Five O’Clock Club Success Stories
The Successful Job Hunters’ Report
Five O’Clock Clubbers Tell You How They Did It
Listening to our successful job hunters tell their stories of triumph, it is amazing how each story seems to build on the other. The same kinds of issues take on a different complexion each time, showing how personal and unique the process is.
Some elements seem to be essential: One said doing the Seven Stories Exercise yielded a better resume; another, that the Forty-Year Plan helped to provide direction; still another, that doing this self-assessment improved his interview skills!
Another thing that comes through strongly in this group of successful job hunters: Their goal was not just to get a job–but to get the job that was best for them at the time. That first job offer is not necessarily a call to be answered. More often it’s the beginning of a whole new process.
The Card Trick
George was active and productive throughout his job search. His letter-writing campaign yielded leads in six to eight weeks, and he remained active in professional organizations.
Networking was key to George’s success. He devised a system he called his “card trick,” which helped his network to help him effectively. First, he identified as many potential employers as he could. He was looking for investment management firms that had a certain style and size. Taking the Five O’Clock Club’s Personal Marketing Plan one step further, George typed the names of these companies in large print on 3 x 5 cards. When he approached friends in his network, he would show them the cards and ask three questions: Which ones do you think I would fit in at, and why? Which ones would I not fit in at, and why? Do you know anyone I could talk to at these companies?
The same company names kept coming up, so George pursued them with confidence. George now works in equity and investment research.
George attended five sessions.
Making a Career Change Using All Four Techniques
Midge, a career changer, had worked in the oil industry “forever” and was ready for a change. Midge tapped all four methods of getting interviews: ads, executive recruiters, direct contact and networking. Her advice? “Expect the unexpected, be disciplined and make sure you have lots of energy!”
Midge took a job making less money but that offered her new experience in a new industry, and that was exactly what she wanted. “Midge took the job that positioned her best for the long term,” Kate says.
Midge attended seven sessions.
Unreturned Phone Calls: They’re Not Personal
Marian loved the self-assessment exercises. “They forced me to be brutally honest with myself, and that helped me define where I really wanted to go.” Marian didn’t lack direction for long. She took seriously the Five O’Clock Club advice to treat her job search like a job. Marian also appreciated learning search and salary negotiation techniques.
“I was really persistent, and I learned that I don’t need to take things personally, like when you call somebody and they don’t call you back.” Marian called about a sales job at least 10 times. When the rep finally returned her call, he told her he thought her persistence was great. Marian now has a marketing position in the wireless communications industry.
Marian attended 11 sessions.
Her Counselor Helped Her to Turn Down Offers
Anne was a “serious networker”–and that’s how she got her job. The self-assessment exercises helped her to target both the industry and professions she wanted. The hard part came when the offers started coming in.
“My counselor helped guide me through this, because I really wanted a job, but I wanted the right job.” Her counselor helped her to know when to say “no” to a particular job offer. She held out and got the right job four weeks later.
Anne attended five sessions.
Research Was the Key to His Successful Landing
David, now the Chief Financial Officer of a startup organization in the new electronic media, targeted this industry like a bull’s eye. He knew exactly what he wanted, and he got his job by networking.
When the interview he wanted came through, David put off the meeting for three days so he could do research at the library. “I checked out their website and got lots of information.” David went into the interview prepared and, of course, got the job.
David attended eight sessions.
She Got Most of Her Five Offers
by Contacting Companies Directly
Theresa’s job was relocating, and she didn’t want to go. “I started an internal job search but couldn’t get a job without having to move.” She turned to the Five O’Clock Club. “I read all the books–I did everything to a T.” And she got five job offers in six weeks.
Theresa did a targeted mailing to 10 companies, and three wrote back! She credits Kate with teaching her the art of negotiation. Theresa hung through all the job offers and was in a great position to negotiate. It took perseverance.
“Once you start talking to all these companies, you do get a better sense of yourself and of what you want. You understand yourself better and come to feel what the right place is for you,” she says.
Theresa attended eight sessions.
A Step Down to Step Ahead
Lorraine, an attorney who wanted to get into the entertainment industry, describes her four-week job search as a “long, arduous process.” Actually, four weeks is not that long, but it was a difficult transition because Lisa wanted to make a complete industry change. Lorraine attended seminars and is now an independent film producer and distributor.
“I won’t get rich doing this, but it’s the right thing for me.”
Lorraine attended four sessions.
The Two-Step Career Change Method
Sometimes a drastic career change needs to be made in two steps. “I worked in the tax department of a bank for six years and really wanted to get into entertainment, but I took a marketing job, just so I wouldn’t be cast into a bank mold.”
