You thought all you had to do was apply online, attach your resume, and hit send.  Right?  How is that working for you? 

If this is the perfect job for you, you can increase your chances to make it yours by about, oh, 500%!

I'm going to recommend that you complete a number of tasks, some of which may not be seem directly related, but it's the sum of the parts that brings "the magic".

Note: If this is not an online job posting the list still is applicable and will have an even greater impact!

Avoid skipping any one action because you never, ever, know which action will be the one that "cinches the deal".  It's rarely the one you think it will be. If it were, you would already have your brand new job.

1.  Customize your generic cover letter for this job posting.
  Hint:  match skills you
       tout to the job posting.

2.  Find someone who knows someone in the company and ask for an introduction
       and c
onnect on LinkedIn with the hiring manager, recruiter, and current employee.

       A good place to start is with your Board of Advisors.

3.  Ask the current employee to "check you out" and "hand deliver" your resume, i.e.
       email it to HR on your behalf along with your customized cover letter. 

Note:  Many companies have a policy of putting any viable application submitted
                   by a current employee at the "top of the stack".
  Most will do a phone
                   interview at the minimum.

(You did create an online presence worth checking out, right? 
       If not, click the button below)

4.   If you cannot find a current employee, research and contact the recruiter directly.

5.   Follow (and "like") the prospective employer on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

6.  Locate current employees in the role on LinkedIn, review their background, and
       note any commonalities that might help you in the application process.

       Does this employer tend to hire people with consulting firm backgrounds?
       Graduates of a certain university?  (Much more common than you might think!)
       If so, and you share these commonalities, find a way to use this in your application).

7.  AFTER your application has been submitted directly to the recruiter, complete
       the online job application as instructed in the job posting.

       The reason you submit your application via the job posting is that typically HR
       needs for you to do this to comply with company policy. 

        The reason you submit your application after the employee or recruiter submits
        your application is because, if you do so beforehand, the employee could lose an
        employee referral bonus or the recruiter could lose the commission.

The next three tasks are to ensure that, should this application not end in an offer, you are positioned to keep moving forward. 

8.   Set up search agents to learn about similar job postings from this company.

9.   Set up search agents with this job title in similar companies and with Indeed
        and other job posting sites you use.

10. Add this employer to the list of employers you are tracking on Glassdoor to learn
        about how they typically interview, salary ranges, etc.

11. And one more!  Add the job application info to your Application Summary

That's it.  Not so bad.  It took some effort and time.  BUT if your effort and time don't pay off on this application, they will on the next.

Take a break.  You deserve it.  You just showed everyone how to apply for a job.

Stop and think about this: your competitors aren't doing any of this. They threw a resume out into Jobland and they're sitting on the couch watching the game.  And they'll be doing the same thing a month from now while you're preparing for your final interview.

You know you should make a list of prospective employers in your area.  But is it worth your time and effort?  Yes. Building your list will help you focus your efforts.  Focusing your efforts is what a good job search is all about. 

Additionally, this is a job search task where the journey is  as productive as the end result. 

How building your list can help you find a job faster
Build your list through research and by asking others for additions.

1.   You'll learn what's happening in your industry in your area.

2.   You'll build and deepen relationships in the process of doing your research when you ask
       for additions in your LinkedIn groups, on Twitter and Facebook, and in Google +, Beyond.com,
       and other communities.

3.   You'll gain credibility through the discussions you'll have as you research companies within
       your professional and industry organizations

4.   You'll have a great topic of conversation for networking events, one that slyly alerts others
       that you are in transition, while giving the other person a way to help.

5.   You'll engage your Board of Advisors. 

6.    Researching new companies to add to your list is a
that is minimally challenging, but    
        keeps you moving forward in your job search when you are waiting to hear back after an
        interview or expecting an offer.

7.    It's a productive
way to start or end the day or to continue to move forward while
        you're waiting to hear back on an interview or a job offer.

How "working" your list can
help you find a job faster
Now "
work" your list by completing a variety of tasks for each
prospective employer. 

8.    Set up search agents on major job posting sites (like Indeed.com).

9.    Set up search agents on each prospective employer's career site.

  Connect on LinkedIn and build a relationship with the internal or external recruiter.

