How to Go From “Stranger” to “Hired!”

Job Search is a process: it’s hard to break through to people you don’t know, and it’s harder still to get past applicant tracking systems. But there are practical ways to improve on your outreach… 

It’s a seemingly universal thing, that people fear, or at best, suspect,“l’Étranger”. And I find that to be a particularly sad reality…after all, we’re all professionals in our given industries. In my world view, business inquiries should actually be welcomed amongst professionals. But not everyone is a true professional. If a person you are reaching out to doesn’t know you, or know someone you know, they can easily disregard your outreach.

As discussed in last week’s blog, it’s always best to go in with an introduction from a third party peer/colleague you both know, or, get a referral from a friend/colleague who is willing to lend their name (read: “social proof”) to help you forge a connection with someone new in your network.

That said, you don’t always have a third party, and need to “go in cold”. Some people try once, try twice, some even try to get hold of a person in their network three times, and don’t get any response. And (by rights) they feel burned. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard industry people complain “…well, I applied to X company three times, and have never heard back from them…”

The trick, I find, is that job search is truly an ongoing process – it is not a finite exercise. You apply once, don’t hear back, feel rejected, and never try again. If you take this “finite” approach, you are doing yourself an incredible disservice.

Networking literally requires a series of “marketing touchdowns” to get in front of the right person, at the right time, for the right reasons. Every business call I take, is from someone who doesn’t know me, who might be interested in my services. So I respond/follow up, and we have “the career chat”. I give them something to think about, and usually encourage a concrete action, like doing the goals exercise on my website, and encourage them to send the results to me. Then, I follow up on their goals with some concrete advice on how to move forward. Slowly, they learn to put aside their automatic distrust, hear me, and we further the conversation. Eventually, they trust me enough to hire me, and we proceed along with the business relationship. The one thing I know for sure, is that the business transaction is not going to happen over the first call or two. It needs to be nurtured.

The same applies to job search. All relationships, professional or personal, need to be nurtured. You need to orchestrate a small handful of opportunities that allow you to interact — give the relationship the chance to develop a little, offer some professional input or guidance, give it some time to sink in, and gently nudge the exchange towards “next steps”.

Pro Tip 1: A note on “professionals” …In my experience, professionals return their calls, respond to emails, and always further the conversation, as they intrinsically understand the value of making contacts and information sharing. Professionals facilitate for each other. That’s what they do. If they don’t, I argue, they’re not terribly professional — wouldn’t you agree?

 Pro Tip 2: A note on “professionalism” …Don’t be shy to take your rightful place professionally. You can be an entry-level professional, a mid-management professional, or a senior management professional. But by all means, “own” being a professional, and being part of your professional community. You need not ask for permission to belong–you already do! Your education and experience allow you to be a card-carrying member of your professional community. Remember that. Professionals always appreciate professionalism… AKA, what goes around, comes around. 

Share on social media, and tag a friend or colleague who could benefit from some straight talk on careers.

Scroll down for earlier blogs on career planning

For handy job search resources, click here.

Reach out and book a FREE half-hour chat and let’s talk about your career! | 416.533.6788


The Big Picture on Careers

Where do you stand with your career?

Every career has a life cycle. Every industry has a life cycle. Every company has a life cycle.

Whatever your career plan, you first need to get an understanding of where you stand on the continuum. Are you entry level (1-5 years)? Are you mid-management level (5-10 yrs)? Senior management (10-15)? Executive level (15-20 years)? It’s really good to do a quick self-assessment and know how your skills and experience stack up.

To become a subject matter expert in any topic, you must spend 10K hours in it. Like, I have well over 10K hours in coaching, after having done it for 15 years.

Careers are an “arc”. Know where you stand on it. That’s the first step.

…read on… and tag your friends! Everyone needs career support these days!



eStore: Career Toolkit

What’s the secret to getting a new gig? Job search in today’s “gig economy”, is all about new rules and new tools…and our career best practices to ensure HR folk take serious notice of you…


Our “Do-it-yourself” Career Toolkit is full of templates and guides to help you establish your personal brand. The toolkit offers sample resume formats, a Bio template, templates for cover letters and references, and more!  …In short, all the “tools” you need to market yourself in competitive job markets. Most important, the toolkit includes a job search research/job search strategy worksheet (gold!), which walks you through a proven method to target companies, to build your “business case” and to make truly effective “marketing touchdowns” with hiring managers. Our Career Toolkit  is designed specifically to support your every step, whether you are seeking a new job, or looking to reinvent yourself and build a new business! $29.99


Reach out and get some qualitative support. You cannot succeed in isolation…  

e: | m: 416.533.6788

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FAQs – Ask us!

