A thought I’ve considered recently: If job search is like sales, why is it that job seekers have so few prospects? One of the most elementary and well known facts about a sales person is that you can’t afford to have too few prospective buyers. And let’s face it…in a job search, you are the product you’re selling. Why would you sell yourself short (pun intended) by not presenting yourself seriously to as many buyers as possible?
How many times have you said to yourself, “I’m perfect for this job”? I’ve recently spoken to far too many job seekers that have recounted their most recent prospective job opportunities only to tell me they fell in love with one or two opportunities and focused all their efforts to pursue them only to be let down in the end. Not only is this damaging to your corporate ego, but you’re hurting yourself by not incorporating a funnel or pipeline (more comparison to sales) of possible job opportunities that you can seriously pursue all at one time.
Just like in sales, you want to create a “formula” by working backwards from your goal. If your goal is to have 4 or 5 job offers that allow you to make the best decision for you and your career, then you probably need to interview with 15 (or more) companies. And if you want to get at least 15 company interviews, you probably need to identify two or three times that many opportunities that seem to match your background and experience. To find those opportunities, you may end up building a list of 50 or 60 prospect companies. Keep in mind that your formula may change depending on the response you receive and whether or not you are achieving the appropriate milestones – and many times, that change will result in you targeting more companies, and therefore opportunities.
The trap that many fall in is that once they successfully interview at the one company they think is perfect, they immediately cease all activities in their original formula. When you commit to identifying multiple opportunities, you reduce the risk of a few different scenarios that may happen when you put all of your eggs in one basket. Seriously considering only one or two positions could make you appear desperate since you focus much of your time and energy pursuing that one thing. Many individuals end up making the wrong career decisions because they’ve got tunnel vision or they feel like they have no other choice, which in turn could cause their run at “x” company to be short lived. People – the interviewers can tell if you’re desperate and are always turned off by that – so don’t be desperate.
So, ask yourself, why aren’t you building your pipeline? You don’t want to cut yourself short; it’s time to start treating your job search like a full time sales job. Create a large target list of prospects, networking with people that can help you gain access, and work your funnel.
Please leave your thoughts and comments so we can get the best ideas out there.