One of any career coach’s biggest satisfactions has to be that moment when a client not only lands a new job, but makes a major breakthrough in his or her job search. In working with clients privately, and in running weekly small groups strategy sessions at The Five O’Clock Club, I know that job hunters work at their own speed with their own very unique style. However, as coaches, our job is to make sure that speed does not mean “I’ll get to it when I can,” or that style translates into “I’ll post my resume on some of the big job boards and take my chances.” We want to make sure that our clients and members are not just speaking the language of the 5OCC methodology but actually following it. With that in mind, I want to share the stories of two Five O’Clock Club members who reached what I call that ‘Ah Ha’ moment in their job searches.
One member we’ll call Charlie. When Charlie first joined the 5OCC a few years ago he regularly attended the weekly meetings where he was a very active participant, and quickly became adept at delivering his Two-Minute Pitch where he positioned himself as an Information Technology (IT) professional with an interest in the healthcare industry. He was also great at helping other members in his small group overcome a number of obstacles in their respective searches. However, Charlie could not overcome his own biggest obstacle, which was spending numerous hours on his computer answering ads with little to no results. Of course, this is no surprise since we at the 5OCC know that less than 10% of job hunters get jobs this way.
After weeks of prodding by his coach and the members of his small group, Charlie put together a marketing plan so he could begin a more productive job search by directly contacting organizations within his target areas. He attended one of our weekly small-groups strategy sessions with an absolute “slam dunk” marketing plan, including a listing of several healthcare and other targeted organizations. His marketing plan also included a profile positioning him as an IT professional with an expertise in web design, and a listing of all the attributes and responsibilities of his ideal job. And Charlie did not stop there. He also sent out an e-mail to his Stage 1 contacts (those he closely associated with on an ongoing basis) with his marketing plan attached, and instructed his contacts that their role was to help him reach a Stage 2 contact (someone who works for a company on his marketing plan) so he can reach out to those individuals directly.
Charlie’s efforts turned his dormant job search into an active one where, through his networking and direct contact efforts, he was able to generate a number of informational meetings which led to his landing a position as a web designer in a major healthcare facility. Charlie’s sudden awakening to the value of having plan, and actually following our methodology, was one of those ‘Ah Ha’ moments for himself, for me and for everyone in his small group. And his sudden “transformation” did not stop there. Charlie continued to keep in touch with his small group members once in his new job and would always be sending a timely article or two on the importance of networking, attending professional association meetings (one in which he is actively involved), and given his background in IT, some timely tips on the effective use of LinkedIn and other social networking sites as they relate to job search.
A more recent example of that sudden breakthrough came from one of our current branch members whom I will call Tony. Despite having a substantial network of Stage 1 contacts Tony also could not break the habit of spending numerous hours on the Internet answering adsfor accounting related positions, an area in which he has worked at the controller and senior accounting levels. He also was relying heavily on search firms to identify possible positions for him, but like the ads, he had little success in landing interviews using this approach. Again, Tony has been a valued member of his small group and offers other members good advice on how to overcome certain obstacles in their respective searches, but he just could not wean himself away from answering ads. But like Charlie, after weeks of prodding by his coach and small group members, and finally recognizing the futile benefits of answering ads and working with search firms, Tony put together his own marketing plan.
All it took for Tony to turn his search around was a full day at the Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL) in New York City to come up with more than two hundred companies within his targeted area of financial services. When he actually shared his plan with me, and how he broke down the companies he was interested in contacting, I was blown away by the detail and strategic thinking that all of a sudden went into his search. Now, with a solid marketing plan in hand (just like Charlie), he can share his targets with his Stage 1 contacts to start generating more informational meetings, as well as come up with a direct and targeted mail campaign to increase his overall momentum. Not only an ‘Ah Ha’ moment for me, but also one for Tony!
For other 5OCC members it may not be the marketing plan which is the turning point for them. For some it might be making adjustments to their Two-Minute Pitch, developing new targets when the old ones no longer work, or developing a relationship with a Job Search Buddy to nudge them along when they begin to lose momentum. But for Charlie and Tony, once they committed to the 5OCC methodology, put together a plan, and shared that plan with others, they were able to make the breakthrough that gave them the momentum to move their searches to the next level. And like Charlie and Tony we know that job hunters are each unique in their own approach to their job search. Many of our members are quick to grasp the methodology and generate a lot of activity in a short period of time. However, for others, mastering the methodology is not as quick, and some breakthroughs come later than sooner. But when they do, that ‘Ah Ha’ moment is the sweetest.