Contra Costa County
The Job Search Workshop was rewritten by
Brad Veitch, Experience Unlimited CCC Member
With input from Training Committee
Members and Past Participants
1. Welcome, Housekeeping, Introductions
a. Leader Introductions & Announcements
b. Workshop Objectives
c. Your 30 Second Introduction
2. What EU has to Offer You
a. Workshops, Action Accountability Teams, Speakers
b. East Bay Works and the Assessment Center
3. Facing Job Loss and Life’s Challenges
4. The Job Search Plan
a. Complete the Past
b. Find Your Favorites
c. Prepare Your Tools
d. Practice Your Processes
e. Schedule Your Work
f. Work Your Plan
5. Job Search Processes
b. Uncovering the Hidden Job Market
c. Trolling the Internet
d. Researching Employers
e. Informational Interviewing
6. Job Search Success
a. Planning, Executing, Evaluating, Adjusting, and Repeating
b. S.M.A.R.T. Goals
c. Accountability – Success Teams
7. Wrap Up, Recap, Evaluation
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By the end of this workshop, you will be able to
Use your 30-second message with confidence
Describe the six major steps of a job search
Evaluate your past employment learnings to construct your ideal job
Assess your job search tools and processes to identify your next steps for
preparation, review, practice, and/or implementation
Articulate the next steps in your job search plan
Design job search tools that reflect the best you and attract the ideal job
After this workshop, you should be comfortable with the following terms and what
they mean to your job search.
Networking Elevator Speech Job Search Plan Thank You Note
Internet Resources Hidden Job Market Referrals
Recruiter WIIFM? Resume Contacts
Life Cycles Records Scheduling Processes
Business Card Phone Fear Goal Setting
JS Action &
Cover Letter Follow Up Job Clubs Accountability
Accountability Health Research
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Your 30-Second Message
When people meet you, they often have limited time to get to know you and to learn about you.
Introducing yourself in a manner that gives them a picture of you and tells them the key facts can
make the experience more profitable for both of you.
A 30-second message is an introduction that states your name, what you can do and/or are
looking for, and a reason the other person wants to know more about you. It tells them why you
are a worthy investment of their time.
For Your Consideration
o WIIFM – What’s In It For Me? Ideally, your introduction is a positioning statement that
lets others know how you can help them or someone they know.
o Keep it future focused (“seeking”) not in the dull past (“99 years in ___”)
o If possible, include the position or title, the role, and the industry in which you are
looking to apply your skills. Example: “Human Resources Generalist with an emphasis in
o Whenever appropriate, state your name at the beginning and end of your introduction.
o Your message needs to be flexible so it fits the circumstances where you are using it.
o KISS – Keep It Short and Sweet: it is also called an elevator speech because it could be
given during an elevator ride (between a few floors!)
Challenge yourself to provide a succinct and compelling introduction that tells people what you
are looking for, what you have to offer, and why they want you (or to refer you to their friend).
Practice, Practice, Practice It is important that you practice your 30-second message so
that when you present it, it comes across naturally, contains the information you want to impart,
and reflects the best you. Practice it under different types of circumstances so it is always natural
and the strongest statement of you.
State your name
Give your value to the
workplace you are seeking
Show your uniqueness
Restate your name
energetic, positive, &
Job Search Workshop, EUCCC, Spring 2011 4 of 28
Experience Unlimited Workshops
Listed in Suggested Order
In a word, this workshop sets the whole context for the EU experience. It gives your job
Job Search search a focus, brings structure to your plan, and adds value to your tools and the processes of
Resume The most up-to-date, what to do, and not do information is shared on approaching your
resume. Written, online, and video resumes are discussed. Truly, a “must take” workshop to
Writing do as soon as possible.
The online social networking environment you cannot ignore. You are either LinkedIn or you
LinkedIn are Linked Out. Beginner or more advanced user, this workshop will give you new tips for
Networking is the life-blood of the job search. Your leads will die or grow into dynamic
Networking forces in direct proportion to your networking skills. Learn how to do it effectively across all
your social domains. Empower your strengths to make this your best job search tool.
Resume This is a critique course so bring copies of your resume and your openness to new ideas. It is
often hard to appreciate honest, informed feedback, but if you skip this opportunity, you may
Review be missing great jobs and have no idea why.
Interview The interview is where our job search success is made. Understand the dos and don’ts, ins and
Techniques outs for various styles of interviews and set yourself apart from the competition.
Put yourself to the test in the safest of places: among friends and colleagues. Things you may
Video never see about yourself and no one will tell you about in the real world will help you
Interview interview with more confidence and success. You supply a real job description, resume, and
storage device and receive the best feedback you could ever want!
Total Much more than your salary must be considered! Dozens of elements might be included in
your compensation package. Learn about negotiating the full package to maximize your total
This is a basic training course in how to facilitate learning. Whether leading workshops,
Facilitator conducting meetings, convening a JSAAT team, or facing a panel interview, the skills
Training presented are invaluable! Optional for all members, required for EU workshop and JSAAT
Experience Unlimited CCC members are encouraged to explore the resources of the EASTBAY
Works within whose facilities EU is located. They offer additional Internet access, fax machine,
copy machine, phones, job board, workshops, and training. The Assessment Center offers the
Jackson Vocational Interest Survey, Keirsey Temperament Survey, Choices, and Assess Your
Strengths among others. Each of these will assist you in understanding yourself better and your
Monthly Workshop Calendars for Both Organizations are Available
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Job Search Action & Accountability Team
The Job Search Action & Accountability Team, JSAAT, is a small, disciplined group designed to
hold its members accountable to their job search on a weekly basis. This focused job search offering
is open to members of the EUCCC Chapter only and participation is voluntary but strongly
The primary concentration of each JSAAT team is for people to work together for the mutual
purpose of enhancing and expediting each individual’s job search outcomes. The power of the group
strategy is illustrated by the adage, “no one of us is as strong as all of us.” The key role of the team is
helping each other move back into the workplace faster.
