Getting your next job

Getting your next job

Getting a job is a job in itself and one that needs to be done seriously. Calling up a few friends and maybe a former employer or two won’t work. At best it will get you a stop-gap, low-level filler for  a month or two. At worst it will use up your contacts in a fruitless scramble to stay employed. Getting a job is harder work than having one. Believe me, I know it. I’ve been there.

First get your resources in order. That means your contacts – two lists please, the ones who are very senior and may not have jobs but may have good contacts for you, and the rest who may possibly have a job for you. Make a spreadsheet with columns for the contact details and columns for ‘progress’ and ‘next moves’. Look at your contact list every morning and consider if there are other people you can add  to it. Try to add at least one contact a day. Even remote contacts are important. The best connections don’t always come from the strongest friendships.

You should be contacting four or five people a day. Not got that many contacts? Please remember that your network is your next lunch, If you don’t have it, you won’t get one. You may not have that many close business friends but you have many more contacts than you think. Look back over the last year. How many people have you met during that time. Many of them will remember you, some will be impressed by you, a few will be willing to help you. People are in a helpful frame of mind at the moment. Jog their memories about who you are and how you met and they will likely do their best to connect you with a potential job.

Get your self-advertisement into shape. The old idea of a CV or Resume is pretty dated now. Your details will be on Linkedin and maybe other social media sites. Anyone who wants to see them will do so there. But you must make them intelligent. And you must have a CV. There are plenty of people who will want it. Most CV’s are rubbish and that’s why they go straight into the bin. Your CV is an advertisement – not the same as the ads for baked beans but not that far removed. It needs headlines to get people to read it. Since all the readers want to know what you can do, the best way is to tell them what you have done, crispy and brightly. Choose the six best things you have achieved in your life so far. Write them as one-line headlines. Make them as interesting as possible.If you need help, get it.

Don’t send your CV to people without an accompanying email. If you do it will get the bin treatment however clever it is. Write your accompanying email specifically for the person you are writing to – don’t just send a general note. Make sure your accompanying email is read by the recipient as a personal message – mention his or her name in it somewhere in the middle, refer to their business or to how you know each other. Make it personal. You are seducing this person. Make them feel loved. Your objective is to get a response. We dont reply to stereotyped letters.

When you get an interview pay attention to what you are doing. A lazy, casual approach won’t get you a  job except, perhaps, in a very high-tech firm. Your interviewer wants to know that you are sane, behaved, orderly, honest, reliable and smart. To turn up looking like a tramp won’t convince them of that. And do turn up at least twenty minutes early. Spend that time in the reception or wherever you are put, looking at clues about the business. If possible talk to the receptionist. Making a friend of him or her will help you if you come back again. Observe everything you can and pick up a few clues that you might mention in your interview. Nothing impresses more than having already adopted some of the culture of the business.

During the interview be alert, most interviews are dreadful – really bad. Think about what you want to achieve in the interview. If it is your first with the organisation, you want to get a second one, or be offered the job immediately. How will you do that? By answering questions? NO. You will do it by engaging with the person or people interviewing you. That means asking them questions, too. Intelligent questions about the job, about the business, about the prospects, about the future. You should aim to ask one question for every question they ask you. Won’t they get fed up with that? NO. Even if they tell you that they’re here to ask questions and you are here to answer them, keep asking questions. The people who get jobs are those who show an interest. Questions are the best form of interest you can show.

After the interview write to them immediately. Politeness may not be very fashionable any more but people love to be treated nicely. In fact, when you do so they never forget it. So write a warm, thank you. Make it more than just a formal email of thanks. Tell them how much you admire the business, how impressed you were with their operations.  Tell them you like their style. Don’t lie, but tell the truth enthusiastically. If you want a copy of GUSTO, which tells you the importance of enthusiasm and how to show it, ask us for one*.

Keep your spirits up. Hunting for a job is a tough assignment. You can do it and win, if you keep your spirits up.

When I had to, I did.

And I got the job I wanted.

Good morning

John Bittleston


On 20Jun20 at 1030am Singapore time I shall be having a fireside chat with Yen-Lu Chow, Co-founder and Director of the Asia Institute of Mentoring and Lita Nithyanandan (Moderator), Managing Director of the Behavioural Consulting Group on the subject of

What we want from new leaders – post crisis.

I invite you to join in, engaging to challenge my possibly antediluvian views.

Register here.