Despite the struggling job market, I have the pleasure of reporting that three people within my network have landed jobs over the past three weeks. And I don’t mean they settled on just any job offer that came their way. They were able to avoid becoming part of the statistics of the underemployed or unhappily employed. They were each successful in winning a job that really aligned with their intentions rather than settling for anything that was offered. The question is, what did these three people do differently than those who pound the virtual pavement everyday searching for new job postings, networking through social media and submitting resumes anywhere and everywhere?
They hit the actual pavement! The tangible concrete under their feet! Prior to hearing this news something had occurred to me. I started to see real evidence of the old adage, “what’s old is new.” Whether in fashion, movies (like the silent film and Oscar winner, The Artist), television (like Pan Am or Madmen) or even in the way people are finding love (You want a new career? How about becoming a Matchmaker? It turns out that the Matchmaking business is booming!) and the names new parents are choosing for their newborn babies. As a society, we are so caught up in everything electronic that we have stopped interacting with one another. We sit behind computer screens spinning our wheels, trying to get jobs, find love and connect with people. Although there is some value to this approach, our efforts need to go beyond a mouse click. The value of connecting via the internet is that it allows us to reach more people in less time. However, the virtual highway can only take us so far. We are a society of people who are starved for real, face-to-face, tangible, human interaction.
So what did these three people do to win dream jobs? Well, I actually asked them all and what I learned was not surprising.
One person told me that he connected with someone with whom he had initiating business over the phone at his previous job. That conversation led to several subsequent conversations and meetings which led to his new job. Another spoke with everyone he knew in his industry that he either had previously worked with or done business with. He also spoke with friends and other connections who also work in his industry and thanks to an introduction and then proving to his potential employer how valuable he will be to them, he now has a job that he loves. And the third has an interesting story. He combined applying online for a job with using his social media connections to make a human connection to one of the organizations where he applied. That opened a huge door and he starts his job in a week or so.
The common thread between them is that all three of these people got out in the world and spoke with people in person. Once they had some doors opened for them they were very clear about who they are and what value they can provide to that employer. None of them submitted resumes online and then sat back waiting for nothing to happen. They made it happen for themselves. They took a proactive approach by making phone calls, setting up face-to-face meetings and providing potential employers with solid information about themselves as Occupreneurs™. Remember, contacts can kick doors open for you. They can help connect you with people but they CANNOT sell you to anyone. You have to be well prepared to do that yourself.
While it appears that the internet is the only way to access job openings, that is nothing but a fallacy and is an approach that is becoming decreasingly successful. Can it work? Yes, definitely, but it’s rare, especially in a tight market. For each job posting there are thousands of applicants. Words on a page are just that. All an application tells an employer is that the candidate knows how to write a resume or hired someone to write it for them. Just because someone is good on paper does not mean they will be a successful employee. That said, social media is a good tool for that first step of establishing contact but it takes more than a computer to actually get hired. It’s imperative that you get out in the real world and talk to people face-to-face. This is what separates those that land that dream job from those who spin their wheels.
I’d love to hear from you if you have your own experiences to share. What has worked and what hasn’t worked for you? Remember, if you have been on one path for some time but you have not yet been successful in acquiring that job you are looking for, maybe it’s time to change course. What changes can you make? Even the smallest change can make the biggest difference. How many face-to-face meetings have you had in the last week or month? If it’s less than one per week then maybe consider setting up some informational interviews. You never know where they will lead. Submit your comments below or email me at email@example.com. Wishing you much success!