Visiting potential employers unannounced

The main reason job-seekers should consider visiting potential employers unannounced isn’t to score a job immediately – it’s about establishing a rapport, showing your tenacity and getting your foot in the door.

When speaking with someone face-to-face, keep in mind you are dealing with a human being, and human beings usually share the following traits:

• They will be probably be more afraid of you than you are of them. This is why they sometimes try to bluff you away with nastiness – don’t be afraid!

• They will only deal with someone they like and trust. If you are open, honest and tell them your strengths and weaknesses from the outset they will trust you more.

• They will always avoid making a decision if you let them, therefore you need to ask them to make the decision.

• Their number one priority is always themselves. Being charitable is nice, but noone will hire you because you have no money and need a job. You need to explain what value you will specifically bring to their business.

• They will only take action to avoid a pain or make a gain. This means you need to stimulate two emotions – greed and fear of loss. If you tell your potential employer you’d love to spend one day per week on work experience with their company, they will be gaining an extra employee for free and might not have to sift through dozens of resumes when the time comes to making a new appointment. If you tell the potential employer that you are a serious contender for other jobs but would still love the opportunity to work for their organisation, or at least do work experience, they might be more inclined to say yes if they fear they could lose out to the competition.

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Applying sales tips to your job search

In sales there is a series of impulse factors that are used to motivate the potential buyer to take action immediately. When it comes to job-hunting, the kinds of impulse actions you want an employer to take include;

• Opening your email – use impulse factors in the subject line;

• Reading your resume – use impulse factors in your cover letter/career objective;

• Taking action from your resume, i.e. calling you for an interview;

• Offering you work experience and;

• Offering you a job.

To remember the impulse factors, use the acronym G.I.F.T.S

G is for Greed

People are greedy – employers want more money, better staff etc. If you can explain how you can deliver more value to their company, how you can bring in more money, operational efficiencies or just be a really easy staff member to manage, you will be appealing to an employer.

I is for Indifferent

People don’t like to be sold something, they want to make their own decisions. While you can’t go begging them for a job, you do need to lay out the benefits of what you can bring to the company and let them make the smart decision.

F is for Fear of Loss

People are more compelled to make a decision if they think they’ll miss out. If you explain that you are quite progressed with applications with other companies, but you specifically want to work for them, this could be the impulse they need to make a decision to hire you.

T is for The Jones Theory

If the Joneses are doing it, then everyone wants to do it. It’s called keeping up with the Joneses. If you make it sound like no other employer is interested in you, the employer might think there’s something wrong with you and won’t be interested either. On the other hand, if you make it clear that you are highly sought after and have lots of employers chasing you, then you will be more appealing. This includes having lots of LinkedIn contacts.

S is for Sense of Urgency

Impulse can be encouraged by creating a sense of urgency. This particular factor could be applied to interstate jobs, for example. So if you lived in Adelaide but the job you wanted was in Melbourne, you could tell the organisation that you will be in Melbourne for two days and would love to see them briefly, thus creating an impulse and sense of urgency.

The final take home tip from all this is any time you have an interaction with a potential employer, make sure you give them a gift!

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The golden formula for job-hunting

Apart from selling yourself, what the heck has sales got to do with the job-hunting process?

In sales, there’s something called a golden formula where activity x skill = result.

In the job search context, activity means the amount of effort you put into your job-hunting, namely the number of jobs you apply for, while skill is the quality of your job-hunting efforts.

As an example, you could have the perfect resume (high in skill) but not apply for any jobs. With no activity, even if you multiply it by a high skill, you will still won’t get a result.

On the other hand, you could apply for 100 jobs (high activity) but have a terrible resume (no skill) and you’ll also find there’s no outcome.

If you’re halfway, so you have an OK resume and apply for one or two jobs per week, you’ll start to see a result but chances are it won’t be a big one.

If you need a job fast, then you have to step into overdrive and focus hard on both activity and skill. This means you need not only a high-quality resume but an effective job-hunting strategy so that when you apply for a large number of jobs, the golden formula dictates that you’ll get a result.

So what exactly does high activity mean?

Activity is more than just the number of job you apply for; in fact to get an exceptionally high activity rating you must engage in a full range of job-hunting techniques. This includes looking beyond Seek to find jobs – so doing your own research, networking and getting your name known at the top places you’d like to work, regardless of whether they’re currently hiring.

What do we mean by high skill?

A fantastic resume is only one part of skill – and keep in mind you can’t have a “perfect resume” that does not change. The perfect application is a package that includes a targeted resume explaining exactly why you have a specific interest in working for the company you’re applying for, and then presenting yourself, preferably face-to-face, to the company after you have researched the management.

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About Us

The Institute of Careers is a leading career development and advisory support service, equipping Australian job-seekers and employees with the know-how to supercharge their careers. We offer a wide range of resources, including cheat sheets, FAQs and customisable templates, covering all aspects of professional development – from writing a cracking cover letter, searching for a job and selling yourself in an interview, to landing a promotion and becoming a great manager.