FAQ: How much does career coaching cost?  The first session Career Essentials: Building Your Plan and Your Brand is a 2-hour, one-one-one, customized session. I like to meet my clients in person, for the first session.  Each session costs $199.00.  The second session Career Activism: How To Access the Hidden Job Market  can be in person or via Skype (1.5 hours @ 159.00). Then we move you to support calls for interview preparation or ongoing job search strategy support @$2.49/minute. Skype chats are always available, whether you want a structured session, or simply need some pressing career questions answered! 

FAQ: Can you help me find a job?  Short answer: YES! …When our talent makes a concerted effort to establish their goals, brand themselves properly, and present themselves clearly and appropriately in business, we are more than happy to introduce you to our clients. If you’ve completed career coaching sessions 1-2 with us, you’re going to be prepared, you’ll out-smart your competition, and employers will respect your efforts and hire you.

FAQ: I send out dozens of resumes, and I don’t get any responses…  If this is the case, you are definitely doing something wrong. Usually if you don’t make the shortlist, you have less than 80% of the skills required. Or, you are not making a compelling business case for your candidacy in your cover letter. Or, you are being out-competed. Remember, HR’s job is to screen you out – you have to be especially diligent in your application and do your homework to get screened in. mI can also help you with cover letters/résumé prep and “to die for” job applications. 🙂

FAQ: I keep getting the interview, but I don’t get the offer.  Simple: You are being out-competed by your peers in the interview process. Contact mI and let us help you compete more strongly during interviews.

FAQ: How do your recruitment services work?  mI’s broadcast and media clients hire us to source talent for them. This paid for by our broadcast clients. There are no fees to candidates. How much does recruiting cost? We tailor our recruiting assignments to exactly what’s needed, whether it’s sourcing, screening, interviewing, short-listing, or all of the above. Reach out for a quote!

FAQ: Could we meet for coffee?  At mI, we don’t “do coffees”  … we roll up our sleeves and get to work with you sorting out your goals, upgrading your marketing tools and personal brand, and we teach you how to confidently approach hiring managers and secure the job offer.

Let us help you plan and manage your career goals instead of having the process manage you! 






Welcome to mI!

At mI, our job is to de-mystify the hiring process. Careers can be managed — it’s nowhere near as hard as you think. All that’s required is that you do your “career homework”.  If you can identify what it is that you want, mI will show you how to confidently take your career into your own hands and realize your dreams! 

If you need help with your career, you’ve come to the right place! We can help you make a solid 5-10 year career plan and teach you how to position and (most importantly) package yourself with a strong personal brand. We also support you in job search, and help you get access to the hidden job market. Finally, we walk you through how to interview successfully, and structure the job offer to your best advantage. Win-win!

Click on our contact page and give us a call! We’d love to hear from you; we’re happy to address your career questions and talk “industry”, and we welcome your feedback — cause intel sharing is caring!

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About Us career coach guidance recruitment seminar

 When it comes to careers, I walk my own talk.  I was once an eager young professional with no clue how to navigate my career. Today, I successfully (and gainfully!) manage both my passion for media, as well as my passion for animal advocacy. One, literally, feeds the other. The clients are happy, the bills are paid …and, the animals are safe. I couldn’t ask for much more. You can be successful with your goals and passions too! To learn how, contact me here.

M. Michelle Nadon – Career Strategy & Recruitment Specialist 

Since 2003, Michelle has been the leading provider of strategic recruitment and career coaching guidance for the Canadian media and entertainment sectors. Read: 5K+ small-medium sized audio/video/television/film/post houses and social marketing, publishing, mobile & digital media firms.

As technologies and trends shift with mercurial speed, Michelle has firmly established mI as the trusted link between creative companies and top professionals. She provides innovative recruiting models and cutting-edge career enrichment programs. mI is reknown for continuously evolving its products and services to meet and surpass industry standards. Now in its 15th year, mI has executed/delivered senior level recruiting assignments for most major Canadian networks, numerous independent production houses and cultural organizations, and as well as regular delivery of industry-specific training seminarsin media colleges and universities.

Prior to founding mI, Michelle’s professional experience includes managing policy and regulatory compliance with Bell Media. She also served as General/Operations Manager in two commercial and post-production houses. In the early years, she worked in production with TVOntario’s English and French public broadcasting networks, and with industry leader Nelvana on award-winning 2D and 3D animated series.

Fluently bilingual (English/French), she holds certificates in Social Media Marketing and Advanced Blogging, (Media Bistro NY), Executive Management (Alliance Atlantis Banff Television Executive Program) and Executive Marketing Program (Queens‘). In 2015 Michelle achieved Veterinary Assistant Hons. certification. Michelle lives north of Toronto, with her beautiful German Shepherd Stella, and spends all of her spare time, goodwill and company profits on animal advocacy through