Job Search Pyramid

Contacting Employers and Getting Interviews. How the Job Search Pyramid Works, Stage 3

Following Stage 2, Finding Opportunities and contacts, , is Contacting Employers Directly.

Armed with a strong cover letter, a skillfully written résumé, and a telephone script, you begin contacting companies where you believe opportunities exist.  [That’s heard me correctly...pick up the telephone...old school.]  Why?  Let me digress a bit for a moment.

According to Steve Dalton in his book, The 2-Hour Job Search, “in 2008, there were 27.5 million businesses in the United States, and 99.9 percent of those had fewer than five hundred employees.  Furthermore, a full 99 percent had fewer than one hundred employees!

[Here’s more:]

Employer Size (#)






Self-employed (1)



Stage 1 (2-9)



Stage 2 (10-99)



Stage 3 (100-499)



Stage 4 (500+)



The Stage 3 and 4 companies may be the first ones that come to mind, but they make up less than 0.5 percent of the total population of employers available, and between them they account for only ¼ of all employment in the U.S.

That mean that unless you are willing to target only less than ½ of a percent of the total number of employers out there, there are far more targets than one has time to consider.  (Two-thirds of all U.S. jobs are at employers with between 2 and 99 employees!)  The vast majority of those smaller employers don’t have the presence of the budget to travel far and wide looking for the best talent available - and the larger firms don’t usually need to try too hard to find applicants.”

OK, what does this all mean to you?  Old school direct contact with employers works well with small companies because their approach to hiring and recruiting is far more organic and personal than with large companies who have the means to set up a myriad of sand traps for applicants.  It also means the change to contact the right person to arrange an interview is far higher.  Getting interviews is always to key to a successful job search!

So, back to the phone.

  • Pick it up,

  • make the call to determine who is the hiring manager or the person who may supervise someone with your skills,

  • make the contact,

  • state briefly your qualifications, and

  • ask the question when you can come in to meet with them about opportunities that exist now, or in the future.

Some of these contacts take more than one attempt to make a connection, but you don’t give up.  At some point, you will probably begin to feel you are getting pretty good at making contact, and may even have applications in progress, so you will turn your attention to conducting the interview.

Does this job well with the large employers?  Probably not.  Here you’ll have to employ all the skills of networking within the organization.

Watch for the next post on How to Use the Job Search Pyramid!

Success always,


Posted under agreement with Get Hired Now!

Finding Opportunities and Contacts. How the Job Search Pyramid Works, Stage 2

Now that you’ve completed (or at least dug deep into) Stage One of the Job Search Pyramid, “Knowing what you want,” you’ve graduated to Stage 2, “Finding Opportunities and Contacts.” At this stage, you begin building a network of people who can help  you find specific opportunities.  You decide to get involved in one of the association and/or LinkedIn groups that serve the industry in which you are interested and begin attending their meetings and/or participating in LinkedIn Group discussions and starting your own.

In your earlier research, you noticed several companies that seem to be excellent job targets.  You also identified four or five key people you already know who may be familiar with the industry that interests you.  You set up coffee or lunch meetings, or arrange informal telephone meetings with these people and ask them about the industry in general, the companies in which you may have some interest, and where your expertise could fit.  You begin to contact the companies that interest you to find out what opportunities exist there.  (Note that the word “company” here and elsewhere in my posts is meant to indicate any organization that could hire  you, including nonprofits, government agencies, universities, neighborhood businesses, healthcare organizations, professional groups, and so on.)

The network you are building also leads you to a couple of recruiters or employment agencies that might be able to connect you with some opportunities.  You set up interviews with them to see if their clients have any possibilities for you.

Eventually, your persistence in developing your network and making contacts pays off.  You begin getting referrals to companies, hiring managers, and other influential people who have information about job opportunities in your field.  Through various communication methods, you arrange meetings (in person or on the phone) to discuss what these people know about the opportunities.  While you will continue to expand your network and stay in touch with your contacts as your job search progresses, you are ready to switch your primary focus from “Finding opportunities and contacts” to “Applying to employers.”

Watch for the next post on How to Use the Job Search Pyramid!

Success always,


Posted under agreement with Get Hired Now!

How Does the Job Search Pyramid Work? Stage One

If you recall from my last post, “How To Use The Job Search Pyramid to Stand Out,” there are five separate stages beginning on the foundation of “Knowing what you want.”  Here are the five stages again.

  1. Knowing what  you want

  2. Finding opportunities and contacts

  3. Applying to employers

  4. Getting interviews

  5. Landing the job

Let’s first look at how to use the Pyramid to manage your entire job search from beginning to end.  I’ll walk through it step by step over this and the next 4 posts, just as you might in looking for a job.

Before starting your job search, you need to know what type of job you want to pursue.  So you decide to explore several areas, both inside and outside of the industry in which you have been working.  You research a number of industry trends using the Internet, newspapers and trade journal articles.  You look at job listings to help you understand what challenges these industries have currently and who is hiring.

The word “industry” here and throughout my posts could be used to refer to an industry, a job field, or both.  You may define the type of work you are looking for by naming an industry such as healthcare or education.  Or it may make more sense to describe it by naming a job field that exists in multiple industries, such as information technology or accounting.  In some cases, you will be able to narrow your definition to include both industry and job field; for example healthcare accounting.  Think of your industry as being the phrase you use to complete the sentence. “I’m looking for a job in …”

You make contact with professional associations that support the industries you are exploring, build your connections at LinkedIn, and arrange for some informational interviews with people experienced in those fields.  Conversations with people in your current industry point you toward an area where they need people with your skills, training and/or experience.  But you also discover through researching some specialized job listings that your skills would transfer easily to a completely different industry, which interests you more.  You decide to pursue this new career change when looking for your next job.  You are ready to graduate from “Knowing what you want” to “Finding contacts and opportunities.”

Look for my next post, “How Does the Job Search Pyramid Work?  Stage Two.

Success always,


Posted under agreement with Get Hired Now!