Team Success Stories
One of the benefits of working with a Job Search Work Team (JSWT) is seeing how other job hunters solve job hunting problems, make good progress and ultimately succeed in landing a great new job.
Team members agree to report back to the team one last time after they land a job, using the Final Report to the Team format posted on this site. These success stories are very useful to other job hunters because they summarize the entire search. So when you read a number of them, you better understand how job search works – what it involves and how much effort it can take to be successful.
Here is a sampling of some of those success stories.
▶ Successful senior executive job search: 678 discussions with networking contacts…
▶ Marketing professional conducts a highly strategic search as a JSWT member, landing a great job in nine weeks…
▶ IT professional has a highly successful five month search — but only after realizing the importance figuring out exactly
what jobs to go after…
▶ After 12 months of unsuccessful solo job search, success in five months with a
Job Search Work Team …
▶ “Don’t give up:” This job hunter was one of two finalists many times before finally landing a great job…
▶ Five months of solo Internet job hunting, including applications to over 600 postings. Then success in 6 months with a
Job Search Work Team…
▶ A Job Search Work Team member succeeds with networking — and the advice and suggestions of other team members…
If you’d like to add yours, please send it to Orville@highlyeffectivejobsearch.com. If we use it, we’ll edit it to protect your privacy – and we’ll get your permission to publish the edited version.
A successful senior executive job search: 678 discussions with networking contacts and others.
My new role is VP Marketing at XXXX, a global manufacturer based in Europe. The position was attractive as the business recognizes need for strategic thinking and planning skills, commercial skills in general and marketing skills in particular — and growth plans are supported by senior leadership. The brand is well respected as a premium product in the industry — another important ingredient for successful growth.
Overall Progress Summary
- My search lasted 40 weeks total.
- Total hours = 920 or about 23 hours per week.
- 188 advertised positions (about 5 per week on average)
- 300 total letters and emails
- Two blasts to recruiters, covering at least 400 recipients.
- 585 general network contacts (about 14 per week on average)
- 678 total discussions for my search (an average of 17 per week)
The story of my search
While the role is 120 miles from my current home, the location is something I was ready to accept. This is my 4th transition (yikes…) and therefore I am confident that I understand the landscape of my target industries/ companies/ attractive cultures closer to home. 2009 taught me that while there may be ‘jobs’ out there, if I wanted a ‘career’ and learning experience, and the opportunity to be part of executive team leading a business, that something had to give. I’ve done the ‘job’ thing, so to have a career, I quickly surmised that I had to be more flexible regarding location.
Regarding my search, it was more of a roller coaster ride than past searches. Perhaps being 4 years older than the last time I did this was more acute in my mind. My last role was not a good fit on a lot of levels and with 20/20 hindsight, was a job I never should have taken. As a result, it took me at least 45 days to recover from the “PTSD” associated with making such a big mistake and re-gain some semblance of self confidence.
Feb-April was full of exploring, especially in another city, joining JSWT and establishing a cadence of a weekly pattern – basic ‘healing’ from the past experience. Interviews started coming in April, May, June and that lead to more of a challenge balancing time looking/ searching/ networking vs. preparing and reacting to meetings. The XXXX role first surfaced in late June and it took until Labor Day to get to the point of an offer.
For all kinds of reasons, I think I focused more on developing a ‘message’ and was more conscious of talking about business impact/ results vs. skills — due to the fact that I was overtly aware now vs. the past that I wanted an executive position and not a ‘job’. This subtle difference was ‘new’ to me this search… it should not have been, but it was. I expanded geography in early February, so it was after only a month or so realizing that I had to increase my visibility, odds, probability farther from home
For me, taking each task seriously, rather than setting speed records worked for me to get into the moment and reflect on how my audience was receiving me. Going to new networking groups to practice elevator speeches, counting hours/ letters/ discussions with JSWT are two examples – both learning experiences. I asked for more feedback directly from respected contacts than ever before and I got a lot of it.
Persistence, focus, discipline and staying positive are all key. No one wants to hire a whiner, or have lunch with one, or be around them as it sucks the energy out of you. I had become one in my last role and I could see that more clearly from some distance. I developed a couple of ‘go to’ people, who I would call to stay positive and on track and they did the same with me. Regular workouts, yoga, exercise are critical and I allowed myself more ‘personal time.’
