If your job search strategy consists of responding to job postings, posting your CV on job Boards and sending your CV to recruiters, then don’t be surprised if nothing happens.

I’m sure you’ve felt the frustration of most people that operate in this way.

The only tried and tested approach to getting your ‘dream job’ (let’s think big, shall we) is through continual self promotion and proactive direct contact with potential clients/ employers and head-hunters.

Like any great sales person, your sales campaign needs to be focused, planned and executed well.

All sales are built on systems, processes, planning, routine activity, analysis, adaptation and more activity.  Does you career building approach follow a similar structure?

If not, it’s time to step back and establish the 4 elements of successful career management;

Develop your own CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a standard sales focused way to understand who you are targeting, who you’ve approached, document outcomes to discussions and schedule follow up actions.

If you’re serious about taking control, you need to develop you own CRM, in order to keep a track on your activities and collate data from your target clients/ employers.  

Remember, the aim of this whole process is to get your prospective client/ employer to engage in a discussion with you. To do this, they first need to notice you, then you need to be different to grab their attention and then you need to encourage them to take action – we have covered a lot of the activity around these steps previously.

However, let’s briefly talk about how you can build up a steady flow of materials/ references/ data etc. that you can proactively share with your ‘Jane Doe’ that they will value and which will help differentiate you from the crowd.


People are always interested in themselves more that they are interested in you!  A big generalisation I know, but in the main, it holds true.  You can use this to your advantage though by demonstrating to your target person that you have invested time in getting to know them.  You do this by referring to their work, to an article that they had had published, to some post they have put up on social media etc.  

Let’s start to collate the information that you need;

Get out your list of target organisations and/or individual hiring managers (and their managers).  Go to Google and set up a series of ‘Google Alerts’ for each and everyone on your target list.  This will provide you with a regular flow of information (in the main topical) that you can refer to when making contact.  You can set up daily or weekly Alerts.

There are number of other News Alerts websites, most offer a free subscription – do a Google search for News Alerts sites in your area or focused on your target sector and set up similar alerts. 

Finally, set up alerts on Job Boards so that you know the type of roles the organisation is looking to fill – download their role descriptions – these often provide valuable insights into the culture and style of the organisation.  

Equally, look out for more senior appointments as this often indicates future changes in direction etc.  All of this is designed to be collated and filed in an accessible place – apps like Evernote is great for collating electronic data like this as it provides the ability to segment your data into folders.

Let’s get Proactive

We mentioned earlier that your approach to managing your career should be a continuous activity and that you should be proactively targeting your ideal clients/ employers in order to be in their thoughts should an opportunity arise to engage with you.

However, you don’t want to become a ‘pain in the neck’, do you?  We have all had experience of people contacting you every day trying to sell you something – it doesn’t end well!  As such, we need to avoid this!  However, it is not hard to do with a little thought and planning.  And this is where the CRM tool comes in.

Keep a record of every interaction that you have with the individual – be that in person, on the phone, via email or via social media and don’t make too many contacts until you’ve established a connection.

How to approach someone ‘cold’

There are three lessons when approaching someone ‘cold’

When approaching someone for the first time;

Once you have initial contact and engagement, again don’t be too pushy – always look to demonstrate how you can add value to them – share insights and look to line up referrals etc.  Over time, start to introduce more information on what you do and how you feel that you can help them with a particular issue/ challenge/ opportunity.  Again, don’t be overtly salesy, but rather offer to discuss their options in greater detail.

Once you can engage with them directly, then you have the perfect platform in which to demonstrate the value that you can offer them.

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