How to Find the Job You Really Want

By Pepper de Callier

Assumption: You already know your skills and talents, and now you’re looking for the best place to apply them. 

Goal: To find the most effective and efficient way to identify potential employers and to meet someone at those employers who can make a hiring decision regarding you.

There are three key elements to this simple process: Focus, Discipline and what I call the List of Ten (L10).

The first two elements alone give you an advantage over the masses of people who want to do the same thing you want to do—find a great job.  The third element, the List of Ten, is the one that will truly set you apart from the crowd.  It also adds a degree of professionalism to your search that is an excellent example to others of how you approach problem solving and structure solutions; it actually draws them into to the effort with you. 

Here’s how to get it working for you: 

  1. Focus:  create a list of ten companies that based upon your research, your skills, abilities and goals, are likely to need your services and provide an environment of personal growth.  In order to find these companies you need to do the research; read articles, search company websites, talk to people and listen carefully for any possible clues that could signal a need for your services.

Then, on your list in a column next to the company name, put the name of the person that you would most likely report to.  All this information—the complete List of Ten—should fit onto one sheet of A4, no more.  It’s meant to be a list that can be scanned quickly, easily and trigger thoughts vs. one to be studied for detailed information. 

  1. Discipline:  Now you’re ready to put your L10 to work.  The goal here is to show the list to as many people as possible, over lunch, dinner, coffee, waiting for the movie to start, or wherever and whenever you can get a few moments of their time.  You start first with people you know—your network.  Then you expand it to those to whom you are referred by your network.  So, initially, sit down and start writing down the names of people you should show your list to.  Your goal here is to identify people who either work for, or have worked for a particular company or they know someone who works there or used to work there and can get you an appointment with someone inside the company on a favorable basis.


It’s simple mathematics.  The more people you show the list to the greater your chances of success become.  

Here’s how to use it:  keep your L10 folded up in your jacket pocket, briefcase, or purse and with you all the time.  When you’re talking to someone in your network mention that you are interested in meeting some specific individuals, hand them your L10 and ask them if there is someone on it who they know. If it looks like they don’t know anyone on the list ask them if they know someone who works for the company or used to work for the company.  You will surprised at how the list begins to work; some people will know someone right away, some will “know somebody who knows somebody”, some will not know anyone or any company on your L10, but looking at the list will trigger thoughts of another company that fits on your list that you didn’t think of.  They may not be able to come up with anything at that meeting, but ask if they can take this list and look at it later.  There are many ways in which the L10 will begin to work for you once you start exposing it to others and one of them is to demonstrate your intelligence, discipline and focus, which will not go unnoticed by those who see your list.

There is a huge difference between asking someone if they know anybody who will give you a job, the answer to which is always “no”, and showing them a list of ten names and asking who they know.  The first is a request for an act of pity and the second is offering someone an opportunity to help a winner across the finish line and to be part of the victory.

About the Author: Pepper de Callier is one of the most respected senior executive coaches and authorities on leadership in Europe. Learn more about him at

*These are reprints from Pepper de Callier‘s newspaper column in Hospodarske noviny.

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