The “Seeking a New Job Letter” – Often Overlooked, but Highly Effective

“There is no shame in hitting the canvas seven times,
so long as you stand back up more than six.”   

–       Muhammad Ali  

ACTUAL “CASE HISTORIES”: For over 30 years, we have assisted employees in their job transitions, and that means employees who are losing or leaving their jobs. For the vast majority, that transition is a transition to a new job. So, how do you find a new job? 

There are more ways to find a job than you can count, including internet postings, recruiters, social media, help-wanted ads, networking, college placement offices, networking circles, and too, your Uncle Harry. You never know where your next job will come from. 

One simple, efficient and highly effective tool to help you find a new potential position is the distribution of a “Seeking a New Job Letter” to everyone you have ever met, and others who you have never even heard of. It is simple, direct, rather easy and more effective than you might imagine – provided you do it correctly. 

A few years ago I received a mass-distributed email that expressed something like the following: “I NEED A JOB!!!!!!” To be frank with you, neither I nor anyone else I know who received it felt motivated in any way to assist its sender. It seemed desperate, self-centered, and almost like a demand or entitlement. It worked in reverse. 

Effective “I seek a job” letters are (a) short and to the point, (b) positive in outlook, (c) informative regarding the type(s) of position(s) sought, and (d) express flexibility and gratitude. With these elements in place, a “Seeking a New Job” letter often works, and is highly likely to fulfill its purpose: getting you a new job. 

Effective “Seeking a New Job” letters also embody a sense of self-reliance, a positive human quality in almost every endeavor, for it simply brings out the best in you. 

Should you rely entirely on a “Seeking a New Job Letter” to get you a new job? Surely not. But you would likely be foolish not to make it a significant component – if not a pillar – of your overall “re-employment plan.” 

LESSON TO LEARN: Whenever you do anything of importance, to ensure your success you should first create a plan. We highly recommend creation of a “Re-Employment Plan” for anyone seeking a new job, whether out of work, soon to be out of work, or just seeking greener pastures. A “Re-Employment Plan” should include: (i) a clearly defined “best job” and alternatives to that “best job”; (ii) effective steps designed to help you reach your “best job”; (iii) a reasonable timetable for each step; (iv) a realistic budget for each step; (v) a list of potential sources of support; and (vi) regular progress reviews and, if necessary, adaptation to the plan to continually “steer” you in the right direction.  

Among the most effective steps to gain re-employment – but, sadly, often overlooked – is what we call a “Seeking a New Job Letter.” In its essence, this is intended to let each person you know, have ever known, and even some people you have never known that (a) you seek a new job, (b) what that new job is, (c) alternative jobs you would accept, and (d) that you would appreciate them keeping you in mind. Nothing formal, nothing complicated, straightforward and simple. 

It is inexpensive. It is unlimited in its potential assistance. It is direct. It is far-reaching, indeed, worldwide. It is efficient. It is proactive. It applies to every stage in life: youth, middle age, and “more experienced.” And – most of all – it is effective. Don’t overlook using a “Seeking a New Job Letter” when you are “seeking a new job.” You likely will be pleasantly surprised.  

WHAT YOU CAN DO:  Here are 10 good guidelines for your own “Seeking a New Job Letter”:        

1. Create an email distribution list containing every person you ever met, and even others you have never met. Newspapers, magazines, TV shows and blogs don’t worry about who reads them, and your “Seeking a New Job Letter” should not either. Get the word out, and get it out as widely as possible. You just never know whose brother, neighbor, camp counselor, plumber, daughter, college roommate or distant relative will have the exact job opening you seek.  

2. Do not send a large “email blast,” but instead one email at a time. For a whole variety of reasons, it is best not to send out one large “email blast.” Instead, send out one email at a time. People do not like their email addresses given out to others. Also, a “personal” touch, even to people you do not know, is preferable. Human nature is such that direct contact always makes the recipient feel the most connected with the sender.      

3. Email is not the only means of communication: you might use social media, and other means of digital transmission, as well. While email is our transmission method of choice, don’t hesitate to use social media of all sorts to distribute your “Seeking a New Job Letter.” We do, though, prefer digital transmission for its ease, speed, low cost and ease of response.  

4. Be brief, concise and to the point: one page is best. Want to write a whole book or booklet extolling your virtues, your grades in middle school, your nickname and your favorite hobbies? Fuhgeddaboudit!  That said, if you are fluent in Arabic and are seeking a job in which that would be relevant, by all means mention it. Use a simple and easy-to-read and understand format that is easy on the eyes and easy on the brain. No long paragraphs on your personal philosophy; just what job you seek and why you should be hired. We do NOT recommend using the standard resume format or resume professionals for this effort.   