The operative words in JSAAT are “ACTION” and “ACCOUNTABILITY.” Each member develops
a weekly action plan and then is accountable to the team for action toward completion of his or her
plan. Specifics within each team member’s action plan may change over the week as his or her job
search evolves, yet everyone remains accountable for their job search action during the past week.
Moreover, members commit themselves to supporting every other member’s effort, as needed and
possible. In a manner of speaking, our individual job searches become a team project, which we
direct, in a positive, encouraging, and constructive way.
JSAAT may not be the right fit for every EUCCC member. However, if you decide that you are a fit
for team membership, JSAAT should become an integral part of your job search activity. It will
require concentration, application, and follow-through for you to be of strong value to yourself and to
your teammates. We hope that this disciplined job search effort will result in your quickly graduating
from EUCCC and reentering the business community.
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Coping with Job Loss
Losing a job is one of life’s most stressful events. Research has shown that when we face any loss, we go
through predictable cycles of emotions. As cycles, we can expect to move back and forth through the
various feelings. However, as time passes we should be healing more, which will enable us to experience
more frequently the positive feelings.
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Facing Challenging Times
Use the EU Support System
Attend EU meetings regularly and make friends
Actively participate in your committee and give leadership
Use and support your JSAAT members
Emotional Support Resources
Call 211 for all types of resources: emotional, crisis, subsistence, etc.
Maintaining your emotional well being is critical during a job search
Look for counseling support services through church or community
Your EU system will help, too, unless you have serious concerns, then seek
professional help immediately, it is that important
Stay Active & Healthy
Keep fit and healthy with exercise, club membership, or walking
Get out of the house often and break up the routine
Eat healthy foods using your best nutritional habits
Activity energizes positive thoughts and feelings
Steer clear of drugs and alcohol and their depressing effects
Get adequate rest and relaxation; most of us need more rest than we think
Personal Financial Management
Develop a budget with your family for the duration of the search
Work out a schedule of payments with your creditors in advance
Avoid new debt by creatively addressing your needs
Seek early help from local credit counseling or financial resources
Make Time To Have A Good Time!
Good times give us energy, hope, refreshment, and many good things, use them!
Seek out and stick with positive people
Daily laughter brings health, happiness, and relaxation according to the experts so
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By Charles Swindoll
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude in
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.
It is more important than the past, than education, than
money, than circumstance, than failures, than successes,
than what other people think, say, or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or
It will make or break a company, a church, a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day
regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day.
We cannot change our past . . . we cannot change the
fact that people will act in a certain way.
We cannot change the inevitable.
The only thing we can do is play on the one string that
we have, and that is our attitude.
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and
90% how I react to it.
So, it is with you . . . you are in charge of your ATTITUDE!
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The Job Search Plan
1. Complete the Past
Take care of anything related to your past job: get it off your “to do list” and out of your
life! Update your employment records, reference information, accomplishments so they
are up-to-date to this moment.
2. Find Your Workplace Favorites
Invest some time and energy into discovering or reconnecting with your workplace
favorites. (Richard N. Bolles, What Color Is Your Parachute?2010, page 155, “The
Flower Exercise” is our model for doing this systematically)
3. Prepare Your Tools
Get your written materials prepared and ready to go. Do any necessary research on your
past work or on new avenues, which you want to explore.
4. Practice Your Processes
These processes are actions you will have to repeat throughout your job search. Prepare
them so they fit you “just right” or “close enough” (perfection is not required)
5. Schedule Your Job Search Work
This is your current job so treat it as such. Give it professional time and energy so that
you maximize your success at this role just as you have at other roles in the past.
6. Work Your Plan
Take care of the details: keep records, evaluate your activities, make reasonable
adjustments, and hold yourself accountable for your results. Remember: life cycles and so
do job searches.
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The Job Search Plan
The Job Search Plan is an ongoing process. Steps 1, 2, and 3 can be mostly done then set aside
for a few months. However, steps 4, 5, and 6 require continuous effort until you are happily
working away in your new place. As always, there are a few exceptions such as every cover
letter will be a new product designed specifically for that one position. Nevertheless, some
common elements and processes are repeated throughout any job search.
This Job Search Plan is not a magical or mysterious methodology. It is more of a guide to assist
you in being certain that you have all the proper job search elements in place and working for
you. The order you follow in completing the search is uniquely yours. Add elements that help
you do, feel, or be better. Remove things that hinder you; just be certain you do not remove a
critical element from the process a.k.a. “throwing the baby out with the bath water.” To
determine if an element is critical, put something you do not like aside for a short time. Then
check it out again to see if you truly need to have it as a part of your job search plan.
Make your job search YOURS. Personalize it. Use methods that reflect the best of you, your
positive, professional self. By working your job search in the same manner as you conduct your
work life, you are showing your next workplace team the real you from the very first contact.
That way of operating is also known as being congruent or in alignment within yourself.
Step 1 ~ Complete the Past
As we have already explored, job loss is all consuming. It is an emotional, intellectual, and
spiritual journey. Before you can effectively commence the job search, you must process all of
the negative baggage from your previous job. Get rid of it whether it is emotional, intellectual, or
spiritual. Any of this negative “stuff” will interfere with your search and your ability to move
ahead with confidence.
