Ready to debrief around last month’s poll question?  If so, here’s the issue I threw out back in November, as well as the set of possible answers you could choose from”

“What single adjustment in a person’s job hunting strategy will usually have the biggest impact on their success?”

The five response choices were:

1) Going back to school to learn new skills
2) Lowering their salary requirements
3) Projecting an upbeat, positive attitude
4) Getting professional resume help
5) Boosting their number of daily contacts

To date, 25 people have cast their vote on this particular topic, and while you’ll see a small graphic of the results below (note the fancy new interface LinkedIn has created for their “polls” page) you can click here to access the full set of results.


The Analysis?
I have to laugh, since the first comment one of my clients sent in when I posted this poll was “C’mon, Matt, this one is too easy!”  And perhaps he was right, since the majority of respondents nailed this one — with 16 out of the 25 people voting for what I would consider the most effective option, the “boosting the number of daily contacts” one.  I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, given how often I preach about the importance of sending out at least “5 things per day” to prospective contacts and employers — and for people to focus on outbound activities to a large extent, versus less productive things like introspection, analysis, web surfing, and resume tweaking .Just to be fair, though, I totally agree with the other 8 respondents who expressed their belief that a “positive attitude” was also a very important ingredient to job hunting success.  It’s undeniable that having an upbeat, can-do frame of mind makes a difference out there, especially on the networking circuit where people judge you very quickly as to whether you’re a “winner in control of your own destiny” or a member of the “walking wounded” who is dazed, lost, and confused by the business world today.  So this answer would definitely have been my #2 choice, for sure.

But all else being equal, I still maintain that the best way for most professionals to improve their job hunting results in the short-term is to bear down, get out of their own head, and play the numbers game.  With 145,000 companies in Washington State alone, and constant churn among the labor market, there is simply no shortage of relevant companies or contacts one can take aim at.  And if you still can’t get your arms around this notion, feel free to count “follow-up activity” as an allowable part of the equation.  In other words, even if you talked to all 25 employers in a tiny niche industry, let’s say, there’s no reason you shouldn’t reach out to these SAME 25 companies a month later, just to see if things have changed or any fresh needs have come up.

As for the other alternative answers on the poll, while building one’s skills through further schooling is usually a good thing, and can certainly help matters, it’s far from an immediate fix to a job search gone astray.  And lowering one’s salary requirements doesn’t usually help matters much, either, since survey after survey confirms that employers don’t hire people based on “price” considerations — and suggesting you’ll work for companies on the cheap usually hurts your chances more than helps them.How about seeking out professional resume help?  Can that make a huge difference in your job search success rate?  While one maverick respondent selected that answer as the best possible path, and I suppose most resume-writing professionals would love me to promote this notion, I frankly don’t see this as being the biggest factor in most peoples’ success or failure out there.  Most people can produce a fairly decent resume on their own, drawing upon the myriad of templates available on the Internet or via MS Word.  And while a professional resume consultant can certainly make a person’s materials better, at least incrementally, and catch fatal flaws like typos and such if they exist, I don’t think the average professional is going to see an immediate uptick simply based on adjusting their written packaging.

So how about a new question as we head into 2011?  Let’s see if I can “stump the band” a little more this time.  You’ll find my latest LinkedIn poll here, asking the question: “What step would likely help most in terms of increasing your job search accountability and resolve, heading into 2011?”