Old-Time Job Search

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: June 25, 2007 - 10:59 AM

Some of the best employment advice you can get is as true today as it was back in your grandfather's day. Here are three ways to find a job faster from two books published more than 65 years ago ...

Real wisdom is timeless.

Whether it's "Love thy neighbor as thyself," from the Bible, or "You can observe a lot by watching," from Yogi Berra, wise words have a habit of sticking around.

The same goes for your job search. Some of the best employment advice you can get is as true today as it was back in your grandfather's day.

To prove this -- and to share some old-time job search wisdom with you -- here are three ways to find a job faster from two books published more than 65 years ago ...

It's The Interview, Stupid

Heinz Norden wrote a booklet called, "How to Get a Job" way back in 1929. And much of it is still relevant today. For example, you'll find this advice on page 9: "Let us say right here and now that the one important preliminary aim ... is to get an interview with the right individual."

Now, more than ever, it's easy to get caught up in researching prospective employers, writing and sending resumes, trolling the Internet for job postings, etc. So much so, that you can lose sight of the ultimate goal of your efforts, which is a face-to-face meeting with someone who can hire you.

Take a moment to answer this question: How much of what you've been doing in your search has lead to job interviews with the right individual? Do more of that. Then, adjust or stop doing everything else.

The 10-Second Rule

In 1937, Elmer Wheeler published the advertising classic, "Tested Sentences That Sell." He wrote it after testing 105,000 word combinations on 19 million people over 10 years, to find the phrases and communications techniques that sold the most goods and services.

Wheeler included a chapter on tested ways to get hired, and here's his number one rule for getting a job: "Watch your ten-second approach. Our case histories showed that many employers judge the applicant during the first ten seconds. He catches a flash of the man's appearance, his personality, and is or is not impressed by his first ten words. Snap judgments still rule the world, unfortunately!"

True in 1937 and still true in 2007, I'd say.

Now. You can bemoan the fact that employers may use logic later to justify the snap, emotional judgments they make about you in the first ten seconds. Or, you can use this timeless truth to your advantage.

Wheeler explains how: "The successful job-hunter will watch his opening statements … [because] your first ten words are more important than your next ten thousand."

What's your opening statement? How much thought have you put into the first ten seconds of your next job interview and the first ten words you'll say?

Anything that doesn't help you get hired in the first ten seconds will hurt you. So, pay extra attention to your first impression and first words in every interview.

Plan Your Campaign

Back to Norden's "How to Get a Job" from 1929 for more advice that you should have heard before:

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