A haunting question for every job seeker is, “why did you leave your last job?” If leaving was
not your choice, then you have the challenge of answering this question in a positive,
encouraging, and truthful way, which demonstrates your professional strength to the person
asking the question. You must learn to feel good about your answer so that you sound confident
and assured when you give it. If you are comfortable with why you left your last position, the
other person will be also. They will get it from you.
Handling the Negatives
a. Process the negative feelings in a productive manner. For some people this is by
talking them out with a trusted friend. Other people can “walk them out” by
thinking them through as they exercise.
b. Work toward the goal of managing the negative feelings so you control them and
not visa versa. Eventually you will be able to clean out the negative completely
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but you do not want to hold off the job search until that happens. Manage the
negative and move ahead.
c. Prepare your responses to questions that bring out the negative feelings. When
you have a sour feeling about something related to the job search, analyze what it
is and how it influences your performance. Identify the questions or issues that are
behind the negative feelings and prepare for those.
d. Practice your responses until you have them down cold. Get friends to quiz you
on these hard questions so the answers roll off your tongue with ease and
sincerity. Carry 3x5 cards with the questions for friends or EU members to quiz
e. Prepare yourself a Myth vs. Truth sheet. This is a tool to help you refocus on the
positive, truthful statements about yourself. Divide a sheet of paper into two
halves. On the left, list your negative self-talk, e.g., “I got fired.” On the right
side, list the truthful opposite of that statement, e.g., “my supervisor decided to
move in a different leadership direction.” Review the statements as needed until
the truth statements are your natural first responses.
f. Always, every time, without fail, use your prepared responses when responding to
these questions. Each time you repeat the message you reinforce its message to
g. Be brief, concise, and objective. Your answer should be no more than one or two
sentences. Detailed negative responses are deadly traps.
Handle any paperwork, insurance, or other administrative items that need to be done for the past
employer immediately. Process any COBRA or other final documents. Finish everything related
to that place and those people as quickly as possible. Clear your desk, your home, your life of
Update your employment history data sheet, contact any references from the last place that you
might want to use and get their approval, and add to your accomplishment list so that it is
completed up to the moment you left your last position.
Take a break to refresh and renew yourself. This might include the processing of some of the
negative stuff, but let yourself have a little time to re-establish you. Do some things that refresh
your spirit. Allow yourself to reconnect with important people in your life. Do the necessary
inner reflection so you begin the growing out of this period in your life.
Step 2 ~ Find Your Workplace Favorites
“The Right Job” is not simply a matter of doing the right thing. Rather, it is a mixture of several
ingredients into a perfect blend. In 30 years of watching and writing about the job search process,
Richard N. Bolles (What Color is Your Parachute? 2010, page 155) developed the “Flower
Exercise” to help job seekers define their dream job. You are strongly encouraged to secure a
copy of the book and complete the exercise on your own. We are using his categories for our
“favorites” and an abbreviated process to help you select your favorites.
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We are making one important assumption with this step in your job search plan. We are
operating from the premise that each of us must align our actions with our inner selves in order
to experience the highest success in life. When we do work, that is rooted in our strengths or that
comes out of our strongest held beliefs, then we perform better and achieve greater levels of
satisfaction. Knowing the most about ourselves, gives us the best opportunity to find the right
matching job. Aligning ourselves with a workplace that is closely similar to us gives us the best
chance at success.
The process for finding your favorites is simple. However, digging through all the stuff going on
in your head and discovering your real favorites takes time and work.
1. Take one category at a time
2. List everything that comes to mind within the category
3. Prioritize the entire list according to what you love or like better (Doing it two items at
a time makes it easier. Take one and compare it to everything else on the list. Move
through all the items until the list is prioritized.)
4. Put your top 3 to 5 items in each category down on one piece of paper called your
5. Identify and search for jobs that meet all the items on your favorites sheet of paper
1. Values/Goals –How are you going to enrich the world and its people with your
presence here? What is your goal or mission? What value do you want to leave this
world? How does your work support, build, fulfill your value or goal? This is the big
picture view of your life.
2. Knowledge – What subjects do you know about? List all the subjects you know
something about. Include your hobbies, experiences outside of work, reading, and
special subjects you learned about along your life journey. Which of these would you
like to incorporate into your work?
3. Skills – These elements answer the question, “what can we do?” They are the basic
unit of our job performance. Unfortunately, we tend to think of these in specific terms
of past jobs; they are much broader and richer than that. Skills are used across jobs
and even across major industries. Moreover, skills grow from simple (starter) level to
highly developed and refined levels of expertise.
The Dictionary of Occupational Titles divides all skills into three groups based on
what the skills are used with Data, People, and/or Things. Data includes skills used
with information, numbers, word processing, etc. Skills based on Things include such
skills as material handling, equipment operating, building, or precision manipulation.
As you identify your skills, it is helpful to determine which skill group is your
favorite as well as which specific skills.
(See http://www.occupationalinfo.org/appendxb_1.html )
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4. People Environments – What type of people do you want to be surrounded by in
your workplace? Dr. John L. Holland lists six principal people-environments, which
Richard N. Bolles defines for us. (What Color Is Your Parachute? 2010, page 204)
a. Realistic people who enjoy manipulating things like nature, athletics, tools
b. Investigative people who enjoy observing, are curious, investigate or
c. Artistic people are imaginative, innovative, artistic
d. Social people who help, teach, or serve others
e. Enterprising people like to start up organizations, influence, or persuade
f. Conventional people who tend to like detailed work and completing
5. Working Conditions – Under what conditions do you do your best work? This is
easiest to discover by listing all the factors you hated at your past jobs. Too much
supervision. Too confusing. No clear authority or direction. Etc. After you have listed
all of the negative conditions, prioritize them; and then, put each one in a positive
statement of what condition you would like. For example, clear lines of supervision
or range of authority is clearly stated for managers.
