A job search is worse than having a root canal or cavity filled – I was going to use another example but my friends (Martin, Larry, and others…) recommended against it so no shock today for the readership (my wife actually laughed at the one I wanted to go with), sorry…we will keep it rated G today.
So on to The 1st Skill for finding that new job – BREAK THE RULES.
Introduction – I’m a story teller so I have to have an introduction!
You know the sales guy who can sell ice to eskimos? That’s not you right?! Right, and I get it. Even the top sales people are often times semi introverts and when they come “off of the stage” they like to crawl into their cozy sweats and chill. IT professionals and engineers who are typically introverts now have to become those sales people selling ice to eskimos right? Well…right…and I know you wish I had said no. Sorry, I can’t do it.
Now, selling ice is only until you find your next job so yes, you can now sigh with relief – and oh, I’ll add a 5th skill at the end of this 4 part series with of course a stretch goal. That’s what I do…I ask people to stretch beyond their comfort zones.
#1 BREAK THE RULES – Try not to be…actually you cannot be a rules follower.
Every day I speak with job seekers who are IT professionals & engineers and the one thing they all have in common is they follow the rules.
When I relocated to Phoenix Arizona I sat with a group of HR professionals at a Paradise Bakery and Café for a morning networking event and one lone HR executive told me “we build systems to keep people away.”
I’m talking about following the rules of old school HR professionals who for decades have built systems, applications, policies and procedures like a medieval castle to keep the masses out! What? Human resources people who keep human resources out? Really? Yes, I am sorry to tell you this. And I know I am not telling you something you don’t already know. But I am telling you this because it’s important that you don’t allow them to keep you out.
So back to this fella…yep, that is what he said. So, the idealist that I am (and I was in this “HR” business for 6 years at that point in my career) I almost fell out of my chair and that is when I waged my war…albeit a small war but a war that recruits one professional at a time to help them go over, around, or under that castle wall.
So, let’s take a step back for a minute because I know many if not all of you are thinking some of the following:
“I’ve got to follow the darn rules or they will reject me.”
“I have always followed the rules and I can’t do it any other way.”
“Rules were made to be followed not broken.”
“I can’t do anything other than sit behind my keyboard and fill out online applications because that is what they are telling me to do; and it feels so good to hit submit that way it puts the onus on them.” But, is that someone else going to pay your credit card statement? Um, yeah that’s not going to happen.
OK, I’ll give you a little here…please do follow the rules when you are filling out that 5th credit card application now that your job search has extended far longer that it should have because you followed the rules in your job search. Or when you are filling out that application to join the circus because you will need that job to earn a living after your unemployment runs out. The only problem is the circus no longer exists. Didn’t you hear the news this week that Barnum & Bailey had their last performance last week in New York. Sad for all of us but good for those beautiful animals.
I digress and I am sorry…I will give you some light at the end of the tunnel…you can go back to following the rules when you land your next big job but not until then!
Following rules is absolutely critical when it comes to building space ships and bridges, architecting medical devices and launching weapons systems. However, following rules has no place in your job search. My heart goes out to the job seeker who follows the rule, sits in front of the laptop for hours on end inputting his or her resume into the proverbial black hole of databases that each and every recruiter across America and around the world sits in front of each day and hates…like getting a root canal or…
So, what is Paradise getting @ here? I am getting at the following:
- Talk with people all day long – yes dial that phone to the places you think have openings from the online systems you have been looking at each day. Find out who the hiring manager is and talk with them. Call their executive assistants. Make concerted efforts to connect with people.
- Meet people in person for coffee and information meetings – people at the places you want to work at…and you are asking “what I can do that when I am not working?”
- Drop into company offices and headquarters of future employer prospects (yes, they will actually talk with you)
- Ask for help, ask for help, and ask for help.
Today I had to help with an employment and education verification with an Irvine based Company called Hireright. I was in bureaucracy hell while following the rules trying to get a background check done quickly for our consultant to start work at a client. So what did I do? I called Carla in the executive office of the President at HireRight. Low and behold a Director literally called me back in 10 minutes to help. We are a small client! However my approach with the receptionist then Carla got a call back and the company is now high on my list of favs. Otherwise I would still be in bureaucratic hell and moaning about it. Those in the bureaucracy were simply doing their jobs and doing their jobs pleasantly but wasn’t helping me to power through.
So, what’s the moral of part 1 you ask? Don’t follow the rules!!! Let me hear you shout it out!
Good, you are not going to follow the rules!!! Be well, have a great holiday weekend and we will talk again soon.
Part 2 of this series will tackle Build Volume into your search at the outset then get focused.