Last week when I attended a webinar about the post-pandemic job market, I heard a simple but powerful tip. It’s obvious, yet I’d never heard anyone suggest it: Provide your contacts with a brief one-pager that spells out exactly what you’re seeking in your next role. So simple, right?
How to use it
You can use this tool in a general sense, when you are talking with anyone who may eventually be a lead source. Or you can use it in a more specific way, if you’re reaching out to someone in your network who is connected to the person hiring for a role you’d like. To see the power of the one-pager, here’s an over-simplified example of how it could play out. Imagine you’re looking for a role as a UX designer, your experience has been in fintech, you prefer a Series B-funded company, and prefer to work remote. Now consider these two scenarios that make use of the one-pager.
Use case: You want contacts to think of you when they hear of openings
First, imagine you run into an old college buddy and catch up a little. You mention you’re looking for a UX designer job. The typical interaction ends there. But when you have your one-pager, the next day you follow up with an email saying it was great to reconnect, and mention again your job search. You attach your one-pager that details your target role. Then, because you’ve painted such a clear picture of what you’re looking for, when his friend at a fintech company mentions they just got funding to do a hiring round, your friend will very likely think of you because this so clearly matches your one-pager. He’ll make the introduction.
Use case: Your contact works at your target company
In the second scenario, you see an interesting UX role advertised at Acme Tech, and someone in your network works there. The typical strategy goes like this: You reach out to your contact, say that you’re a great fit for this role, and ask her to pass along your resume, which is attached.
The smarter strategy goes like this: You reach out to your Acme contact and let her know you are well suited to a job listing there. You’d love a referral. You then take the meat from your one-pager (no fluff!) and include it below in your email. The brief copy states who you are, what you’re looking for, and accomplishments that show you’re a fit for the job. You ask your contact to copy and paste this into the body of her email to the hiring manager, then attach the resume. Imagine how much more powerful it would be for a hiring manager to receive this email from a co-worker, spelling out why you’re a great fit, rather than a casual note passing on a resume.
What should your one-pager include? A few ideas on content:
- The type of role you’re targeting
- The size or funding level of your ideal employer
- If you have strong desires regarding remote vs. in-person work
- Your accomplishments, briefly stated, which make you a fit for the role you seek
- Your personal mission or values, especially if they dovetail with the type of company you seek (or when targeting a particular company)
One way to think of your one-pager is this—your cover letter, minus the fluff. Be brief, simple, and clear. Once you have this tool crafted, you can then tweak it for any number of uses. While it can be tempting to cast a wide net, the more specific you can be and communicate that to your network, the more likely your job search will stay top-of-mind for those in your network and the more likely their referrals will be more powerful.
(Here’s a replay of the webinar mentioned above, which includes recruiters and coaches reflecting on what they’re seeing in the job market right now.)
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Nancy Branka was in the traditional media world for several years and then landed at a startup in her 50s. She’s the Author of “Employee 6 is 54” which talks about that experience. She’s also the Founder of Startup Decoder which is a hub where you can find the answers to all your startup questions. Sign up for the Startup Decoder newsletter here.