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Broadcast Letter To Friends For M&A

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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.

3000 Tasman Drive | Santa Clara, CA 95054
H: 408-555-1212 | C: 408-544-6985 | jaffe@ibm.com

March 10, 20––

Mr. Nathan Azan
Vice President Exploration
Cyprus Amax Minerals Company
9200 East Mineral Drive
Englewood, CO 80112

Dear Nathan:

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.

Best Regards,


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William S. Frank, M.A.,
25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
  1. Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn't request outplacement in their severance package. They said, "I want Bill Frank."
  2. Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
  3. White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
  4. Pay. I can be paid to do things I'd gladly do for nothing.
  5. Variety. Every day is different.
  6. Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
  7. Talent. I'm using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
  8. Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you're a McDonald's franchisee, you don't say, "Hey, I've got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let's try it out today." In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
  9. Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
  10. FUN. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
  11. Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "My next one."
  12. Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, "Pack up your stuff . . . You don't work here anymore." In 29 years, I've only had one employer: ME.
  13. Travel. I don't have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it's both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
  14. Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There's seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
  15. Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
  16. Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
  17. Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
  18. Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I've done it all.
  19. Passive Income. I've developed several products that provide "mailbox money." I earn while I'm sleeping.
  20. Ethics. I've never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I've never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can't deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn't mean there's never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices.
  21. Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
  22. Purpose. I make a difference in peoples' lives every day. I see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
  23. Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
  24. Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
  25. Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but in a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.