6. Geographical Area – Knowing where you really want to work obviously makes the
job search easier. You might look for regions that have similar characteristics where
you would be happy so you do not needlessly limit your search.
7. Level of Responsibility and Salary – At what level do you want to work? You can
be “the boss” at either the CEO or the Department Head level in many organizations.
Which is your favorite? Do you want to have responsibility for a few others, lots of
other people, or just yourself? What salary do you need and want in your next
There is a strong temptation to skip over this favorites exercise. Maybe do it “in our head”
without writing down the lists and prioritizing the items. A word of caution: shortcutting this step
will not get you to the results you want or need. However, a word of encouragement: you only
need to do this exercise once! It will be so rewarding when it is done that you will find it
continuing to grow as your career grows. You will come back to it, adjust it some, and use it
Step 3 ~ Prepare Your Tools
Now we come to what most people think of first when they think of doing a job search. We hope
that you have seen our rationale for Complete Your Past and Finding Your favorites. By doing
so, you are now in the best place for Preparing Your Tools. It is much easier to prepare an on-
target resume after you have decided the best next job for you. In addition, you have already
listed and prioritized your knowledge and skills for use on the resume. In reality, you might have
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done some of this “tool preparation” as you were finding your favorites. Maybe you listed
accomplishments as part of your skill listing or you might have worked on your employment
history as you considered your favorite working conditions.
The tools listed below are some of those recommended for job seekers. Some of these tools have
lots of books written about them and how to do them “right.” Others are ideas, which have
appeared in the job search subculture. Use those tools that fit you and your job search; make the
tools as unique or traditional as you wish.
Hint: the more clearly you have defined your favorite job, the easier it will be to know when it
Corollary Hint: the more clearly you have defined your favorite job, the better you can align all
of your tools to lead you to that favorite job. The best tools send a consistent message about the
job you are seeking.
1. Factual Items – These do not change much over time. You add to them as you go but
they are mostly factual data that you want at your fingertips.
i. Employment History – List all the pertinent information for every job along
your career path
ii. References – Get personal contact information for two or three people from
each job; as soon as the reference changes job you lose them if you do not
have personal contact information
iii. Accomplishments List – Every six months or so add your accomplishments to
this cumulative list; use it for annual reviews at work or for writing a results
2. Job-Focused Items – These tools are focused on the job you want. If you are
exploring two career paths, you might have two of these prepared, one for each path.
iv. Resume – focus on where you are going!
v. 30-Second Message
vi. Business Cards
vii. Sample Cover Letter & Thank You Notes
viii. One Page Marketing Piece
3. Skill Sharpening, Training, Etc. – These tools are to prepare you for the new job with
additional skills or training you need.
Step ~ 4. Practice Your Processes
Once you have determined your favorite job, the job search continues with the repetition of a few
Job Search Processes. These processes are ongoing parts of the job search and should become
second nature before long. Any one of these can be the door to your next job so you want to
approach them with care and professionalism.
The Job Search Processes are
Networking including Phone Calling
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Uncovering the Hidden Job Market including Direct Employer Contact and
Recruiters, Placement Services, and Temporary Agencies
Trolling the Internet
Job search networking is a targeted effort to talk to people about your job search. It should be a
calculated campaign to contact people for ideas, suggestions, and information about the type of
job you want. It should not be casual conversations with people you happen to meet. Everyone
carries with them a wealth of information. When we share information among people, we tap
into this wealth of knowledge and open the doors of opportunity. It frequently happens
informally. Job search networking adds intentionality, structure, and purpose to the encounter.
As you build your network of friends and associates, keep good records. You will want to keep
in touch or follow up with notes of appreciation, ideas, or further questions. The best networks
are active and alive with interaction over time just like good friendships or collegial
relationships. Record the basics (name, address, email, etc.) but also include notes about the
discussion, ideas mentioned, and suggestions made. It is also helpful to schedule yourself a
follow up date as you make the notes so you do not “let it slide” by forgetting to reconnect.
Where do we do job search networking? Anywhere and everywhere is a good start but let’s
recognize that different settings require various approaches. A professional networking event
permits a straightforward, upfront approach while a casual connection in the grocery store calls
for an informal, maybe indirect approach. Plan your personal approaches for the general types of
settings where you will use your job search introduction. You might have a formal introduction
for a new business candidate, a casual reconnection intro for use with an acquaintance, and a
generic but positive update for those you connect with often. How will you modify the
introduction in each setting? What other settings do you find yourself in often that require an
adjusted introduction? Use the same one in several settings if it fits and meets your needs.
Question: “is this introduction the same as the 30-Second Message?” Yes, it is but it is also
recognition that most of us find variations on the theme work better than only playing one theme
in every setting.
