By Gigi Wood
IOWA CITY-Make a job out of your employment search.
Many have heard the sentiment before. When searching for a new position, employment seekers should approach the process as if it is itself a job. Don Beussink took that theory to heart when he was laid off from large corporations during the past two decades, and is sharing his approach in his book, Searching, which was published this spring.
Mr. Beussink is no out-of-work armchair quarterback when it comes to job searches. He is gainfully employed as president of BankersAdvertising.com, the web site for Bankers Advertising Co., an Iowa City-based advertising products manufacturer and distributor. He self-published the book through Tru Art Color Graphics, a sister company of Bankers Advertising. Mr. Beussink, 56, said he published the book for altruistic reasons, wanting to share the lessons he learned along the way with the many job seekers unemployed in today’s economy.
“When the economy turned and the employment got bad about a year ago, I thought, ‘I need to get this information out,’” he said. “Just knowing that people are struggling so much and seeing the articles in the paper; job searches are very tough on people. It can be extremely frustrating for not only the person but the people that surround them. And there are little tricks and things that those people need to be aware of that can be helpful.”
When he was laid off from a sales job at a Fortune 500 company in Chicago in 1995, the company provided outplacement support and training.
“Before that, I had never done a job search,” Mr. Beussink said. “As I was going through the (outplacement) training, I thought, ‘Wow, this is some really valuable training that the average person probably can’t afford to pay for or receive.’”
He kept a detailed diary of the training he received and used it in a later job search. After the second search process, he honed his job-search methods and the result is what is laid out in the book. Searching is a 27-week guide that includes milestones that help job seekers gauge their progress along the way.
“You’ll find plenty of books that tell you how to network or how to write a resume,” Mr. Beussink said. “One of the things they don’t have is what I did in Week 21. What I did in Week 14. Why did I do things in Week 3 and not in Week 27? There’s no book on the shelves that takes people from Week 1 to Week 27 of a job search.”
It provides tips on organizing the application process, networking tips and metrics on the probability of landing a job based on how many resumes are sent out and calls are made. During one of his job searches, Mr. Beussink sent out 296 resumes and made 1,517 networking phone calls to land a job.
“There are tips in the book that have scripts of what I have used that have helped me,” he said.
The book also addresses how to ask someone indirectly for help finding a job, without putting pressure on the relationship.
“If I ask you for a job, it kind of puts you on the defensive, because you want to help me and maybe you’re not in a position to help me,” he said. “But there are ways I can use you networking and instead of saying, ‘Do you have a job open,’ which is a little confrontational, maybe I want to say, ‘I’m looking for a job. Can I tell you what I’m looking for? Will you keep an eye out for me?’”
Searching is available at Iowa Book, 8 S. Clinton St. in Iowa City, and on the store’s web site. Mr. Beussink published 1,000 copies in the first print run. It sells for $16.99. He is working with the University of Iowa and Kirkwood Community College to provide the book to students.