Your Job Search is a Bare Knuckle Fight

Welcome to the FPC Recruiters’ Guide to winning your Bare Knuckle Job Search. What do we mean by ‘bare knuckle job search’?
Take a minute and picture an old-time, “bare knuckle” fight and describe what comes to mind.

To us, among other things, it means a tough, hard-nosed, bloody battle that has virtually no rules. I could go farther and liken it to a mixed martial arts cage fight to the death. That’s a little too scary, but I want to get your attention on the fact that you’re going to get some very different advice about your job search here. Oh, and if the bare knuckle metaphor seems a bit macho, think Laila Ali. The job search tactics we’ll be discussing are gender neutral. They work for men and women, alike. So, we’re all going to take the gloves off.

For anyone who hasn’t noticed, it’s not easy to carve out a satisfying, upwardly mobile career path today. Beyond high unemployment figures, there have been permanent shifts in the world of work. Certain kinds of jobs in certain industries are just plain gone and never coming back. On the other hand, certain sectors – surprisingly U.S. manufacturing – are pretty vibrant and there’s a hunger for top talent.

What’s clear to everyone is that the job market is a very competitive place. In fact, the level of competition is unprecedented. What we find disturbing is that men and women in a job search are being advised to follow ‘rules’ that simply don’t work in this kind of environment if they ever want to be employed again.

Rules like, ‘send email, don’t call’, ‘a great resume is the key to getting hired’ and my favorite, ‘send a personalized cover letter and resume via snail mail’ are at best minimally effective and at worst, just plain wrong. Until you’re hired and have to follow the rules in the employee handbook, forget about following ‘the rules’. Instead, do what works!

Our company, which was founded in 1959, was a pioneer in executive recruiting. Since we started franchising in 1973, our proven executive recruiting system has spelled success for our franchise owners, for hundreds of the nation’s top corporations and for tens of thousands of job candidates. Our system of executive placement is in large part what differentiates our
offices from our competitors.

We’ve decided to share some of the secrets of how we do it for our clients and job candidates in the hope that we can help you do it for yourself.

Sir Winston Churchill said, “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” This is also the key to going twelve rounds of a job search. We’re going to show you how to hang in, get your footwork working for you, and keep it going ‘til you win.

You may find some of the information in this guide awfully blunt. You’ll find suggestions that may seem virtually impossible to accomplish and uncomfortable for you to even imagine. As you read on, please consider the alternatives: remaining perpetually unemployed, struggling to pay your bills because you’re under-employed, or just staying stuck in a dead-end job with no future growth opportunities.

As executive recruiters we look at what we do as “searching for a job for a living”. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? To us at FPC it is fun, but only because of the way we approach it. Personally, I’ve been in and around the recruiting business for the past 20+ years and have seen it from many different perspectives. I even worked for one of the most successful job boards for seven years selling job postings and resume database access before starting my own FPC recruiting firm.

I believe that these experiences have given me a unique point of view on the business of hiring. I’m a hiring manager for my own company, a recruiting/talent consultant to my client companies and an advocate and coach to the people I place in executive positions — as well as to our FPC owners and recruiters. I speak frequently to groups of both active and passive jobseekers and understand their pain and frustration. I also hear about their hopes and dreams.

The aim of this blog and guide is to encourage you and help you to think differently than today’s conventional wisdom. Doing so will not only get you more real opportunities, but will demonstrate initiative and creativity to those who can help you — including hiring managers. It will also help you to regain the confidence that you once had. The best part of it is that you really only have to win once.

To trade our boxing metaphor for a fishing one for a moment…

You could toss a line with a bobber in the water and hope that some fish will swim along and grab it. Or you could cast a wide net and spend your days throwing back all the junk fish to get to one worth eating. We’d rather teach you to harpoon fish — a bit riskier until you get adept — but much more likely to get dinner on the table before you starve.

So here’s a better way to move your career ahead. Based on what you’ve learned from others, you may feel that the approach I’m sharing with you is non-traditional, but in reality, it is exactly the opposite.

Jeff Herzog

Jeff Herzog