A top ranking career military officer, who during his time in the Reserves also developed a stellar career as a senior-level executive in industry, had the daunting task of re-entering the job market after his return from 2-3 years active duty; and during the worst economy in his lifetime. After job searching for some time, he summed-up his frustration with this: “For the first time in my life I am doing something and have no idea how I doing.” Hearing this from an Officer at one of the highest official levels in our Military, was at the very least, unsettling to a career biz person like myself. Now he didn’t say, “what I’m doing” he said “how I’m doing”! Does anybody really every tell YOU how you are doing in YOUR job search?
I am going to share with you what may be the single-most important letter in a job search, one that will address the challenge of not knowing how I’m doing. The Rejection Response letter. It goes like this:
I understand the rationale behind your letter of June 14, 2009 in which you said there are currently no openings at [Company] for an experienced sales manager. Undoubtedly, you receive multiple unsolicited resumes, and I thank you for taking the time from a busy schedule to respond to my inquiry.
It is this type of consideration that reaffirms my belief that [Company] is a well-managed company. As a result, I would like to ask your advice because I believe that you have a great deal of information and expertise from which I can benefit.
More specifically, I would appreciate 20 minutes of your time not to discuss current job openings, but to discuss what you look for in outstanding sales managers, what your opinion is of the long term growth in the [type of field], and any advice you would have for a sales manager with a keen interest in the same. Your expertise and experience in directing [Company] make your opinion invaluable.
I will call early next week to see if we can arrange a mutually convenient time to get together.
Certainly there are more rejections than offers in a job search; and most people do send a cordial letter . . . “thank you for your time and interest and if something opens up, please let me know”. “Thank you” is good; “thank you” plus feedback is better. The more you are rejected, the more opportunity for feedback; and the more feedback you have, the more improvements you can make – continuous process improvement. Soon you will no longer say “I have no idea how I’m doing”. In fact, you just may be thinking to yourself (thank you, thank you, thank you for that rejection! I’ll be so much smarter the next time).
In his book, How to Master the Art of Selling, Sales Guru Tom Hopkins wrote, “I never see failure as failure but an opportunity to practice my techniques and perfect my performance.” I say . . . Gotta love that rejection!