I was laid off a few years ago and went through a harsh awakening about how little I knew about job searching. I’d been at the same company for eight years. I was a manager with diverse, but generic, experiences. I had my Veteran status, significant management experience, and a master’s degree in business. I thought finding a job would be easy. I was naive and foolish, to say the least. It took months to find a job and over a year to find the right one.
While I was unemployed, I attended classes and talked to people. I blindly applied, and applied, and applied to job position openings. I realized that over the past several years I’d been too busy — between a 50-60 hour work week, graduate school, and National Guard commitments — to grow a network outside of my position. Or maybe that was just an excuse.
I read a lot and attended classes and seminars on how to find a job. I tapped into resources designed to assist Veterans. To be bluntly honest, 95% of what I learned felt worthless. The information was just so basic. You should network. You should have a strong resume. You should use keyword optimization. You should send thank you notes. I don’t mean to be rude, but no shit!
There was just no substance. And often, the information, especially regarding resumes, conflicted. It felt like I was talking to a bunch of individuals telling me what to do, while not explaining the strategy behind the tactics. That meant I didn’t know when to apply what I learned, or even how.
Fast forward three years and I find myself on the other side, working as a recruiter, spending a great deal of time trying to gain the same area of knowledge from a different vantage point. Again, I found myself searching in vain for real answers to common questions — until recently. I was browsing LinkedIn and found a book entitled, “The 2-Hour Job Search,” by Steve Dalton. I first heard about the book in LinkedIn’s Veteran Mentor Network, where it was recommended as a must read for any job seeker.
“The 2-Hour Job Search,” is a systematic, step-by-step plan that can streamline the job search using proven techniques. This book doesn’t tell you to just go network. Instead, it shows you the process to of growing your network by proactively focusing and building connections through informational interviews. If you follow the script, you can’t fail. It also streamlines and automates the system. It even provides solid scripts to follow.
As an applicant, and as a recruiter, I would classify it as a powerful resource for all prospective job seekers. It takes you, from start to finish, through a repeatable process. You identify potential companies, locate prospects within said companies, and set up and conduct informational interviews with these prospects. The book also provides templates and timelines to help you manage the process so that it continues to build momentum on your behalf.
My one criticism is that the book is targeted to recent college graduates. Transitioning veterans should still be able to relate, as they are also in life changing, transitional periods. This is a key point in the book, as this makes you, the prospect, seem non-threatening and provides individuals with a positive reason to want to help you in your journey. I highly recommend picking up the book for yourself as part of your career education.
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