter told her, “I’m going to recommend that they hire you.” “That told me I’d applied what I’d learned at the Five O’Clock Club. When I went into the interviews I addressed the problems I could help them solve. As a matter of fact, I got a lot of help from my small group. Some of them knew the company and helped me see the issues I should address.”
If you know you’re qualified for a job, send your resume by email, fax and hard copy. This increases the chances it will get noticed.
Julie also decided to take Five O’Clock Club guidance on resumes—sometimes a difficult step for HR professionals. “My new résumé was very different from what I’d used in the past. But moving to a ‘résumé of quantifiable achievements’ worked. It even helped after I got the job. When my new boss sent out an email announcing my arrival, he selected highlights from my résumé to help make the introduction.”
Julie recommends taking nothing for granted when trying to get your name in front of people. “If you know you’re qualified for a job, send your resume by email, fax and hard copy. This increases the chances it will get noticed. Sometimes emailed resumes are deleted or get parked in a database. Contact all the people you know who may be supportive, and email them your target lists. You’ll soon learn who wants to be helpful, and stick around those people!”
Julie’s group coach points out that she attended 9 sessions consecutively, and “she did everything religiously, applying all parts of the Five O’Clock Club methodology. She was a great contributor to the group—and when you enthusiastically help others in the group, it lifts your own spirits.”
Using Direct Contact to Change Careers
Larry went back to college to get a degree in computer science, the first step in moving out of his career in advertising. He gives a lot of credit to his group at the Five O’Clock Club for helping him hone and perfect his Two-Minute Pitch, which was a key as he intensified his networking campaign. He admits that networking didn’t yield many hot job leads, “but it helped me get the technology jargon down. The more I did it, the more I could speak to people in their own language.” Some of the meetings fell into place because he emailed his Two-Minute Pitch—without his résumé—to people at the managerial level.
I reached out to people I didn’t know and for whom I had no networking lead.
“I really had to stretch my networking,” Larry admits, which meant moving on to using direct contact, i.e., reaching out to people whom he didn’t know and for whom he had no networking lead. “I went back to the university, and began digging in the on-line alumni network. I found a couple of people in technology who were helpful, but who told me there wasn’t much going on.
I followed the templates in the books, and made a matrix illustrating what they were looking for and what I had to offer. I hand-delivered three letters to the people I’d met—and a thank-you note to my initial contact.
Then I found someone who worked for a major corporation in web development. I called him and said, ‘I don’t want a job, I just want to talk to you.’” They set up a Friday lunch, “and it turned out that they were looking for someone who had technology background plus experience in a creative advertising environment. He asked for my résumé.” On Monday Larry got a call to come in for “a meeting” on Tuesday. “Luckily,” he recalls, “I had read all the Five O’Clock Club books! It turned out to be a 2 ½ hour interview. I met with the Head of Project Management, the Head of Operations and Managing Director for the New York area.”
He was especially thankful for the Club advice about taking notes during interviews. He huddled with his group coach for help creating smart ‘influencing letters.’ “I followed the templates in the books, and made a matrix illustrating what they were looking for and what I had to offer. I hand-delivered three letters to the people I’d met—and a thank-you note to my initial contact.”
The offer he wanted came two weeks later, and in the meantime he kept networking and going on interviews. His group coach commented: “Larry found out that changing careers can be very discouraging, but he never gave up. While he has waiting for that offer, he kept the momentum going—in fact his attitude is what added to his appeal.” Larry was also glad that he listened to Five O’Clock Club advice on negotiating salary. “On the interviews I declined to talk about money. When the offer came it was more than I had been expecting—or would have asked for. I would have shot myself in the foot.” Larry attended six sessions.
Doing It By the Book—the ‘Cookbook’
Andrew admits that being employed made it rough to executive a career change. “I envied all the people at the Club who were unemployed—look at all the time they have!” But he also confesses that he had to go through an ‘attitude change’ before he could make much progress. For a long time, he attended the Club on an off-and-on basis, sometimes dropping out for months at a time. “I would call it career frustration. I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do. I was a software consultant and a frustrated ‘activist.’”
But, when the attitude shift happened, “he became the poster-child for networking,” according to Andrew’s group coach. To get ready for networking, Andrew finally did the Seven Stories and retooled his resume, and decided to follow the methodology step-by-step. “To me it was like using a cookbook. I highlighted sections of the books and just followed all of the directions.”
