12 things I didn’t know about, or didn’t do, in job search

On the bus ride from Eindhoven to Paris yesterday I read the rest of The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Searchby Orville Pierson I didn’t start this book without a sense of doubt that it might be ‘one of those’ BS books, like many marketing books are. However, I decided take the risk of potentially buying BS in the shape of book, because I felt I could use some refreshing ideas as to how to approach job search.

In the end I believe that this book offers some very useful advice on how to proceed in job search and proposes the so-called Pierson Method.

Job interview cartoons

Copyright: Randy Glasbergen

My aim here is not to explain step-by-step what the Pierson Method advises people who are either unemployed, or employed people looking for a job in a field they prefer, to do, but rather, share the things which I picked up from the book. (The terminology does make the book sound like BS at some points.)

1. Make lists of your

    • interests
    • skills
    • values
    • personality
    • goals & life plan
    • mission, purpose and vision

This will be your professional objective.

2. Make a target list, the companies/organisations you want to work for. Then define the geographical location within which those companies are to fall.

3. Compose your ‘core message’. The 30-second/1-minute/2-minute ‘story’ which is meant to convince people that you know what you want and you know that you are able to do what you want well.

4. Talk with family, friends and acquaintances openly about your job search and about the companies you are interested in working for. But, do not ask people to get you a job. Rather, talk about the companies and people in the company, not the jobs. Also, make sure there is a willingness to talk about these things, and to arrange for a possible introduction to insiders in the company you want to work for.

5. Keep track of the people you speak to, the companies you like, what you (don’t) like about the people/companies, etc.

6. Think from the viewpoint of the person who will be deciding whether he or she is going to be your boss or not.

7. If you know you have something very valuable to offer to a particular company and this company does not have a position in your expertise, but has a knowledge gap there; then you can try to convince the decision makers why and how you would be able to help them out — a win-win scenario where you create a position for yourself. (Unlikely for most people, but it sounds compelling)

8. According to Pierson, 75% of the jobs offers are not through searching job ads online (or in the newspaper), but through ‘networking’ — talking to friends/family/anyone you know and sharing thoughts/information, arranging introductions etc.

9. Do a reality-check: Do I have the qualifications for the job I am looking for, and is this feeling reinforced or rather rejected by others during your job search?

10. Stay in touch with all your contacts. Follow-up every second week, or once a month.

11. Set up a parallel career track, next to the one you have ongoing. This is instead of a plan B: ‘what am I going to do if I fail in finding the job I want?’. Have a parallel back-up career track where you are searching from the start for the next-best career plan. Keep the options open from the start.

12. Plan all the above in a clear and structured way and keep track.

I recommend buying Pierson’s book if you are unemployed or not too excited about your current job, and you value a good job and spending the energy in being happy with that activity which you spend most of the time of the week doing.

Edit 12 August, 2013

There are two things I’d like to add to the above.

Firstly, the relevance of having “success stories”/achievements ready, when you step into any meeting/interview. Anticipating the questions of the interviewer and preparing for that will show, if not presented superficially, preparedness and will depict you as someone who knows himself and thus knows where he or she can add value/contribute to the company in question.

Secondly, after a conversation with a dear friend, it is very important to do or say something about yourself/your personality/a personal achievement such that you will be remembered by it. This is particularly important in the Pierson Method, where you will be speaking to a large number of people, some lasting probably not more than a few minutes.




2 thoughts on “12 things I didn’t know about, or didn’t do, in job search

  1. Networking – what an elusive concept to pin down! Is it really such a blatant case of “Who you know, not what you know”? I really disagree with this principle and wish it weren’t the case. Some good advice, though.

  2. Well, Mathew, I’m afraid that is what Mr Pierson is proclaiming, yes. Disagreeing will not help you in with case… But, that doesn’t reject the relevance of skill when you have the job, or good credentials for getting one.
    Thanks for your comments, and I’d be glad to hear any advice you might have yourself on job search.

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