The weekly ‘numbers’ from JSWT were key to telling myself that I was still making progress, even if I was taking a long weekend or a few days off.
Advice for others
Figure out why you would make some workplace a better place and make it your mantra. Prejudge nothing. You have nothing to lose to call a decision maker, so just do it and quit agonizing over it as it has minimal down side and lots of upside. Don’t be a victim, stay positive and find productive ways to vent frustration, stay positive and re-build your confidence. (OK, so I did not follow directions here and it’s not one sentence.)
— From a job search assistance program sponsored by the Jewish Employment Transition Service
A marketing professional conducts a highly strategic search as a JSWT member, landing a great job in 9 weeks – even though a previous solo search had taken 9 months.
I recently landed a full-time marketing position at XXXX and wanted share my story as it may be helpful to the group and JETS (Jewish Employment Transition Service) is a central theme.
I’ve actually just finished my second round on the unemployment circuit; having been there in 2010 and again this year – but there’s a BIG difference. In 2010, it took me 9 months to land, and this year, just 9 weeks!
My story is particularly compelling as the major employment obstacles that existed in 2010 are still painfully evident today, including: There is a mass exodus of corporate jobs, age discrimination, and the perception that the unemployed are unemployable.
Back in 2010, 5,000 of my “feathered friends” and I were tossed from the employment nest where we had snuggled together for many years; we were clueless about job searching. Four of us gathered at a McDonalds, where the manager felt so sorry for us, he donated free coffee. And then we joined JETS, met Orville Pierson, and learned that we had created a job search work team!
Our team relocated to JETS and exchanged the free coffee for discipline and diversity. Progressively, we gained more than a clue – we had direction, we followed it, and we landed jobs.
Recently, my job was once more eliminated. This time, I leveraged my past experience, network, and JETS training to hit the ground running. My 9-week success story is about preparation, focus and overcoming obstacles:
The story — and the strategy — of the search
Weeks 1 – 4 — Preparation:
- I went to JETS to learn about current trends and tools.
- I joined a Job Search Work Team for support and guidance.
- I spent 90% of my time networking specifically in my field to help me gain exposure.
- I scheduled informational interviews with industry experts — former managers and colleagues — to share my capabilities, learn about current employer needs, gain resume feedback, obtain referrals, and practice interviewing.
Weeks 3 – 5 — Focus:
- Leveraging my learnings about employers’ marketing needs, I focused on specialized mobile “app” skills rather than my general marketing experience.
- I developed relevant “interview” and “leave behind” materials to prepare for interviewing.
- I used a combination of job boards, saved searches, and LinkedIn to find people and postings in selected companies that I was advised would value my achievements.
- Understanding the importance of active work, I gained an introduction to the Board of the local chapter of the professional (web) usability association and began volunteer work with decision-makers in my field.
Weeks 4 – 8 — Applications
- Using the image of a dartboard to visualize the process — I applied for 50 jobs. 25% were in the outer ring, or general marketing applications. I spent just 25% of my time manufacturing cover letters and resumes for general jobs.
- 75% were in the “bulls-eye” range, that is, requiring specific “mobile app” skills, and I spent significant time customizing applications, enlisting colleagues to promote my candidacy, and connecting with recruiters.
- Out of 50 applications, my hit rate was 15 first-round interviews, with 40% of those in my “bulls-eye” range.
Weeks 6 – 9 — Interviews:
- I leveraged LinkedIn for background research and reached out to joint connections for assistance.
- I practiced interviewing with former managers.
- With great care, I deployed a sales technique of “name-dropping” during interviews to warm the conversation and help create linkage with interviewers.
- I provided a “leave behind” packet to help decision-makers in the post-interview selection process.
- I followed up with the “name-dropped” connections that would be most credible to hiring managers to ask for endorsements.
Week 9 — Landing:
- My professional advocates were key to scoring an offer. As I was an unknown candidate to the decision-makers, I knew I had to help them envision me as a team member. Two connected colleagues informally endorsed me; neither was on my “official” reference document. (One just happened to be a 2010 founding member of a nearby Job Search Work Team.)