11.  Connect on LinkedIn and build a relationship with at least one current employee and review
        others' profiles to learn about the background of people hired for your role.

12.  Follow the company on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on happenings.

13.  Add the company to your "watch list" on Glassdoor to learn about employee perceptions,
        salaries and interview practices. 

14.  Set up Google alerts for each company. 

Solicit information interviews using "working on your Target Company List" or "getting to
        know local employers" as a rationale for meeting.

How this works in real life
Recently I worked with a client, Sam, who was seeking a job in a particular niche in IT.  He arrived at the place in his How to Get a Job in 90 Days Plan where he was to find local employers who did the type of work in which he was an expert.  He was not excited about this task.  Sam saw these types of activities as a distraction from his main activity, which was to cruise online job postings and send in resumes.  He was a "no frills, no distractions" kind of guy.  He was also unemployed a lot longer than he expected. So he dug in. 

Sam was surprised at the number of prospective employers he had never considered.  That was the good news.  The bad news was that most of these prospective employers had abandoned the type of work that was his expertise.  [How did you know this? He used LinkedIn groups to ask questions.] It seemed that while Sam had been working on a long-term overseas assignment, IT departments had moved on to other technologies. 

Sam re-grouped quickly.  He took an online course, finishing in half the estimated completion time, crammed for and passed a very difficult test, and within a month was certified in the new technology.  Then he started working his Target Company List one by one.  He had 80 companies on his list.  He had only set up search agents at 26 of the companies when he found the ideal job for his new skills. The company agreed and he was hired shortly after getting his new certification. 

Additional resource: 
This article lays out a great plan for working with your Target Company List.

Please share this post with someone you know who is in a job search!

Some job searchers love them, but most consider an Application Summary a necessary evil.  All it takes is one call from a prospective employer who you don't recognize to convince you that you need better record-keeping. 

Note: Because they may be required to show their job search activity, some job searchers depend on their application summaries to support their unemployment reporting. 

What is an Application Summary?
It's a written record used to track the progress of job applications and need for followup activity.  It typically includes the job title, job description, date you applied, any materials you submitted, names and contact information, and comments. 

How can my Application Summary help me evaluate my job search progress?

An Application Summary is worth every minute you spend when a recruiter calls you "out of the blue" three months after you submitted an application! 

In reviewing your Application Summary you can identify which applications:
  • Require follow-up
  • Should be moved to the bottom of the list as "Inactive"
  • Produced the most interest from potential employers
Below is a sample Application Summary with many rows deleted to be able to show it on one page.  Note that entries are hyper-linked back to the original documents. Copy each job posting into a separate Word document and file it in a folder along with the cover letter and other documents related to that application. The job posting will disappear once the posting period is over, never to be recovered. Many of us had to learn this lesson the hard way!

It's especially important to hyper-link to the resume and other marketing materials that you used if you tend to use different resumes for different types of jobs.  You don't want to walk into the interview later with copies of a different resume!

You've got the whole resume thing behind you, yeah you! The rest of your marketing materials will be easier because of all of the work you've already done.

You will need a generic cover letter that is ready to adapt as needed for each job application.

Depending on your
profession, role, or industry you may need an addendum to your resume and/or a bio. Let's take them one at a time.


How can I create a
powerful cover letter that's easily adapted?
Here's a
format I recommend.
Here's how to address your cover letter.

Follow these basic tips on writing your cover letter.

Words to avoid in 2015
BUT do read your job posting carefully and integrate keywords from it (subtly and naturally!) into your cover letter.


What's an addendum and how do I know if I need one?

You may or may not need an addendum. An addendum is a page or two that expands on your resume. You can submit it with your resume or at another time or occasion.
An addendum does not have the same format as a resume. It's a list of extra items a prospective employer needs to know but, if included, would make your resume too lengthy.

Format your addendum to the subject matter.  As with your resume, balance comprehensiveness with brevity. Maximize clarity and white space.

View an example of an addendum.

You would not typically send an addendum with your resume when applying for a job. It won't get the attention it deserves. I've found that you can create the most impact from an addendum is by either sending with your portfolio to an internal recruiter for distribution to interviewers or referring to it in your interviews. If, for some reason, your addendum is not seen by interviewers, it makes a great attachment to your post-interview thank you notes.

