Three More Habits of Highly Effective Job Seekers

Guest Author: Kevin Donlin

Last time, I wrote about the three habits of highly successful job seekers that I have observed after counseling thousands of people since 1996.

To recap, they are:

1) Begin with clarity;
2) Take immediate, intelligent, massive action; and
3) Leave your comfort zone Today, I’d like to share three more habits that can put you on the fast track to your next job.

Note: These are recession-proof. They work in good times and in bad. Ready?

1) Focus on results, not processes

People who struggle for months to find work always seem to be in the process of doing something.

They can’t create a list of target employers because they’re in the process of deciding what jobs to apply for. Or they can’t apply for jobs because they’re in the process of revising their resume.

Highly successful job seekers know that results are all that matter. And results are measurable. Therefore, they set specific goals and take action to reach them.

Think back to last week. How many people did you meet in person and discuss your job search with?

A job seeker who meets three networking contacts with an imperfect resume, will get hired faster than one who spends all week revising their resume — and meets nobody.

2) Pick up the phone and call

I’ve yet to meet anyone who was hired solely on the strength of their resume and cover letter. You have to talk to employers by phone and meet them first.

In other words, it takes multiple conversations to get a job.

Highly successful job seekers know this. They stack the odds in their favor by proactively calling, talking and asking to meet employers they’ve sent resumes to.

What’s the worst that could happen if you call an employer and ask to meet? They say no.

But … if you wait for a phone call that never comes, you’re still getting a “No” from that employer, albeit a tacit one that can take weeks to play out.

Make your own luck. Call to at least verify that employers got the resume and cover letter you emailed.

Better: Print and mail your documents. And, in your cover letter, say: “I will call your office at 10:00 a.m. Thursday to answer any questions you may have.”

Two very good things can happen when you call at a specific time to follow up:

a. Your call may turn into an impromptu phone interview, if you establish rapport with the hiring manager and demonstrate your smarts. It happens all the time.

b. If you get voicemail, your message will be stamped with the time you called, which should be exactly when your cover letter said you would. Congratulations — you’ve proven that you’re detail-oriented and that you keep promises. And you’re not even on the payroll yet.

3) Contact Employers Multiple Times

It’s a rule of thumb in sales that prospects must be exposed to your ad or sales pitch at least 7 times before they buy.

Highly successful job seekers recognize this and contact employers multiple times. You should, too.

Create a plan for “touching” your target employers 7 times in the next 4-6 weeks. Be sure to vary the means of contact and — this is important — always have something important to say. In other words, give employers another reason to hire you with every contact.

Here’s an example campaign to illustrate:

Day 1: Mail well-researched cover letter and resume to ABC Corp., promising to call in two days to follow up.

Day 3: Call to follow up; ask for in-person interview.

Day 5: Mail clipping of newspaper interview with company president, underline comments about strategic plan that I can help her achieve.

Day 8: Visit company office for coffee with friend who will be there for a meeting; ask if president got my article in the mail.

Day 14: Mail white paper to hiring manager, “5 Ways to Cut Customer Service Costs at ABC Corp.,” based on research I’ve done on days 1-10.

Day 16: Call hiring manager to follow up; ask for in-person interview.

Day 22: Email company president a compilation of 5-10 Web links and news items about ABC Corp. found using in days 1-21; offer suggestions for how I could help with each.

Now. Does targeting one employer with 7 contacts seem like a lot of work to you?

The answer is yes.

But that’s the wrong question to ask.

The right question is this: Do you think any other job seeker is going to create and follow such a detailed plan for getting the attention of this employer?

The answer is no.

And that’s good news for you, if you’re willing to do what it takes to be a highly successful job seeker.

Kevin Donlin is Creator of Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people. Author of 3 books, Kevin has been interviewed by The New York Times, Fox News, CBS Radio and others. His latest product, The Simple Job Search System, is available at

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

6 comments on “Three More Habits of Highly Effective Job Seekers”

  1. Delaware Job Hunters Reply

    This article reminds me of this quote, “Seasonal unemployment was found to be a state which does not have much employment, for example, rural areas.”

    But there are career experts who conduct seminars giving advice about the needed skills to compete in today’s competitive job market.

  2. Harry Urschel Reply

    Especially in this economy, if you are not contacting hiring managers directly, you will not get noticed. Even if you’re a “perfect fit”, it’s too hard to get your resume noticed in the sea of others being submitted.

    With LinkedIn, JigSaw, your personal networking, or just using Google, there is no excuse not to find a contact name and connect directly.

    “No phone calls” in an ad means 99% of other candidates won’t call, so you will stand out if you do. Being pleasant and professional will never work against you.

    This blog post is excellent! Most people aren’t proactive enough in their job hunt, and in the current market, it means a LONG search.

    For more on how to make that call, see:

    Harry Urschel

  3. Jacqui Reply

    The theme of this article is spot-on. What resonates for me as a career strategist who daily works with professionals/executives in transition is the part about “results versus processes.”

    Though I’m a HUGE proponent of processes, what I don’t advocate is allowing the processes to hamper the results. In other words, I think processes/traction go hand in hand. Use that nearly perfect cover letter/resume to generate contact/conversations. At the same time, continue perfecting that resume and re-launch it when the message is more refined.

    Place that phone call; DO that research on the hiring company you seek to attract. Reach out … move, act, speak, write. It’s not about ‘one thing’ (i.e., it’s not just about making follow-up phone calls to the point of being annoying to the recipient). But, it’s also about NOT being paralyzed by fear of doing the wrong thing. In job search, recruiters, HR, hiring managers, etc. all have placed boundaries to protect their time/etc., those boundaries are not always as rigid as we fear.

    As well, if you think, what can I do to stimulate their (target employer’s) interest that I can ease their pain, solve their problem, make it easy for them to WANT to talk to me, then your extra effort will have been worth it. White papers and newspaper clippings that add value to your reader will resonate with some of your recipients – make that effort. Do not discount the value of persistence and focusing in on their needs.

    Ultimately, it only takes that ONE great job-search result, the job-offer that you accept, to reward you all the time, patience, detail and follow-up that Kevin Donlin suggests.

  4. Abby Reply

    Yes, it’s important to follow up and keep in contact, but many job postings specifically state “no phone calls.” Contacting them so often may drive them crazy or cause them to notice your blatant disregard for their preferences (or lack of attention to detail). It also seems a little stalker-like to drop by and ask if they received an article you mailed the president of the company.

  5. Anonymous Reply

    This is fine advice if you’re lucky enough to have a phone number, or even some reasonable expectation that your resume has been read. For most of us, we’re throwing our resumes into corporate web pages where contact information is carefully hidden from applicants. I’d say I know a person who I know will have read my resume once for every ten applications I submit.

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