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The Job Seeker "Fantasy" and How to Make it Come True

By Marty Nemko

So many of my clients hate job searching. They say things like, “I’d love it if all I had to do was show up for the interviews.”

Here’s how to turn that fantasy into reality.

1. Create a list of the persons in charge of hiring at your 25 most desired employers.

To get the names of the organizations, use the Yellow Pages to identify local businesses, online directories such as to find national ones. Or get help from the business reference librarian at a major local public library.

To get the names of the hiring manager, check that employer’s Web site. If that fails, call the organization’s main number. Sometimes, you have to deal with the receptionist or if you’re luckier, there’s a company directory of departments. In either case, when you get to talk with a person, say, “Hi. I need the correct spelling of the name of the person in charge of hiring accountants (or whatever)” After you get it, say, “And what’s his/her actual title? When you get that, ask, “By the way, what is his/her direct dial phone number?” After you get that, ask, “Oh, and what’s his/her email address?” If the receptionist won’t give you all the information, hang up and dial an extension at random. The person answering the phone usually doesn’t have gatekeeper responsibility but has an employee directory handy.

If you need more information, google the person’s name along with that employer and the word “email” and the area code in which the business is located, so for example: [“Mary Terwilliger” “Chief Financial Officer” “Ace Widget” 202.] Note that I enclosed phrases in quotes so Google knows to look for it only as a phrase.

2. Find someone to be your agent. This person should be good on the phone, perhaps a career counselor, perhaps a friend, if necessary, a sales-oriented or acting-oriented person you hire by advertising, perhaps on (Tip: Place the ad in the “Gigs” rather than “Jobs” section of Craiglist. Ads in that section are free. In the “Jobs” section, they’re $75.)

Many career counselors will be reluctant to be your agent because it’s unconventional, but if you show the suggested script below and persuade that you would be a good employee, they might see the wisdom of your request. Also, explain (if true) that you are scared of and bad at cold calling, but have read that it’s an effective way to land a job.

Here’s a sample script:

“Hi, my name is Mary Jones. I’m a career counselor who’s working with a client I really like named (insert your name.) He is a good employee but he’s shy about making those direct contacts that are so important in landing a job so I’m doing a little advance work for him. He’s a public accountant with Sarbanes-Oxley experience. He appears to have a good work ethic and is a nice guy. I’m wondering if you’d be willing to meet with him, to see if perhaps he might be of help to you, or even to offer him some advice as to where he should turn?”

Turn your “agent” loose with the list of 25 employers, your resume, and dates and times you’re available to be interviewed, and chances are, you’ll soon find yourself with at least one interview. Then, it’s up to you.

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