Monday, June 24, 2013

Some People Just Won’t Listen

In my last blog entry I posed a question: if someone offered expertise and advice about a subject directly related to what you were trying to accomplish, would you not only be interested in hearing what they had to offer, but also be willing to apply their suggestions to a varying degree?  

Who wouldn’t want to get some advice, right? Most people are glad to receive help with their efforts. But there are those – and we all know someone like this – who will claim one thing but do something else or, worse, do nothing at all. They’ll readily admit they are stuck in a rut and not getting anywhere but will still fight tooth and nail to remain right where they are, all the while complaining about it.  

I recently spoke with someone who told me she is seriously looking for a job, so I asked, “What do you want to do”, “What are you currently doing to help yourself toward the goal of a new job?” 

She said she doesn’t quite know what she wants to do but is open and would consider any good job. My advice: you should have some idea of what you want or you're going to waste a lot of time and it is difficult for someone else to help you if you don’t first know what you want to do. 

She then explained she’d already sent a lot resumes but wasn’t getting any responses. I asked if she’s conducted any follow-up with the companies with which she’s inquired. She was dismissive and said she couldn’t remember all of them. My advice: follow-up should be an integral part of any resume effort and you need to be proactive, able to recall who and what companies have your resume. If it doesn’t matter, why bother in the first place, if you’re just tossing resumes around? In her frustration she said she was not going to send any more resumes and considers making direct person-to-person contact and introductions to be demeaning, as she put it, “I am not going to go knocking on doors like a beggar.” That’s unfortunate, because anyone who reads my blog already knows that is precisely what she should be doing; but she would hear none of it.  

So I asked her what she wanted from me and she suggested she'd prefer to rely on networking and suggested she would get better results being referred by someone like me. My advice: networking is a good and effective way to find a job; the theory being that through a network of people you can capitalize on their extended contacts and referrals as a multiplier to one’s own efforts. When applied in this manner it’s a good strategy and something in which everyone should consider engaging. Although, some people wrongly assume networking amounts to relying on others to get them a job, thereby putting their monkey on someone else's back. Sorry, but that is not how it works and often people who network in this manner find that over time their network shrinks for obvious reasons. Networking is helpful because you can meet people you otherwise might not, however, you must still be able to demonstrate and explain to someone why you are worthy of consideration. No one else can or should be doing that - it still comes back to you! 

Believe it or not, I speak with a lot of people who sound like the person I’ve just described. In all of these examples I’ve shared, rest assured that due to human nature many people are simply reluctant to adapt their efforts. The good news for those who aim to set themselves apart and willing to do more for a better result,  is the majority of people seeking the same jobs won’t and aren’t willing to do more, unwilling to innovate. Furthermore, it isn’t only about doing more or working harder, but working smarter which means you are planning and calculating your moves and at the same time, ready at a moments notice to innovate and adjust as needed. However, before you implement any clever and innovative measures, I suggest that you first consider three of the most basic things that will lend to your overall job search efforts and success; we’ll talk about that next time.

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