In this volatile job and skills market you probably should be thinking about what your next gig might be even when things look good. You never know what’s round the corner.
Think of it in the way a salesperson thinks of the sales funnel, and try to have various opportunities at different stages on the go at any one time. You’ll want to get as many entries as you can in to the top of the funnel, as only some of them will successfully make it all the way to that little hole at the bottom. This way of thinking can be very helpful as you are building your contacts and revising your materials to reflect your growing skills and experience.
Here are the key stages – from top to bottom, based on the classic sales process, but spun to suit our jobs funnel.
1. Discovery of the opportunity
You’ve spotted an ad or met a new networking connection or heard something on the grapevine.
You learn everything you can about the firm in question, its people, the industry sector and so on. Don’t short-change this step – any nugget of information could turn out to be the one that makes the difference.
3. Develop your resume or proposal – we’ve talked about this elsewhere ad nauseam – and will continue to do so!
4. First communication – get noticed
You get your intro, or send your first email or phone call. Remember: always think first: what do they really want? This is the trailer that has to move people to consider you.
5. Submit your resume or proposal
Show clearly and concisely that you have the goods they dream of.
6. Get buying noises
They respond and want to know more or to meet.
7. The Interview
Where you start to close the deal. Prepare by catching up on the latest in the field and at the company. Present your past successes so they can see what you will do for their future.
Don’t be a supplicant. Your attitude should be “if we both want this to work I am sure we can find a way”. But remember they may have a budget they can only bust in exceptional circumstances. Also, if there is something you are particularly interested in doing for them – or having in your package -get it out there now rather than let it fester.
9. You’re hired or made the sale: now exceed their wildest expectations!
So those are the stages – and like all good salespeople you’ll want to have several opportunities at different stages of the funnel at one time. Move one forward to first communication while you are interviewing for another. This way you will always have something on the go and you won’t just be sitting and waiting – and stewing.