You should consider creating an addendum when: 
  • You have extensive experience in a certain skill or type of work.
  • Even though you are new to a role, you have skills and/or experience relevant to the new role.
  • You have diversity in your work experience.
  • You work in a profession where a list of your work product is expected.

Here are some examples:
Role: Writer
List of published works

Role: Psychologist
List of courses attended

Role: Artist/Photographer
List of showings or works

Role: Project Manager
Brief listing of projects led (budget, goal, result)

Role: Training Facilitator or Instructional Designer
List of topics taught or curriculum developed

Role: IT
List of systems and applications with level of mastery


Do I need a biography?  What does a bio look like?
You'll need a very brief bio for profiles on sites such as LinkedIn, Levo and about.me. You'll also need one if you publish works or for speaking engagements.

Before you write your bio, think about who you are, about factoids that might help your audience relate to you, and the tone you want to adapt. While it's important to state your credentials, give the reader a peek into what drives you.

A social media bio should reflect your personality and may look like this one:
     Hi! I'm a former CPA, author, and employee performance consultant who has left
     corporate America to focus on helping someone you love find a job fast. I've never met
     an infographic, haiku, or mindmap I didn't love. If I'm not with the kids or grandkids
     or working online, you can usually find me walking on the beach.

Many professionals and senior executives use a bio as a occasional substitute for a resume. It should be part of any professional portfolio. Tip: Ask someone else to write the first draft as it may be difficult to write glowingly about yourself in the third person. Here's an example of a professional bio:

Jane Arthur

Jane Arthur, senior employee performance consultant with RTRN, a financial services firm, has helped numerous businesses and teams around the world develop their employees and implement and achieve their business objectives. 

She has designed curriculum and led learning projects in every training medium including: classroom, webinars, link-accessed narrated slide shows, web-based interactive training, and one-minute clickable tips.

Her ideas for capturing virtual audiences, tracking training effectiveness, and developing business processes to achieve learning outcomes have been published in online learning publications and have led to measurable results for internal and external corporate clients. 

She is the former Training Manager of North American Operations for ASMCO, a global outplacement firm. Her business acumen is a result of fifteen years of experience as the CPA/owner of both public accounting and business consulting firms and her success in developing an award-winning team as Managing Consultant of the ASMCO Burlington office – the most profitable in company history at that time. 

She is the mother of four and a longtime business leader who is widely published, the author of two books, and a sought-after speaker on every aspect of communication, change management, leadership, business and financial management, and career transition. Ms. Arthur has served on numerous educational, professional, and charitable boards. She has received awards for her leadership, creativity, and performance and for her achievements on behalf of charitable and business organizations.

How do I write a bio for Twitter? 
Here's how to write a bio for Twitter.

Before you start your job search in earnest, make a few decisions.  This post includes questions my clients pose on targeting their ideal job and resources for making some of those decisions.

Note that most of these questions are related to the daily tasks in the How to Get a Job in 90 Days Plan.  Get day-by-day guide to the perfect job search here.

The old saw, "If you don't know where you're going, how are you going to know when you get there?" was never so true as it is in this point in your search. Here's how to figure out "where you're going"!

1.  Decide where you want to live

Do you have an example of how to make this decision?
Yes, you can get your Where Will My New Job be Located? Decision Chart by clicking the button above.

Where can I find information to help me decide where to live?
[This is a list for 2015, but these lists are continually updated. So be sure you have the latest!]

Forbes:  Where the Jobs are in 2015
Willing to move (maybe to a colder climate?) More where the jobs are in 2015
CNN Money:  Where You Are 18 Times More Likely to Find a Job
CNN Money:  Best Places with Quick Commutes to Work
CNN Money:  Best Places with Most Affordable Homes
The 10 Most and Least Expensive States in the U.S.
The 10 cheapest towns to live in (over 50,000 in population)
Forbes Best Places for Business and Careers
Comparison of Cost of Living in Various Locations
Conducting a job search in a new location
Best cities for new grads
Learn all about any locationHow

est employment prospects for African-Americans
Jobs that are most prolific in each state

