Developing Your Career

Developing Your Career

Manage Your Job Search Success and Measure Your Progress

By Orville Pierson on April 2, 2014

When someone is managing a project for a business, they nearly always use some kind of numerical measurements that tell them how close they are to achieving their goals. Depending on the kind of project, that measurement might be the number of new customers acquired, the number of orders filled, or the number of revenue dollars brought in. Numerical measurements tell managers where they stand, and how fast they’re moving toward their goals.

But when those same managers are conducting a job search, all too often they don’t measure anything. They’re not clear on what to measure. So they’re not sure if they’re making progress or not. And they don’t manage the job search project as well as they could.

Some years ago, Lee Hecht Harrison recognized this problem and conducted research on successful job hunters to create a simple, numerical progress measurement system that allows job hunters to answer two key questions:

  1. Before you start getting job interviews, how do you know whether you’re making progress?
  2. How much progress did you make this week?

The LHH system involves tracking central job search activities – recruiter contacts, job posting responses, and networking contacts, for example. Networking, of course, is the most important of these, since it’s the activity most likely to produce job offers. So it’s important for job hunters to keep track of the number of networking contacts they make each week – and the type of contacts made. Are they decision makers? Insiders at targeted organizations? Friends and acquaintances?

All of these contacts are important and useful. Formal and informal contacts with decision makers, of course, are the most important. LHH research shows that, on average, job hunters make contact with 25 different decision makers on the way to accepting a job offer from one of them.

So a job hunter making those new contacts at the rate of one per week is heading for a 25-week job search. At the rate of two per week, the search could be completed in three months.

These numerical measurements can also be seen as performance benchmarks. If you talked with only two different decision makers in your first month of job search, but talked with four in your second month, then your performance has improved markedly. And you’re moving more rapidly toward a new job.

In LHH Job Search Work Teams, job hunters assist each other in finding ways to improve their performance each week, week after week. The progress measurements show them how well they’re doing. Those same numbers provide useful information on what activities are the most effective for each job hunter.

Perhaps most important, the numbers can show you that you have cause for satisfaction, even though you don’t yet have a job offer. Team members celebrate the small wins as well as the big ones. And the numbers show you how you can have those small wins every week — on the way to that one Big Win.

This is the fourth in a four-part series on how to find a better job faster with a job search work team.  


Orville Pierson is a top expert in job search assistance and is the author of Team Up! Find a Better Job Faster with a Job Search Work Team. For complete information on Mr. Pierson’s experience, please see his LinkedInprofile or visit his website,

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