During a difficult five-month job search, this letter produced a $125K Mergers & Acquisitions job offer. The job candidate, Randall Jaffe, was coming out of the mining industry when mining was in a recession. It is always a difficult challenge to maneuver within, or find one's way out of, an industry in trouble. Randall's new job combines mining with technology. He will be making acquisitions for a mining company, while also seeking acquisitions for high tech ventures. There's tremendous upside, not just in salary and bonus, but in stock options as well.
It is important to note that his letter to friends and business acquaintances (reproduced here word for word) produced this result. The candidate also tried shotgun tactics--such as sending bulk faxes to CEOs and mass-mailing letters to recruiters -- with no results whatsoever. Zero.
Notice the paragraph that says, in effect, "While I'm in the market for a full-time position, I'm also interested in taking on part-time, temporary, interim, project, or consulting assignments." (For purposes of this article, understand these labels to mean essentially the same thing: short-term work that could either end suddenly, or last indefinitely.)
Pursuing both consulting assignments and full-time jobs at the same time is a good strategy. First of all, leaving one's time unoccupied can be emotionally disastrous. Self-esteem can suffer. Second, short-term assignments are often easier to get.
They can also create momentum and remarkable self-confidence. "I can't interview Tuesday because I'm consulting for Avon, but I could come over Wednesday," sounds much better than, "I haven't been working much since February--I can meet any time."
Third, and best of all, short term assignments frequently roll-up into full-time job offers. I've seen this repeatedly. Once an organization brings you inside and sees what you can do, they often find they can't live without you.
A good strategy is to cultivate several small assignments at once. For example, let one assignment occupy 40% of your time, another 20%, and a third another 10% for a total of 70%. That still leaves 30% of your week (12 hours) to hunt for a full-time assignment. Meanwhile, there's an 80% chance one of the consulting assignments will go full-time.
There's one other attractive outcome with this model: you could find yourself in love with consulting--as many of my clients have--perhaps double your salary, and never want to go back to corporate America again.
After reviewing Randall's letter, see "Should You Consult While Job Hunting" for more great ideas.
RANDALL M. JAFFE
3000 Tasman Drive | Santa Clara, CA 95054
H: 408-555-1212 | C: 408-544-6985 | firstname.lastname@example.org
March 10, 20––
Mr. Nathan Azan
Vice President Exploration
Cyprus Amax Minerals Company
9200 East Mineral Drive
Englewood, CO 80112
It was eighteen years ago when your job offer started me down the employment road in the mining industry. I can't place any blame on you for this dirty deed -- it has been fun as long as it has lasted. But now, with 20 plus years of employment to pursue, I am looking to make some changes.
Since leaving Cyprus three years ago, I was first the CFO and then the CEO for a junior mineral exploration company (traded on the Vancouver Exchange) that was actively exploring for gold and copper in Kazakhstan up until a year ago. The collapse of the mineral exploration equity market forced the pursuit of a new business venture for the company. We are in the process of completing a sale of the company to an oil and gas business with substantial reserves in Eastern Europe. This will return value and liquidity to our shareholders but will move the company to London.
I very much enjoy working for a small company with its hands-on environment. My diversity of interests and skills lend themselves well to situations where there is more to do than there are the resources to do it. I would like to work as a CFO, VP of International Business Development, or as an M&A guy for a company with $10 to $200 million in sales. Industry is not important. Wendy and I are very happy in the Santa Clara area so we are not looking to re-locate, but we are open to following the best opportunity.
I would very much appreciate your keeping me in mind for job opportunities both inside and outside the industry. I am seeking a full-time position, but while in the hunt, I'm planning to take on part-time, contract, or consulting assignments.
I plan to call you within the next 10 days to be sure you received this letter and to ask if you have any thoughts or ideas about people I should contact, or specific positions or opportunities I should pursue. I appreciate your taking the time to consider my situation, and I look forward to talking to you soon. All the best to Nancy.