2.  Define your ideal working arrangement and office location
What are my options?
Here are some of the ways you can work today.
Which of these is ideal for you?. 
  • Full time in an employer's office
  • Home office, meeting with clients or customers
  • Home office, meeting with clients or customers in public venues or at an employer's office
  • Hoteling, mostly in the field, but "popping in" to an office to work at a desk designated for non-routine use
  • Telecommuting, regularly scheduled or full or part time work at home, typically within range of the office for easy drive in
  • Flextime, regularly scheduled periodic day off, such as every other Friday
  • 100% of the time in the field with clients or customers

Where can I find information on different working arrangements and office locations?
You can find lots of information to explore alternatives to in-office, full-time employment:

3.  Define your strengths, skills, interests, and experience
How can I assess my strengths, skills and interests? 
  • Discover your strengths and how to tap into them

Can I have an example of a Job Search Datasheet?

A Job Search Datasheet is a repository for data about yourself.  You'll update it, reflect on it, and refer to it throughout your search to recall the key skills, knowledge, and experience that you want to emphasize in your marketing materials, relationship-building, and interviewing. Think of it as a single source of data from which to make informed decisions.

You'll also add previous employment information for use in completing applications, just to keep everything in the same place. 

You can format your Job Search Datasheet however you like.  Some job searchers use Word, others PowerPoint or Excel.  Some prefer to compile the data in OneNote or even EverNote.  What should you use?  The application and format that is the most comfortable for you.  Here's an example on a PowerPoint slide.  Note that you may have several slides (or pages or worksheets) as you add to your datasheet.

4.  Define 1-3 potential job titles
What if I want to change careers?
These are my top three recommendations for exploring a new career:
     a.  Info interview people in the job (see below for how-to's).
     b.  Check out Virtual Job Shadow for great videos, etc. of various careers
     c.  Go to oNetOnline for everything you could possibly want about every career
          you could possibly imagine.

How do I conduct an information interview?

An information interview is a great way to find out more about an industry or role you are considering.  Here's how to line up information interviews. 

This article outlines how to conduct an effective information interview, one that gets the information you want and creates a positive relationship with the person you are interviewing.  If you do not conduct a full-blown interview, you can use one or two of these questions to learn more from your social media contacts. 

How can I get feedback on how I might fit into an organization?
See the question above for advice on getting information in an interview with someone who is in the role or organization currently.  But you can also try this technique:
  • Send an email to former colleagues and trusted advisors who know you and your industry/role well. 
  • From a list of potential titles you provide, ask them to rank a list of titles with #1 being the most likely next step in your career. 
  • Include choices that would allow them to indicate where they see you fitting into an organization: manager, director, junior, senior, etc.

How can I learn more about jobs I might like? 
                     Job Outlook with salary

Everyone keeps saying "Follow your passion!"  Is this the time for me to do that?
Maybe, but maybe not.  But it is the time to do some life planning.  Then you'll be able to see where "your passion" fits in.  This article will help you understand the variety of ways you can follow your passion and fulfill your other life goals. 

5.  Finalize your Ideal Work Situation Statements
How do I finalize my Ideal Work Situation Statements?
Just fill in the blanks and sit back and admire your hard work for a few minutes.  Then, figure out how you can best use your Ideal Work Situation Statements (including abbreviated, "talkable" versions). On the back of a business card?  As an "I'm available" ad on Twitter?  As a post on your Facebook page? To communicate with your Board of Advisors?

My ideal work situation is in [city, geographical area, country, my home, either ____ or ____] as a [full-time employee, telecommuter, worker from home, part-time employee, temporary or seasonal employee, contractor, consultant, project worker] in the [specific industry, any industry, or any industry except...] as a [title(s)]. 

My main task would be to [task that can be understood by anyone desiring to help you].

Not looking for a job? Share this post with someone you love who needs to find a job fast!
Maybe you won't shave two weeks off your job search by composing and re-using a basic job search email, but you will save some time and a ton of "psychic energy".

Note that I'm not suggesting that every email you send is the same. I am recommending, however, that you create and adapt a sample email to reflect your personality (maybe you're an exclamation-point-type person, maybe you're not), and save it for re-use and further customization to fit the occasion.

There are only so many ways to say something and you might as well figure out how you want to say it once and be done with it.

By the way, the fact that a sample situation is included in the list does not mean that I feel this type of conversation should always occur by email. Phone or face-to-face contacts, when practical, are usually preferable to email. The exception? When it's important to have a record of the conversation and texting is too informal.

