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10 Steps to Opening Doors for Career Search Success

If you’re finding frustration instead of career opportunities, it’s likely you’re not following a system that yields predictable results. Without a proven system, your fate can become a mystery dependent solely on the economy and the mood of others. By implementing the following ten step system, you will get in front of the right people and create an eagerness in them to want to help you and hire you. This system is how Dewayne landed his dream career at NASA within just a few months and it’s also how Deborah went from interviewing once in six months to starting her new career in just 30 days. Step 1 – Prep Yourself For Success. Be willing to change some fundamental thinking. Accept the fact that you are the CEO/Chief Marketing Officer of your own company and treat your career search in this high regard. Secondly, be proactive and challenge yourself to take action even if it’s uncomfortable. Step 2 – Get Rid of Excuses. Excuses guarantee your current circumstances will remain the same. Excuses are lies you tell yourself such as I’m too old, too young, I don’t have the right education or background, no one is hiring, or I’m too busy. Make a choice right now – are you going to live by your excuses or the results you desire? Step 3 – Develop Your Target. Many career seekers are in a search too long because they lack a focused target. They keep themselves “open” to all possibilities and they tell others they’ll “go anywhere and do anything”. This only confuses people who may be able to help. Write down and share what you want to do including job title(s), industries, locations, and 50-100 target companies. By clearly articulating what you want to do and where, people will be better equipped to help you with advice and contacts. Step 4. Use Credible Research Tools. Dedicate research time to create a list of your target companies. There are many tools available online – some of them are free, others are not (check with your public library for free, fee-based tools), some are credible while others are not, so choose wisely. A few well respected sites are,, and the Better Business Bureau at . There are other sites out there that are more aligned as “chat boards” than reputable career resources. Sites such as,,, as well as others “do not” validate or attempt to authenticate any of the content or information that its users post. It is highly recommended that these types of sites not be utilized in the reputable research of any organization, offering any career opportunities, at any time. Only use sources that can serve you in your career search well. It’s also in your best interest to conduct further research to determine if a company is culturally a good fit for you by talking with several current individuals who have longevity and a history of success with the company. Step 5 – Get Exposure. Proactively prospect for new career opportunities by finding people who are already doing what you want to do. What you put into getting exposure is what you’ll get out of your career search so if you only contact one person a day, don’t expect fast results. Work towards making initial contact with up to 50 to 100 people a week to set up meetings, and schedule 3-5 networking meetings per week. You can easily find targeted people on LinkedIn using key search words or through a local chapter of a professional association in your field of interest. Step 6. Approach Others by Focusing On Their Needs. Be open to change how you interact with people no matter how good you already are or how afraid you are talking to people. Your career search will change overnight by understanding that all people universally have a craving to feel important, special, and that other people care about them. Step 7. Build Friendships and Trust. Focus on genuinely making others feel that you care about them by identifying their core motivations, goals, and needs, and helping them get what they want. Genuinely complement others, tell them how they inspire you, find something in common, and ask them questions to get them talking about themselves. This is the only way to impress others and standout from the competition as you become very interesting and build trust when you become interested in others. In today’s marketplace, most decision makers buy from and desire people they like, know, and trust. Step 8 – Ask Open-Ended Questions with the goal of uncovering other peoples’ interests, motivations, desires, and needs and dig deeper with follow up questions such as “Tell me more about that” and “What do you like about your job” and “Be open and honest with me. What have you not yet accomplished that you wish you have”, for example. Listen carefully for their deepest motivations and desires and look for ways to connect (Me Too’s). If you lead with what matters to you, there’s a big chance they won’t be interested. You have 100% chance they will be interested in themselves so go with a sure thing. Just ask them questions and they’ll be totally interested in you. Step 9 – Exhibit Posture When It’s Your Turn to Ask for What You Want Come from a place of empowerment instead of desperation by saying something like “I am interviewing several companies because I want to find an organization that is a good fit where I can have a long term relationship. I’m looking for a company that is serious about _____________ (share what’s important to you). Do you work for a company like that?” Step 10 – Have a Definite Close. To get someone you’re meeting with sell themselves on you, ask them one simple question – “What resonated with you about what you heard today/our conversation today?” Also, repeat back to them in their own words what you heard their needs and goals are. They will feel you really care and understand them. And lastly, have a call to action that leads them to your desired next steps and remember to focus on helping others get what they want. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Named by WE Magazine as a top woman blogger to watch for, Lori Davila is an author and top U.S. career and success expert. She brings a results-oriented, approach to supercharge career transitions and income through her resume writing, books, e-programs, speeches, individual coaching, and workshops. Lori has trained and coached thousands of professionals and executives around the world at companies that include The Blackstone Group, Delta Air Lines, The Coca Cola Company, General Electric, IBM, Viacom, Cox Communications, MasterCard, and Accenture. Lori has contributed to a career column for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and regularly contributes to The Wall Street Journal. Lori’s first book, How to Choose the Right Person for the Right Job Every Time (McGraw-Hill), includes 401 behavior-based and other interview questions for both hiring managers and job seekers. Her second book, Perfect Phrases for Perfect Hiring (McGraw-Hill) provides strategies for hiring the best employees. Lori has contributed to several best-selling resume books including Resumes That Knock ‘Em Dead (Martin Yate) and Expert Resume Series (Wendy Enelow & Louise Kursmark). Lori is also a contributing author of the book Conscious Women Conscious Careers. She has appeared on numerous radio programs, spoke in front of audiences of hundreds of people, and she has contributed to publications including The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, AARP Magazine, Unity Magazine, and Business Management Asia. Lori spent the first 18 years of her career working for IBM, MasterCard, and MCI in marketing and sales leadership roles.
  • Daniel Forrest
    Posted May 22, 2011 at 6:58 pm Permalink

    Great article Lori! As someone trying to make the transition from job to career, I feel much more prepared for this undertaking for having read it. What struck me most were steps 1, 5, and 10 – I believe they have certainly altered my job-search schema for the better.

  • Rita Randolph
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm Permalink

    I loved all the suggestions and it will definitely help me in my interviewing process.

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