10 Insider Secrets to a Winning Job Search

1. Your book, '10 Insider Secrets to a Winning Job Search: Everything You Need to Get the Job You Want in 24 Hours - or Less' is an all round strategy for job seekers. In job hunting, 'motivation' comes in various forms, including panic and frustration. What roles do personal character and a person's mindset play in job seeking?

Mindset is quite possibly the most important asset or inhibitor to a job search. Just like an athlete has to have the right mindset approaching the game, so to does the job seeker. If you approach the job search thinking you will succeed. You will. If you approach it thinking the economy is bad and it will be tough to get a job, then it will be tough. Confidence and a positive mental attitude are essential to any successful job search. If you don't believe in yourself, who will?

2. 'Professionalism' has become a cultural buzzword, but it really does have a role in any job search, particularly at interviews. What's the best way to demonstrate professionalism?

Professionalism is extremely important. I am a big believer in actions. By being professional, it means, showing up on time, being dressed appropriately, being prepared, knowing the correct spellings and pronunciations of everyone you meet. It means being courteous, listening to the interviewer, having proper posture and etiquette. Even small things like having a nice pen or notebook all contribute towards a professional appearance. Then sending a personalized thank you e-mail to each person you met is also essential. Finally, even a small touch like creating your own business card to hand out makes you look more professional.

3. Many of our users are just entering the job market for the first time. How can they use your book to help them in their job searches? (We have a lot of kids on the site whose knowledge base is standard/mediocre. They don't have career contacts, and they don't know how the real job market operates. They simply do no know the basics. Any advice definitely will help.)

I created the book to be a roadmap to job hunting success. While each of the secrets may seem basic on the surface, I guarantee you that every person, regardless of age or experience must follow each of them in order to succeed. The book is ideal for the first time job hunter as well as for someone who has been in the workforce for years. My best advice is to follow each step as it is a proven formula for success.

4. How useful is 'cold canvassing', looking for jobs with employers who haven't advertised?

Cold calling is a numbers game. It can be useful but it takes a ton of effort. I suggest networking through trade associations and networking groups that focus on a certain area of interest. For example in Chicago, there is a networking group called League of Extraordinary Guys and Gals. Believe it or not, this started as a networking group for IT professionals to help each other find jobs. Now CIOs, vendors and job seekers all belong to this group. The key is to find groups like this and attend the events and network. That is far more effective than just cold calling.

5. Career goals are a vital component of job searching. Your book includes 'Define the job you really want' as one of the secrets. Could you give us an overview of this idea?

I can't tell you how many people I have asked the question 'So what kind of a job are you looking for?' and gotten the answer, 'I don't know... I just want a job.' That is unacceptable. If you don't know what you want, how are you supposed to get it? In today's competitive market we are all competing against people who know exactly what they want. So it is essential that job seekers know the type of company they want to work for, the type of position they want and the type of pay they want.

6. 'Networking' is a term, which is often used in employment. Could you define for our members the basics of networking for job seekers?

Networking means leveraging common bonds and relationships to gain access to opportunities. One way to network is to ask your doctors, lawyers, insurance agents, stock brokers if they know of anyone hiring for the type of job you are looking for. Even hair stylists can be a great resource. You have given these people your hard earned money all these years it is time they help you out in your time of need. Networking also means joining groups as I mentioned above who have a common interest and to meet as many people as possible. Networking is basically having conversations with people with a specific goal in mind for those conversations. I still network to this day to find new clients. Even doing this article is a form of networking.

7. Some people hit a brick wall in their job searching. How should they approach a lack of results?

The key is to step back and honestly assess what you are doing wrong. I always suggest that after getting a rejection letter, the job seeker should contact the firm to understand why he or she was rejected so he or she can learn from the experience. Also, the key is to not get down on yourself. Have the belief that everything happens for a reason and the reason you have not gotten a job yet is because you have not come across one that you deserve. Keep the faith and you will get a great job.

8. How would you advise someone who's going for any job they can get, for income reasons? How can they use their job search to make a career, and go further?

As I mentioned before, trying to get a job just for the sake of an income is not good enough. You have to be passionate about what you want. There are always creative ways you can leverage skills to go into a new career. The key is to be able to translate your expertise and personality into key selling points for the positions you will be seeking.

9. What are the most important things to avoid, in job searching?

  1. Lying
  2. Getting down on yourself
  3. Being late to interviews
  4. Forgetting to turn off your cell phone
  5. Not being prepared

10. Mature age workers, overqualified people, and people who are downscaling often run into problems applying for jobs because of their prior work histories. How do they get around those problems?

Mature workers should be proud of their age and expertise. There is nothing to apologize for. The key is to focus on information that is relevant for the opportunity and develop a solid business case on why you should be hired. I don't care what a person's age, gender or race is. If there is a solid business case (reason) to hire you, you will get hired.

Job hunting is all about selling. The job seeker is both the product and the salesperson. The key is to sell the customer, the job interviewer, on why they should hire you. It is that simple.