Resourcefulness. Drive. Curiosity.
A go-getting spirit.
A willingness to ask for help.
These are qualities that successful job hunters tend to have in abundance. And yet, I’ll confess, I’ve come across quite a few “transitioning professionals” in recent weeks where these qualities were noticeably absent. Or, to be fair, perhaps I’ve come across quite a few individuals who would naturally possess these qualities on the job, while working, but who either a) fail to translate them successfully into the job hunting process or b) have been so beaten down by their situation that these traits have gone into temporary remission.
Regardless, if you’re somebody trying to beat out the unemployment statistics, you’ve got to dig deep and try to emulate the above qualities at all times during your search. Employers today are looking for people who bring a confident can-do spirit to their work — and you’re going to have a heck of a time landing interviews unless you attack your unemployment challenge, head-on, with as much gumption, perseverance, and resourcefulness as you can muster.
As I said, though, I’m concerned that I’m not seeing more of this attitude in the individuals I come across. For example, I recently offered a collective group of over 80 individuals the chance to submit a “networking question” that I’d run out to my entire blog readership, in the hopes that some of my readers might respond with some helpful tips, leads, insights, or referrals. In fact, I’ve made this offer twice over the past month. And out of the two times I extended it, I only had a grand total of seven people take me up on it.
This ridiculously small response rate concerns me. While I’ve racked my brains to think of any possible reason why an active job hunter wouldn’t take me up on this offer, which came with zero strings attached, I can’t think of a single legitimate rationale. If you can think of one (or you were one of the people who declined this offer) please let me know. I’d love to know if I’m missing something. But my strong suspicion, again, is that many job seekers still aren’t grasping the mindset it takes to get ahead in today’s market. They’re either stuck in the old paradigm where “asking for help” was considered a sign of weakness — or they’re failing to realize that there are an almost unlimited number of productive questions a motivated professional could potentially ask, and SHOULD ask, when searching for work.
For example, even just asking “Does anybody have any useful tips on getting hired at XYZ Company?” or “Does anybody have advice on dealing effectively with X, Y, or Z job search issue?” could lead to a useful referral or piece of advice, from a good samaritan, that turns the tide in your search. You’ve just got to put these questions out there — and see what comes back.
So that’s my rant for the day. Thanks for hearing me out, and if you’re in the market for a new job, yourself, I hope you take a serious look at whether you’re truly being resourceful and reaching out to as many people as possible, asking the kinds of questions that might lead to the big break that lands you a job. It’s a critical part of the process, I assure you, even if such behavior might have been a bit more unusual, say, 15 or 20 years ago. These days, though, it’s par for the course, whether you’re a professional in transition or virtually anybody else in the working world — including a business owner like myself, who reaches out CONSTANTLY to other people for help in areas where I know my own competencies are noticeably lacking.
Got my drift? Okay, so let’s now move on to the seven people who DID actually take me up on my offer and submit a question. Here are the queries that were submitted by a handful of people I’m working with — and if any of you have any useful feedback to share, please click on the appropriate link and make their day!
Question #1: “How often is it appropriate to remind contacts that you are looking for job? And has LinkedIn been an effective tool for you in lead generation in your job search?” Respond to Tim here
Question #2: “Any thoughts on the best place/opportunity in Seattle to volunteer some business expertise and consulting services? More specifically, perhaps, in the areas of supply chain management, financial planning, and sales support?” Respond to John here
Question #3: “After just receiving my Certified Senior Advisor certificate, I was wondering if anyone has any contacts in the Geriatric Care or Baby Boomer (Transition) Advisor industries?” Respond to Michelle here
Question #4: “If you’re considering a career change, should your LinkedIn website support your current career or the career you might want to target? Do people ever switch back and forth between different goals?” Respond to Laila here
Question #5: “Have you had a conversation recently with someone concerned about their parent’s ability to live independently? Where did you or they look for solutions?” Respond to Maggie here
Question #6: “How do you ask what it’s like to work for a company–and the kinds of experience and attributes they look for in a candidate–without triggering a “PR company line” response?” Respond to Alison here
Question #7: “With how we are digitally ‘connected’ these days, it has (at least to me) proven to be a significant challenge to getting actual ‘face time’ with a warm body related to a position I might be pursuing. I am curious if there are other job seekers out there having the same experience, and (if so) what creative ideas do you have to get around this issue?” Respond to Gary here
Thanks much for reviewing the questions these individuals submitted, and again, if you have any useful insights to share with them — or any input into the broader question I’m raising about why so many job hunters are gunshy about asking for help — I’d welcome any and all comments you might choose to send in!