If you are having challenges with networking, start by listing every place you could connect with
a person who might have an idea about where you might look for a job or talk to someone about
potential jobs. Then, list each person you know at that place. Keep this list growing by asking a
friend or two to brainstorm with you or by asking an EU or job club member to give you some
ideas or by asking your accountability team to help you push your thinking beyond the walls.
a. Here are some tips to overcome “phone phobia”
i. Plan your call before dialing
ii. List (write down!) key information: each of the following points
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iii. Name and position of person you are calling
iv. Reason you are calling: what do you want out of this call?
v. Prepare to be assertive: how will you respond positively and proactively to
each possible objection?
vi. Thank the person including a cheerful acknowledgment of their time and
vii. Practice the call several time
b. Greet the receptionist with a warm, welcoming “hello.” Get his/her name and be
genuinely interested in him/her. Do this with your voice, tone, and vocal enthusiasm
not with time and talk
c. Remain polite and patient irrespective of whatever happens
d. You can always call again another time if you need to do so
e. Stay focused
f. Write or email a thank you immediately. Emphasize a key point you appreciated
being warm and friendly
g. The Dreaded Answering Machine
i. Be prepared with your message written out
ii. Speak slowly and clearly, do not rush your name or number
iii. Repeat your name and number changing the pacing
iv. Some people suggest not leaving a message and calling back, you decide what
is best for you
Uncovering the Hidden Job Market
There are only two job markets: the Advertised Job Market and the Hidden Job Market. When an
employer has a need for an employee, he/she goes to one or both of these markets depending on
the type of employee needed and the market demand for that type of employee.
Jobs with high demand and a low supply of workers such as technical specialties or with high
demand and a high turnover rate like phone sales, low skilled jobs, or low paying positions have
great success in the Advertised Job Market. This market is readily available on the Internet and
in other media. The job seeker simply identifies an acceptable job, prepares the cover letter,
resume, etc., and sends them off. Then, waits and waits and waits for some type of follow up.
With the vast majority of these jobs, the job seeker eventually gives up and moves on to the next
possible job opening.
The Hidden Job Market includes all the jobs that are never advertised but are open for the right
person. In addition, it includes all of the jobs in the Advertised Job Market but before they are
advertised. It is often said that 80% or more of the available jobs are in this Hidden Job Market!
These are the positions filled by, or created for, the friend of a good employee, the referral from
a trusted colleague, community associate, club member, recruiter, or the direct contact
professionally made by a candidate (a.k.a. you, the job seeker!).
Networking is the golden key to unlocking the Hidden Job Market and keeping it open for you!
As employees continually turnover through retirement, replacement, or advancement, the market
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keeps changing. Employers not needing you last week might very well be looking for you next
week. Your active networking will maximize the possibilities for you to be the first to hear of
their need. Regularly reconnecting with your contacts within the places you want to work gives
you an edge in the job search. Look for creative ways to reconnect such as forwarding a related
article or recommending a useful website.
Direct Employer Contact
a. Identify the companies where you would enjoy working
i. Start with your own list of places
ii. Research each company according to your requirements
iii. Create an ideal type of place where you would excel, then ask your network to
identify employers like that
iv. Prioritize your list according to your requirements but list 5 to 10 companies
b. Plan your strategy for approaching for each employer
i. Vary your approach depending on your available network connections, current
knowledge of the specific needs, current or future openings
ii. Target the best person to make the connection for you and go after him/her
iii. Occasionally the traditional application, resume route might be the best for
you to use
c. Build your sales portfolio for each company
i. You are selling yourself! Be your best, your very best in every possible way
ii. Prepare all your support tools to sell you to this company
d. Be persistent! Plan your follow up
i. Every effort pays off! Positive effort = positive payoff
ii. The only dead lead is one you choose to kill
iii. Go the second, third, or tenth step in keeping communication open
Recruiters, Placement Services, Temporary Agencies
Employment services and professional assistants (recruiters) come in all shapes, sizes,
and styles. Their goal is to make the hiring process easier for the employer not you the
Many of these services specialize in a specific occupational area. Others specialize in a
few industries or types/levels of jobs. Most of these services are paid for by the employer
or by a combination of the employer and you; so, be very certain you understand what
obligations you have before you start using these services. Investigate carefully.
Temporary agencies are a source of short-term income when you fit the need and work is
available. They are also a way of rebuilding skills, reconnecting with a segment of the job
market, or simply getting by until the right position opens up.
Recruiters can be great allies for the job seeker. If you match their specific market
segment, recruiters can be encouraging sources of insight on the market, your skill-set,
and your resume presentation. However, the employer pays them so their obligation is to
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that employer not to you. Understand their role, use the recruiter properly, and be
Trolling the Internet
Used wisely, the Internet is a wealth of information, ideas, and creative outlets. However, it can
be just as deadly when used as an escape mechanism, proxy for real networking, or vehicle for
keeping busy but doing nothing. The deciding factor of course is how you choose to use it.
Richard N. Bolles, author of “What Color is Your Parachute? 2010” and guest speaker at
Experience Unlimited-CCC, says the Internet is primarily a place. The Internet is a place where
the job seeker does five things.
1. Research to find information on careers, occupations, jobs, employers, cities, salaries,
professional or trade organizations, and so on
2. Contact and network with people, who can help with information, getting an interview,
making a connection in a specific place, and so on
3. Get skills, knowledge, or advice to advance your search or career
4. Post your own resume for employers or others looking to fill vacancies
5. Search for job vacancies listed by employers
Retrieved January 12, 2011, from http://www.jobhuntersbible.com/theinternet/index.php
For our purposes, we will divide the Internet into three major types of places for job searching
and job seekers. The sites listed here are used and recommended by the EU-CCC membership at
Disclaimer: all Internet content is initiated by someone for some reason usually related to making
money. Therefore, every website has a driving purpose for its existence and is influenced by its
owners and operators and their reasons for maintaining it. Use each one to your benefit.
