The “scientific approach” is an excellent methodology for a  job search campaign.  This concept is a direct result of reading Shelly Palmer’s blog, “Pilgrim Tech:  The Hottest Tech Trends of 1620,” which I found to be an interesting read.

Shelly described the scientific job search approach as a six step process: question, research, hypothesize, experiment, analyze and conclude.

This order works well, but it would not be surprising for experienced executives to start with the hypotheses.  This order also should work well with one large caveat: You MUST complete the other five steps to be sure that the original conjecture is correct… or, more likely, learn how to improve your initial thinking.

1.  Questions

Every scientific job search should start with the classic journalism questions applied to your career and job search:

  • Who am I? Who do people think I am?  Who is most likely to hire me?
  • What do I want? What are my core skills and desires?  What benefits do I bring to a new employer?  What will I do differently in my next position?
  • When do I want to get a new job? When do I need to have a new source of income?
  • Where do I want to work? Location?  Industry?  Company?
  • Why do I need to change jobs? Why do I want to change jobs?
  • How am I going to find my new job? How much do I need to earn?  How much should I spend looking for a job?  How long will it take to get a new job?  How can I find my new job quicker?
  • Should (not really one of the journalism questions, but still helpful) I get a new job, start my own business, or move to a completely different field? For some, the question is:  should/can I retire?

I suggest you develop a list of about two dozen questions similar to the list above and spend two to three days answering them.

2.  Research

How will you determine the answers to your questions?  Self-examination… secondary research… 360° interviews… assessment testing… libraries… Internet….

Do enough research to feel comfortable about why you’re looking, what you’d like to do next, and what value you bring to a new employer.

3.  Hypotheses

At this point, you make hypotheses about:

  • What type of employer is most likely to hire you.
  • What they are most likely to hire you to do.
  • Why they will hire you rather than someone else.

These hypotheses provide the foundation of your job search:

  • Target audience
  • Target job/title
  • Positioning/benefit statement/USP

4.  Experiment

Write the first draft of your tools quickly and begin networking.  Focus on a few people you respect:

  • Key supporters/“A” level contacts, for guidance.
  • Truth sayers, for an honest reaction.
  • Friends who are not in your field, to serve as jargon police and confusion detectors.

5.  Analyze

Reflect on what you hear and revise accordingly.  You need to be open to the findings, which may be discouraging or enlightening, sending you in a new direction or with a new perspective.

6.  Conclude

Quickly move from refinement to action. Use your new tools to reach your target audience with your positioning.

There are many variations to this 6-step approach, including the simple:

  • Hypothesize
  • Test
  • Refine

Here are two articles about the scientific method that provide good discussions of somewhat different approaches.

To find many more methodologies for a scientific job search, look for “scientific approach” images. Pick one that works for you to improve your job search plan.  Be sure whatever you select includes revising and refining your hypotheses based on probing questioning and learning.

(This content was originally posted at MENGonline.)


Richard is Chairman Emeritus of the Marketing Executives Networking Group, founder of Demand Marketing consulting firm, and former Sr. VP of Marketing for three multi-billion dollar companies: CEC, WLP, and Service Merchandise. His early career was at GE, P&G, Playtex, and Marketing Corporation of America. He’s also a volunteer counselor for SCORE assisting small businesses in upstate New York. You can follow his communications about marketing, job search and careers here and at mengonlineENTREPRENEURS QUESTIONS, and on Twitter at @Sellers_Richard.

About Richard Sellers

Richard is Chairman Emeritus of the Marketing Executives Networking Group, founder of Demand Marketing consulting firm, and former Sr. VP of Marketing for three multi-billion dollar companies: CEC, WLP, and Service Merchandise. His early career was at GE, P&G, Playtex, and Marketing Corporation of America. He’s also a volunteer counselor for SCORE assisting small businesses in upstate New York. You can follow his communications about marketing, job search and careers here and at mengonlineENTREPRENEURS QUESTIONS, and on Twitter at @Sellers_Richard.

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"The Six Step Approach to a Scientific Job Search" by @ShellyPalmer

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