- Much appreciation goes to my current JSWT. I was fearful to do anything but accept the offer “as-is” but the team provided the tools and support to help me negotiate a fair salary.
— From a job search assistance program sponsored by the Jewish Employment Transition Service
An IT professional has a highly successful five month search — but only after realizing the importance figuring out exactly what jobs to go after.
I accepted a full-time Systems Analyst position with XXXX. I will be working in the Information Technology department on the Content Management Team to support and expand features to the records system. My background is in IT and designing/developing database and content management systems. I am pleased that I will be learning new document management tools. I am also pleased that the job is located near my home.
For 7 months, my total hours were less than 15/week. Once I got clear on my Professional Objective and Target Market, my hours jumped to 25-30/week. My networking and job search finally had a focus.
The Story of My Job Search
My search took 12 months. I went to my first job hunting presentation in July and was invited to come
to the JSWT meetings. The Pierson method of Job Search works because it provides you with the information to develop the tools needed to find a job (resume, cover letter, marketing plan, and charting your progress.) I attended almost every EARN meeting, a few WNO meetings, one Toastmasters meeting and the weekly JSWT meetings. Above all, the weekly JSWT meetings were the most helpful. I will never forget the outstanding guidance and support I received from the team leaders and all the team members!
The four chapters of my search are as follows:
- Get Real
For the first 7 months, I was not focused and had no target goal — other than the goal of a full-time position in Information Technology commuting up to 40 miles. I put more hours into family and volunteer activities than into my job search. I was unable to find a job posting that I could see myself enjoying. There was no particular industry or company that interested me. My heart was not in it and it was frustrating.
- Get Focused
I knew I liked the “customer support” end of IT — helping end users with their computer software. But these support-type jobs were low paying and entry level. This led me to search for Application Analyst jobs. There were many popping up at healthcare companies. The job descriptions sounded like a job I would enjoy very much. Finally, some breadcrumbs! I learned of the 6 month (215 hour) Health IT program at a Community College. This was finally something I would like to do and had the skills but lacked the healthcare industry experience. I applied to the program and was to start in April.
- Get Going
In January, I began learning about healthcare through self-study — reading, webinars, and Internet video learning on government regulations, healthcare terminology, and EHR systems. I also reached out to friends and relatives who worked in healthcare and asked about their EHR systems, who their IT provider was, etc. I applied to a small handful of health IT jobs just seeing if I would get a response – I did not.
- The Connection
I started following local hospitals and medical groups on Linked In. I saw a job posted on XXXX’s Linked In page for a Systems Analyst doing document management and no mention of healthcare experience. That same week, I spoke to a friend, a nurse at nearby Hospital, who put me in touch with her colleague in health informatics field at the hospital. We had a phone conversation. I told her I applied to a systems analyst position at XXXX. She offered to send my resume to her friend at XXXX who, in turn, gave my resume to XXXX HR. This all happened in one week’s time. I got a phone screen from HR days later. The interview was 1 week later. The 2nd interview was 2 weeks later. The job offer was 1 week later. The whole process was 5 weeks.
Finally realizing the type of work I wanted to do and focusing my search/networking toward that goal.
Keep your chin up! The job search has its ups and downs – mainly downs. The JSWT helps keep you going but you have to do your homework – that is networking to keep fueling the search. But do it with a focus – find a job description that you can see yourself doing and target that industry, company, etc. Pray!
— from EARN, a church jobs ministry
After 12 months of unsuccessful solo job search, success in 5 months with a Job Search Work Team
I accepted a consulting position with XXXX. The company’s current revenues are $XX million. It is highly profitable and has excellent potential to expand geographically and with complementary product offerings. The consulting assignment, in the near-term, is focused on the establishment of improved financial reporting requirements, development of the infrastructure to support growth plans and participation in the assessment of growth plans and production capacity expansion. While my background lends itself to both finance and operations in manufacturing, I am pleased that they will be teaching me the packaging business.
My search took 17 months from my last consulting job. I went to my first EARN presentation and was invited to come to the JSWT meetings. I attended almost every weekly JSWT meeting. The weekly meetings were the most helpful to my morale. I will never forget the outstanding guidance and support I received from the leaders and all the team members!
