In a half-drunken state of somber (no I do not drink*), I awoke from a previous night's hard work and mild headache to this delightful gem in my GMail account. If you have been following my blog, you know I preach the good word(s) and wisdom of Christian-based author, speaker, and career/business coach Dan Miller of Brentwood, Tennessee. Using his two currently published novels 48 Days to Work You Love and No More Mondays, Dan advocates for a creative job search in the current job and economic market.
Regardless of the state of the economy, this process is an authentic process of knowing yourself and finding or creating work that you will love. Thus, I argue that this process should be used by anyone from now until the day you actually perish from this Earth. Most importantly, research reveals that only 12-13 % of all open jobs and career opportunities are advertised. Thus, job seekers using the popular job search engines online and traditional print advertisements for opportunities are seriously behind finding or creating work he or she may love. This mean that roughly 88% of jobs available are secured within the hidden job market. This email (pictured above) from the Director of Customer Relations for Varsity Spirit Fashion located in Memphis, Tennessee is the result of a creative job search. I will explain to you exactly what I did, but first I will briefly list the steps of the creative job search process.
- Identify your three strongest areas of competency. What do you enjoy doing? What are you skilled at doing? This is based on what you want to do in your desired work that fits you, not your past job titles and job duties.
- Revise your resume, oral story, cover letter(s) to reflect your three highest, strongest areas of competency that you thoroughly enjoy doing and want to continue.
- Create a list of 40-50 companies, organizations, influential people, etc. that you would like to work for or with using your three areas of competency.
- Research those companies, organizations, and influential people to gain background information, assess if working for or with this party would interest you further, and most importantly, to gain the name and information of the hiring personnel.
- Contact the hiring personnel via an introduction letter, phone calls, e-mails, etc. to schedule an interview.
- Follow up the initial contact with a physical copy of your cover letter and resume (Click here to see a sample cover letter of mines).
- Continue to contact the hiring personnel until an interview is scheduled.
- Research and prepare for the interview.
- Kill the interview, impressing your potential partners/employers, and actively assess if this would be a good match for you.
- Send a thank you letter for the interview and continue to contact hiring personnel every three to four days until a decision has been rendered.
As a well seasoned, diverse professional, I have conducted my fair share of job searches. Using this search, I blended and/or skipped a few steps as I am still in the beginning steps. This is exactly what I did to reach out to Varsity Spirit.
- During a business errand, I passively drove around a local business district that housed several small to mid-sized businesses. Many of these businesses do not advertise their jobs as they maximize the hidden job market by promoting from within and encouraging employee references and networking. Networking is a key part of the hidden job market. As I drove around, I jotted down the name of several businesses that seemed intriguing from the outside. For example, I noticed at Varsity Spirit the size of their location and the fun that several employees displayed in the parking lot passing a Frisbee around. I thought to myself "They play Frisbee during breaks? I bet they encourage a fun environment." As the creative job search suggests, I am being authentic to myself. I love to have fun at work. This may be a potential match.
- As soon as I arrived home, I powered on my Mac Book Pro and searched information on several companies included the topic of this post. I discovered a lot of helpful information about their business including the information to hiring personnel.
- With the hiring personnel name and contact information realized, I drafted a brief introduction letter and e-mailed the regional manager of the Mid-South sales team along with my resume reflecting my three areas of competency. To my surprise, I received a response that I had the wrong person. Thankfully, that person was nice enough to include the name and contact information of the correct person.
- I forwarded my information to the correct personnel manager with hopes of receiving a positive response.
- A day later, I was informed that there were no sales positions available, thus she would keep my resume on file.
- I immediately responded (notice the persistence and diligence) with a continued interest in the company and thanked her for her response and willingness to keep my resume on file.
- A day later, I received this e-mail basically asking for a phone interview.
My next steps:
I will conduct research on this company further and revise my unique selling proposition as a manager since the original position I inquired about was a sales position. Through my research, I am analyzing the company's financial fitness, business alliances, competitors, growth over the last five years, mission, and vision. I will keep you updated as progress develops.
* UPDATE: Phone interview and face-to-face went very well. After sending a hand-written thank you card, awaiting a decision.
To conclude, the creative job process does work. I encourage you to read my blog posting What great organizations do differently, and how you can get a position that comprehensively discussed the creative job search process. If you have already done so, look for No More Mondays or 48 Days to Work You Love by Dan Miller by clicking the titles within this sentence.
If you enjoy this information and my skillful writing, please subscribe at the top of this screen with your email information, and follow me on Twitter @blackscholaronl. Thank you very much. I am here to help you following your passion(s). If you have a question about following your passion(s), creating or finding work that you love, or anything else, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Although I do not normally consume alcoholic beverages, I do enjoy a drink from time-to-time during holidays with my family and friends.