How to Land the Job You Want

Originally written in June 1976

  1. Find the Hidden Job Market.

Classified ads and agency listings reveal only a small percentage of available jobs. Some of the openings that occur through promotions, retirements and reorganization never reach the personnel department. There are three ways to get in touch with this hidden market:

Write a strong resume with a cover letter to the appropriate department manager in the company. Many managers fill vacancies by reviewing the resumes already in their files.

Get in touch with people who work in the companies that interest you. Jobs are often filled through personal referral.

“Drop in” on the company. Many companies hire ‘walk-ins’.

  1. Locate Hidden Openings

Contact anyone who may know of openings, including relatives, friends, teachers, bank officers, and your local chamber of commerce.

Use local or business school libraries. Almost every field has its own directory of companies, which provides names, addresses, products and/or services, and lists officers and other executives. Write to the company president or to the executive to whom you’d report.

Consult telephone directories. Sometimes the telephone company will send you free the telephone directories of various cities. Public libraries often have many city directories.

  1. After you find the opening, get the job.

Here are six job-getting skills:

  • Compose a better resume. Put yourself in your employers’ place. Make an inventory of your skills and accomplishments that might be useful from the employer’s standpoint. Avoid such phrases as “my duties include…” Use action words like planned, sold, trained, managed. Does your resume stress accomplishments rather than duties? Generally, it’s not wise to mention salary requirements.
  • Write a convincing cover letter. While the resume may be a copy, the cover letter must be personal. Use the name and title of the person who can give you the interview.
  • Prepare specifically for each interview. Know the company’s history and competition. Try to grasp the problems of the job you’re applying for. Try to anticipate questions the interviewer might ask. Always send a thank-you note immediately after the interview.
  • Follow up. Call them. Don’t wait and hope. Hope and act.
  • Supply additional information. After the interview you might sense that the interviewer thought you lack certain skills. Write to him with supporting information.
  • Don’t take no for an answer. Ask why you have been turned down. Probing for leads when an interview or follow-up turns negative is a prime technique for getting personal referrals.

The challenge of finding a job, approached in an active, organized, realistic way, can be a valuable personal adventure.

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