||The Target, The Target, The Target
By Nick Corcodilos
Jeff Shuster worked for the Office of
Telecommunications and Information Services of the State of New Jersey. His job was to
recommend and purchase computer products for governmental agencies. It didn't take long
before he realized he belonged on the other side of the negotiating table -- selling to
Shuster considered the job security he had, and it was
significant. He was only 24 years old and he could retire working for the State if he
wanted to. Any career change would have to net him more than the State could ever offer in
the long term. He was willing to take a risk, but it had to be a smart risk. Shuster knew
his expertise with government would make him attractive to any of a number of government
vendors. But he had only one target: the best vendor the State dealt with.
Clancy-Paul, Inc. was a $30 million computer reseller,
small by most accounts. But it was the most respected, resourceful and successful of the
computer vendors on the New Jersey State Contract. The people who worked at Clancy-Paul
were dedicated, a little crazy in their enthusiasm for the business, and they functioned
like a tight-knit family. The company clearly had a future. That was where Shuster decided
he was going to work, come hell or high water.
It took just a couple of phone calls, and Jeff was in
touch with the manager he wanted to work for. Several people at Clancy-Paul knew him
because they worked with him on the Contract. But Shuster had no sales experience.
"We like you, but you're not a sales guy," the manager told him.
Three months went by. Shuster called again. "Got a
job for me yet? You'll love me if you hire me."
The company brought him in again to interview for a job
in corporate sales. "Well, we still like you, but we've got another candidate who
actually has sales experience. Good luck in your job hunt," they told him.
"Thanks, but I'll wait," said Shuster.
"I'm coming to work for you. Maybe next month, maybe in six months. Talk to you again
Jeff Shuster's persistence aroused admiration among the
government sales team. "It's Shuster on the phone. He wants to know, are we ready to
The entire government team knew him now. They liked
Shuster's ethics, his attitude and his motivation. Bottom line: he had become part of the
Clancy-Paul family while still maintaining his professional distance. He had devoted a lot
of time to learning the company's business. He had a list of references like no other job
candidate, and those references were all employees at Clancy-Paul. Shuster had made
himself an insider.
Over a year went by. Then the call came. "We've got
a slot, Jeff. And it's in the government sales division. Still want to talk with us?"
So Shuster went through the round of interviews once
again. The problem was, this wasn't his dream job. It wasn't sales. The only job they had
for him was in sales support, processing orders and handling customer relations. This was
ground level. For this he'd give up a good career track at the State?
"It's the right company," Shuster told his
buddies at the State. "I'm on target. The first step leads to the second step."
Jeff Shuster proved himself quickly and moved into sales.
The persistence and enthusiasm that helped him land a job with his target company served
him well in sales. In a few short years, he was the top sales rep on the government team.
His relationships with his customers were outstanding. In the meantime, Clancy-Paul was
sold; then that company merged with another. Jeff moved into corporate sales. In five
years he achieved his goal: he was a respected expert. He had met and vaulted every hurdle
he encountered working for a reseller.
Today Jeff Shuster is a Major Account Manager at Dell
Computer Corporation. His government job is far behind him. But throughout Jeff's career,
there's a clear pattern. Up close, it looks like a bunch of friendships and an interest in
computers and sales. Step back a little, and it all becomes very clear. All of his
relationships and interests look curiously like the target he took aim at a long time ago.
The people he worked with at the State are still his customers. His friends from
Clancy-Paul are still his friends; some of them continue to play a role in his work. And I
was one of the managers of the sales team Jeff originally joined at Clancy-Paul.
Small world? No, just people with common interests who
continue to pursue them. Such people inevitably run into one another again and again, for
all the best reasons.
All of us pick our targets. Some people lose sight of
what's important to them, and they keep missing their mark. Jeff Shuster honed his aim so
carefully that it seems the target came to him.
Not sure how to make contacts in a company who will advocate for you? How Can I Change Careers? isn't just for career changers—it's great for job changers, too!
This 36-page Answer Kit shows you how to use The Library Vacation to do powerful research to identify your choices. You'll learn why A Good Network is a Circle of Friends—and how to make and use new contacts to help you get in the door.
Choose your target companies, then Put a Free Sample in Your Resume to show the employer how you'll be a valuable contributor to its profitability.
All these tools are included in How Can I Change Careers?
Please tell us what you
think of this article.
The contents of this site are Copyright (c)
1995-2015 North Bridge Group LLC.
All rights reserved.
This material is for personal use only. Republication and redissemination,
including posting to news groups, is expressly prohibited without prior written consent.
Ask The Headhunter, Fearless Job Hunting, the ATH logo and other ATH titles are trademarks or registered trademarks of North Bridge
Group LLC and
Nick A. Corcodilos.
agreement, legal information and disclaimer.