A. Job Search Centers
These websites are the “one stop centers” for the job seeker. They are vast storehouses of
information organized for you with job search articles and links to more specific
information on the web. These sites are designed for job seekers. Go here first for the big
picture, general questions, or when simply wondering about some aspect of the job
JobStar.org Job-Hunt.org RileyGuide.com JobHuntersBible.com
B. Matching Centers
These sites match keywords from your resume with keywords from the job
announcement. The more keywords in your resume that match those in the announcement
the higher that job will show on your results. In theory. There is the problem with these
sites. They sound great in theory but no one really knows how well they work. How
many people have found a job through the site? How many employers have found the
right employee from a Matching Center? No one knows. However, they are a major
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destination place on the Internet today. Use them to build your network and use your
network to carry your resume or to present you for the position.
Monster.com JobServe.us CareerBuilder.com USAJobs.gov (all US government jobs)
C. Collection Centers
Rather than your going to 10 or 20 sites looking for jobs, these sites collect the data, sort
it by your guidelines, and send it out to you! Walla, a Job! Well, not quite. Typically, you
select your search data from preset lists that may or may not fit you. It is like fitting you
into a form box. However, these are probably among the most used sites by job seekers.
Indeed.com SimplyHired.com Jobster.com
The primary reason for researching employers is to find the one opening that is the perfect fit for
you. Because most of these openings will be in the Hidden Job Market, the process of
researching companies where you would like to work often uncovers the opening that suits you.
On the other hand, as you research one company, you might discover another company that
appeals to you also and they might have the yet unannounced opening that is ideal.
However, sometimes we are caught up in answering job ads for open positions that sound like
they would work for us. In that case, the research helps us to tailor our resume and/or cover letter
to the specific company and position. We learn about the company’s organizational structure and
corporate culture. We can develop an understanding within which we know what questions to
ask and what stated expectations there are for all employees.
Much of your company research can be done over the Internet but the library is still a good
source of information. Ask the reference librarian for assistance, most of them live to serve
clients asking for this type of information. Keep good notes and review them prior to any
communication with anyone from the company. You never know when you will be informally
In doing this research, what do you want to learn about the company? Everything. Anything.
Whatever might be helpful. Here are some ideas to get you started.
a. Locations and Functions preformed at each; where your job is located
b. Organizational Structure: what does the organizational chart look like and where
would you fit into it; what divisions, departments are there
c. Growth or lack of it: what is really happening with this company and how will you
improve it, change it, impact it
d. Client base: who does this company serve and how is that group changing, what
experience do you bring with that group
e. Product or Service: what value does this company bring to it’s clients
f. Competition: how does this company stand in it’s market place
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g. Stock Market: if this company is publically traded, how is it doing; what is it’s history
h. Multiple Locations could mean you would have relocation opportunities; be prepared
to tell them how you might feel about moving to another location and when; or, why
you would need to stay and how that would benefit them more
i. Travel during work: how often and how long
j. Recent News: review this company’s press releases and other news items over the
recent past so you can speak knowledgably or ask questions
k. Broaden your research to include the field in general so you can speak more
l. Know the name, position, and level of each person you will be meeting with should
you be interviewing or visiting the company; collecting business cards will help; use
names as often as practical
An informational interview is an appointment, which you schedule with a particular person, for
getting current information or an insider’s perspective. It is a good way to learn about an
organization, field, or type of job. It is a way you can check how you might fit in, what assets
you would bring to the company, or what challenges you might face within this organization.
Each interview extends your network, gives you valuable practice and feedback, and can be a
source of extremely valuable referrals.
WARNING: These types of interviews must never be used to explore available jobs. You set
them up for information; get all the information you can but without mentioning, anything
related to “available positions.” If the other person mentions a position, thank them, accept the
information, and move back to the general informational interview.
Whom do I contact? This question is one of the most frequent challenges that block people from
doing informational interviews. Here are some ideas of whom to contact.
People who share the same academic field, hobby, civic interest, as the type of
people you are seeking to interview
People who work in the same type of setting but in a different role (across the
organization or building, if you will)
People who work in similar occupations but other companies; these are called,
“competitors,” and often have professional relationships with everyone in their field
irrespective of their companies
People who do your type of work but in completely different occupational fields;
these people might be networked right to the person you want to meet
How do I identify these people? The question you ask everyone even remotely likely to be able
to answer it is, “who do you know who might be able to refer me to someone who works at XYZ
Ask friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, and the former friends, family, neighbors,
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Contact your university faculty, career centers, and other offices of both your schools
and other local schools
Connect with local service organizations, chambers of commerce, trade groups,
professional associations, and/or hobby clubs
Scan the Internet, phone book, newspapers, local magazines, and free fliers for
possible connections to the person you need to talk to at XYZ place
Be prepared. While people generally enjoy talking about what they do, where they work, and the
contributions they make to the company and the world, you want to show that you value this
person’s time by being well prepared. Ask specific questions that only that person can answer.
Focus on the person you are interviewing: how did you start at XYZ? What best prepared you for
your role as Chief Doer of All at XYZ? Always include a question such as, “who do you know
that I should speak to about further information or a different perspective? May I use your name
when I contact them?”
Keys to Success
1. Professionally set an appointment stating your purpose
2. If possible, use a mutual friend’s name or a clearly identifiable organization or place
in connection with your calling this person; e.g., “Sally Long suggested I call you …”
Or, if you know the person belongs or belonged to an organization, “Barbara Smith at
Experience Unlimited referred me to you.”
