Mirror ‘their’ needs, not your ‘wants’ in #jobsearch
In honor of April Fool’s Day, the Career Collective is tackling a few important and timely questions: How are you fooling yourself about your career / job search? What can you do about it? How can you avoid being tricked by common job search blunders?
To see how other members of the Career Collective responded, please scroll to the end of this post, or, follow the #careercollective hashtag on Twitter. Thanks, once again, to Miriam Salpeter, @Keppie_Careers, for your partnership in organizing this initiative!
RESPECT WHAT YOU HEAR WHEN YOU SAY YOU ARE LISTENING
A recent computer shopping expedition with Rob (my hubby and co-author of this blog) reinforced for me the importance of
Acknowledging their tone, their inflection, the areas where they emphasize phrases and where certain feelings erupt, depicting their passion and / or pain —is a very DIFFICULT skill to master, yet is integral in impactful communications. And it’s integral in how we respond to others’ needs.
And this is what job search is ALL about: respond to OTHERS’ needs first (as a result, thankfully, your needs of finding a job also will be fulfilled, ultimately).
Back to our shopping trip: Rob and I both agreed that he would invest in a notebook computer, one with certain software features and compatibilities with my computer. That’s easy to achieve in today’s technology! However, well into the process, I urged Rob to look at the brand names and technologies I favored, including features and benefits I just KNEW he would value, once he was on board and a super user, like me.
As the day progressed, and our shopping trip escalated, a lightbulb flickered, then brilliantly shone on our scenario: This purchase was about ROB’S current and future goals, and though my past experiences and preferences provided value to his purchasing decision, they wouldn’t heavily influence his decision.
His needs were, and will continue to be, different than mine, so I must selectively offer my opinions and learnings based on his unique needs. For example, though computer screen size and powerhouse technology are of large importance to me, they were not as critical to Rob as having a compact, lightweight machine that he could fold under his arm and transport to our sailboat.
As well, he didn’t need the latest and greatest graphic capabilities and other technology wizardry that only an iMac or certain, amped up Dells or other made-to-order technology would offer. These are just a couple of examples, but you get the drift. Rob’s computer was Rob’s computer, tailored to his lifestyle and business needs, not mine.
However, once his intrinsic needs were fulfilled, mine would also be fulfilled as we partner in business endeavors, creating a ripple effect. First, though, I needed Rob to have a computer that would equip him to fulfill his requirements, and then, as a value-add, my satisfaction would follow.
FOCUS ON THE HIRING MANAGER’S NEEDS AND WANTS
Likewise, in a job search, you may feel you bring to the table the most magnificent, savvy skills in marketing, sales, operations, finance, technology, design, etc. that you simply must convince the hiring manager that s/he needs. As a result, you become overwrought with enthusiasm, pushing YOUR message, and often, in the process, turning off the person you are most trying to attract. In this way, I think job seekers often fool themselves into believing if they exhibit the right passion about what they believe they can do for a company versus first focusing on specific company and/or industry NEEDS, they will win the interview.
I implore you: Stop for a moment and REALLY listen. What do THEY need? Research their position descriptions, and beyond. Move through their corporate website, Google them, find industry chat rooms, follow them on Twitter, meet their counterparts on LinkedIn, locate business journal articles, understand their positioning in the market and their next great goals. Other sites include Hoovers, Glassdoor, Forbes, Manta.com and many, many more. Twitter offers an absolute goldmine of opportunity to unearth information via conversation with and around your target company’s people who may be casually chatting or building business presence among this global community.
Find their pain (this isn’t easy – you must be listening to do so); understand if they are battling to gain market share, bring new products to market, propel profits, contain costs, or thwart specific economic challenges. Be the person they need you to be to drive new revenue, build new markets and stamp out painful business issues tied to economic woes.
MAP YOUR TALENT TO THEIR PAIN * COURT THEM * ENTICE THEM
Wrapping your unique value offering and promise of being their solution around their pain points is not easy, and is not a linear process. It often evolves a series of exploratory conversations, brain dumps and self-editing to create the tailored and meaty, meaningful approach that resonates with their needs. Court them, entice them, make them feel that you really ‘get’ them to engage their interest, draw them to you for an interview and ultimately, extend the offer.
Later, when you are on the job, immersed, interacting with your colleagues, customers and others up and down the chain, you can deepen you message, elevate your mantra of change and beat the drumbeat of your other special offerings. For now, step back a moment, quiet the noise within and without, and focus your attentions on them.
The April, 2010, Career Collective Links
10 Ways to Tell if Your Job Search is a Joke, @careerealism
April Fool’s Day – Who’s Fooling Who?, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes
Avoiding the Most Common Blunder, @jobhuntorg
Are you fooling yourself? Bored at work? Is it your own fault?, @keppie_careers
Hey, Job Seeker — Don’t Be a Fool!, @resumeservice
Job Search Is No Joking Matter, @careersherpa
Is Your #Career in Recovery or Retreat? (All Joking Aside), @KCCareerCoach
9 Ways You Might Be Fooling Yourself About Your Job Search, @heatherhuhman
Don’t get tricked by these 3 job search blunders, @LaurieBerenson
Trying to hard to be nobody’s fool?, @WorkWithIllness
It’s not all about you, @DawnBugni
Mirror ‘their’ needs, not ‘your’ wants in #jobsearch, @ValueIntoWords
Same as it ever was – @walterakana