No. I am not labelling anyone here and I am not pointing fingers. Everything that you will read here is coming from a place internal — I was the effective job hunter and I was the typical one. I’ve done things that just don’t work (and this is how I learned they don’t). And this is also how I’ve learned things that do work. Things that you can start integrating today in your job hunt to get better results.
With that being said, here is my take on Effective Job Hunter vs a Typical one.
A typical job hunter is a “job beggar”. He thinks that if he remains persistent enough in spamming his resume just about everywhere he will eventually find an employer who would be impressed by his persistence (the employer theoretically knows nothing about) and get a shot at an interview. Taking a gun analogy, he is like a guy who is shooting with a machine gun blindfolded hoping that if he shoots long enough and broad enough one of his bullets will hit a bullseye by accident.
An effective job hunter sees himself as a “resource”. He understands that a job is essentially a set of problems and positions himself in front of the employer as a problem solver. “Your ship is leaking, good sir,” he says, “and I am here to fix the holes”. He is purposeful, intentional, and laser-focused. He is not a job hunter. He is a company hunter. He makes a list of players on the market who are currently purchasing the skill set he has to offer and approaches them first regardless of whether they have a job posted or not. He knows that a job can be created for the right candidate on the spot. Taking a gun analogy, he is not a gunman. He is a sniper. He is sitting on top of the building watching the field and picking his targets. And when he is taking a shot he shoots to kill.
A typical job hunter is confused. He says things like, “I don’t even know what skills I have” or “I have no idea what an elevator pitch is”. He can’t distill his offerings because he didn’t do the work. He approaches employers trying to give them a reason to hire him, without being aware of those reasons himself. His About section on LinkedIn is vague or weak or even worse — empty. He can’t craft his message because he is not coming from a place in which this message must be first formulated.
An effective job hunter is self-aware. He’s done his “self-inventory” before even considering talking to people. He asks himself, “If I myself don’t know my value, how can I sell myself to others?” Everything he has to give is written in his journal — his skills, his areas of expertise and knowledge, his strengths, the appealing traits of his personality, the kind of people he enjoys working with, the work style and environment in which he thrives, and the compensation that would make him happy. He iterates constantly on his “self-inventory” list, polishing his best side and eliminating his weaknesses one by one. He consolidates that list in his head and syntheses a set of answers that sit in his mind-box ready to jump out anytime someone asks that “tell me about yourself” question. He is approaching job hunting from a place of understanding. He shapes the reality to manifest the companies that would be a good fit for him and not the other way around.
A typical job hunter jumps into action without a good prep. Deep inside he understands, that he could do a better job at that resume and LinkedIn profile, yet he prefers spending his days “machine-gunning”. He heard somewhere that “networking is the key to job hunting”, so he connects with everyone with “Hi! How are you?” or worse — without adding a personalized note to the connection request at all. He then complains to those who are willing to listen that nobody accepts his LinkedIn requests, that the networking game sucks, and all this relationship-building advocacy is lies and deception.
An effective job hunter understands that preparation is 60% of success. He is re-iterating his resume on a daily basis and his LinkedIn profile on a weekly basis. He knows that his resume and his LinkedIn are his main marketing channels and if the messaging is off on either of them this is his fault and his productivity will drop exponentially. He spends time doing his research. Looking at best practices in resume writing, watching closely what LinkedIn champions do with their profiles, talking to subject-matter experts. He comes prepared for his informational interviews — he doesn’t ask questions the answers for which can be easily found online. He is professional, he doesn’t want to waste time, he cuts to chase. But at the same time, he is polite, he is respectful, he is humble.
A typical job hunter sends his resumes and waits for employers to respond. He gives up his control in the process. He doesn’t build relationships because “it is too hard” or because he has this limiting belief: “I am not good at relationship-building”.
An effective job hunter applies online with his targeted resume and cover letter. But most of his energy he invests in building up his professional network and finding that “bridge-person” who can facilitate the conversation with the hiring manager or is a hiring manager himself.
A typical job hunter is ineffective. He gets a rare opportunity to pitch in front of an employer and that makes him fully invested in the opportunity. His internal importance is sky-high, so when the opportunity falls through he is left completely devastated and incapacitated for weeks.
An effective job hunter is a job developer. He goes out there and generates opportunities out of thin air. He has a rock-solid mindset “if they reject me, they are fools” and “their loss — someone’s win”. He doesn’t dwell on the things that could have been, he doesn’t raise internal importance. Of course, he is not a bulletproof monk, and sometimes he lets expectations crawl in his heart, but he doesn’t let those expectations corrupt it, and sabotage the whole process that he set in motion.
A typical job hunter is stuck in a fixed mindset. He is stagnating in the old ways. He believes that intelligence and talent are fixed. He thinks that “it won’t work so why bother?” after trying a few times. He ignores criticism (read: feedback that can be used for self-improvement). He sticks to what he knows and gives up when he is frustrated. He hates change and avoids the feeling of discomfort.
An effective job hunter is in a growth mindset. He sees failure as an opportunity to grow. He seeks challenges and perceives them as catalysts for personal growth. He believes that he can learn anything he wants and he can achieve everything he sets his mind to achieve. He welcomes criticism (sees it as a signal that points at the areas of development that need his attention). He knows that a feeling of discomfort is an indication of growth.
Maybe some of this resonates. Maybe not. Either way, let me know in the comment section below what are your thoughts on the matter. What is an effective job hunter? Are you one? And what have you done in life to become one?
When I use notions like “effective job seeker” or a “typical one”, my intention here is never to criticize but on the contrary to facilitate the transformation in those who want to change and be more productive in their job-hunting efforts.
I believe that every person can be successful when he is placed in the environment that sets them up for success. I also believe that life is too short to settle for something less than that. Lastly, I believe that manifesting such an environment for yourself is a life skill that can be learned. We all can learn it — with the right mindset, the right effort, and the right work of the spirit. You can get where you want to be in life. The question is just — how?