Case Study: Proactive Job Search and the Power of Networking

Author: Trevor-Roberts

This week's blog was written by Trevor-Roberts Consultant, Kirsty Janney.

Trevor-Roberts has helped hundreds of people through the transition from one career to another.  Some customers come to us because they are ready for a change and need some professional advice and guidance.  Some come to us through a corporate program, after losing their role through a restructure.

We work with hundreds of customers and every now and then one stands out with a  great story.  One such example is Mark, one of our recent Career Transition customers.  Mark approached his career transition journey with an open mind and was ready to treat the process of finding his next job – as his current job.  The end result is that he has found a new role where he is happier, more fulfilled at work and in a more senior role than he was previously.  Much of his success came from his dedication to networking and proactive job search.  This is particularly relevant in a tight job market.

Mark is now a General Manager for a National Quick Service Food and Restaurant company.  He has worked in various General Management, Purchasing and Logistics roles in the food industry most of his career and came to Trevor- Roberts when he realized he needed to make a change, albeit in a tough job market.

Here’s Mark’s story.

“When I first contacted Trevor-Roberts, I was unhappy in my role and had been for some time. I had taken the role on, at a less senior level than my previous position, because I needed a change from an extremely high-pressure career.  I had been travelling up to 4 and 5 months per year and was missing time away from my family, including my teenage children.

Initially the role provided everything I wanted, which was a better life balance and more time to spend with my family.  The role was less senior than I was used to.  However, I had taken it on with the understanding that the current General Manager was soon to retire and all things going well, I would be seriously considered as his replacement.

But, what I thought would be a 2 year stretch, turned into a 6 year stretch.  I was not getting the involvement in senior level decision-making. I didn’t feel supported by the current manager and I was increasingly unfulfilled in the role.

I realized it was time for a change.  At the time the situation was getting me down, which was affecting my family life and general well being.  So, I contacted Trevor-Roberts, as I had known Edwin Trevor-Roberts for some time, although I had never used their services.

I approached the situation with a very open mind.  The atmosphere that Trevor-Roberts provided was extremely supportive. I would call it a very caring and nurturing environment.  This was very important at the time, as I was in a very challenging situation.

My consultant focused on listening and working to understand me and my individual situation.

I went through a series of assessments, which were carried out systematically but in a very supportive way. I never felt like a number. They spent time delving down to help me understand more about myself.  They also gave me the value of a reality check, always using a coaching approach and encouraged me to be very open, look at opportunities and use my network.  Trevor-Roberts gave me the tools to get a better understanding of myself and to give them a better understanding of me at the same time.

I approached my job search very systematically. As well as applying for advertised roles, I started a proactive marketing campaign.  My consultant encouraged me to use my existing network, as I had so many contacts in the industry.  I used the networking tools to create a list of peers, colleagues and also indirect contacts in the industry.  This created a list of about 70 people.

We then worked on my one-page marketing document. This gives you a way to communicate quite succinctly who you are and what you want.  It covered the target companies where I thought I had something to offer, my achievements, my interests and my strengths.

I worked very closely with my consultant on this document, so that it very clearly stated my value proposition and what I was looking for. We also created my elevator pitch.  The value of Trevor-Roberts through this process was considerable.  They helped me to refine and hone these documents until they were much more impactful.  

I also developed a range of resumes that were tailored for the various types of roles I was applying for.  I would call these “Horses for Courses”, in other words they were targeted, so that I was pitching myself to match exactly what they were looking for.

I then systematically started working through the network list I had created.  I asked people if they minded me sharing my contact letter and resume with them and asked if it was OK to ring back in a couple of weeks.  I followed up each contact until I got through.  My success rate was close to 100%, in terms of making contact with everyone on the list.  Bearing in mind I had some kind of relationship with these people, and if they weren’t a direct contact – I asked my contact if they minded me using their name.

I treated it like a project.  Quite quickly, I received a call from a contact who had forwarded my documents to the CEO of the company.  The CEO wanted to meet me, and although he didn’t have a role existing, he was interested in what I had to offer.  A few weeks after this meeting, I was asked to come in for an interview with the HR Manager.

To prepare for both these discussions I did some intensive interview preparation with Trevor-Roberts and we drafted up a list of questions I wanted to ask the company.  I wanted to make sure my next step would be the right one.

Basically the HR Manager offered me the role during that interview.  I ran through all my questions, and fortunately the job ticked all my boxes.  I’m extremely happy in the role.  I’m supported and empowered with a CEO who has allowed me to grow the team.  I enjoy the people I work with.  I have a like-minded, hard working team.  We operate with honesty, integrity and we have fun as well.

Throughout the process I maintained an open attitude.  I decided that if I learned one thing that I didn’t know before, that the process was worthwhile.  I maintained regular feedback and follow up with my consultant throughout the process, and I focused on listening and learning what I could.  I also felt very supported and nurtured by my consultant and the other people at Trevor-Roberts.  The professional guidance, support and advice I received was invaluable to me.”

Mark’s story is a great example of how an experienced Career Consultant can assist in the Career Transition journey. It shows the benefits of working closely with a partner who is focused on understanding you, developing a plan and keeping you moving towards the end goal. At Trevor-Roberts our consultants work with people like this every day, so we understand the market and we work to develop a plan of action that is both realistic and supportive.

Why not ask us how proactive career planning can create a more fulfilling career for you?

(Note: Names in this story have been changed to protect confidentiality.)


Tags: Career Transition, Restructures

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