Closing the sale, getting the offer

Q. I have been hoping to work for a specific company for as long as I can remember. I went as far as to move out of state over 4 years ago to take a position in a less competitive market to gain the necessary experience.

I was able to make arrange an informational interview with the company in May of 2008 which went led to several subsequent in person meetings. In August 2009 I received an unprompted email that stated “Please contact me in a couple of weeks, I think we may have a position for you.” Naturally, I was thrilled and followed up only to be pushed back a week, then another, then another and now a few months have passed and still I have not heard any details about the position or if it has been filled.

How long do I chase this “dream job” and what are steps that I can take to force a call to action without seeming desperate or pushy?

A. Having a target and showing the tenacity to go after what you want can be wonderful – especially if it is part of a long term plan. An effective job search involves long term strategy, lots of follow up, and as you can see sometimes disappointment and confusion. Do I think you are done here? No not yet. Part of being involved in the job search is also recognizing what might be going on for the other side of the equation.

You did a great job gaining related skills so that you could present yourself with experience to your potential employer. Whatever was happening at that time at the organization, they saw a real opportunity for you – at some point in the future. Assessing their plans, and timetable, who had the highest need for your skills, who were your biggest supporters – or detractors – are all part of the skill set need for closing a sale – or closing an offer. Job seekers need to use their analytic skills to try and read the full situation from the hiring organizations side to understand what they can do next.
During this in between time, job seekers should continue to build connections within the organization. Utilizing LinkedIn, Twitter or Tripit can help you build multiple relationships within an organization so you have additional people who can speak positively about you as a professional.
Staying “top of mind” was very effective, and most job seekers don’t do this. They are afraid they will be perceived as a pest or bothersome, but sometimes it is just about timing, and unfortunately for you, the economic changes hit and in addition to hiring grinding to a halt, lay offs were the primary human resources activity in most industries.
At this point you need to stay positive. You have invested way to much time to show any aggravation. I would push for a face to face meeting with the person who sent you the encouraging email. They need to bring you into the inner circle of what is happening and help guide you as to what you can do next, or to be brutally honest and tell you it will not happen until…..whatever it may be – a certain manager is gone; the economy changes significantly; their profits improve. There are many reasons why there has been no conclusion. You need to make sure it isn’t because they get great information from connecting, don’t want to offend for some reason, and that you see some type of positive closure within a reasonable time frame.
You need to let them know they are your first choice organization and communicate the significant positive impact you can have at the organization. They also need to know you won’t be available and waiting forever (even though you might be). You need to develop an alternate plan that you are as committed to, and with which you will be just as satisfied.

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