In her book Job Quest: How to Become the Insider Who Gets Hired, Sheila Markin Nielsen spells out what so many of us already suspected, that people with personal connections, the insiders, have a tremendous advantage when it comes to landing jobs. It’s not that daddy pulls the strings. Instead, it is a personal relationship that the job seeker has created with someone known and trusted by the workplace that opens the doors. In this book she tells everyone how to develop the insider advantage for their job searches through a process of rapid relationship and trust building.

Ms. Nielsen illuminates the often murky experience that is a relationship-building job search by breaking the process down into a series of concrete, easy-to-follow steps. She uses a game approach and an analogy to a medieval quest to help the reader understand what to look for and how to move forward in the search.

A Taste of the Job Quest
You are here: The Hero at the beginning of a Quest to find a job or change jobs.

This quest begins in your medieval Cottage (your current situation/ home/base of operations). There you are with your computer, working on your résumé, searching for and responding to job postings online.

You have probably sent your résumé and cover letters to a lot of castles (workplaces) by now, but you have not gotten an interview or you have been interviewed by phone and then dropped. You are tempted to sit in front of your computer and click on other castles’ job postings, but that is a mistake! You must face the challenges of the job search quest.

Medieval Castles are notoriously well-defended, and these workplaces are no exception. They have moats, drawbridges, and a fire-breathing dragon (software scanners or other screening agents) stationed at the drawbridge to protect the castle from the advances of the horde of job seekers who are eager to have an interview.

However, if you do your quest well, you may be able to avoid or outsmart the dragon. If you cannot avoid the dragon altogether, you will have people assisting you, your knights and wizards (helpful people), who will limit the dragon’s ability to prevent you from entering the castle to meet the key keeper and other castle staff by shepherding your résumé past the dragon.

As you proceed in your quest, you will learn about these natural counselors and how to find and talk with them. You will also encounter people who will not help you.

These are ogres. Think of them as your personal Darth Vader from Star Wars or the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz. It is important that you not lose heart if you encounter an ogre who discourages you or discredits your efforts in some way. You will learn more about ogres in this book and how to deal with them, including the possibility that you could be an ogre to yourself.

You will also get comfortable with starter conversations and learn that more magic happens in person. You will learn the importance of the right kind of endorsements. In short, your overarching goal is rapid relationship and trust building. Done the right way, your quest is invaluable for both your current job search and your entire career.

Learn all this and more in Sheila’s book.

She explains:

  • what luck has to do with it (and how to create your own)
  • how to prepare for the quest
  • how to get around the resume-blocking gatekeepers (the dragons who guard the hiring managers)
  • how to find key people to connect with (your knights and wizards)
  • what to say once you connect with them
  • how to continue building your connections
  • how to interview
  • when to start using the word “job”
  • when to go for the close
  • how to give back to your connections
  • She also provides a summary of the four overarching quest concepts, the common pitfalls, a narrative of a successful quest, and appendices with exercises to support the quest.

Her advice is direct, practical, and wise, based on over thirty years of professional counseling experience. Job seekers in all stages of their careers will benefit from reading this book.

Additional Information

For additional information on the book, the full press pack, or to book Sheila, please visit her Experts Page at PR by the Book:

“This book is essential reading for any new graduate or professional who is looking for a job or contemplating a career move.”
- John A. Challenger (CEO, Challenger Gray and Christmas)

“Job Quest got me to think outside the box and explore an entirely new approach to job search.”
- Greg Bricknell (Associate Project Manager II, Nextant)

“I would recommend to any professional, whether young in their career or experienced, as I think anyone could benefit from reading Job Quest.“
-Julie Hintermeister (HR Recruiter)

“Sheila Nielsen provides concrete, easy to follow steps to make goals attainable.”
- Dana Hill (Northwestern University School of Law)

“Job Quest directs the job seeker to take action using principles practiced by those who have seen incredible results.”
- Nina M. Knierim (Practice Manager)