Sales reps the world over know the drill. Depending on the product or service sold, there is a sales cycle that begins with uncovering a lead and advances to qualifying and nurturing the lead until closing the deal and making the sale. In sales-speak, it’s all about filling a pipeline with viable prospects and selling them on how your offering can solve their problem – better than another product or service can.
A job search isn’t much different. You have to find the right opportunities, discover the key decision makers to connect with, give your best pitch that focuses on how you can fill a need in a way your competition can’t, provide testimonials and keep your foot in the door until a decision has been made.
As any sales professional can attest, there’s a fine line to knowing when to push or pull and when to give up and move on, but if you manage your job search objectively like a sales cycle, you’ll keep a full pipeline, won’t set your sights on only one large elephant and you’ll learn how to sell yourself like the best thing since sliced bread. You’ll also be able to recognize when a job lead has dried up and not waste any more time or effort on to it.
If you’ve had that one job that you knew with certainty was for you, the one you held out for only to be devastated when you didn’t land it, you’ll understand the value of keeping a full pipeline. The job description is so “you.” You even get the interview and throw yourself into polishing your purchase appeal until it shines like a golden egg – so much so that you cease looking for other opportunities and it’s the only egg in your basket. You’ve not only invested all of your time courting that one prospect, but you’ve also invested yourself emotionally. When the rejection comes, you’re left with zero other options and have to start all over again.
A job search is a game of numbers. Most job searches can take on average five to seven months, and you might have to submit more than 100 hundred resumes just to get one interview. Only the top 2% of applicants ever make it to the interview stage for a given job posting. You’ll waste a lot of time going after opportunities one by one. You’ll need a healthy pipeline of opportunities to nurture concurrently.
How do you nurture a job prospect? Your application or resume is your first touch, but like a sales slick or brochure, it may be overlooked in a pile of similar publications. Don’t wait for an invitation to sell yourself beyond your resume. Nurturing starts immediately after you’ve pushed submit on your online application. Find key contacts at the hiring company, and, no, you don’t need someone to introduce you. Take the lead. Cold call like a sales super star. Send an email or make a phone call to introduce yourself. Explain why you are so excited about the opportunity and why you would be great fit. That one simple step can get you noticed in a way your application or resume may not.
But don’t leave it at that. Sales professionals understand the value of consistent follow up and multiple touches to keep a brand top of mind and nudge the prospect toward a decision. You are your brand. Sell it. Don’t be the nagging sales rep that calls everyday, but check in once a week to see how the process is going and if any decisions have been made on next steps. Recruiters and hiring managers get busy and can let even the best candidates fall of their radar. Make yourself a noticeable bleep.
If more than month passes and you haven’t gotten to the first stage of an introductory phone interview, don’t commit too much more time in follow up. If more than a month has transpired after the first phone interview and you aren’t hearing back even if you have sent a follow-up email, your lead has gone cold and in all likelihood is not interested. Move on. Embrace the old adage: “What’s meant for you will not pass you.” Focus more on your other pipeline leads and keep filling up the pipeline, even if you think you are near closing the deal. It’s not a done deal until you’ve signed the offer letter and passed all employment screenings.
Savvy sales teams use customer relationship management (CRM) solutions to track their leads, nurture touches and progress. Job seekers can utilize similar tools to help mange their job search pipeline. Fridayd fills your job search pipeline for you with relevant job prospect and also provides a CRM tracking dashboard to manage all of your efforts to close the deal.