Start a Job Journal, Get a Job

To Get a Job These Days You Gotta Hustle, A Job Journal Could Help

To Get a Job These Days You Gotta Hustle, A Job Journal Could Help

The April 13, 2009 issue of Fortune magazine highlights successful job seekers in what everyone acknowledges is a tough job market.

Although the reporter, Jia Lynn Yang, never uses these words, the job seekers in Fortune got jobs not because they were the most or best qualified, but because they were, to a person, hustlers.

And in a long list of these job hustlers the first profiled is Rob Sparno, a high-level salesman formerly at Oracle.

When the ax fell, Yang writes, Sparno who is “methodical by nature… made a trip to Staples, where be bought a black hard-cover lined notebook. He vowed to record every day what he did, whom he talked to, how he felt, how many miles he ran. He even wrote down what he ate.”

Ten weeks after leaving Oracle Sparno was employed again, by To be fair, Sparno was well-connected, competant and hard working. His job journal, by itself, hardly got him his job.

But who can doubt but that Sparno’s job journal kept his feet to the fire? The daily review of activities and progress almost certainly kept him motivated and helped him measure himself.

Likewise, I’m certain that by the time hired him, Sparno knew more about himself than he did before.

Journals not only help informal learners, but job seekers.



2 Responses to “Start a Job Journal, Get a Job”

  1. Robin Says:

    You’re right that many times the job doesn’t go to the person who is qualified, it goes to the one who pursues it more.

    However, it is wrong to believe that hustling guarantees you a job offer. First, if 2 candidates try the same approach and there’s only budget for 1 opening, rejection is inevitable.

    Second, not all employers reply favorably to candidates who put in a lot of effort to their job hunts. I have seen this both as a hiring manager and as a candidate. Such dedication can backfire, especially if the culture doesn’t welcome it.

    I have seen some really promising people engage in lots of research towards a company and industry. They write the most targeted resumes and cover letters. They do get invited in, and as is so common today they are subjected to interview after interview. Not only their boss evaluates them, so do peers, subordinates and upper management, and some places insist on unanimous vote to hire.

    Do you think every evaluator responds favorably? Not at all. That’s something that’s never talked about, just what do employers say behind closed doors? Here are some of the things I heard, whether I was part of the hiring committee or trying for the position:
    1. He is way too desperate. If he’s that good, why does he have to try so hard.
    2. I never did any of that stuff to get hired.
    3. She has some really cute approaches, but our customers will never go for that.
    4. He will make the rest of us look bad.

    My conclusions? It’s all up to the employer liking you. If they do, they’ll point to everything you did was fabulous and extend an offer. If they don’t, they will take any of those things you prepared and cast you as arrogant and a pest. They can take elements from your journals and present them either way to justify/disapprove your hirability status.

  2. thelearnersguild Says:

    Hi Robin:

    Thanks for thoughtful response. I agree with you.

    Who among us has not lost a job opportunity because we did not connect with the hiring manager?

    One point of correction. As I thought about Mr. Sparno’s job journal, I presumed that it was something he kept private. Certainly the Fortune article does say or imply that he shared it with potential employers.

    But to your point, employers do read social media sites like Facebook pages and I don’t think that’s there’s any doubt hiring managers do form opinions of you based on what they see there.

    Olympic champion Michael Phelps could certainly attest to that.

    Again, thanks.


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