3. Set a reasonable but limited time period for the interview; generally, less than 30
4. Suggest two time periods about one week away from the time you are calling; today
is always planned for leaders, two weeks is too far for this type of appointment
5. Dress for an important interview
6. Show up early but not overly early i.e. about 10-20 minutes
7. Wait expectantly, exuding anticipation and positive energy
8. Keep to the set time! PERIOD! Clearly close the interview on time and then let the
other person take charge of the time; if they talk, let them but don’t you carry on; if
they give a few more minutes, thank them and ask one or two more questions
9. Be very careful to let them know without saying it that you kept your word about the
length of time you needed
10. A Thank You note is an absolute must! Do it the same day. Use either email or
written or both. Include additional notes for receptionist or assistants, as they will
cherish your thoughtfulness also.
Possible interview questions or topics to consider:
Background – how did you get started in this field or at XYZ place?
Work Environment – describe some of your typical daily duties
Problems – what challenges do you face often? How do you solve them?
Rewards – what do you find most enjoyable about your work?
Life Style & Salary – what are some typical compensation benefits and ranges?
Potential Growth – where do you see yourself going? Where is XYZ growing in the
next five years?
Industry – what are the major trends you see or watch in this field?
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Advice – what advice would you give the new person entering this field or the XYZ
Workplace Demand – what is the demand for people like you?
Hiring Decision – in XYZ place, who typically makes the hiring decision?
For Growth – what do I need to do to keep up in this field?
For Others – from our conversation today, whom do you think I need to talk
with? May I use your name?
Step 5 ~ Schedule Your JS Work
A successful job search requires organization and effort. You cannot simply walk out the door
and wander around asking about jobs. Nor can you look for work only when you feel like it or
when it is convenient. Planning and organizing are critical to job search success. A job provides
us with a certain structure around which we arrange our schedule. When we leave that job, we
lose this structure. To be successful in your job search, you will need to develop a new structure
for your self, with a new set of priorities and schedules. Be aware of the many distractions that
will confront you. Just about anything will sound better than looking for work. Do not be
fooled; your number one priority is finding that new job. Do not let anything get in your way.
Ingredients for a Successful Schedule
Planning – Take time to think about how you work best, when you do your best work, and
what types of work best fit your style at what times. Are you a morning person? Plan your
most challenging work during the morning hours. Do you lose creativity and drive in the late
afternoon? Schedule a networking coffee at that time. Do you really fly on the Internet in the
evening with the family around? Does it work for you to check your job sites during that time
and print interesting announcements for review later? Plan your work to match your working
style. It might help to think about how you functioned at your last workplace.
Flexibility is critical with your planned schedule during the job search. You will be much
more available than those you are attempting to network with. You will hear about a new
position, possibility, or person that you want to connect with but might have a full schedule.
Obviously, you change everything to explore the right type of opening at the right company.
This is an example of how having articulated your favorites will make it very clear to you
whether this is the highest priority or just another possibility.
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During the job search, it is much more common for people to plan and schedule day-to-day.
Those of us, who normally are scheduling appointments three or four weeks out, find
ourselves a little crazy because we can really only work a few days or maybe two weeks
Job seekers quickly learn that hiring people have different schedules and definitions for time
periods. For example, “the end of the week,” can really mean the middle of two weeks
following; or, “we’ll get right back to you,” can mean you might hear something in three or
four weeks. Use this reality to build you inner sense of confidence and patience. Do not allow
negative thoughts to chip away at your self-esteem. There are hundreds of reasons why time
is so relative during the hiring process and very few of them have anything to do with the job
Goals – In your planning process, set daily and weekly goals. We strongly urge you to use
the SMART goal model. Many times, we skip over this step because we do not like to make
goals or they are so vague as to be useless. The SMART goal model helps us set goals that
motivate us toward success while being simple to understand and use. Please see the SMART
goal page following this section.
Your goals for a week might include making three eye-to-eye, networking contacts from your
industry this week. Or, researching companies within a specific industry to find the one or
two that you want to work for whether they have openings right now or not.
Time – Use time consistently and in sufficient quantity as to build momentum. The hardest
time each day will be the “getting started time.” However, once you are moving ahead doing
the right types of activities, your energy will perpetuate itself and you will make progress. So
how do you get started toward success?
o Start today the day before. As you wrap up your work for the day, review what you have
done, which goals you have accomplished, and what you need to do next time.
o Jot down two or three things that are most important for tomorrow.
o Check off any goals finished today. Celebrate! (Or, plan the celebration for later.)
o Set or confirm your start time and first task for tomorrow.
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o Follow your natural routine, don’t fight it.
Since most of us are accustomed to working forty hours a week, schedule yourself for the
same during your job search. Make your schedule so you get up, get going, go to work, and
finish the day, every day for five or six days a week. Take time off each day and each week so
your creative brain can flourish. Many of us find that dressing a certain way helps us mentally
work better. Coffee breaks, lunchtime change of scenery, or special places for specific tasks
can help, too. For example, I find I do better study if I go to the library. Most days I have
lunch outside or at a different place in the house.
Calendar – Keep a weekly calendar. Whether you like to do it or not, use one during your
o First, plan the week ahead and write down times for accomplishing your various goals for
the week. Add your commitments and responsibilities like the Experience Unlimited
weekly meeting and your department’s meeting.
o Second, record your activities as you go through the week. List calls made, anything
mailed, contacts, etc.
o Third, reflect back on the week as you plan your following week. What contacts can you
reach out to now? Which ones need to wait for more research or time to pass? What
follow-up is there to do? What goals did you accomplish?
o Fourth, two weeks later review the calendar to be certain you have followed up on every
possible contact, lead, and connection. It is surprising how often we drop a seemingly
small item and it turns out to be a significant piece later.
o Finally, save your calendar. If you are receiving Unemployment Insurance, you might be
asked to document your job search activities. The calendar also should contain bits of
valuable information that you might use later if your search continues indefinitely.