A Five O’Clock Clubber told Bart about someone he should call. The person took months to call him back. Before going on the second interview, Bart was told how to kill off his competition. During the meeting, the two men discovered that they shared an interest in drumming. After the meeting, Bart went out and purchased a four-CD collection on drumming. The interviewer really liked Bart and thanked him for the CD collection, but he didn’t have a job for him.
Bart had been searching for a while and felt that he needed a break. He decided to go to Mexico for a convention of people in the field in which he was interested. On the plane, who did he meet? The interviewer, who happened to be going to the same convention! Serendipity sometimes takes a hand, but this was almost like destiny! Of course, a position opened up for him.
Bart attended six sessions.
Senior-Level Person Says: “Don’t Skip a Step!”
Karen advises following all the steps–don’t skip anything! Karen scrupulously did the Seven Stories and other self-assessment exercises, and she found that they helped her create a better resume.
Job offers will evaporate through no fault of your own, Karen learned the hard way, so it is important to keep six to 10 things in the works. One of the 10 could be a consulting assignment, Karen advises, and they often lead to permanent jobs.
Karen is happily working as president of a publishing company in the area of children’s books.
Karen attended five sessions.
Sharpen Negotiating Skills Through Consulting
Barbara says that one thing she likes about consulting is “it teaches you how to negotiate, not just what you’re doing but also the conditions and the money.”
When Barbara was approached about a particular assignment, she did not know what it was worth. She did know what a lower-level assignment would earn, so she had a sense of the low end. She tried simply doubling the rate she had charged (another client) just the previous month. Her new client accepted her rate.
“I’ve also learned that if you get to negotiate the rate you also get to negotiate what you do.” Barbara has successfully negotiated training at the client’s expense and even her work hours. “I also asked up front, how long would it be before I’d know if this would work out permanently. This way I don’t walk away dreaming.”
Barbara attended 18 sessions.
Note From Kate:
These stories are all hopeful and upbeat — as were the people when they presented them. If you are not feeling so hopeful at the moment, you may like to know that many of these people were discouraged when they arrived at the Club. Some had already been unemployed up to a full year. By the third week of following the system, they started to feel like they were on the right track.
Other job hunters spent a longer time in their search than the ones we have reported on here. This report is simply from those successful job hunters who happened to report during a certain time frame. In other reports, we have job hunters who have had long searches.
By the way, at the Club the group members love to hear the successful job hunters’ report. When a number of searches in a row have been short, the group gets discouraged because they feel like they will not be able to match the speed of those searches. However, when the searches have been long–the group still gets discouraged because they are afraid that their search will be just like that! Regardless of the story, the successful job hunters’ reports is the highlight of the evening. That’s why we bring those stories to you here.
The Job Hunters Report
Listening to the reports our successful job hunters give
is not only inspiring (and fun), but it is also instructional, which speaks to another strength of the Five O’Clock Club approach: its flexibility. Most of our searchers do end up doing the same things, for example, reading the books, using many techniques to get interviews, and researching until librarians get testy.
Along the way, however, each search takes on its own energy and style. Some find that something pragmatic is the key, like research; others, that forgiveness–of others and themselves–helps to energize their search. Still others set goals: Strive for one contact a day. The techno-savvy advise: Do not go on an interview until you have checked out a company’s website. You will get lots of information that just may set you apart from your competition.
Networking and Interim Work
Cathy was laid off after working with the same company for 19 years. Before she took on a full-time job again, she needed a way to find out about values and fit as well as to earn money. Cathy found that getting an interim job was the way to go.
“Working temp gave me more leverage in negotiating, and right away I got a mentor, which is important in a large firm. Before getting my job, I networked with everybody, including the doorman of my building and my older brother’s college roommates.”
It worked; Cathy credits her networking strategy with getting her the job.
“You’ve got to recognize that you’re the only one who’s going to find yourself a job. If you lower your expectations of just how much others are going to help you, then you will be grateful when they do, not resentful when they don’t. Allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the kindness of other people. And take it one week at a time.
“Don’t be put off about calling people you’ve gotten out of touch with. Hey, they didn’t call you either! And never talk to anyone when you’re not feeling fantastic about yourself. It will come through in your voice.”
Charlie worked 10 years in advertising when he decided he didn’t like butting up against the glass ceiling anymore. He wanted to get out of advertising but this time kept butting up against something else: the fears of people who thought he could not do anything but advertising.
“I met wonderful people who liked me and who seemed to want to hire me. But at the eleventh hour they would say, ‘You’ve never done this before!’
“I consulted with my Five O’Clock Club coach who advised me to present myself differently.”
To try out his new career, and prove that he could apply his skills and experience to another industry, Charlie started doing part-time consulting work. He got a plum assignment with a major magazine–and at the same time impressed the people in his network who had been too timid to hire him before.
