Proof: Job seekers who did it - Part Deux

Proof is an occasional series that showcases (and celebrates!) people who employed new job search strategies and landed THE job or promotion they wanted. Today, we feature one of Chicago’s finest, Michael N.

Michael N. knew what he wanted. He just didn’t know quite how to get his hands on the job he’d envisioned over and over in his mind.

A long-time banking industry professional, Michael had recently completed his English degree and was eager to find a job that allowed him to utilize his communication and creative skills. He also really, truly wanted a job located in the epicenter of downtown Chicago. Because, seriously … what’s not to love about the idea of working in downtown Chicago?

Unfortunately, after sending out hundreds of resumes, Michael had received exactly zero interview invitations. By summer 2011, he  knew he needed help.

“I realized that other people around me were getting interviews and job offers, so this wasn’t just a ‘bad economy situation,” he said. “I knew there was something I was or wasn’t doing that just wasn’t working to attract employers.”

What we did …

Michael ordered a Ridiculously Awesome Resume package and read “To Whom It May Concern: Or, How to Stop Sucking at Your Job Search.” And then we talked. During the initial consult, we pinpointed the two biggest issues:

  1. His resume screamed “I’m a banking guy.” – The document he was sending out (hundreds of times) didn’t speak to his writing, creative and communication skills. This made it very difficult for prospective employers to quickly connect their “Here’s what we need” to Michael’s “Here is what I have to offer.”
  2. He was machine-gunning his resume out every which way.  – Instead of focusing on specific companies and then finding contacts within these target companies, Michael was spraying the universe of writing/communications job openings with his “I’m a banking guy” resume.

And so we transitioned Michael’s resume to speak directly to the creative writing, research and communication skills he could bring to a prospective employer. Michael also, for the first time in his search, crafted a game plan. And then he began reaching out to people on LinkedIn and contacting key contacts directly.

Repeat: He crafted a job search strategy. A game plan. And then he began executing it.

He also leveraged his network.

Two VERY important steps in job search.

“Right away, I got a couple of responses,” he said. “I hadn’t been hearing anything from anyone, and all of the sudden, I was getting responses.”

The formula worked. 

Within a few weeks, a friend he’d alerted of his job search suggested Michael take a look at a research/client services position that was available at the online brokerage she works for. She loves the company and thought Michael’s background and personality would be a great fit.

He agreed, and he went for it. 

Michael was the first person to interview for the opening. And within a week? They called him back, with a job offer … one with a salary that surpassed Michael’s expectations.

Even better? The company is located right in downtown Chicago. And they offer employees free lunch, every day.

“I’m not sure why, but I’m so excited that I get to take the train right into the city for work,” Michael said. “I’ve always dreamed of working amongst the giant and historic buildings of Chicago, with all of the energy and hustle and bustle.”    

(And let’s not forget about the free lunch. Free lunch!)

Michael started the new job this week. So far, he says, it’s amazing.

Of the overall experience, he said: “Getting professional assistance changed more than my job outlook, it changed my life. I just got engaged and now we can focus on saving for the wedding and a new home. I’m really looking forward to the job. But more importantly, I’m looking forward to the future.”

High-five and kudos to you, Michael. I’ll be looking you up next time I’m enjoying the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago!

Got a Proof story of your own? Please email me at if you’d like to be featured in the series.