The stages of my search are as follows:
For the first 12 months, I lacked focus and relied only on job postings. Interviews were few and far between. As of this past February, I had not had an interview in five months. During this time, I had trouble even with applying for job postings and found myself in a downward spiral. It was as if I was waiting for someone to find me a job.
When I began the JSWT my mood had improved almost immediately. I started learning the Pierson method and soon found myself making connections with people I hadn’t talked to in 20 years. As luck would have it, the connection that did it for me was within the JSWT.
A couple of weeks after starting the JSWT meetings, the team leader invited me to meet with him at Panera’s. This was at the end of February. He reviewed my resume and suggested changes to better market myself. He forwarded my resume to one of his contacts. Within a few days, he notified me that his contact wanted to speak to me. So, I had a phone conversation with his contact, which led to a meeting with senior management and the board of directors. The actual interview was two weeks later. The 2nd and 3rd interviews were the following week. The 4th and final interview (with a new board member) was three weeks later. It took two weeks for them to contact my references and another two weeks to receive a formal offer. The whole process was approximately two and a half months.
— from EARN, a church jobs ministry
“Don’t give up:” This job hunter was one of two finalists many times before finally landing a great job.
I am happy to say I just completed my first week at XXXX as a Project Manager in IT. It feels real good getting back to work.
I cannot stress how helpful the JETS (Jewish Employment Transition Service) program and the JSWT were in helping me through my transition.
Overall Progress Summary
- My search lasted 63 weeks.
- I averaged 25 – 30 hours a week on job search activities.
- I applied for 79 positions and got at least one interview for about 20% of them.I had over 1064 networking conversations
- I had conversations with 46 different Decision Makers.
The story of my job search, Strategy, Success Factors and my advice for those still in search.
At the beginning, one of the hardest things for me was getting comfortable telling people about what I do and the value I add.
I remember walking into my first JETS meeting not knowing any one. After walking around the room, I forced myself to walk over to a small group of people and introduce myself. Much to my surprise, it was not as hard as I thought it would be.
Each meeting, I continued to refine my introduction and get more comfortable telling it to people. I set a goal to meet at least three new people each meeting and continued to build friendships with people I had already met.
Here are the main points:
- Join a JSWT !!!! It really helped me stay positive and focused. Team members share tons of info on all aspects of the search. Don’t be afraid to volunteer to help run a team.
- Locate and attend “Professional Organizations” in your field. It allows you to stay current and network with people that are working for your target companies.
I got this job partly through a friend I made at one of the Project Manager roundtables. He worked for XXXX (where I now work) and was able to help get someone to actually read my resume and talk with me.
- Help everyone you can along the way.
I made it a point to find the new JETS attendees and go over and talk with them. I would introduce them to a few people and make them more comfortable.
I regularly got together for coffee with people I met. This allowed me to know them better and see how I could help them.
The more you help others – the more they will want to help you.
- Lastly, don’t give up. I made it down to the final two candidates multiple times. Although it is very frustrating – you need to stay positive and focused.
YOU WILL EVENTUALLY GET AN OFFER (probably when you least expect it)
— from a job search assistance program sponsored by the Jewish Employment Transition Service
Five months of solo Internet job hunting, including applications to over 600 postings. Then success in 6 months with a Job Search Work Team.
Introduction: My New Job
Last week, I was offered and accepted the position of Senior Vice President at XXXX, a Fortune-listed global business, in the IT Project Management Office.
Next week, I return to the battlefield after eleven months of aggressive effort. I am now a much wiser and significantly more valuable resource for my new employers. I have worked very hard to get to this point and deserve some credit. But more than anything, I know I have come through this time because of the grace of God — often administered through the kindness and strength of my family, my friends, my developing network and the church jobs ministry/JSWT. The church jobs ministry/JSWT has been the tool to convert many of the Orville Pierson guiding points to reality for me. I hope to prove my Thanks To God for this opportunity through a greater level of service to others. I have been humbled and pray to always remember this frightening time.
Progress Statistics Summary for my Entire Search (click here for larger view)
Major Phases of my Search
Phase I (one month) — Shock — Acceptance — Action
- I started immediately to review and reestablish my resume. I started to list my contacts.
- I wrote a series of emails and contacted people to give them the chance to place me.