Selecting the appropriate communication channel is all about the situation, the people involved, and, just as often, gut instinct.

Final note before you review the basic email: Clearly identify the purpose of the email so that your email can include a clear call to action. Use a brief version of that call to action as your subject line.

What is it that you want recipients to do? If you don't know, they won't know.

Let's assume that email is your ideal venue and that you have identified what you want to achieve. Here's a template that should meet your needs for any situation.


Likely recipients:
Friends and family
New contact with whom you are building a relationship
Former colleagues who have moved to a new company
LinkedIn connections or group members

Subject:  Ex. Request for introduction to [Name and title] at [Company]

Hi [contact name],

I hope you are [enjoying your new job / keeping busy / relaxing this summer / anything that indicates you know them and care].

As you know, I'm actively searching for a new job as a [desired role / abbreviated version of your Ideal Work Situation Statement].


If your purpose is to ask someone to introduce you to an employee with a prospective employer's company:
I've discovered an ideal match for my skills and experience: [position name with link to job posting] at [company name]. If the person knows you well enough, you could add here: I hope you'll agree.

My goal is to locate an employee in the company to [transmit my resume and cover letter directly to [the recruiter / Human Resources / the hiring manager / learn more about the company culture / fill me in on how their IT department works / tell me more about the hiring manager]. You’re connected to [target name title, and company] on LinkedIn OR You've mentioned [target name] as a [friend / colleague / fellow basketball team member] previously.

If you feel comfortable doing so, would you introduce us and request contact information, noting that I'll be in touch shortly?
If your purpose is to gain information regarding a prospective employer on your Target Company List:
I'm putting together a list of prospective employers in my area and would like to include any companies you think might be a good fit for my role and credentials. Do you have any suggestions?
I see where you are an employee with [company]. I'm in a job search and have added (company) to my Target Company List. Would you have a few minutes to talk with me about your experience as an employee? If so, please provide a time that would be convenient for us to meet by phone.
If your purpose is to add a person to your Board of Advisors:
I'm organizing a virtual Board of Advisors to provide specific job search advice or suggestions on my approach. I would anticipate this help would take no more than 10-15 minutes weekly, if that. Your [overall business acumen / familiarity with my role / industry/ expertise in career strategies] would be helpful to me and I would value your contribution. May I add you to my group?

I’ve attached my [resume / bio / addendum] to update you on my credentials.

Thanks in advance for your support of my job search. As always, I truly appreciate your help!

If applicable, add a personalized thank you:
By the way, if Tuesday evenings are still good for you, let's meet at Harry's around 5:30 for a "thank you" drink.
I'd like to [write a recommendation for you / endorse you] on LinkedIn. Is there a particular skill or experience you would like for me to emphasize?
I've attached an article I spotted recently on [the best fishing holes in your area / your industry or role] and thought of you. Let me know if you have any luck!

[Your name]
LinkedIn email address

Attachments: resume

(Adapted from an article by Alex Cavoulacos: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-ask-for-a-referral-an-email-template)

There are, of course, other types of emails you'll be sending as your job search progresses. We'll cover these in future blog posts.

What I hoped you got from this post:
Avoid dithering over an email with a basic template that you can adapt for each communication situation.

Take action:
1. Write your basic email with all of the possible iterations and save it to drafts in your email account.
2.  Adapt as needed.

3.  As you adapt, save a copy of each version in your drafts to save even more time

Please share this post with someone who is looking to find their ideal job!

This is the third of a series of three blog posts with 20 tasks in each…

Some job search tasks require a little time. It will take more than five minutes to create your Job Application Summary and your Job Search Datasheet, for instance. Other tasks, however, can take just a few minutes. The fact that these tasks can be completed in a short period in no way diminishes their importance. And while each task requires a brief amount of time, it does demand intense focus. 

Job search stale and lacking meaningful activity? Each of these tasks has the possibility to truly jumpstart your search. Plan to spend some time following up with the activity you will generate!

The time you take to complete any one of the five-minute job search tasks on this list could be the most important five minutes of your job search.

How to make this list work for you
Here is the list. Most of the tasks are appropriate for any point in your job search. No task on this list should take more than five minutes (unless you decide you want it to). There are as many ways to use the list as there are personalities and priorities. 

