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Job-Hunting Is Like Client-Hunting: Be The Answer They're Looking For

Job-hunting is self-marketing. As you look for an employer, you have to think like a self-employed professional looking for clients.

I say this because of this e-mail I recently received:

“Dear Davender,

I was wondering if I could get some advice from you.

I recently finished my PhD in applied microeconomics (I focused on quantitative analysis), but I am having a hard time finding a job even though I was one of the brightest students. Do you have any suggestions? I would truly appreciate any insights or referrals that you may offer.

Kind Regards,
(name withheld)”

Here’s what I wrote back:

Hi (name withheld)

Thanks for your message.

I’m not necessarily a job search expert (my last “job” was 15 years ago), but I believe that whether I’m looking for a client, or a job, it’s the same thing: connecting with people and building a relationship of trust that develops into a shared commitment.

Here are three ideas that come to mind:

1. Analyze your ideal client: Who are the kinds of employers you want to work with? What are their values, their goals, the kinds of clients they are looking for? What are the major challenges facing them? (You can get a lot of this info from corporate websites, major magazines, etc)

2. Be the answer they’re looking for: The traditional resumé lists one’s qualifications and forces the hiring person to figure out how to fit you into their needs. Make it easier for them. You have a lot of resources to offer, your education, your experience, your intelligence. In what ways can you use your resources to help your “ideal employer” overcome their challenges and achieve their goals? How can you position yourself so that you are “indispensible” to their success?

3. Build your credibility by showing, not telling: Make sure your online presence (LinkedIn especially) reflects your positioning. Start a blog (go to wordpress.com) and share your ideas, knowledge, etc. I’m a big believer in “Show me, don’t tell me”. Searching through Google, I found your resumé (impressive!) and your dissertation. Take that document, start breaking it down and make articles from it to post on your blog. Build your credibility by being a content creator. (http://blog.davender.com/2009/07/build-your-credibility-by-becoming-a-content-creator/)

Think about how you found me. Was it through something you saw on Facebook or LinkedIn? Through a friend connection? Or an article I wrote? Job-hunting in 2011 is about making yourself visible, connected…and indispensible. And even when you get the position you want, you have to consciously continue to build your network and your e-repuation.

Recommended book “What Color Is Your Parachute (2011 edition)

Bravo for your courage in contacting me. I hope that my “solopreneur”-oriented approach gives you an idea to work with.

Best wishes for success in getting the position you want!


For more information

Related article: Build your credibility by being a content creator

Image credit: “TheTruthAbout” on Flickr
Direct link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thetruthabout/3190651620/
Used under Creative Commons 2.0 licence

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