How to get a job during all economic times

The Success Margin

Friday, May 28, 2004


“You may say I’m a dreamer…”–John Lennon

The last Success Margin entitled “Wanted–Employees seeking lifetime job security” produced lots of feedback. Most was very favorable.

However, a few subscribers say I’m too “idealistic.”I must admit that at times this tends to be true.

One subscriber, normally a big fan, stated I’m “way off the mark” on this topic. He writes:

“I gave my heart and soul to six major corporations only to be fired. I saved five to 10 times my salary for every employer. But they were still not happy. They said, ‘that’s not the way we’ve always done it.’ And, ‘that’s not the way our competitors do it.’

“Major corporations don’t like independent, innovative, responsible, risk-taking maverick employees, unless perhaps you’re the CEO. What they want are mindless, ass-covering, meeting attending, yes-man robots who don’t rock the boat, don’t upset the status quo, and don’t make their bosses look bad.

“So I started my own business, where my independent thinking, motivation and dedication are finally put to good use.”

While I like and applaud this solution, I have a different take on the nature of companies comprising the business world.

There are two basic types of management styles.

The first rewards the best political type and are not really interested in the most productive.

The second is desperately seeking employees who think and function like entrepreneurs. Sometimes called “intrepreneurs,” such employees help management build sales and profits or cut costs in measurable ways. Their pay often includes various “piece of the action” compensation plans.

More and more enlightened companies prefer hiring intrepreneurs.

Definition: Intrepreneur–Functions very much like an entrepreneur but does so as an employee within a company.

Any reader who is currently working for the first type employer is wasting their valuable life. You’ll never be fully appreciated or rewarded unless you connect with the second type employer. (Or, of course, start your own company.)

** Good alternatives to a “regular” job **

You don’t necessarily have to be an employee to meet your goals.

You can also operate as an independent contractor or consultant. Indeed, many companies prefer it as they do save money by avoiding the cost of a typical benefit package.

Also, it’s an indisputable fact now that people can do their job outside a company facility. Many companies are open to your working from home. Or other locations you choose, such as an Internet café.

As to my idealism, please be aware dear reader that I can be of best help to you by NOT presenting the world as it is. Anyone can do that.

I have a romantic view of things and I present the world in an idealized way. As it can be and ought to be.

Such a view may give you something that’s worth aspiring to. I can also assure you what I recommend is often very practical. Indeed, it’s exactly what I do in my own business. And so do many of my clients.

If you agree with my recommendations, you can decide which parts you wish to apply to your business life.

This writing style allows me to always be completely open and forthright with you.

And since this is a free publication that doesn’t accept advertising, the only person I have to please besides you is myself. And you can subscribe forever, or as long as you feel it’s worthwhile for you.

** Getting the ideal job you really want **

Most applicants are terrible at seeking a job. It’s no wonder millions are unemployed. And many are so discouraged they have lost all hope of landing a position and are in the category of the permanently unemployed.

What I’m about to share with you comes from my experience on both sides of the desk. A job seeker and a job giver.

First, some don’ts:

— Don’t send the typical boring resume to businesses you hardly know

— Don’t cold call. Cold calls have a very low success rate.

— Don’t communicate your goals. Your problems.Your objectives. Your future. These are “me” messages your prospective employer doesn’t care about. Your prospective employer is interested in what’s in it for him. This means his goals. His problems. His objectives. His future.

** Don’t apply for a job–campaign for it **

  1. Select three to five prospective employers you wish to target.
  2. Get as much background on these companies as possible. Sources of information can include the library, the Internet, trade organizations, past and present employees and competitors. If the companies are publicly owned, you can get financial information by calling and asking for their latest financial statement. If the companies are privately owned, you can often get a great deal of information about them on the Internet.
  3. After studying the background data, determine what their problems, goals and opportunities might be.
  4. Prepare a letter directed to the person who will be your boss and to whom you’ll report. You must sell yourself in this letter. Rewrite your resume onto no more than two pages. Include your biggest accomplishments in each job. Focus on how you helped make or save money way beyond your salary.
  5. Convince him/her you can help them meet their goals and objectives.
  6. “Try me before you buy me.” Offer to completely prove yourself before becoming a permanent employee by working for a month at a low salary, or even free, so the employer is risking almost nothing.
  7. Include a good photograph dressed in appropriate business attire and smiling directly into the camera.

Ask for a personal interview. At the interview:

I. Dress in the type of attire the company prefers. You’ll find this out as you research.

II. Personal grooming is very important. Shower, use deodorant, clean nails, shiny shoes.

III. Be confident, warm, friendly, but not overly personal.

IV. Make eye contact.

V. Listen carefully and answer questions as honestly as possible. Avoid overtalking.

VI. Act enthusiastic. But don’t plead or beg for the position you seek.

VII. There are no bad jobs. Be willing to start at a lower position than you are seeking. You’ll prove yourself quickly. Cream rises to the top.

Some of the toughest interview questions are:

— Why should we hire you? Remember,preparation is the key. Focus on helping to increase revenue, cut costs, or both.

— What is your greatest strength? Focus on one that will help your prospective employer most.

— What is your greatest weakness? Discuss a work-related weakness you’ve overcome.

— Where do you see yourself in five years? Project a realistic position a few steps above the job you are seeking.

–What salary are you seeking? Be open and honest about what you’d like to earn after your 30-day “tryout.”

— Why do you want to leave your present job? Be positive, not negative. By all means, don’t put down your present employer.

— Do you have any questions? Based on your research, ask two to three questions maximum that will show you’ve done your homework and that you are interested.

Every successful employer is on the lookout for superstar employees whether or not they are advertising for new people. Approach them correctly and you have a great chance you’ll be hired.

Happy job hunting. Please let me know the good news about your great new job!

Your correspondent,

Ted Nicholas

P.S. Here is a recent review of my new book, HOW TO TURN WORDS INTO MONEY.

“‘How To Turn Words Into Money’ opened my eyes to the fact that words can ‘make or break’ a promotion.Your advice on ads and sales letters made me realize how simple it really is to craft an effective ad or letter–if you follow the steps!

“Overall your book will be read and re-read many times!”

Mark Bond Cary, NC