Articles from the Career Advisor
Secret to Job-hunting: Go Where Others Don't
Akio Morita,
co-founder of Sony

Akio Morita, co-founder of Sony, inside Sony Electronics' Rancho Bernardo headquarters (2009).

Finding a job is easy, but finding exactly the right job is tricky. The strategy of sending out hundred of resumes (what Robert Half called "Resumania"), seldom works. The mass mailed resumes often go directly into the trash can. Job-hunting is a sophisticated art. The trend is away from "applying for a job" someone else has vacated, and toward "marketing your services." Here are six lessons from advertising that may help you:

  1. Read junk mail.

    Question: Where can you get the services of a multimillion-dollar ad agency for free? Answer: Read your junk mail. Become a junk mail junkie. Read advertising. Soak it up. Listen to the radio and watch television. See what others are doing. Copy down "power words and power phrases." Headlines. Arguments. Copy down commercials you see that "appeal" to you - they will "appeal" to someone else too.

    Example: A magazine sent me a piece of junk mail. The envelope said (in huge letters) "Job Offer: If you haven't had a good one lately, here's help." I could barely wait to tear the envelope open. I saved it. And six or eight months later, that brochure inspired my ad copy.

    Job-hunters seem to spend a lot of time "covering up," making themselves alike, trying to blend in so they don't stand out. They take an online job posting they don't qualify for—and don't really want—and try to hammer themselves into a shape that fits.

  2. Be different.

    Don't copy. Try to stand out. Don't blend in and get lost. Do what Emerson suggests: "Accept your genius and say what you think."

    Be you. The strongest, best, most exciting, different, unique "you" you can be! Let them want "you," because that is truly something they can never get anywhere else. If you can write a resume or sales letter than is totally you, you won't have any competition. You'll be alone, and visible.

  3. Use the word "you."

    Advertising isn't about "me," it's about you: You will gain. You will benefit. You will smell better. You will lose 40 pounds in 14 seconds. You will be a millionaire in six weeks.

    To translate this into the job-market, put the word "you" into your letters and interviews: You will have a cleaner office. You will be more organized. You will have more free time. You will have a burden lifted off your shoulders.

    You—You—You. In advertising, and in job hunting, one can never say that word enough!

    Letters that say, "I did this and I did that" lack this crucial emphasis.

  4. Keep it simple.

    In Tested Advertising Methods, John Caples noted that most adults have the brains of a 13-year-old child with a sixth-grade education. So get rid of the long words and sentences. Don't say, "heteronomous student body," when you can say, "all kinds of students." Don't say, "I do communication interfacing," when you can say, "I make phone books." Simplify. Edit. Cut back. Know what you want. Get crystal clarity about what you have to offer, and say it directly in very few words.

    Sample letter to an employer: "You will gain (1) relief from pressure and deadlines, and (2) more time to manage. I'm persistent. I pursue my goals until I succeed..."

    Clarity. Simplicity. It works every time.

  5. Go where others don't.

    The late Akio Morita, former chairman of Sony, managed a $4.2 billion per year empire. When a reporter asked Morita why Sony was always first to market, never second or third, he said, " We go where others don't. We never follow."

    There's a myth that it's difficult for single men to meet single women, and vice versa. It isn't difficult. you simply "go where others don't." Example: Last month I attended a meeting of the Executive and Professional Women's Council. There were 100 women there—and I was the only man. I met women. Lots of them. Get my drift? When you "position" yourself properly, there is no competition. None.

    The same holds true in the job market. There is a myth that it's hard to find jobs. It isn't, if you "go where others don't." Think of an idea that is off-the-wall. So much fun you'd love to do it, you can't sleep at night thinking of it. It's more fun than hearing Wayne Newton or going on a fishing trip. You can't get it out of your mind. You love to tell everybody—its exciting. You can't stop talking about it. You bubble over with it.

    Write it down in every detail—everything. Then add more details. Get a good clear picture. Write, write, write. It'll probably work. You're so excited and enthusiastic it couldn't possibly fail.

    That's the idea to go for: not some lukewarm, half-baked, worn-out, dreary, tired, boring, acceptable idea that everybody else is using and thinks is OK. Not the usual. Not the expected. Not the routine, but the Unusual. Then, when you try this idea, you won't have competition, because it's so different—it's yours and yours alone.

    So while thousands are going to the online job postings and the human resources departments and being told, "There are no jobs," you "go where others don't." And you will have a job.

  6. Be emotional, not logical.

    So many resumes and cover letters seem "laid back," distant, like the writers really don't care one way or the other whether or not they get hired (I know by talking to them that they do care, sometimes desperately.) Why don't they communicate their enthusiasm?

    Put some zip into your letters and resumes; let them sing. Use hot writing: power words and power phrases. Words with impact, not "logic." Logic doesn't sell; emotion sells.

    Let the employer know how important the job is to you. Tell them! Don't hide it. Say, "I really want this. It's very important to me. I'm very excited about the opportunity."

    Sign your letters, "Enthusiastically." I'm not saying, "Hammer people with rah-rah talk." I am saying, "Don't be so conservative and laid back that employers think you don't care."

    William S. Frank (Bill) is President/CEO of CareerLab® in Denver, CO—USA. Bill does one thing right: he helps businesspeople maximize their careers. That's it. Nothing else. He works nationally in-person or by phone. Companies hire him and so do forward-thinking individuals. Since 1978, 355 brand-name corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and educational institutions in far-ranging industries have hired Bill to provide Testing & Assessment, Executive Coaching, and Outplacement. If you like his writing, his website includes 200 free articles and offers 1,000 FREE cover letters.

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