“I had personal sensitivity to making phone calls, but I had to get a business mentality about it: I’m offering them something, they’re offering me something. I was familiar with this as a software consultant—I just had to apply it to the job search. And I managed to get 4 — 6 things in the works sometimes, 5 — 8 things at other times. They do fall away through no fault of your own. When something doesn’t work, don’t take it personally.”
It was like using a cookbook. I highlighted sections of the books and just followed all the directions.
When Andrew found out about the opening that he eventually was hired for—at a major environmental not-for-profit, he submitted his résumé. “I used all the Five O’Clock Club techniques for interviewing and follow-up letters.” He was hired to work on a campaign to protect the New York watershed area from over-development. The frustrated activist had found his niche. “The watershed provides safe water for nine million people. It has worked for over a hundred years, but now it’s threatened.”
I developed a business mentality about making phone calls: I’m offering them something; they’re offering me something.
In addition to developing the right attitude, Andrews recommends finding a job-search buddy—one of the benefits, in fact, of being in a weekly group at the Five O’Clock Club. “I found an ‘action-partner.’ We called each other every two or three days, just to check in, compare notes, keep on track and stay motivated.”
Finding Support at the End of the Long Haul
“I got my job through the New York Times,” Ellen admits, echoing the popular ad campaign. The happy ending came after an agonizing year and a half out of work, and wasn’t as easy as the slogan makes it sound. Almost the hardest part, she admits, was the reaction of friends as the months dragged on: “You’re still out of work? How long has it been?”
Find a job-search buddy. It’s one of the benefits of the weekly Five O’Clock Club group.
But one friend suggested that she try the Five O’Clock Club. “So I joined the Club and bought the books—which are phenomenal. I felt knowledgeably about cover letters, interviewing and networking, but the Five O’Clock Club gives you good reinforcement to stay focused. One of the things I loved most about the Club was having a coach. Mine called every Sunday night to check in, to see what was going on and urge me to come to the Club the next night. She is very compassionate, very supportive. You need to be surrounded by supportive people, especially in such a tough job market.”
Ellen’s market is public relations, an industry especially hard hit in the New York area in the last few years. Out of work long before 9/11, that disaster only made matters worse. Although the job she finally landed—a public relations/media role in health—came through a newspaper ad, Ellen points out that nothing came from the many other ads she answered. And nothing at all from registering with agencies and headhunters.
One of the things I loved most about the Club was having a coach. Mine called every Sunday night to check in, to see what was going on and urge me to attend the Club the next night.
Hence she encourages job-hunters to network intensively. “Join alumni and professional associations, meet people at church or synagogue. You have to get out and tell people who you are—the more people who know you the better.” And being ‘connected’ can count for something on interviews as well. “Ellen is, in fact, very active in her own industry association,” her coach points out. “This was a very good selling point for the position she ultimately landed.”
Having discovered the Five O’Clock Club methodology after job-hunting for a long time, Ellen found that it provided an additional boost in confidence: “It’s encouraging to know you’re doing everything you possibly can—it will lead to the goal of getting a job.”
Ellen attended the Club for five sessions.
Consulting Leads to a New Job—in a Roundabout Way
At the end of her nine-month job search, Jody could tell that it had been a much different experience this time around. Downsized from her position with a major telecommunications firm shortly before 9/11, she found interviews were much harder to generate in the following months. “I had to do much much more networking, but I worked on my Two-Minute Pitch and practiced it on anyone who would listen. I went to conferences, association meetings, chamber of commerce meetings, lunches, parties—you name it, I was there. It felt very aggressive, but I got comfortable with it.”
I practiced my Two-Minute Pitch on anyone who would listen. I went to conferences, meetings, parties—you name it, I was there.
Jody also decided to try consulting as a ‘way in,’ although the assignment she accepted was not one that could work out long term, since it was a two hour commute from her home. But the assignment led to a new job nonetheless, because she was so highly regarded by her temporary employers that they forwarded her résumé to a recruiter. “I’d been meaning to register with him,” Jody admits, “but hadn’t gotten around to it.”
The recruiter got her an interview at a major money center bank—actually four interviews in one day. “They said they were in a hurry,” and she was hired to do statistical and competitive analysis in one of the small business divisions. Not without some follow-up, however, despite the company being ‘in a hurry.’ “About a week and a half later I was on the corporate website and discovered some errors. I called the hiring manager and told him. Anything you can do that is proactive can give you the edge. Everyone else is sitting back waiting—so don’t sit back waiting.”
“This was my second search with the Five O’Clock Club,” Jody points out. “The Club gives you lots of insights and good results.” She attended the Club for 14 sessions.