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How to Measure Job Search Success

Yesterday, I was reading the book, "Make Success Measurable," by Douglas K. Smith, and it reminded me of a management mantra they have at FedEx (and other innovative companies): You can't improve what you don't measure.

Which got me thinking about job hunting ...

Here's the thought: What parts of your job search do you measure?

If you're thinking, "Huh?" or "I don't measure anything," you are like a dieter who doesn't own a scale -- how can you know if you're succeeding?

The answer lies in questions. Specifically, if you ask the right questions, you'll get the right answers needed to measure -- and improve -- your job search.

So, to get you started, here are three questions to ask yourself at the end of each day ...

Question 1: How many networking phone calls did I make today?

Write the number down. Are you happy with it? Did you make 15 phone calls, for example? Good. Reward yourself appropriately, write down what you did to achieve that goal, then repeat it tomorrow.

Not happy with the number of calls you made? Think back to a day when you were happy, when you were "hot" on the phone, and talked to a lot of people. How did you do it? Whatever you did that worked before, repeat it tomorrow.

What if you've NEVER had a good day making networking calls? I would suggest that this is impossible -- and I can prove it to you.

Think about a time when you made a lot of phone calls to ask an important question. Maybe it was to confirm the guest list for a party, or to find a babysitter, or to get a sub at work. If you can do that -- pick up the phone and ask a question of people you know -- you can make networking calls about your job search. Because it's pretty much the same thing.

In this case, the question you are asking is not, Do you know anyone who's hiring? Instead, first tell others what kind of company and job you're looking for, then ask, Who do you know that I should be talking to?

Regardless of whom you call and what you ask, the goal of each networking phone call is simple: To schedule an in-person meeting.

Question 2: How many in-person meetings did I set up today?

Ideally, you'll schedule 1-2 meetings per day and meet 5-10 people every week.

You'll likely set up meetings with two types of people:

a. First-level connections -- people you know already. These are your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, et al. In my experience, however, most job leads will NOT come from these people. Rather, you will get them from ...

b. Second-level connections -- people you meet through people you know. These are also known as "weak connections," and there is great power here, because there are great numbers here. Example: If you know 250 people and they know 250 people, you have access to 62,500 second-level connections.

The goal of each meeting is to get the name of someone who can either hire you, or refer you to a hiring authority. And the goal of meeting those hiring authorities is, of course, to set up job interviews.

Which brings us to ...

Question 3: How many job interviews did I set up today?

This is the crucial question.

Never lose sight of the fact that all your phone calls and in-person meetings have the same ultimate goal: To get you face to face with an employer, discussing why hiring you would be the ideal solution to their problems.

Fact: In many cases, your next job may be at a company you don't know about yet. Which is why you must put the numbers in your favor and talk to as many people as possible.

And ... your next job may not even exist yet. Which is why you must research the background of every employer you meet, so you can propose solutions and ideas that prompt them to hire you before the competition does -- even if they have to create a new job to do it.

To recap, here are the three vital questions:

Take a moment tonight to answer them. When you do, you will start measuring your success, one day at a time, and you can't help but get hired faster as a result.

- Kevin Donlin

Kevin Donlin is contributing co-author of "Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0." Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people. For a free glimpse, visit Guerrilla Job Search System DVD.