The Instant Job Search

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: July 8, 2008 - 3:21 PM

Here are three ways to generate job leads today - even within the next 10 minutes - if you're willing to take action.

Kevin Donlin

Photo: Jamie Hutt,

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How soon do you want to get hired for your next job?

Today? That would be nice.

Yesterday would be even nicer, right? We all want instant results.

Well, I can't promise you'll get hired in an instant, but I can give you three ways to generate job leads today - even within the next 10 minutes - if you're willing to take action.

Here they are ...

1. Call a former boss

Today - and every day this week - pick up the phone and call one former supervisor from any job you've had since age 16. Tell them how much you enjoyed working with them, and then ask for advice on your job search.

If you know anything at all about human nature, you know that people love compliments and they love to be asked for advice. So your former manager will be doubly flattered by your call and inclined to favor you with a job lead or two.

When looking for advice, do NOT ask, "Do you know anyone who's hiring?"

Instead, ask something like this: "I'm looking for a help desk position at a mid-size company within 20 miles of Cleveland. Who do you know that I should be talking to?"

The more specific you are about the job you seek, the easier it will be for others to help you.

I know this works - I did it myself 12 years ago. I called Ruth, my supervisor from a college internship eight years prior, and asked her for advice. She was very gracious and offered solid leads for me to pursue. If I hadn't called this former boss, my job search would have suffered.

2. Call a former client

If you've dealt with anyone who buys anything from your employer, you know these people can be a rich source of job leads.

Customers who have seen you in action - and presumably didn't think you were so incompetent that they took their business elsewhere - can steer you toward very targeted job leads. All you have to do is ask!

This worked just last month for my brother, who was looking for an inside sales job after being laid off. He got on the phone with a former client from a previous position and was quickly offered a job ... selling to his former employer. How's that for serendipity?

Do this today: Write down at least three favorite customers from every job you've ever had. Then, call one of them, ask for advice and ask them to meet for coffee, if possible. Tomorrow, call another. You should have solid job leads by the end of the week.

Caution: If you're working now, never, ever call current customers for job leads, no matter how trustworthy you think they may be. This will almost always get back to your boss and get you fired.

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Kevin Donlin