I was working with a very accomplished client today. He’s held roles in senior management in several industries. When he describes himself, he presents his versatility as an asset. The problem is that few employers would need his full range of skills.
His challenge is to learn what the employer needs and present himself as the solution to that company’s problem. How can he do this? Listen carefully, and ask questions. I urge clients that I coach for interview preparation to ask these two questions
- What are the top three challenges I’ll face in this position?
- Describe someone who has been successful in this role?
These questions will let you understand what an employer needs and present your skills and experience in a way that fits what the company is looking for. Put the employer first, and it will be more likely that you’ll receive good job offers.
Too many people have the wrong idea about how to look for work. They update their LinkedIn profile and wait for a call. They send their resume to some recruiters, and then they wait. It's time to stop waiting.
Career coaches have a name for the kind of job search that relies on waiting: the passive job search. Workers on all levels -- entry to executive -- find a new job faster and get more offers when they perform an active job search. This method requires that the job seeker take charge and look for the job him or her self. It's hard to make the contacts needed for networking or spend nearly an hour to fill out an online job post, but that's the best way to reach employers and market your skills. Track what you've done to move your job search forward. When you get stuck, try to find new ways to locate and contact potential employers. Looking for work is hard and often frustrating. However, if you follow a passive job search because it's easy, the only thing you might achieve is waiting for the phone to ring. Get active.