3 Job-Search Success Factors

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: July 8, 2008 - 4:00 PM

Three factors largely determine the success of any sales letter. By adapting these 3 factors to your job search, you can gain new insights -- and a new job. Here’s how …

Kevin Donlin

Photo: Jamie Hutt, StarTribune.com

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I’ve written before that your job search is like an advertising campaign: to be successful, you must sell yourself to employers and convince them to “buy” by hiring you.

When it comes to advertising, you can learn a lot by emulating copywriters -- the people who write words on paper that persuade other people to buy.

And among the best copywriters, it’s a rule of thumb that 3 factors largely determine the success of any sales letter. They are, in order:

1) The list (the people you mail to);

2) The offer (what you want prospects to say Yes to; this includes the price, payment terms and perceived value of your goods/services);

3) The creative (the actual sales letter, which includes the copy, graphics and packaging).

By adapting these 3 factors to your job search, you can gain new insights -- and a new job.

Here’s how …

1) The List This is paramount. The more people who know you and look upon you with favor -- the bigger your “list” of qualified prospects -- the faster you will get hired.

Think of it like this. If your daughter is a Girl Scout and asks you to buy a box of cookies, guess what? You’re going to buy. Why? You are #1 on her Prospective Customer List. More than anyone else, you know your daughter, you trust her and you want her to do well.

Let’s switch to your job search. Who’s #1 on your Prospective Employer List? And how many people know you, trust you and want you to do well in your career?

You can’t improve what you don’t measure, so your first step is to write down the names of everyone in your network. If you’re average, you should come up with 200-250 names.

Then make a plan to contact 10 people per day for the next 30 days. Let each of them know exactly what kind of job and employer you’re looking for. At the end of each conversation, ask: “Who else do you know that I should be talking to?”

Doing this will make positive impressions on the people you know, while systematically expanding the size of your network -- your list -- at the same time.

Repeat until hired.

2) The Offer The second job-search success factor is your “offer.” What are you offering to do for employers and at what salary? The more attractive, the better.

In advertising, one of the best offers is, “Send no money now. We’ll bill you later.”

Now, if you wrote in your cover letter, “Pay me no salary now -- I’ll bill you later,” you’d get lots of calls. Yes, it’s an attractive offer, but no, it’s not in your best interests financially.

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Kevin Donlin