New Year, New Times, New Job Search Tools.

If you’re one of the 52 million people in the U.S. thinking about changing jobs or switching careers this “new resolutions” month, know this. Many of the traditional job search strategies alone aren’t working very well. For most, they aren’t working at all. What has changed?

The Internet. You can now electronically “zap” your resume to hundreds and thousands of destinations. As strong of an idea as that may seem to the job seeker, it’s not such a great thing for the hiring manager. The problem is recruiters and companies are being deluged with so many resumes, to the tune of hundreds or thousands a day, they seldom even look at them.

The market. Blame it on the economy, 9/11, and the late 90’s, but companies are now a lot slower and more selective in their hiring processes. They can be. They have lots of candidates to choose from. Plus, given reports that show that close to 50% of workers “stretch the truth” on their resume, they want “proof” that you will be a good fit in their culture.

Here’s the point. Today’s job seekers must go above and beyond in differentiating themselves from the masses of people looking for a new position. Polishing up your resume or perusing the job boards or help wanted ads might not be enough. Putting the word out to a few friends or acquaintances that you’re in the market probably won’t work either. In my opinion, you have to get more creative than that to get the attention of a company or hiring manager. You have to incorporate a more comprehensive strategy to stand out in the crowd.

One new tactic is to send a job proposal. I can say that with some authority because I personally used one to get my last two great positions in the Denver market. A number of my career-coaching clients have had the same successful results in the last couple months. I’m not suggesting you scrap your resume or networking activities. I’m recommending you expand your overall job search strategy by adding this powerful new tool to your belt.

What is a job proposal? It’s a one or two page “mini business plan” that’s intended to get you an interview with the decision-maker of a targeted prospective employer. Where a resume tells someone what you have done in the past, a job proposal tells in some detail what you are going to do for the company down the road. Specifically, how you will help them achieve their vision of success. It generally explains the vision you have for a new product or service, how to enhance an existing program, or why to implement a new process. It may also outline your plan to increase company sales or improve accounts receivable. You get the idea .

The three primary components of the job proposal: 


  1. It’s based on the in-depth research you did on that company to insure your ideas match perfectly with the company’s ideas. There was a time when it was customary to ask the person you were interviewing with to tell you about the company. That’s no longer the case. It’s now a sure way of getting you removed from the short-list.
  2. It communicates your passion for being part of their firm. That’s different than your passion for finding a job. Hiring managers want people on their team who love the company’s products and services, their culture, and their vision for the future
  3. It details your proposed position. Specifically, what your game plan is for joining the company and making things happen. It isn’t in response to a current opening you may have seen on the Net or in the paper. You’re being totally proactive.


Today’s change-an-hour economy and resulting job market is clearly volatile and unpredictable. It’s also a great time to move your career forward. When you challenge the relevance of using only the traditional job search strategies and begin adding new tools and techniques that clearly distinguish you from the pack, most anything is possible, including winning a dream job with a great company during a down economy.