- I paid for access to search engine tools such as TheLadders, ExecuNet , etc…
- I placed myself on a dozen or more company websites for jobs
- I devoted more than 40 hours a week to building a huge flow of data into me.
- For a month I built search filters to process data.
Phase II (four months) — Furious Activity — FAILURE
- Finding a job was my full time (at least forty hours a week) career.
- I continued to devote ninety percent of my time to plowing through job postings
- I applied to more than six hundred postings many with supporting letters.
- I was working as hard as I could for four more months.
- I met with a few key network members to sell myself.
- I was not being successful
- I was on my own.
Phase III (six months) — Jobs Ministry/JSWT — Change — Refocus — Progress
- I was referred to the Jobs Ministry in early January by a stranger at the Unemployment Office . I needed a better plan and was open to anything. I came.
- Eventually, I accepted elements of the Pierson approach.
- I reworked my resume to a functional style — reducing it from three to one page.
- I started to develop par statements. Structured my elevator speech.
- I established a T-sheet approach to presenting myself.
- I qualified a Board of Directors approach.
- I eventually drafted a serious business plan.
- I dramatically reduced my job posting approach and started to devote more than eighty percent of my effort to expanding my network to include the networks of others.
- I started to make some traction.
What gets measured gets done was a significant reinforcement to me. Doing my numbers for formal reporting was the discipline to re-visit my process each week, making corrections as needed. I had a documented record of my shift from job postings to network conversations. Tools like PAR statements and defending a business plan over and over tweaked my strategy.
The weekly JSWT meetings provided me with the structure to move in a different direction. The JSWT leadership challenged me to recognize how much I needed to network. I had only wanted a job. I painfully grew to the point of authoring my manifesto to send to those I wanted to build into my web of networks. This was my pivot point to success. A little prayer here and there did not hurt either. Our professional team leaders are shepherds in a world of lost sheep. JSWT was a sanctuary to rebuild my professional life.
I am comfortable leaving behind my anger at what I once thought was the wrong that was done to me. We all pass through pain and sorrow. I am pleased if you think to count me among your network.
— from EARN, a church jobs ministry
A Job Search Work Team member succeeds with networking — and the advice and suggestions of other team members.
I will be working for XXXX as Senior Member of the Technical Staff. As for why I took this position, it was the best job I could find and it pays well.
Overall Progress Summary
- Total Hours: 20hours/week, 320 total hours in seven months
- Direct Mail: 2/week, 42 total
- Adv. Positions: 10/week, 320 total
- Search Firms: 1/week, 32 total
- Other Letters: 3/week, 96 total
- Total Letters: 6/week, 160 total
- General Network: 10/week, 320 total
- Target Co. Misc. 1/week, 32 total
- Target Co. Peer: 1/week, 32 total
- Target Co. Decision Maker: 1/week, 32 total
- Total Contacts: 13/week, 426 total
- Total Length of Search: 32 weeks
The Story of the Job Search
This time around the job search was no fun, more like finding a needle in a haystack. The online job sites were a waste of time for me. If you don’t have the specific skills and experience they are looking for then there is no response from the companies. I had some success when I contacted friends in local companies and I found this new job by my friend recommending me for the position, and I also worked with some of the other staff at the company.
I was hired by this company because they were looking for someone with experience like mine. My various positions and responsibilities were a good match for this job. I was recommended by two employees.
I was modifying my search every few months if I was not getting any interviews. My last approach was contacting friends.
My Job Search Work Team was very helpful in many ways:
- Provided me an opportunity to discuss any issues that came up during my job search.
- Insight into the job market trends and any specific opportunities that matched my qualifications.
- Reviewed and discussed alternative networking and job search techniques.
- An opportunity to network and assist the other team members in their job searches.
- Our team leader does a great job in managing the meetings and organizing the topics for discussion after everyone provides their job search numbers.
- Determine your core skill set and what you can do for the prospective employer.
- Network with everyone you know and meet during your job search.
- Make the job search your new job, put in 110%. You are working for yourself until you find a job.
- Establish target a list of companies, develop a Project Plan for the job search and modify it as needed.
- Make sure the resume provides a clear and concise overview on what you can do for the prospective employer.
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