Why You Need to Learn to Hate Vanilla
2 minutes to read
Tell me if this situation makes sense. Your car breaks down and you have it towed to your mechanic. A couple of hours later he calls and you ask, “Can you fix it?” Responding, he says, “I have 10 years experience repairing Fords and eight years experience fixing Hondas.” But that didn't answer your question. Shouldn't he have told you what the problem is and how he’s going to fix it? Most job-hunters make this same mistake.
Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid
Last week I coached a veteran who hasn't gotten any traction with his job-hunt. He’s decided to relocate because he sees better job prospects in a different place. Yet, the state where he lives now outpaces the rest of the country in job growth. His target state has had flat job growth this year.
This vet has solid skills, accomplishments, and leadership ability. At meetings to discuss jobs, hiring managers have told him he has what they need. Yet, he hasn’t received a single job offer. He says he needs a degree. But companies like Google and Ernst & Young don't require one.
His real problem: He’s forgettable.
Without an inside contact, he has no ally keeping him front of mind with the hiring manager. And he leaves out the other crucial ingredient for any job-hunt interaction.
People remember and love stories. Yet he doesn't tell any. Nor does he use memorable language to highlight the value he’ll bring to a company. In short, hiring managers don't care if a competitor hires him. They don't feel the loss.
Resolve to Be Competitive
A person acts in one of two ways: moving toward a reward or moving away from fear. You may think this only applies to children. But adults carry a bias toward one of these throughout their lives. How do you know which one will motivate a particular hiring manager?
You don’t. So you’ll have to approach him from both. Give him an unforgettable presentation of your value to the organization. If reward drives him, he’ll hire you for how you’ll increase profits. If fear drives him, he’ll hire you so his competitor won’t.
Focus your self-marketing on answering the question: “What will make this company afraid its rival will hire me?”
The United States gathers intelligence about our enemies so we can exploit their weaknesses. It also helps us influence our allies to remain loyal. Our enemies do the same to us. Use this strategy for your job-hunt.
The answer doesn’t lie in a degree or your training and skills. All these are commonplace. Rather, know the challenges an organization and its competitors face. When you know its vulnerabilities, a company will want you on its side. If you know where its rivals struggle, it will want your help exploiting these weaknesses.
Develop relationships with people who will explain the challenges in your field. People like to talk about their areas of interest. Always stand ready with two or three questions that will enhance your industry knowledge. When you have the opportunity, ask them.
Most people won't do this hard work. Put in the time and effort. Don’t be plain vanilla. Be Moose Tracks. Then you’ll get a job you’ll love.
How do you gain intel about your chosen field?
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