This morning, I received a newsletter update from Careerealism, perhaps one of the best sources for advice about job seeking on the ‘net and a personal favorite because of the practicality and timeliness of its articles (J.T., you rock!!). One of the topics under discussion was about the job search and how it can be compared to shopping. Shopping, you ask? When a person is shopping, one is observing, analyzing, and evaluating choices and options…and choosing the best based on fit, function, and financial benefit. Similarly, when one chooses a job or career, one is observing, analyzing, and evaluating choices and options…and choosing the best one based on fit (suitable to one’s talents and interests), function (whether this job will last and lead to greater opportunities), and financial benefit (am I getting my money’s worth based on my talents and interests, and the longevity and durability of the job/career?). This line of thought is markedly different than the habits we have embraced.
When we have identified a job area, we scan the papers, circle the appropriate listings, send off the requested information, and WAIT for a phone call…and hope that the voice on the other end is offering us the chance to interview. You interview (lucky you)…and, if they like you, they offer you a job in the career of your choice. It all sounds great, no? Great if you were searching for a job in the late 90s/early 2000s (or somewhere in there). Today, such a strategy, what marketing folks would call a “pull strategy”, would not work. In this strategy, the job applicant is the “acted upon”-the one who is in a position of waiting for a response in order to reach desired outcomes. Because of nature of today’s cultural and economic landscape, the pull strategy is a “fail.” Which brings me back to the article. The young college graduate almost got away with using this pull strategy to begin a job search…until the job coach queried her further.
The coach asks the young woman to narrow down her options….not just say I will do anything in (career path) to pay the bills and “be productive.” Saying so is general but limiting and will set one up for failure and another subsequent trip to job search land. Instead of the aforementioned pull strategy, the job coach introduced another approach-the “push strategy.” In a push strategy, the job applicant is the “actor,” the one orchestrating the moves…the one driving the action toward desired outcomes. This young women went from a general statement about what career path she wanted to take (undeniably a pull strategy), and with persistent coaching, to a more specific one-in the process identifying the ONE job title (out of a list of maybe ten to twenty) that resonated with her, describing her ideal job situation, and analyzing and evaluating companies and organizations that do the type of work she is looking for and have the type of customers that fit her ideal (a push strategy). Using the scenario, I applied the questions to myself…making a list of what types of jobs exist in my chosen field and identifying the one that resonated the most with me; describing my ideal work day; and am in the process of researching companies and organizations that fit MY ideal. The important lesson learned here is to gear the work situation to YOU and not the other way around-as this young woman would eventually learn.
So, my point to anyone reading this today is: identify and describe YOURSELF and YOUR ideal working environment/situation and research and get information on companies and organizations that fit. I know this is something many of you will balk/raise your eyebrows in doubt at, but consider this: is YOUR current method of job searching working for or against you? Are you open to a new way of doing things-even if it is uncomfortable and unfamiliar? In no way am I saying that this is the absolute BEST way to go about a job search, but, before you knock it, try it. It just might work….and could lead to new possibilities for you.