June 22, 2009

Learn and Change

Filed under: insights — Paul Kilman @ 11:05 am

I do appreciate the supportive e-mails we have received about our website and this blog.    I view this blog as an opportunity to share with you proven insights that we have about job hunting, so please contact us with any questions you would like me to address.

A question that I have been frequently asked lately goes something like this:  “What would I recommend to someone who has been job hunting with little success over the past six months?”  At essence, the answer is this:  If you have not been getting the results you want, you need to change the way you are handling your job search.  If you continue to do the same thing and communicate the same message in the same way, your job search will provide the same results.

OK – now for the reality check.  Let’s face it, in a strong hiring market, job hunting is a lot less work.  You can get away with making a few mistakes in your job hunting and interviewing and still be successful.  Not so in slow times.   Job hunting in today’s market will, in most cases, take more time and require stronger job hunting skills to achieve success.

Let’s consider the employers situation today.  In a slow market, it is an arduous process for a hiring manager to obtain an approval to fill a position.  When he or she does, it is usually because there is a critical need at either a junior or experienced level to impact a problem or capitalize on a business opportunity.  And the pressure is on the hiring manager to find a strong contributor - someone with not only the baseline skills, but also the career focus, talent and energy to embrace this need and help achieve the results desired.   I would say that most job seekers are not researching deep enough or preparing themselves well enough to understand how to connect with employers at this level.

OK – I hear you.  This is easy to say, but what does this mean for you.  My quick advice is this:  Do not try to be all things to all people.  Think about your skills, your strengths and what you enjoy the most.  Compete where you are strongest and happiest.  Create a strong and concise message about yourself.  Raise your visibility with all the people in the geography of interest to you who can hire you to do what you want to do.

Examining what has worked and not worked in your job search may require help, so reach out to mentors, job hunting guidebooks or job hunting professionals to look deeper into these elements of your job search.  Here are some basic questions to consider:

Are your job goals appropriate for you and this market? 

Are your job goals too unfocused?

What does your resume communicate? Is it really strong enough?

If you only had 1-2 minutes to speak to an employer, what message would you communicate?  How clear is this message? 

Does your message address “what is in it” for the employer to consider you?  Do you know enough about the employer to even make this connection to their potential needs?

Have you really created enough velocity in your job search by speaking to enough people and sending out enough resumes?

Do you need more advice on what corrections you should make in your job search?

One final thought:  Michael Jordan, the basketball legend, missed more shots than he ever made.  Let’s face it, in job hunting today, so will you.  Not every employer you contact will be in a position to hire you.  Further, you may have made some classic mistakes not only in your job search, but also in your career thus far.   Know that life does allow you a way to move on.  To achieve success, learn from these important lessons, let go, make changes and keep going.

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