The 6 Reasons You’ll Get the Job
Book Review by: Cori Shaff
The 6 Reasons You'll Get the Job: What Employers Look for--Whether They Know It or Not. Debra Angel MacDougall and Elisabeth Sanders-Park, Prentice Hall Press, 2010; 272 pages.
How many of your clients have passionately applied for a job they were “perfect for” yet became disappointed when they were not called for an interview? While we all have success stories of individuals finding meaningful work, the reality is that some clients struggle to land the positions of their dreams. In Debra Angel MacDougall and Elisabeth Sanders-Park's newest release, The 6 Reasons You'll Get the Job, they thoroughly explore what job search strategies really work in today's competitive market. MacDougall and Sanders-Park are experts at helping clients with barriers find employment and have written their newest book for a wide variety of audiences, including recent college graduates, displaced workers, and military veterans.
Strategies with Wide-Appeal
While it may appear the main audience of this book is the active job seeker, The 6 Reasons is full of ideas and strategies that career development professionals can utilize. As a university career counselor, I have already implemented their ideas with my students and have seen a positive impact on their job search. The authors present a variety of job search strategies in new and innovative ways highlighting examples of job seekers who have successfully utilized their methods. From breaking down the process of addressing transferable skills, to writing effective cover letters that address employer concerns, career development professionals can apply the examples and techniques with a wide variety of clients. Throughout the book they present quick tips and ‘did you know?’ facts to highlight their key points. Not only is this useful in an initial reading, but I can quickly go back through the book for easy reference.
One of MacDougall and Sanders-Park's most popular strategies is the acronym PADMAN, which are the 6 reasons a job seeker will find success:
In addition to explaining how job seekers can demonstrate their unique PADMAN, customizable and easy to use worksheets are found in the appendix to help the reader put key concepts into practice.
MacDougall and Sanders-Park provide specific reasons why job seekers are screened out, and how side and back door approaches work more effectively than the traditional models of submitting a resume. While this information is not new, they present the techniques in easy-to-follow steps that include practical examples. Additionally, they brainstorm multiple ways to approach the employer, providing creative means that will advantageously influence the decision maker. The book is encouraging and refreshing, and includes a variety of key motivational phrases including: “Few job seekers take the time to research or demonstrate that they care about [the employer’s] goals, so it’s a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd” (p. 37).
They go on to present four ways a job seeker can specifically stand out:
1. Present facts about professional experience
2. Demonstrate abilities for completing the functions of the job
3. Work closely with references
4. Tell stories to illustrate skills, knowledge, and strengths.
While I enjoyed reading the entire book, there are a several key principles that struck me the most. Early in the book, the authors encourage the reader to expand their networking list to also include acquaintances, as recent studies have shown that more than half of job seekers only occasionally saw their network and a quarter rarely interacted with their network. I was struck by this idea, and as I considered recent job-hunting success stories, I saw this statistic ring true. Now, when working with students I encourage them to expand their list beyond just the people they see all of the time. This can be especially useful when utilizing social media and requesting new friends or connections, and challenges all of us to think outside of our traditional social box.
Client Success & Accountability
For the past six months, I have worked with a recent college alum who is planning to move to Europe for her next job. In the beginning, she was mostly focused on applying via online job boards. In our first few meetings, we began to brainstorm ideas on how to effectively use networking resources like LinkedIn. I demonstrated numerous ways she could use this tool to connect with expats in Europe, and how to join groups where she could connect with recruiters and Europeans to learn more about the local job market. She successfully connected with numerous individuals who were more than willing to help her. And, through these connections she was able to utilize her knowledge of the European job market when writing cover letters and making future connections online.
One of my favorite parts of this book is the proactive model of holding clients accountable in their job search by respectfully challenging their assumptions. In my work with college students, I often find they are resistant to back-door approaches and want to rely on submitting online resumes. While I encourage all students to try out new approaches in their job search, I am now more equipped to provide examples that target the students’ needs and personality. I also liked the appendix, which include sample situations from populations that may face multiple barriers in their job search, including military veterans, individuals with a disability, and recent graduates.
My one concern is that this book might be perceived as only a general resource. Individuals with specific barriers or who may not perceive they have any barriers, may not be as open to the book's suggestions. However, career development professionals know that our clients face a tough job market. Encouraging an open mind and persistent attitude in our clients while applying the strategies taught in this book can lead to success!
Be sure to register for Elisabeth Sanders-Park's webinar hosted by NCDA on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 12:00-1:00pm ET, “Job Search Smarts for the Job Crisis: ‘Side Doors' to A Shorter Search.” This is your opportunity to hear from Elisabeth directly on ways you can utilize the resources shared in this impactful book.
Cori Shaff, M.Ed, is a career counselor and outreach specialist in Career Services at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is a 2010 graduate of the NCDA Leadership Academy and currently serves as the treasurer for the Colorado Career Development Association. She can be reached at: Cori.Shaff@Colorado.EDU