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Thank You, Masked Man
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ATH showed me how to jump to the head of the line!
Date: May 14, 2000

Dear Nick,

I just read a note about someone who is presently engaged in a job search and is successfully using the methods you've outlined in your columns. I'd like to give you another success story.

Around December of 1999, it became apparent to me that my job was going nowhere and I needed to do something about it. I had been reading your advice column for about six months and I decided that your methods were the way to go. So, I took stock of what my strengths and interests were and figured out where they could be leveraged in an emerging technology company. I did my research by reading industry magazines, such as The Industry Standard and Information Week, as well as researching on-line sources, such as and ZDNET. I compiled a list of four companies that I was interested in pursuing and one of them was within commuting distance of my home, so of course, that company became my main target.

I found that company's web site and read every word on it. I then contacted their director of business development (who was listed by name and phone number on their site). I struck up a conversation with the him and started to develop a rapport. I followed up by e-mailing a thank you with my resume attached. A week later, after nothing else happened, I called the director again. He told me that I should hang tight, because he was extremely busy with other things. He had over 100 resumes on his desk and it would take time to go through them all.

Here's where your advice really paid off! Rather than let the conversation end right there, I then asked the director to challenge me with a real problem/opportunity that is currently facing his company. After his initial surprise at my question, the director proceeded to go over -- in detail -- a couple of key challenges currently on his plate. We quickly settled on which one I should tackle. I created a brief business plan (about 6 pages) addressing this challenge, and e-mailed it to him a few days later. The next call came from the senior VP of operations, inviting me to come in to talk to him ASAP! I was invited back for a second interview and offered the job (i.e., the same challenge I addressed in my business plan). I've been here about two months and I couldn't be happier!

A lot of my friends and family were very impressed and have told me how proud of me they are regarding how I went about this job search. There really is a hidden job market (my job was not listed) and of course, it's much more fun pursuing a job this way.

My thanks to you, Nick, for the great job you do every day in your column. I'd like to think that there are thousands of other people with stories like mine out there, who have taken your advice to heart as well!

Steve W.




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