Q. I've been looking to get a better job and can't figure out how anyone gets hired these days. I send my resume into the technical black hole of computer websites and never hear back from a human being. How can you get a new job when you can't even connect with anyone in the organization?
A. The way you can land a new job is to stop using technology as your only job hunting technique.
There is nothing wrong with sending 100 resumes out electronically, but people are still the ones who actually make the hiring decisions. Computer resume submissions should be your Plan D on job hunting, not your Plan A.
You are still best off taking an approach that assumes you actually have power over the next job you obtain. Imagine you could hire yourself an employer anywhere in the world. Imagine you could work for absolutely any person. Compose a long list and let your brain run wild with possibilities.
Now pretend you are sitting in front of these people you'd like to work for and ask yourself:
--What could you do to make their work easier?
--What contribution could you make?
--What would you like to learn?
--Why should they hire you rather than someone else?
--What do bring to their department that is unique and valuable?
Now ask yourself how you could make these people aware of your existence. You will find that a wealth of possibilities will open up. If you are a student, you may decide to interview these people for your school paper. If you are in graduate school, you may call them and propose an internship. You may find out what associations they belong to and start attending meetings. Your ideas will be limited only by your creativity.
Trying to land a good job these days means forming a bridge between the people who need what you do and you. The second problem is establishing that you are a valuable resource who is interested in what your future boss needs.
People who call asking potential bosses for favors are a dime a dozen. No professional is interested in a free cup of coffee from someone who wants free advice. Because so few job seekers consider with empathy the problems of their potential boss, you will have an automatic job seeking niche.
If you can genuinely approach new employers with solutions to their specific problems and a plan for solving those problems, you will have the immediate attention of any high-quality manager. You may even be the first job seeker they have ever met that took this approach.
Put yourself in their shoes, they are swamped, stressed and overworked, and you show up wanting a job. You just became one more person making a demand on them. Instead, imagine you show up with solutions, answers and resources; you have just made your potential boss's day!
Remember, the traditional human resource process is designed to screen employees out. Your new approach is designed to screen you, and only you, into a relationship with your new boss. Once you have their attention and interest, getting a job will come naturally.
The last word(s)
Q. I'd love to have a crystal ball. When I read your column I can see that I often have more power than I think. Do you have recommendations about how to predict the best career path?
A. Yes, the best way to predict your preferred career path is to create it. Be willing to take the risk to fail if you want to make what you want occur.
(Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at http://www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)
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