5. Mention your “best possible job,” and alternatives, as well. If you know what you’re looking for . . . go for it. Goals that are specific are more likely reached. On the  other hand, to broaden your potential for getting employed, you might put in other types of positions you would happily accept.  

7. Exhibit a mindset that is upbeat, positive, realistic, confident, determined and flexible. No matter how dark, depressed or despondent you may feel “inside,” your “Seeking a New Job Letter” must be positive in all respects on the “outside.” People are attracted to “winners,” and are simply turned away from those who portray themselves as victims. Early impressions are lasting impressions: make yours positive.    

8. Avoid both the words and the “music” of drama. Imagine, for the moment, that you met an old friend who had recently gone through a divorce. You say to your old friend “How are you doing?” to which your old friend responds with a 20-minute tirade about how his or her former spouse was unfair, unfaithful and unforgiving. Who wants to listen to that? Well, the same goes for your efforts to secure a new job: no one wants to hear you “shovel dirt” on your former employer. Cry into your beer, but not in your “Seeking a New Job Letter.” 

9. You might mention “The Golden Rule.” Call me old fashioned, if you want to, but I have never ceased to be amazed at how effective it is if you make a person imagine, just for a moment, if he or she was in your shoes, how much he or she would appreciate a helping hand. Consider mentioning your presumption that your letter’s recipient was once, if not more than once, in “your shoes,” and how you know he or she understands and appreciates your present struggle. 

10. Make it easy for people to contact you in response. It never, ever ceases to amaze me how often people send me messages of various kinds but do not make clear mention of how I can best and most easily reach them in response. Put yourself in the “shoes” of the recipients of your “Seeking a New Job Letter,” who has a good job prospect for you, but simply can’t locate you, or has difficulty doing so. That would be a tragedy, and an easily avoidable one. Provide a telephone number, email address, and if appropriate, a Twitter “handle.”    

11. Plan on sending a follow up letter, in the nature of a “progress report,” once every two or three weeks. If Coca Cola and Apple Computer have to periodically remind people of who they are, and what they offer, so do you. While it is not 100% necessary, it is almost always a wise idea to periodically provide your recipients with a follow up letter to keep yourself on their minds. Just like your original “Seeking a New Job Letter” should be, follow ups should also be brief, to the point and upbeat. So often it is perseverance that makes the simple difference between success and failure.  

We offer a Model Memo entitled “Seeking a New Job Letter” that you can use to get the powerful advantage of having scores, hundreds or even thousands of people helping you get employment. This Model Memo can be adapted to your own facts, events and circumstances. And it includes a second, “Follow Up” memo to keep your contacts fresh. Highly recommended. To obtain a copy, just [click here]. 

These 10 good guidelines for your own “Seeking a New Job Letter” can help you get back into the ranks of the employed, at a faster pace, at lower cost and with greater overall exposure, than many other methods. Being unemployed can surely get you “down,” but that’s no reason to stay “down.” This is a proven way to get you back “up.” This method is something you do for yourself, by yourself, costs nothing, and represents great value at no risk. Isn’t that what business – and Sklover Working Wisdom™ is all about?  

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SkloverWorkingWisdom™ emphasizes smart negotiating – and navigating – for yourself at work. Negotiation of work and career issues requires that you think “out of the box,” and build value and avoid risks at every point in your career. A “Seeking a New Job Letter” is a perfect embodiment of the spirit and substance of that process. Now the rest is up to you.        

P.S.: Got a Job Offer, and Background Check is about to happen? Use our Model Letter to Your Former HR, Managers and Colleagues to Discourage Bad References. “What to Say, and How to Say It.”™ To obtain your copy, just [click here.] Delivered by Email – Instantly! 

Always be proactive. Always be creative. Always be persistent. Always be vigilant. And always do what you can to achieve for yourself, your family, and your career. Take all available steps to increase and secure employment “rewards” and eliminate or reduce employment “risks.” That’s what SkloverWorkingWisdom™ is all about. 

*A note about our Actual Case Histories: In order to preserve client confidences, and protect client identities, we alter certain facts, including the name, age, gender, position, date, geographical location, and industry of our clients. The essential facts, the point illustrated and the lesson to be learned, remain actual.     

Please Note: This Email Newsletter is not legal advice, but only an effort to provide generalized information about important topics related to employment and the law. Legal advice can only be rendered after formal retention of counsel, and must take into account the facts and circumstances of a particular case. Those in need of legal advice, counsel or representation should retain competent legal counsel licensed to practice law in their locale. 

Repairing the World –
One Empowered and Productive Employee at a Time ™

© 2012 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.