Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Not working? Treat your job search like sales, it’s not personal

By Marco Bertozzi, a regular NDA columnist and industry veteran

I think the process of a job search is often considered as a binary, yes/no process, a series of rejections with hopefully that acceptance coming along at some point. As I have started to ramp up my own search, it dawned on me that actually it’s far closer to the process of sales, and if you think like that, it’s actually a far more productive approach. 

After having made the move to sales from agency, many people asked me about the differences and one area that was often asked about was the people. Are salespeople different? Obviously, we all have to sell at some point so it’s not an entirely valid question but yes there were differences in mentality. Good salespeople are 100% focused on the pipeline, and after that, it’s pure maths (and a little talent), the more you add to the top of the funnel, the higher the chance that something will get to the ‘closed won’ bucket.

An average sales funnel has different stages from 10% through to 50% to 75% to 90% to Closed Won. Salespeople keep all their opportunities moving through this process but along the way things drop out and have to be ‘Closed Lost’ that’s just the nature of the business and it’s not personal. Your job search is the same, the search is a process and it’s not personal, key though is that you are nurturing these leads through the funnel. In my own case, as the search becomes more senior, things are slow due to scarcity and so it’s vital that you make sure to engage the rest of your life as the leads sit at the various stages.

On the job process, it’s vital to nurture the leads at each stage, if you want to add leads to the top of the funnel then you have to be proactive. You need to be out talking to people, in person or virtually, you should be in touch with headhunters, use Linkedin to search or contact people, keep that funnel moving. As the leads become more active and into the 50% stage, that’s where research and prep come into play and if you are close, what can you do to seal the deal? My main thoughts though are to organise as much of that as possible, leaving time for other interests and making the most of not being glued to Zoom, don’t waste the time. 

I have had so many meetings and conversations with companies and in my pipeline, there are opportunities at different stages, it’s an exciting prospect as those opportunities are in a number of different areas. However, while all that is going on, I am consulting, I am setting up a business with a good friend in a completely unrelated field, I am seeing friends and golfing, staying fit, learning the guitar and doing a load of things I had on a list for some time. DO these things to keep you sane! 

Now more than at any other time there are so many people not working and its vital to not feel like you are not making process, don’t take things personally, be that salesperson, work the maths and above all else be patient and enjoy the time you have by doing other things. There are many possibilities out there. I am excited about getting back into full-time work and I know that there are companies that will benefit from my experience that I want to work in, but these things take time and so I am going to max out the rest of my time, I hope you do too.