This article shares a real-life job search success story with permission from one of our interview Doctor clients.
Nancy came to me for job search coaching after being laid off as a Procurement Director from W.W. Grainger, a huge MRO distribution company. She had a diverse background in procurement, marketing, supply chain and business development in several companies giving her flexibility in her next career step.
She was pleased with her job search materials including her resume. Nancy’s LinkedIn profile was already in good shape. She wanted help with the job search process itself. She was coming off of 2 years with Grainger after spending almost ten years with her previous employer. She networks actively including speaking at conferences.
Nancy was most concerned that she make the right choice in this next assignment. We jumped right into it! Together, we created a job search marketing plan that looked like this:
Start with the end in mind. What do you want? Nancy decided she wanted a stable company where she could combine her expertise to help an organization grow.
Create a Job Search Plan to get you there. Nancy identified the answers to these questions:
- What companies are in a position to hire someone like her? What are the industries that make sense, the size she preferred with the culture she preferred? We created a list of those companies.
- What tools did she need to support her goal? Nancy had a great resume and LinkedIn profile. There were a few things we could improve in LinkedIn – there always are, she needed business cards supporting her personal brand and maybe some marketing pieces like handouts, examples of her work or point of view that she might use to illustrate a point.
- Who to talk to, who do you know, who knows people you know? Nancy had a broad network that she leveraged to find opportunities. Every time I talked to her she rattled off a list of influential people introducing her to other people that ended up in opportunities.
- How do you position yourself to appeal to those companies? Nancy attended conferences where she could meet more people. She viewed the cost of attending conferences as an investment in her future. She spoke at conferences to illustrate her point of view then shook hands and exchanged business cards, following up when she returned home.
Work the plan hard. Job search is a numbers game. The more active you are, the more opportunities you can unearth. Nancy spent a fraction of her time on job ads, devoting the majority of her energy to networking with people she knew like former colleagues and bosses as well as the swelling network of people she met at conferences and through others.
This effort bore fruit quickly. In March, a month into our work together, Nancy networked into what sounded like a great opportunity! Just as the company was giving her a verbal offer, the president resigned. A new President put a stop to all offers. He wanted to start over to see if any internal candidates might fit the bill. Nancy was in limbo.
Nancy kept at it. In May, she got an offer from an office supply organization in Boston. They wanted her bad, presenting her with a very lucrative offer with good money and full relocation. Something about the opportunity made Nancy pause. She was concerned that the company had gone from public to private ownership and was rebuilding. Nancy checked with her network. The word on the street was that the company was a mess.
In the excitement of getting a job offer, sometimes you have to step back to reassess.
Nancy reviewed her job search marketing plan. She originally wanted her next employer to be a growing company with a positive culture. Maybe this was not the right opportunity!
Nancy did what many people are not brave enough to do … she turned down the job!
Nancy was juggling four other opportunities, all very different with different focuses. The original job she almost got three months ago was still out there too.
From May through September, Nancy continued to press on those other opportunities. One opportunity at a consulting firm was particularly appealing. After multiple interviews, Nancy received a job offer in September with the consulting firm. She would take on business development, combining her interest and expertise in business development, supply chain, logistics, and marketing to set the stage for growth. This was the ONE!
From the minute she encountered this company, Nancy had a good feeling that she could find a home there. One month after she started this new job, I had a conversation with Nancy about her job search process and the choice she made.
Nancy is super happy! The company is as great as she hoped. They treat everyone like family. Everyone wants to meet you. They pride themselves on always looking for the best in each other. She feels appreciated for the first time in ages!
Nancy’s advice: The key to job search success is persistence and patience.
Persistence to keep networking in the face of adversity. Investment in conferences. Putting her ideas out in public by speaking at conferences and sharing written thoughts on business issues in her industry. Work the network. Build relationships.
Patience to wait for the right opportunity and the courage to turn down the wrong opportunity. Don’t settle for the first job that comes in. That is hard advice if you are out of work.
Nancy said she appreciated having a coach to talk to and bounce ideas off. Working with a coach gave her the confidence to practice what I preached so she could get the job she wanted!!