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Checklist to Shake Job Leads Out of the Trees

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This article will discuss the ten step process for following up letters to friends. The purpose is to involve people in your career transition (or your hunt for consulting clients). 

Many times job seekers (or consultants) call a friend to ask for suggestions, and if that person doesn't have thoughts or ideas, they go to the second person, then the third person, and the fourth person. Pretty soon they've burned through their network, and their job search or consulting practice comes to a dead stop. This is called hitting the wall. 

You can prevent this by involving your network in your campaign. That's what this ten-step process will do. Let's assume that you've mailed your friend letter to 50-250 people. You'll get calls and e-mails in return, but the question is, "How can you get the most leverage from them?"

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#1: Did you get my letter?

BF: If they haven't received it, you say, "I've written about my career transition and want your input. I'd like to resend the letter and then contact you in another two or three days. Is that okay?"

We do that because we want them to have the letter in hand. The letter is supposed to do a lot of work for you. You shouldn't have to tell your story 100 times. The letters will tell your story. That's the reason for making sure they've got the letter in their hands.

Matt: Okay.

#2: Have you had a chance to look at my resume? What do you think?

BF: This exploits the fact that everyone in the world considers themselves a resume expert. 
I don't care who they are, whether they're a plumber or the CEO of a Fortune 50 company, they're all resume experts. 

They'll tell you that the margins are too wide or too narrow, that the type font is wrong. They'll say the Times Roman font should be Arial, or the Arial should be Verdana. They'll tell you there are too many words on the page or not enough words on the page. They'll advise you to move your education to the top of the resume. They'll have a million different kinds of corrections.

The main thing to remember is that if your resume is focused on work accomplishments in a chronological format, those comments shouldn't affect you, because there's only one way they can improve your resume.

They could make a few word changes that might help you, but the only way they can improve it is by reminding you of a work achievement you hadn't remembered.

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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.