Corrections or additions?

This article by Bart Jackson was prepared for the April 10, 2002

edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Like Job Hunters, Like Entrepreneurs

In the beginning came forth the Resume as Confession.

With strict and fearful honesty we listed each previous job and the

uncomfortable excuse for leaving. Then came the Resume Sales Brochure,

where job seekers colorfully parachuted into pomp with inflated claims

about their fabulous abilities. Now, at last, comes the voice of


telling career changers to get real.

That innovative voice telling folks to pass on the hype and


on the strategy belongs to veteran career mentor Niels Nielsen,

founder of Princeton Management Consultants (PMC.)

Whether you are between jobs and are anxiously poised to start a job

hunt or just surveying new job possibilities, Nielsen insists that

launching a job hunt is akin to launching a new business — and

must be attacked that precisely. Those seeking to understand and


from the Nielson Plan may hear it at Princeton’s Trinity Church, where

he leads Jobseekers, a free group for job hunters every Tuesday at

7:30 p.m. ( Classes include guest speakers,

who will train you in essential job hunting skills, for example,


cold calls on prospective clients (employers).

The career changer who wants to see the Nielsen Plan in a single chunk

may visit his website (, call for direct counseling

at 609-924-2411, or read in his upcoming book. Nielsen’s Job Seekers

Guide, originally commissioned by Tony Lee, editor of Dow Jones


website,, will soon to be available from Wiley

& Sons Publishers.

"Just too darn often you hear people saying, `I’m out of work

— gotta write a resume,’" observes Nielsen. "You never

hear an entrepreneur say, `I’m going to launch a new business —

better buy some ads first thing’." Nielsen’s entrepreneurial


does indeed hold merit. Too frequently, we love writing up and sending

resumes because it involves action. We want to move frenziedly to

show the world (and ourselves) that while we may be out of work, we

are not slackers. The problem with this urgent leap into action is

that it precludes thought.

Start-up businesses are forced to think and plan before they act.

Prior to forking over one cent of capital, funders insist that the

startup firm set up a shop, prepare a financial and time plan,


goods and service capabilities, outline market and pricing strategies,

and more. All this justifiably precedes any spiffy new sales brochure.

The Nielsen Plan simply advocates this firm a foundation for the job

seeker. Designed to set aside panic, the plan has been honed over

decades of both personal and professional experience. Nielsen comes

by his career betterment experience honestly. His father, educated

in Denmark in language and literature, emigrated to Montreal and began

with a shovel at the bottom of a ditch. Through his boyhood, Nielsen

watched his dad shift ever upwards in this career path and educate

his two children.

Nielsen himself, following his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in

economics from McGill University, landed and held 19 different jobs.

In l979 he founded Princeton Management Consultants, which has helped

a varied host of clients on both sides of the hiring desk, including

Mohonk Mountain House, Colgate, the 92nd Street YMCA, and Joe Doss,

the Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey.

Nielsen precisely and with calm logic suggests that career changers

move in an ordered series of steps which, like the stepping stones

of the Buddha, lead one onto the other.

Set up shop . After you have slugged down a few at the

local bar, and come home and explained to your husband why all bosses

and employers are idiots, it is time to order your life and your


Set aside one room as your job launching office. Prepare a financial

plan (it takes money to find work) and then go purchase supplies.

Ironically, this may prove exactly the right time to invest in that

extra phone line, fax, and voice mail, as well as the basic stationery


Prepare your business strategy. Don’t just silently mull

it over; write down cogently a vision of where you plan to be 10 years

down the road, and some initial, practical steps along the way. Hint:

this is indeed your life. Don’t let market needs and other


hobble you from the outset. Your occupational strategy should blend

wishing with reality. This step is ever-evolving, and will be helped

considerably by the next.

Catalog your stock and trade. Nielsen advises job seekers

to look back through their past and develop a large list of specific,

measurable accomplishments. "Too often businesses and counselors

digress into psychology, testing for future aptitudes," says


"Instead, you should use your experience and present the skills

you’ve already shown."

This analysis may lead to a remodeling of your career path. Seeing

your strengths and abilities before you on paper may lead you to a

different field. For example, a purchasing agent may come up with

the solid proven skill of saving his company three times his salary.

But in the process he may discover it has been his negotiating skill

that brought him there. This insight opens up whole new fields abound.

Develop a marketing strategy. Many aspects of self


exist, but Nielsen offers one high tech suggestion. "Employers

are now, at last, ready to use the personal website as a hiring


he says. This does not mean that putting up a personal site will net

you a host of calls and offers. Your site, unmarked by Google or


will remain invisible to employers. But if you can put forth a


site showing graphically the items you have made or services rendered,

it will certainly enhance your personal package.

Finally, after all the above steps, you are ready to hit the

bricks and advertise. Networking, writing, distributing a resume,

and negotiating compensation each demands the same strategic planning.

Yet, in the end, insists Nielsen, you should not have to downsize

your salary or your hopes.

All through this litany of the nicely laid out job hunt schedule,

comes the frantic cry of the unemployed, who need groceries now.


business plans, compensation strategies, and cataloging stock


are all trivial subjects to the man with an empty belly. However,

remember, panic has shortened your time perceptions. You probably

have a few days before they cart your first born away. As that


graphite factory owner, W.H.D. Thoreau, noted, "In truth, most

men end up hitting what they aim at." So instead of yanking a

shot off in haste, it might prove better to aim slowly, squeeze the

trigger, and bring yourself down a nice, fat income for doing work

you can’t wait to get at each morning.

— Bart Jackson

Princeton Management Consultants Inc., 99 Moore

Street, Princeton 08540-3305. Niels H. Nielsen, president.


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