Dear Matt: I always wonder — do the people offering career advice in your column really do what they say we should do when we lose a job? Do the things they tell us to do really work?

Matt says: Veteran Twin Cities recruiter Kent Johnson has been a consistent source of great advice for local job seekers in this column over the years. But recently, like many readers, he suddenly and unexpectedly found himself out of a job.

Here is his story — the story of how he went from unemployed to hired within 30 days.

“If you’re serious about nailing a job as quickly as possible, then you hit the ground running from the minute you walk out the door of your former company,” Johnson said. “The second I left the office, I started hitting my network, hard.

“Literally from the parking lot, I started pushing out messages to people who I felt could help.”

Pay close attention to Johnson’s next piece of advice — you’ve read it here before.

“When I say it’s all about networking, I mean it’s ALL about networking,” he said. “Leave no stone unturned and don’t assume anything about people in your network. You don’t know where a job or a job lead will come from. I made my job search one of epic proportions — which means I made everyone aware I was looking. I made it rain e-mails and phone calls.” Johnson didn’t sleep late, go to the movies or do yard work until he officially accepted a job. He put in 8-plus hours every day.

“If you want to use your unemployed days as a vacation, that’s your choice,” he said. “My choice was to land a job. And I did. I started a new gig within 30 days of being unemployed.”

He hit all the job boards and reached out to friends, colleagues and family. He networked — but did so with a plan in place. He never sent in a résumé without first connecting with someone at that company asking if they could help. He pulled up lists of Minnesota’s fastest-growing companies as a potential entry point, leading to a handful of exploratory interviews with business owners and CEOs — people of true influence.

“I figured if they’re growing so fast, they’d need my help,” says Johnson. “It was an awesome experience and a blast to get responses back.”

He stayed positive and found a dedicated work space to keep motivated. “I found it really helpful to do my calling and networking from my kitchen table, which is surrounded by natural light,” Johnson said. “When I wasn’t going to be on the phone, I pumped up some music to keep me energized.”

In just 30 days, Johnson had his new job — Talent Acquisition at Land O’Lakes in Arden Hills.

So do recruiters take their own advice, and does it really work? Yes, they do — and it does.


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