The Two Sides of IT Job Hunting: Sales and Marketing - Part 2

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My last blog discussed the “marketing” side of job hunting. Today’s blog discusses “sales”.

The reader’s question, which was the basis for last week’s and this week’s blog, was about a Program Manager wanting to develop a plan to enhance his job search. Last week I introduced the concept that looking for a job is the equivalent of trying to sell yourself as if you were a product and went on to discuss the marketing aspects of job search.

This week outlines various sales-related steps to help you land that great new job. From a job search project planning perspective, these steps loosely fall into the following categories; deciding where to concentrate your efforts, finding a way in, getting in the door, interview preparation, the interview, and post interview activities.

Step #1: Deciding where to concentrate your efforts
This step is primarily a combination of soul searching and researching. From a soul searching perspective, you should make a final decision as to the specific job you would like to pursue and a potential list of companies where you would prefer to work. The rationale behind this step is that you have to start looking somewhere, so you may as well begin your job search looking for jobs you will enjoy best at the companies where you would most like to work.

Certainly you should be opportunistic as other possibilities arise, but concentrating on attaining a position at one of your defined companies would be ideal.

Step #2: Finding a way in
With your list of ideal companies defined, your next step is to find a way to talk to people inside the company using every means possible, including:
• Submitting your resume online through their website.
• Using LinkedIn to find primary or secondary connections that either currently work or recently worked at the company.
• Via Google search, try to find any special events the company is running, then, try to attend and get to know a couple of the employees.
• Start commenting on the company’s website by providing quality and innovative ideas regarding their products and services.

Step #3: Getting in the door
Begin contacting the people you find in the previous step and ask them for “informational interviews”. An informational interview is simply a meeting with the person to seek their advice on your job search and gain an understanding of how best to find employment within the company.

A word of caution on this approach. If you set up an informational interview with someone, don’t do a bait-and-switch and ask them for a job. This tactic can burn a professional bridge and hurt your professional reputation. Just ask their advice. They know you’re looking for a job. If they have a job opening and have an interest in hiring you, they’ll ask.

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