My father and mother were born in Poland, met in Siberia and emigrated to the United States after World War II. My Dad was a bookkeeper for a firm that he eventually bought from the founder’s son who was in the process of running it into the ground.
I worked for him as a teenager doing filing and proofing columns. I was not made for such work. It bored me into having blisters in my brain (metaphorical blisters).
One day as we got into his car to drive home, he looked at me and said, “Jeffrey (he always called me “Jeffrey), you can work with your hands or with your head.” I interpreted this father-son moment as meaning, you know nothing about working with your hands. Start focusing on my head.
The term, “knowledge worker” describes a lot of what my father meant. Many of you, like me, sell our knowledge of how something is done, should be done or can be done to employers who pay is for that work. But what happens in an age where such knowledge is readily available and the cost of obtaining that knowledge is declining because of its ready availability?
Using the example of manufacturing, it seems like when certain knowledge or experience is “commoditized,” technology has made it easy for the work to be sent abroad. Even adding the cost of shipping to the manufacturing cost allows firms to earn more than if the job remains in a higher cost market. We have seen the same occurring in what were once called “white collar jobs,” but can be thought of as “knowledge work.”
For most of us who are selling knowledge and experience, what are you actually selling to an employer that they should buy?
The correct answer, of course, you are selling a solution to a problem they have.
But how well does your resume and LinkedIn profile make that case?
Solutions selling has been in fashion in business for a long time but carelessly addressed by most job hunters. Why do I say that? Because most resumes I receive are little more than spam that in no manner even vaguely fit the rile that they claim to be qualified for.
Most days, I will receive 100-200 resumes and, if I am lucky, 2 might vaguely fit the position that the job hunter is applying for.
Think about that phrase—job hunter. You are in the woods or jungle hunting for a job, up ahead, you see a goose, take aim and wildly fire off a resume at your prey only to watch it fall short because it fell short of the mark.
Would you blame the goose for your bad aim? That is what job hunters do all the time. They blame the applicant tracking system, the recruiters, the HR person, the hiring manager, the bad weather. They blame everyone but themselves and their bad aim.
The skills needed to find a job are different than those needed to do a job. You need to learn those skills and not take a lazy approach to your career or your search.
© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2016
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio” and “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” both available through iTunes and Stitcher.
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