A few months ago I blogged about regaining your professional identity when you are unemployed. It was based on a presentation I saw (and have since seen it again) from a career coach. I was reminded of this post because yesterday I moved my â€œofficeâ€ from my bedroom to a spare room in the basement. My new office has pictures of my family and other stuff that I had in my previous offices, and it feels so much more professional!
Anyway, the ideas in that coachâ€™s presentation are simple:
– Professionals and Job Seekers view things differently
– Professionals and Job Seekers act differently
– Professionals and Job seekers prepare differently
– Professionals and Job Seekers are perceived differently
The message of the coach was basically this: Shed the Job Seeker image and get back your professional image. Instead of wimpily handing someone a resume which says â€œI need a job,â€ hand them a business card which says â€œI can bring value to you, and you should get to know me.â€
Instead of walking into a job interview having studied the job description, realize that a job description may not have hit the nail on the head (after all, it was probably written by someone in HR that doesnâ€™t know anything about the job, and the hiring manager may have other needs/wants). A professional will walk into that interview (especially if he really wants the job) having done great research on the person, the department, the company, and everyoneâ€™s sweet spots. And he will speak to those sweet spots! How is this done?
Professionals donâ€™t find the sweet spots between the lines in the job description, they do research on-line and use their network to find out as much as they can. Would you, as a professional, ever make a presentation without knowing your facts? The more critical the meeting is, the more prepared you are. So donâ€™t go into a job interview without real preparation!
In a networking environment a job seeker says â€œHi, Iâ€™m Jason, I hear you have some job openings at XYZ Company.â€ A professional says anything but that, rather talking about the person they are talking with and trying to develop a relationship. And if appropriate, sharing some of their strengths or reasons why they would bring value to that personâ€™s company or department (you see, it would help to know what the company or departmentâ€™s needs are, right?).
And so, to wrap it up, where do you sit to do your job search (when you are not out networking)? Are you in a make-shift office that doesnâ€™t even allow you to be a professional? Maybe you can carve out a little private space where you can enforce and regain your identity â€“ not as a job seeker, but as a professional.
And while you are at it, work on developing your long-term personal branding strategy 😉