Here are a few tricks my clients have used to ensure they kept up with these tasks:
  • Use the old “Dr. Pepper” schedule. Complete an action on the list at 10am, 2pm, and 4pm
  • Arrange with a buddy to text each other on a schedule or at random times complete a task.
  • Start and end each day with a task.
One more thing! You won’t need to do a few of these tasks for one reason or another. If that’s the case, simply duplicate a task that is particularly critical to your search and is best done repeatedly. 

Got five minutes? Do this!
41.  Send a direct message to the author of a tweet that you liked.

42.  Call a friend who is struggling with a personal or professional issue and listen.

43.  Update the list of companies you are following on glassdoor.com.

44.  Email an article of interest to a new Linkedin connection.

45.  Tweet an industry article or an article from an industry influencer.

46.  Google “[your industry] influencers in 2015.”

47.  Start a discussion in a Linkedin group.

48.  Change your status in Linkedin.

49.   Ask for advice on an aspect of your job search in one of your Linkedin groups.

50.  Review opportunities to volunteer in your community.

51.  Review, and update as needed, your Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter pictures.

52.  Post one of your job search challenges on a Facebook group and ask for help. 

53.  Research industry, role or business-related books to read in Amazon.

54.  Create reminders to re-tweet daily and follow up on Linkedin discussions.

55.  Text or email your Board of Advisors a job search-related question that can be answered 
        with a word or phrase (example: what one skill do you think is most important for
        [your desired new role?]. 

56.  Develop an email template for contacting recruiters in your industry or role.

57.  Contact a recruiter.

58.  Congratulate someone on an accomplishment with a meaningful note. Finish the note with a
        question to keep the conversation going.

59.  Thank someone for something with a meaningful note. (Ex. a Linkedin recommendation
        or endorsement, insights shared in a Linkedin group discussion or in a local job search group

60.  Write and send “by snail mail” a thank you note to someone who helped you get your new job.
       Offer to support him or her. 

What I hope you learned from this post:

You can get a lot done in five minutes.  What you do in those five minutes may be more critical to your job search success than tasks that take considerably longer. 

What you should do:
Take advantage of small amounts of time to accomplish big results.

Please share this post with someone who is looking to find a job fast!

It’s not difficult to understand the principle of “The 10th Thing”. Unfortunately, however, it is difficult to do “The 10th Thing”.

In fact, that is the whole point. “The 10th Thing” is the thing that when you have breezed through the first nine things, you don't want to do.

Why don't you want to do it? Maybe because it takes too much time or energy or seems unimportant to you (this is the most common, and most deadly!).  Maybe because you find it difficult physically or mentally.  There are lots of reasons why not.  But the reasons why you don't do "The 10th Thing" are not nearly as important as the fact that you have the opportunity to step up to the plate and do it now. 

When you do “The 10th Thing” you will earn rewards that come only to those who do more than the things that most people are willing to do.  [Look up the Michael Jordan story if you doubt me on this.]

Meet Susan, the Super Star
Let me give you an example. I had a client, Susan, who was a top producer in sales. She was such a star that the only reason she was job hunting was that she had moved to a new location with her husband. Susan was an ideal candidate. She had an engaging personality and an uncanny ability to explain a complex product in simple language. She was fearless in the face of customer objections. 

The problem
Every job seeker, no matter how talented and experienced, has a challenge that seems to be uniquely his or hers.  Susan’s challenge was this:  she would ace the interviews, consistently ending up in the final group or pair of candidates, but would fail to land offer after offer. For a person who excelled at closing the deal, this was particularly frustrating. 

She needed to figure out what was going on. We reviewed her search process. Powerful resume? Check. Customized cover letters? Check. Solid networking?  Yes. In fact, Susan had a surprising amount of local support considering she was new in town.

The solution
Since we were not able to identify the problem, I recommended that Susan request feedback from the recruiters of the companies that had interviewed her. I explained that it is commonplace these days to ask for such feedback when you make it to the final selection, but fail to receive an offer. I told her this was a good idea in those cases where you have a good relationship with a forthcoming recruiter. If a candidate has befriended one or more of the interviewers, she can generally receive some type of constructive feedback from them, personally or through the recruiter. (See my blog post on “The Purpose of the Interview is to Make a Friend.) 

