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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Job Hunt: Selling yourself, not your soul

Person A:  "Hi, how are you? Can you find me a job?"
Person B: "Hi, good thanks. Sorry, I can't... can you find me a job?"
Person A: "Sorry, I can't.. know someone who can find me a job?"
Person B: "Sorry, I don't... do you...?"
Person C: "Hey- nice to meet you both...  Can you find me a job?"
I found another terrible article giving advice about finding employment and the soul-selling steps one needs to take to achieve it.  This one from

 "How to Find a Job in 2011" 

Five months late for a header like that but we'll overlook it...

So, let's break it down (article in blue font)

"Good news: The job market is improving and employers are starting to hire again. But the rules of landing a job have changed."

Ok, let's stop a moment-  The first sentence in this fluff piece is an outright lie.  Unemployment officially is at 9% (unofficially at 17%)  The previous month, official unemployment was 8.8%- thus if more people are out of work today than yesterday, how is the job market 'improving'?

"There's still a lot of competition out there. If you want to get a foot in the door, you'll need to use every tool available to you... Submitting your résumé and cover letter is not going to get you a job... So what works? Experts say making connections, adapting to each potential employer and promising results are the only ways to get hired... Networking is the only game in town right now..."

Hmm, And what is networking?  I mean Really-  what is networking?

Networking  is deeply phony, insincere people of all walks of life staying in general contact with one another in the off-chance, one of these 'leads' can turn up something for their personal benefit and advantage.  This can be to obtain a good job or to get into a certain type of school.  The networker doesn't actually want to socialize with his/her 'marks' in any meaningful human interaction way.  Just get the name and number to add to the rolodex.

Hi/Bye..  Hi/Bye..  Hi/Bye..

The rest of the article went on strategizing the type of people to cozy up to, and how to be persistent at it. Then it ends with a little scare tactic, saying if you do not do what the article says, you will be looking for a job for a long time.

I will not fib- unfortunately there's a little bit of truth to it-- that for some people, the only way they can get ahead is by hoping others can open doors for them that otherwise they couldn't open themselves.  But if you are better than that, there are other ways to make yourself known to employers.  For instance:

1) "Creme rises to the top" - if you are Very good at what you do and are Very knowledgeable, hard working, etc.,  you will eventually find work because you will have something very valuable behind you- a good reputation.  Employers always want quality people and even in a recession, will pay a good salary for a truly good 'asset'.

2)  "Free samples" -  Ever go by the food court of a mall and someone offers you a free sample of teriaki chicken or such? You taste it, like it and eventually find yourself ordering it at future food court visits.  If you have skills or traits which allow you to provide 'free samples' to prospective employers, that is far more likely to attract interest in you than a basic resume or kissing another's rear end to give out a good word about you.

3)  "When you smile, the world smiles with you" - Employers are not fools.  They know insincerity and phony friendliness for a purpose.  America for the most part is a service-sector society.  That means we really don't create much- we just sell things to one another.  If you are a genuinely friendly person who sincerely likes people, you have an amazing advantage over others in a job hunt.  Remember, everyone has a college degree, work experience and all that.. But you'd be surprised how few people are genuinely warm, charismatic and without agendas.  If you're one of them, let that side of you Shine.

Look, true success in life is based on individual achievement.  We all have gifts which make each of us special and when you can tailor those gifts to the type of job or career you wish to pursue, you will have a leg up on the common brown-nosers.   One will never be a success, no matter what they make in salary or where they attend school if they need the connections of others to get a position that could not be achieved on merit.

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