ARE you sick to death of applying for jobs and not even getting a single reply? Or do you have a job that makes you feel like you’re lying under a slowly closing coffin lid? Or maybe there’s a job out there that you’d simply love to do every day, but you think you’re too old, too young, too unqualified, too qualified or too inexperienced to go after it? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, then read on, because this column has been written for you. In the coming weeks and months, I’m going to help guide you towards developing the key skills, the right attitudes and the necessary self-confidence and motivation to get that job. You’re also going to hear a few very loud bangs as we explode some of the really ridiculous myths that surround jobseeking in the twenty-first century.
After twenty years spent coaching people towards fulfilling and rewarding careers, I’ve made a list of the ten biggest obstacles that stop people like you from reaching your potential. I call these obstacles the Ten Deadly Enemies of Job Seeking. Here’s the first one.
Trying to Solve the Wrong Problem
This is one of the most disastrous mistakes made by jobseekers. Let’s take an example.
Penny Fashionsetter owns a downtown lady’s fashion boutique. Mandy Everhelp, her Sales Assistant, is a gifted saleswoman and customer pleaser. One morning, Mandy informs Penny that she’s leaving to pursue a career as a lion-tamer.
Penny Fashionsetter now has a problem: she needs to find the right person to replace Mandy – someone who can maintain sales and customer loyalty at their current levels. And, unfortunately, hiring people is a risky business. If Penny puts the wrong person in that job, it could really hurt her business and her bank account.
What applicants are most likely to get an interview for Mandy’s job? The applicants whose CVs look most like the solution to Penny’s problem! And what candidate is most likely to get Mandy’s job? The candidate who can convince Penny that they can solve her problem by filling Mandy’s shoes. So where is Penny’s problem described in detail? In the job ad! Which means that you must match your CV to the job ad every time. Get it? Good. We’ll take a closer look at how you do that in a few weeks time.
Most candidates, when applying for a job, are focused completely on trying to solve their problem. That problem might be that they don’t already have a job. Or they might just want to regain their sanity by moving on from a job that’s driving them nuts. So they fantasise about solving their problem.
Big mistake. Employers aren’t interested in your problem. They’re really only interested in how you can solve their problem. And walking into an interview with ‘I need this job’ pasted across your face is likely to make most interviewers break the world record for the hundred-metre sprint.
Simple, isn’t it? The key to solving your problem is to solve the employer’s problem. And the candidates who understand this are the ones who usually come out on top.
When you apply for a job, you are presenting yourself as a possible solution to the employer’s problem. Adopt this truth as your core guiding principle in job seeking. Make it your job seeking mantra. Repeat it to yourself every time you apply yourself to the challenge of getting a job you want. By adopting this approach, you will
- Powerfully redefine your attitude to job hunting, leading to a highly targeted and focused approach to finding the job you really want
- Breathe new life into your CV, producing a compelling case for that much-sought-after job interview
- Transform the job interview from nerve-wracking Question and Answer session to positive and productive business conversation.
In next week’s article ‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Job Interview?’ we’ll be talking about common job interview fears and how to banish them.
Nicky O’Brien is a Jobs Coach and Career Development Advisor. For more information, email [email protected] or call 086 777 2469.