3 Questions with Steve Dalton, author of The 2-Hour Job Search: Using Technology to Get the Right Job Faster (Random House)

Written by: Maxine Todd, Marilyn Davies College of Business MBA Career Counselor 

I meet with MBA students daily about the importance of a job search strategy. After reading this book several years ago, I found that the system Steve developed in harnessing one’s motivation and TSH (time spent hunting) resonates today just as it did when this book first came out. Applying for a job online and willing it to work has an abysmal success rate. Steve’s simple and practical approach to job hunting helps you to effectively target companies you want to work for, and uses the secret sauce of referral, and how to get “IT”.

I am excited to hear that the second edition of Steve Dalton’s book The 2-Hour Job Search: Using Technology to Get the Right Job Faster (Random House, Spring 2020) is coming soon! I had a chance to connect with this very busy author/career consultant to see what the future holds for job seekers and what to expect in the second edition. Here are 3 Questions with Steve:

Maxine: You really simplified the job search process that can often times be difficult and down-right terrifying to some. What can we expect in the new book regarding fresh new approaches to the job search process?

Steve: Thank you for your kind words! In the second edition of The 2-Hour Job Search (due out Spring 2020), readers can expect a complete revision of the approach, based on what I’ve learned from having run through the 2HJS process thousands of times with real job seekers in the 7 years since the book was originally published.

The core concepts will still be very familiar to anyone who read the original, but everything from LAMP lists to contact selection to outreach has been simplified and improved. I’ve also added a lot of information to help job seekers manage the conversion process of turning informationals into referrals to interview that I’m really excited to share.

Once the 2nd edition is written, I will shift focus to my 2nd book (title TBD), which will focus on 2HJS-like frameworks I’ve developed for non-networking parts of the job search, from resumes to cover letters to interviewing to negotiation. For a sample of the type of content you can expect from book #2 (due out Spring 2011), I recommend this video featuring my FIT model for answering “Tell me about yourself” effectively in an interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HK1PxHdWHvk

Maxine: You have multiple years’ experience as a career coach working with college students. What has been the biggest hang up college students have in tackling the job search process?

Steve: Prioritizing a wide-ranging effort that has no interim deadlines. Students are bombarded by deadlines from their academic, social, and club involvements, but the job search has no such short-term accountabilities, so it’s frankly rational to push it off in order to feed the dogs that are barking the loudest, metaphorically speaking. However, that behavior is rational only in the short-term.

Most college students go to school in order to access better employment options upon graduation, but unfortunately job search training infrastructure is not remotely as developed at universities as academic infrastructure. Furthermore, when it is offered it is nearly always optional, whereas I think universities have a moral and ethical obligation to prepare students for life after the career center goes away.

Unfortunately, most schools do not require any sort of job search training, so students must seek this training out themselves on top of their already-full schedules. I empathize with how frustrating this is for students, and I hope universities build this critical content directly into the standard curriculum ASAP. However, until that happens, students must prioritize it voluntarily.

That’s really why I wrote The 2-Hour Job Search. I want to give job seekers exact instructions for doing something that they currently are not rigorously taught but which has massive lifelong implications. By giving them a series of specific steps to follow, I hope to make prioritizing this critical activity during an already-booked schedule as painless and efficient as possible.

Maxine: Job outlook for 2019? Who will be the winners and losers in the job search process as far as special skills applied to get the interview?

 Steve: The winners will be those who prioritize relationship-building over “defensive job searching,” my term for job searching for stats (like # of applications submitted or hours spent reviewing online postings) rather than efficacy. I recognize that those stats are what earns most job seekers the only positive reinforcement they get in the job search (in the form of a “Congratulations! Your application has been submitted!” message or an affirmation from a loved one that they know a job seeker is trying their best), but unfortunately defensive job searching does not correlate positively with a successful job search.

Informational meetings do correlate positively, however. Loved ones may not immediately understand how much more valuable an informational meeting (or a referral that results from one) is in comparison to an online job posting application, but it’s easy for savvy job seekers to explain once they themselves understand, and efforts spent on an advocacy-based (rather than application-based) approach will steadily improve one’s odds of success over time.

Job postings are a fleeting sugar high with no lasting benefit, while a new advocate at a target employer will pay dividends for weeks, months, and even years to come. In summary, eight hours spent implementing The 2-Hour Job Search may not feel efficient or fun, but they will bring job seekers eight hours closer to employment in a way that spending eight hours applying to job postings online simply will not.

Steve Dalton is a senior career consultant and career programming director for the full-time MBA program at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He holds his own MBA from the same institution and a chemical engineering degree from Case Western Reserve University. Prior to entering the career services industry, Dalton was an associate marketing manager at General Mills and a strategy consultant at A.T. Kearney.

Random House published Dalton’s debut book, The 2-Hour Job Search, in March 2012. His concepts are now taught at over 30 universities worldwide.  Dalton is regular contributor at The Huffington Post, and his media appearances include The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, Fast Company, and the Financial Times, among others.

Dalton can be found on Twitter (@Dalton_Steve), 2hourjobsearch.com, and the book’s LinkedIn Group, where he shares updates and answers questions from job seekers, career coaches, and hiring managers.

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