The secret’s in the sauce: Scott Swedberg on the fastest way to land your dream job

Scott Swedberg, founder and CEO, The Job Sauce.

As this career blog so frequently documents, landing a job you really love is HARD WORK, and it’s rare to happen upon a source of instruction on job-searching that is both easy to understand and has a track record of effective results.

Scott Swedberg, who has worked as a recruiter, a sales manager and a LinkedIn consultant, has found a strategy that cuts through a lot of the nonsense in career management, and his company, The Job Sauce, helps job-seekers apply this strategy by focusing on an element of the hiring process that has been around forever: personal networking. Swedberg will be presenting during ASU Alumni Career Services’ Wednesday Webinar series on Jan. 25, as well as March 8 and May 8.

We chatted with Swedberg recently, to better understand his approach and to find out how his “people first” strategy works in an online, automated, 21st century hiring environment.

ASU Alumni Association: Tell us a little bit about your professional background and why you chose to found The Job Sauce.

Swedberg: In my career I’ve hired, trained, and managed consultants, managed a multi-million dollar sales territory, and worked as a talent solutions consultant for LinkedIn, where I spoke to CEOs and vice presidents all day about how they hire and why. My passion has always been connecting people to life-changing opportunities, and I founded The Job Sauce to do this at scale. Too few people pursue careers that add value to their lives, and we’re changing that.

Your webinars for ASU Alumni Career Services will focus on “how to land your dream job.” What is unusual or different about your approach to landing one’s ideal position?

Our method is unusual because we focus solely on the most effective method for landing a dream job, which comes from the innate human principle that people want to work with people they know and trust to succeed. Getting referred is the most effective way to land your dream job, according to research data and industry experts, and our cohesive approach helps our clients do this while eliminating the other activities that drain energy and morale. There are dozens of ways you can get a job, but we focus on what we know works best to land a dream job, while leveraging the strategies used by the most successful professionals in the world.

 You place a great deal of emphasis on leveraging one’s professional network to achieve career success. Are there any situations in which a company insisting that everyone go through “approved application channels” might make it difficult for a job-seeker to execute your suggested strategies? What should a job-seeker do if they encounter this?

I love it when companies say everyone needs to go through “approved channels” because that means 99 percent of candidates will just apply online, following the herd, and my clients can more easily gain the upper hand. Ultimately, people make hiring decisions, so you need to find a way to speak to the right people. You should eventually apply by their preferred means, but only after you’ve spoken to the right people at the company and shown them why you’re the ideal candidate. Otherwise, you’re just relying on getting through the applicant tracking system and hoping you get noticed among the 400+ applications.

Why do you think so many career coaches focus on the “right” way to move through the application and interview process?

Landing a dream job is hard work and everyone wants the magic bullet, so many coaches claim to have it. Very few career coaches focus on achieving the end result. Some help with resumes and cover letters, some will help you get a better understanding of your preferred job, some will help you practice for formal interviews, but very few will take you from understanding your dream job to negotiating your final offer, and promising to work with you till it happens.

If a job-seeker asked you to name three actions they could take TODAY to land their next job, what would you tell them?

Assess the tangible results you’ve achieved in your current and past roles, reach out to five of your most helpful and encouraging connections asking for a 30 minute phone call (each) to pick their brains about your search, and come up with an answer for when they ask “how can I be helpful to you?” People want to help you and you need to ask for it. 

How do you think the power of professional networks will impact job searches in the future?

Relationships have always been and will always be the most influential factor in career advancement. You may have noticed that mid- to senior-level positions are rarely posted online. At that level, most companies can’t afford to take a risk on someone they don’t know. They want to hire someone they can trust to achieve results. They find these people through employees who have seen that person achieve similar results in the past. As companies gain more hiring options and applicant pools get more crowded, a referral from a trusted source becomes exponentially more valuable.

Is there anything else relevant that you’d like to mention?

If you’re reading this blog post or plan to watch my webinar, you’re probably looking for a job. You could read or watch 100 pieces of content, but it won’t make a difference unless you take action. If you’re going to take action, stick with one process or system that works and if you’re considering using a career coaching service, make sure that company will work with you through landing that dream job. Remember that people want to help you, but you need to ask for it.

Sign up for Scott’s webinar today!

~ Liz Massey, Managing Editor, ASU Alumni Association