Job Search Book Recommendation: 2 Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton
Updated: Jan 30
Looking for a new job is generally not considered fun by most. This is especially true in our current environment where it seems even more difficult to gain access to real career opportunities than in the past. There are many reasons why this is so, but one key reason is this: The technology that was supposed to make your life easier has, in many ways, made it more difficult.
Yes, it is easy to go to the internet and search various job posting sites such as Indeed.com for boundless opportunities that seem fantastic. The problem is that you will likely be one of hundreds of other outside applicants that are also applying for the role. So, your odds are indeed horrible.
Oh, and it gets worse. Many of these roles are posted to satisfy Human Resources and/or Legal concerns relating to equal opportunity sensibilities so many of the roles are not actually even intended for outside applicants. In many cases, the offer for the role will be extended to an internal applicant.
If this all sounds cruel, it is. Corporations did not purposely set out to maliciously be cruel to you because they think it is fun. They are motivated out of self-interest and self-preservation first and foremost. Either way, this is small comfort for you. The process was never fun and now it is even more stress-inducing and nerve-wracking than ever. Welcome to 2021.
The “good old days” are almost always over-hyped but sometimes we wish for them because our present days truly are exceedingly challenging, and the past does seem like a cool breeze. It is because of the technological and social changes that have evolved over the past quarter century, along with a crippling pandemic (thanks 2020), that can make today’s job search feel overwhelming and daunting.
We all know that life and the show must go on, so we recommend reading the 2 Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton. The book contains a strategy, along with multiple tactics for breaking through the fray and landing your next dream job, even if you must wade through a nightmare to get there.
1. The internet will not necessarily make your job search easy.
a. Company in-boxes are swamped with too many bad applicants.
b. Is the employer even serious about external applicants?
c. Old process of self-selection and promotion had higher success rate, but we cannot go back in time.
2. Target 40 Potential Employers: You cannot boil the ocean so target a few specific areas.
a. 4 Sets of 10
i. 10 dream employers.
ii. 10 Alumni or affinity group associations (e.g., ARMY, NAVY).
iii. 10 Job site employers that you are keen on for one reason or another.
iv. 10 trending employers.
3. You need an Internal Advocate (current employee) at a company to be successful.
a. This person will be able to vouch for you and this is key. This makes you more than another person in a big pile of people.
4. Motivation – How bad to you want to work them?
a. Do your research and score each potential employer 1 thru 3 (best score).
b. We are doing this because human beings are good at comparative judgments and less so at qualitative judgments.
c. Takeaway: You need to be motivated to want to work for an employer so being honest with yourself and doing the work here is important.
5. Review job post sites such as Indeed.com. Are your favorite employers hiring?
a. You need to keep an eye on this to see if your favorite employers are hiring.
b. You need to know because you need this info to help research internal advocates that can help you.
c. You will eventually need your advocate to vouch for you.
d. We need to score here as well and as follows:
i. Score of 1: Employers with no relevant posting.
ii. Score of 2: Employers who have posted a semi-relevant vacancy.
iii. Score of 3: Employer with a relevant vacancy.
6. Methodology for seeking internal advocates (leverage LinkedIn):
a. Seek 2 potential advocates from each top company.
i. Anyone that is functionally relevant.
ii. Affinity connections.
iii. Employees one or two levels above the level we are seeking (they can refer to a subordinate that will be eager to assist).
iv. Anyone recently promoted.
7. Reach to Internal Advocate with Concise Message:
a. Digital message must be concise.
b. Keep copy to 75 words or less – do not mention job search.
c. State connection to him/her- provide a reason to care.
d. Communicate in the form of a question. Define interest narrowly and broadly.
8. Seeking Informational Interview after outreach message.
a. Write most promising contacts.
b. Seeking an informational interview.
i. Learn about the company.
ii. Learn about internal contacts.
iii. Establish rapport and ask relevant and appropriate questions that are not too difficult.
- Limit job search choices in a strategic manner.
- Limit choices to 40 employers and then focus on them.
- Seek strong internal advocates.
- Reach out to internal advocates with a concise note.
- Establish rapport and seek useful information that can facilitate the job search.
Good luck. We wish you the best. And a final note: Always remember that it is incumbent upon you to drive your own personal job search efforts alongside any networking that you may be doing with recruiters.
It's important because recruiters may not have an opening with an existing client that aligns to your skills and abilities, which won't help you in the near term. Your connections with them should be viewed as a potential long-term effort, unless they clearly indicate that you are a candidate for an existing open role.