Oops, Not so fast…
Susan balked. She just did not want to do it.  She felt it would be awkward.  She didn’t think she would get any feedback.  Moreover, even if she did, she believed the feedback wouldn’t be honest. Eventually Susan admitted she just didn’t like criticism and was afraid of any feedback she would receive. She worried that if she did receive negative feedback, it would “get me down and I need to stay up”. 

Susan’s 10th thing, the thing she just couldn’t make herself do, was to ask for constructive feedback when she “failed to make the sale”.  No doubt, many people would agree with Susan.

Eventually Susan snagged a great job, although it took several more months for her to do so.  Even as we celebrated over lunch near her new office, I knew that her protracted job search would remain a puzzler for me.   Why did it take so long for such an attractive candidate? With her record, I thought her job search would be a “slam dunk”. 

Mystery solved
Susan was in her new job for almost a year before I solved the mystery. An HR event provided the opportunity for me to speak with two internal recruiters who remembered Susan well. In separate conversations, they told me the same story. Hiring managers were attracted by Susan’s record of success with complex sales and she was their first choice. However, with a spouse who could easily be transferred again, they worried: “Would Susan stay with the company long enough to bring in the really big deals, the ones that require deep relationships and years to finalize?” They wondered about this, but did not feel free or even comfortable asking Susan about her plans.  So they went with the other candidate. And Susan lost out. 

When I thought about it, I realized their concern made sense.  Sadly, Susan could have easily eased their minds by volunteering information.  She and her husband had made the decision to accept the transfer only because they had family in the new area and good schools for their preschoolers to enter. Susan and her family are not going anywhere anytime soon, a fact she would have shared readily had she known it might be a factor in a final hiring decision. 

But Susan didn’t do “The 10th Thing”.  She failed to ask for feedback because it was uncomfortable for her to do. And it cost her.  Given Susan’s earnings record, a two months’ hiring delay cost her over $15,000.  

Other examples of “The 10th Thing”
You may relate to Susan’s hesitancy to ask for feedback.  But there are many versions of the “10th thing”.  We all have a “10th thing” and you’ll probably discover it in your job search. With a little luck and self-awareness, you’ll recognize it, overcome your hesitancy, and do it anyway.

“The 10th Thing” feels boring, repetitious, unnecessary, or too hard to do for many.  You may recognize yours in these tasks that have challenged some of my clients:

1.   Establish an ideal work situation before jumping into a job search.

2.   Quantify the results of their accomplishments.

3.   Review job postings to identify the key skills to stress in marketing and interviews.

4.   Engage a team of supporters.

5.   Seek out contacts in their target companies to transmit their application to HR.

6.   Identify companies in their geographical area that actually hire people in their role.

7.   Translate a complicated job description into words that can be understood and
      repeated by those who want to tell others about their credentials.

8.   Maintain relationships with recruiters and hiring managers from previous interviews
      in which an offer was not made.

9.   Provide more than “lip support” to others in exchange for help.

10. Exchange computer time for human interaction.

11. Schedule information interviews to learn more about their role or industry.

12. Complete a practice interview and debrief; complete a second practice interview
       and debrief.

13. Identify personal “sticky issues” and address them in marketing and interviews.

14. Adapt their communication style and content to that of their interviewer.

15. Compare their job offer to their ideal work situation.

Frankly, I've barely warmed up here, but you get the picture!

It’s funny until you stop and think about it
One of my favorite jokes drives home the point I want to make here. 
Two campers, Jim and Sam, were preparing to take a trip into bear country.  Sam’s wife lamented, “Sam, honey, I’m worried that if you encounter a bear, you won’t be able to outrun him.”  Sam wasn’t worried and responded, “No problem, dear, I don’t have to outrun the bear.  I just have to outrun Jim.” 

Do one more thing than your competitors and you’ll get the job. 

What I hope you learned from this post:
Every step in your job search won’t be easy or come naturally to you. It's in completing those difficult steps when you show what you are made of.

What you should do:
 “The 10th Thing”. Recognize it, understand why it is difficult for you, and do it anyway.

Please share this post with someone who is looking to find a good job fast!