7 strategies to job search success using a small business approach

In my last post (http://www.jobwinnersguides.com/the_blog/four_strategies_to_help_young_people_avoid_the_serious_danger_of_early_unemployment), I recommended encouraging job seekers to ‘think of themselves as self-employed, the CEO of Myself & Co, and to look for a job in the same way that a small business markets itself to customers’. Some who read the article may be questioning how this can be done. This post attempts to answer some of their questions by describing seven key strategies.

  1. Positive and in control: if you think of yourself as the CEO of Yourself & Co, you are the boss, you are in charge and you are responsible for making things happen. This is in sharp contrast to those who see themselves as unemployed, the victim of circumstances. They are not in control and feel powerless. Employers will obviously be more attracted to people who are positive and confident, people with a can-do attitude. Therefore it is important to surround yourself with people who will affirm your positiveness and confidence. You may want to refer to some of these people as members of the Board of Directors for your micro-business – but both you and they must remember that you are the Managing Director, the CEO. It is your company and you are the boss.
  2. Job search is a full-time job: as CEO of Yourself & Co, a micro-business currently without clients, what do you want your Marketing Manager and Chief Sales Rep to be doing, 9-5, Monday to Friday? Actively reaching out to prospective clients. Not doing the job part-time or occasionally but actively every day. Job search is a full-time job. And guess who is your Marketing Manager and Chief Sales Rep – yes, it’s you.
  3. Planned and pro-active: to be in control, you need to have a plan and a plan is also essential to making best use of your time. I recommend using a Daily Action Planner (free download from http://www.jobwinnersguides.com/clients/jwg/downloads/ dap_and_diary_on_one_a4_sheet.pdf ) and planning each day. Doing this for even a few days and, because you are using your time efficiently, you will see your progress and feel very much in control.
  4. Niche marketing: successful small businesses don’t try to market to everyone. They identify a small segment of a possible market and focus on meeting the needs of that segment. In job search terms, this means restricting your job search to two or possibly three job leads at any one time. Why? Simply because it is usually the applicant who puts in the best overall application performance – by that I mean résumé, interview preparation, research and networking with key people in the organisation – who wins the job. And someone who is focussing on just two jobs has the time and energy to put a lot more effort into each application than has someone who is applying for 20 jobs.

Choose positions that would give you great satisfaction because these are ones that you will be most motivated for. Motivation for the job is a quality that employers are looking for almost before anything else.

  1. Market research: the more you know about a job and the employer organisation, the better you will be able to tailor your application. Ideally you want to find sufficient information to be able to start planning your first few weeks in the job. This has a further two great advantages: (1) you will be seen as someone who will ‘hit the ground running’ because you will be so well prepared, and (2) you will be much better able to envisage yourself in the position and this will give you added confidence.
  2. Pitching: telling people why you are right for the job. To be successful, you must express your skills and achievements in a convincing and interesting way, whether in writing or speech. This means telling short stories about your past successes, often called by the acronyms SAOs or STARs – Situation, Action, Outcome or Situation, Task, Action, Result.
  3. Talking to people: these stories should be an important part of your résumé or written application and of answers to interview questions, but they should also be used when networking with people in the organisation. The more people who know why you are right for the job, the more likely you are to get it. So when you are talking to them as part of your research into the position, include some of these stories in the conversation.

Using a small business methodology is arguably the most effective way to achieve job search success. Not only does the pro-active approach it engenders make you nearly six times more likely to be successful, the methodology ensures that you get a position of your choice through your niche marketing.

It works. I urge you to try it.

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