How To Measure Job Search Success

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: July 8, 2008 - 1:44 PM

How do you measure your job search success? It all lies in asking the right questions. Kevin Donlin discusses how to get your metrics rolling.

Yesterday, I was reading the book, "Make Success Measurable," by Douglas K. Smith, and it reminded me of a management mantra they have at FedEx (and other innovative companies): You can't improve what you don't measure.

This got me thinking about job hunting …

Here's the thought: What parts of your job search do you measure?

If you're thinking, "Huh?" or "I don't measure anything," you are like a dieter who doesn't own a scale – how can you know if you're succeeding?

The answer lies in questions. Specifically, if you ask the right questions, you'll get the right answers needed to measure – and improve – your job search.

So, to get you started, here are three questions to ask yourself at the end of each day …

Question 1: How many networking phone calls did I make today?

Write the number down. Are you happy with it? Did you make 15 phone calls, for example? Good. Reward yourself appropriately, write down what you did to achieve that goal, then repeat it tomorrow.

Not happy with the number of calls you made? Think back to a day when you were happy, when you were "hot" on the phone, and talked to a lot of people. How did you do it? Whatever you did that worked before, repeat it tomorrow.

What if you've NEVER had a good day making networking calls? I would suggest that this is impossible -- and I can prove it to you.

Think about a time when you made a lot of phone calls to ask an important question. Maybe it was to confirm the guest list for a party, or to find a babysitter, or to get a sub at work. If you can do that – pick up the phone and ask a question of people you know – you can make networking calls about your job search. Because it's pretty much the same thing.

In this case, the question you are asking is not, Do you know anyone who's hiring? Instead, first tell others what kind of company and job you're looking for, then ask, Who do you know that I should be talking to?

Regardless of whom you call and what you ask, the goal of each networking phone call is simple: To schedule an in-person meeting.

Question 2: How many in-person meetings did I set up today?

Ideally, you'll schedule 1-2 meetings per day and meet 5-10 people every week.

You'll likely set up meetings with two types of people:

a) First-level connections – people you know already. These are your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, et al. In my experience, however, most job leads will NOT come from these people. Rather, you will get them from ...

b) Second-level connections – people you meet through people you know. These are also known as "weak connections," and there is great power here, because there are great numbers here. Example: If you know 250 people and they know 250 people, you have access to 62,500 second-level connections.

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