Thursday, August 18, 2005

Career Changes: A 1000% Better Chance of Finding a Job

Want to increase your chances of finding a job by at least 1000%? Read on.

When you're seeking a job, how you communicate makes a big difference. This is not rocket science, so down deep you probably already know this. The hierarchy of effectiveness of communication modes is the same as for everything else:

1. Face to face communication.
2. Telephone conversations where you actually talk to a live person.
3. Physical mail.
4. E-mail, voice mail, or fax.

Face-to-face conversation most effectively establishes trust between two people so that what is said is heard. It also is the best way to capture another's attention. Attention may be the most precious commodity in America, and especially when you're seeking employment. Nothing substitutes for an in-person conversation. Statistics on job search strategies continue to show that those which rely on face-to-face approaches greatly outperform those which rely on virtual approaches.

Having a telephone conversation, if you absolutely can't get face-to-face, can also be effective. You can develop a level of trust and gain a level of attention with a phone conversation, but it is a magnitude less effective that an in-person conversation. That's because communication is highly visual -- body language is extremely important in establishing trust. We're more likely to be understood and believed when people can see us as opposed to just hearing us.

Physical mail is a big step down from even a telephone conversation. But it does have the physicality of paper and ink that makes it more real and that captures more attention that email, voice mail, or fax. It's a one way communication, which you should attempt to avoid if at all possible. But in those situations where you absolutely can't make your approach in person or by phone, this is next best. It's most effective when sent to a decision maker by name, rather than something general or something sent to H.R. And for sure use physical mail for thank you notes.

Least effective by a long shot are email, voice mail, and fax. They are too easy to ignore. You know that, because you do it all the time. Use these techniques only to provide additional information after you have established trust with your recipient through in-person or phone communications. That way they have a much better chance of getting attention.

Most job seekers use the communication hierarchy in reverse order. They'll use email, voice mail, or fax as a first step. Or they'll mail out resumes with cover letters. Few will begin with in-person approaches or telephone conversations. There are a couple of reasons for this ineffective behavior:
  • We perceive that there's less risk of personal rejection from using email or a mailing. It's a one-way conversation, and we don't face the risk of the person on the other end rejecting our effort to our face and having to hear "I'm not interested." But in reality, we need to understand that we're unlikely to get even enough attention for the person to make such a decision by just emailing or mailing them something.
  • It's easier to email, apply online, or mail a resume than it is to make a phone call or get an appointment to see someone. We like taking the easy way out. But it's precisely because it's the easy way that it's so ineffective. Potential employers are looking for people who show an extra level of iniative, and nothing shows that more than approaching them in person, or as a fall back, on the phone. It's definitely worth the extra work.
If you're still questioning the validity of what I'm saying, just dig out your long lost copy of What Color is My Parachute and look at the statistics of the five best and five worst ways to find a job. And if your copy is dated, and you think that email and job sites have become more effective and replaced the necessity of in person and phone approaches to be successful, drop by your local bookstore and take a look at the statistics in the 2005 edition.

If you're relying on job sites and emails and mailing resumes to get you a job, you need to know that you have a 95% chance of not being successful. Making the change to communicating in person will immediately increase your odds of success by at least 1000%. What are you waiting for?

Jim Hughes is a Christian Life Coach helping people make successful career changes. To learn more about coaching or to contact Jim directly, visit Mapmaker Coaching.


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Tuesday, 18 December, 2012  

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