Cycles – Our lives have many cycles: day and night, enthusiastic and anxious, energized and
dragging to name only three. Job searching is not easy and it can throw normally strong
optimists into destructive pity-parties and out-of-control bad cycles at will. Acknowledging
that these cycles exist helps us control them and take charge of our attitude and mental well-
being. Furthermore, when we are in charge, we can schedule our work to manage best our
personal cycles. Schedule your work to allow for your daily and weekly cycles. For some of
us, Friday afternoon is not a productive time for writing; on the other hand, some people find
Friday the absolute best time to write. Use your cycles to your advantage.
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S.M.A.R.T. Goals are
Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely
Specific - A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal.
A general goal would be, "Get in shape." But, a specific goal would say, "Join a health club and
workout 3 days a week." To set a specific goal you must answer the six "W" questions:
*Who: Who is involved?
*What: What do I want to accomplish?
*Where: Identify a location.
*When: Establish a time frame.
*Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
*Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
Measurable - Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each
goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and
experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to
reach your goal. To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as...How much?
How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?
Attainable - When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out
ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial
capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself
closer to the achievement of your goals.
You can attain almost any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time
frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of
reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because
you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals, you build your self-image. You
see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to
Realistic - To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing
and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just
how high your goal should be. But, be sure that every goal represents substantial progress. A
high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational
force. Some of the hardest jobs accomplished actually seemed easy simply because they were a
labor of love.
Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways
to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the
past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.
Timely - A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it, there is
no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? "Someday"
won't work. But, if you anchor it within a time frame, "by May 1st,” then you've set your
unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
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Step 6 ~ Work Your JS Plan
Make Yourself Accountable for Your Job Search
In the workplace there are several subtle and overt accountability reminders built into the system.
Deadlines are the clearest reminder. However, simply seeing the person to whom the report is
due helps to hold us responsible for getting it done on time. The environment focuses our
thoughts on what we need to do and helps to hold us accountable for completing it. During a job
search, we lose those built in accountability reminders. It becomes easy to permit a project to
slide a day. No one will be upset with us if some things are not done, so sometimes they aren’t
In Experience Unlimited, we have JSAAT teams to help us hold each other accountable. This
weekly meeting of a few members can keep up with each other, exploring what is being done,
and asking hard questions to keep each of us on track with our own job search plan. Sometimes
called, “Success Teams,” that is really the goal of these small groups: assisting each member to
get their job search moving and keep it moving toward success.
You are strongly urged to make one of these teams a priority in your job search plan. You will
find the meetings to be an encouragement and a positive prod to be certain you are moving
Note: the experience of many job seekers says that loved ones or significant others are not the
people to hold us accountable. The job search exerts enormous pressure on relationships. Having
a colleague hold us accountable is more productive and positive.
Write Your Plan Down
There is power in writing your plan, goals, dreams, mission, etc., down on paper. Success
writers, gurus, wise ones have said this and many people from all walks of life testify to
the power of writing down significant personal statements. You will do better and have
greater success in your job search if you write key parts of the process. The writing we
are talking about here is advance writing. Writing what you are looking for, what you
want to do, what you will do the next week.
Record Your Activity
This is past writing about what you did and how you spent your time. As you reflect on your use
of time, you will do an evaluation of how you are doing on the job search. Are you using your
time effectively and efficiently? Remember, sometimes we are called upon to report our job
search activity; this practice prepares you for that report.
Record what you did during the week so you can remember
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List the complete information for every contact you made so you can use it in the
future – believe me, there is never a contact you will not need!
Make notes on every application you submitted; it is not unusual for someone to pull
up a six month old application (or older!)
Note your results on your goals – CELEBRATE
Letters or notes you sent out – keep copies accessible
Prepare for the interview question, “So, you have been out of work for X months,
what have you done?”
Record books read, articles related to your field, related events attended
Create some plans which you could implement in your new position; do needed
PEEAR ~ the Ongoing Process
The job search process goes on and on until we have success. Another way of looking at the
entire process and seeing its ongoing nature is with PEEAR. It is merely a reminder that we go
through the process, and then we evaluate how it went, readjust or tweak the parts that need
work, and repeat the whole process again.
Once upon a time, you found yourself in need of a job. After clearing away and completing,
every thing related to your previous job, you did some work on finding your favorites and
preparing your tools. With a picture of your ideal job and the tools you needed ready to go, you
started scheduling your job search work. Making and accomplishing goals, meeting people,
trolling the Internet, you worked hard at doing your job search. Unfortunately, you are still
working your job search because your right position has not yet opened up. What now? What do
you do when you are still searching after X months?
You have probably heard the old saying, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Well,
it is true, and never more so than in a job search. When you reach this stage of the job search
process, the only way to get through it is to keep going. We have to “power through” this phase
in order to achieve success. Use a support or JSAAT team for encouragement. Have some new
experiences by volunteering in a new place or in a new way. Try something new that will give
you different skills, whether or not the skills are job related. Creativity is nurtured by experiences
of all types. Go to some new networking places or different types of networking events.
Don’t forget that life cycles. So do Job Searches.
Experience Unlimited members are here for you.
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