Drive Your Career Change A Direct Approach

By: Peter Fisher

If your career has gone off the road, take control and drive back to job satisfaction with a direct approach.

When you're looking for that new job or a career move it's easy to think that `they' hold all the cards.

But if you can change the way you think about it, you can get back in the driving seat, and after all, this is your career we're talking about.

Remember `they' don't hire you for the sake of it; they hire you to help them make a profit!

So two things first - how you are (attitude) and how you react (the way you see things)

1 Attitude

Everyone goes on about positive mental attitude, don't they? But what does it mean?

To some extent we can all have some influence over what happens to us. I don't mean to say that we can make everything go right all the time, but we can hold an attitude of expecting things to go right

If we expect things to go well they're more likely to.

If we expect things to go badly they probably will.

So even if everything doesn't go right we can get past the things that go wrong so much easier. This is what I mean by positive mental attitude.

2 The way you see things

* Instead of thinking they're in charge, why not try `I'm in charge'

* Instead of waiting to be chosen, decide what you want and present some proposals;

* Instead of dreading interviews, think of yourself influencing key decision-makers;

* Instead of scouring the adverts, read them as sources of inside information;

* Instead of worrying about vacancies, think of them as needs waiting to be met;

* Instead of having to accept the offered terms, think how you can negotiate;

* Instead of them getting what they want, you both get what you want.

Job banks, search engines, job listings, and job guides are all useful tools in your employment search; however they won't find you the unadvertised jobs. Statistics show that perhaps up to 60% of all jobs are unadvertised and are found informally - that is to say through networking and the direct approach - so the unadvertised jobs are what you really need to uncover.

You can uncover these unadvertised jobs and get back into the driving seat by putting together a carefully crafted direct approach letter.

This direct approach is no more and no less than a `marketing' exercise to a specifically qualified target audience. It is NOT a mail-shot and certainly NOT `speculative' letters that some people would have you waste your time writing.

Compared to a direct approach letter, the speculative letter or mail-shot is a complete waste of time, effort and possible opportunity. So don't do it!

Why do I say that?


* A speculative mail-shot aims to cover as many possibilities as you can, so inherently it's not specific to any particular reader.

* A speculative letter labels you as a jobseeker and gets sent to the Personnel Department (if they have one and it gets past the waste-basket).

* Unless you want to work for the Personnel Department (if they have one) that's the last place you want your letter to go.

* Mail-shots in general usually have less than 2% response rate so to generate some interest, (even before an interview is offered) you'd have to spend maybe 300 on postage alone.

* This approach at best will bring you what `they' think you should have, not necessarily what you want for yourself.

And the most important reason:

* Because you try to cover all the possible employers you then make it virtually impossible to approach them again or in any other way. (Oh yes, you already sent your details in to us didn't you?)

So what should you do?

- Each direct approach must be tailor-made for the reader;

- Your letter must include a business proposition;

- Only address to the decision-maker who can employ you;

- Research the organisation in detail;

- Be businesslike and professional;

- Do NOT include your CV

You should also:

- Make it clear you would like to arrange a meeting;

- Be prepared to follow-up quickly once sent;

- Be persistent - they need you.

You already know there is so much more to job or career change than waiting for the right advert to appear so if you want to get back in the driving seat prepare a good direct approach.

Remember - fail to prepare - prepare to fail

Use your research and personal achievements to pack real benefits into your letter; the research you do will show you exactly what proposition you need to develop.

When a need exists because of...

* expansion or new locations;

* departure or retirement of employees;

* new product launches;

* new markets at home or overseas;

* downsizing (businesses often lose people they'd rather keep);

* change in legislation.

...somebody has the problem to solve.

You simply present yourself as the solution, and so remove their headache.

Use this direct approach as one of the main tactics in your overall career change strategy; your time is better spent on this and networking than scouring the papers for adverts to reply to.

About the Author:

You can learn more about his dynamic and comprehensive approach to career change, with every page dedicated to helping serious career changers if you go to

Check out these other articles in the Careers category:

Writing a CV: What Not to Include
Retirement: Is It A Career Change Option?
Employees - Treat Them the Way They Expect to Be Treated
Questions to Ask At Interview
How Long Does It Take To Write A Resume?