“I’m keeping in touch, keeping the network going,” Charlie says. So far, his strategy is working out perfectly.
The Two-Minute Pitch Is Key
Check out Harry’s four-point plan for job-hunting success:
- Watch your attitude. “My Five O’Clock Club coach helped me when I was down.”
- Read the books!
- Master your Two-Minute Pitch. “My search hit gear when I knew exactly how I wanted to position myself. This is key, because once you have mastered your pitch you have a certain confidence, you know what you’re about, you understand yourself–and that comes across to others.”
Outshine Your Competition
Phil, a regional sales manager for a publishing firm, was terminated after working with the same company for 17 years. However, Phil did his homework.
He made 60 phone calls–one of which led to the job he has today–national sales manager.
Phil advises, “Keep up all your contacts. Develop a letter-writing campaign. I sent out pre-approach letters, then I made calls, then I sent follow-up letters. I followed these with outshine letter 1 and outshine letter 2.
Phil also planned his week carefully. “Make sure every day is accounted for. You need to treat looking for a job like a job because it is a job.”
Look through the summer and the holidays, Phil says. “One reason I got a job so fast is that I was looking and other people weren’t.”
Make your calls and be prepared for them, and be sure to have all the information you need. Finally, Phil says, outshine your competition.
The Job Hunters Report
If one word could describe the thread that seems woven through each of the reports below, it is persistence.
In the face of “impossible” odds, ignorance, even downright rejection, these job hunters and consultants kept pushing. As you read these reports, you will see that each problem was brought down by the job hunter who would not give up. Kate noted that one job hunter, when asked, “Do you have [this experience]?”, never said “no,” but countered with “I have done ____
Another persistent job hunter got her position almost by accident. She did not make the final cut of applicants and, curious, called the firm to find out why. They were impressed with her follow-through and responded by admitting they had not actually filled the position yet. They invited her back for another interview. Today, she is working for them.
The process is the same whether you want to be on payroll, pick up a few consulting assignments while you continue to look for an on-payroll job, or start your own consulting business.
An Organized, Methodical Search for Assignments
Brian combined letter writing and direct contact to create the synergy that helped him land big clients and launch his own business. “I networked like crazy and started getting clients 1-2-3,” Brian says.
“The exciting part about job searching is that you get to acquire new skills and really reinvent yourself if you want.” That’s precisely what Brian did–now he gets to flex the entrepreneurial skills that he felt were trapped and lost in his previous jobs.
“During my search, I would get these fantastic ideas that I’d write down and mail out. The responses I got to those letters were what got me in to see hiring managers.” Brian feels that his letter writing and networking worked together to empower his search.
The support of Five O’Clock Club members was also important to Brian, as was having clear targets and an organized, methodical search. “I also played ‘hard to get’ a little. With six to 10 things in the works, I started getting busy and I was able to say that. That’s when two of my clients came my way. So playing hard to get worked for me.”
Brian attended 10 sessions
Sharpen Negotiating Skills Through Consulting
Susan says that one thing she likes about consulting is “it teaches you how to negotiate, not just what you’re doing but also the conditions and the money.”
When Susan was approached about a particular assignment, she did not know what it was worth. She did know what a lower-level assignment could earn, so she had a sense of the low end. She tried simply doubling the rate she had charged another client just the previous month. Her new client accepted her rate.
“I’ve also learned that if you get to negotiate the rate you also get to negotiate what you do.” Susan has successfully negotiated training at the client’s expense and even her work hours. “I also asked up front, how long it would take be before I’d know if this could work out permanently. This way I don’t walk away dreaming.”
Mastered Every Step of the Process
Veronica, who had worked in exotic places like Taiwan and Costa Rica, came to the Five O’Clock Club–after being out of work for eight months. But after only four sessions, Veronica landed a great job with a major nonprofit.
Here’s her success strategy:
- Treat every interview as a precious jewel, and be “perky.”
- Be prepared for everything:
- To go the distance. “I had a two-and-one-half-hour interview once!”
- To answer questions. “Study the questions in Job-Search Secrets.“
- To ask questions. “Have ready the questions that you want to ask.”
- Check out the company’s website. “I got a lot of information about the company and even learned the names and titles of people I’d be working with.”
- “Your Two-Minute Pitch is essential. Practice doing it in five minutes and in 30 seconds.”
- “If you’re handed lemon make lemonade. They wanted to hire me and they talked about giving me Nebraska as a territory. I shuddered because I don’t even know where Nebraska is. Give me Zambia or Taiwan–but Nebraska ?! But I smiled and did a little research on Nebraska, and when they hired me they gave me Florida.”
“The negotiation process was intense. Be sure to read the books. To ease that part of the process, you may want to meet privately with a coach.”
Veronica attended four sessions.