This article was named a Top Job Search Blog Post for 2020 by JobMob.co.il.
“To do such a thing would be to transcend magic. And I beheld, unclouded by doubt, a magnificent vision of all that invisibility might mean to a man — the mystery, the power, the freedom. Drawbacks? I saw none.” ― H.G. Wells, The Invisible Man
Griffin, the main character in Wells’s book, may have believed there were no drawbacks to being The Invisible Man, but for you plotting a career, being “invisible” should now be considered malpractice for any serious professional.
After all, the person who gets ahead isn’t always the smartest or the one who works the hardest, although those are great qualities to have. People get ahead by being alert to opportunity. Sometimes, they are internal to your organization. Usually, they are external.
Unless you plan on lurching from job search to job search, applying for jobs (isn’t that fun!) and wading through applicant tracking systems and AI that decides whether you should be interviewed, you need to take proactive steps to cut the line and become “the chosen one” proactively.
Move To The Front Of The Line
One of the most pleasant and surprising experiences I have ever had was landing at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow with my wife and newly adopted son. Hundreds of people were waiting to pass through immigration but when we were noticed, we were waved to the front of the line because we had an infant with us. The encouragement to walk to the front of the line did not evoke outrage and name-calling by people we were walking ahead of, as it might in most other places.
It was a delight after our 8 a.m. flight from Almaty, Kazakhstan to Moscow needed to make an emergency landing at an abandoned airbase, waiting seven hours for a replacement plane to be flown in and being sustained by one soda in an unheated terminal building. In the U.S., we all would have stood stony-faced in line waiting for our turn.
Unfortunately, most people wait for their turn to be called for the next opportunity instead of creating the conditions to be called. How can you change your circumstances?
1. Do marketable work extremely well. No matter what your field, no matter what your profession — white-collar, blue-collar, it makes no difference — there is a shortage of labor in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, there is less than one unemployed person available for every job opening in the United States, down from a peak of more than six in July 2009. New hires have been exceeding separations from the workforce since 2011. This need for talent, exacerbated by containing immigration to the United States, offers an opportunity for people to easily find work in the current environment.
2. Volunteer for work that is significant. Volunteering can be an important way to develop your visibility both internal to your organization and external. Before accepting an assignment, ask yourself the questions: Who can I meet? What can I learn? If neither answer excites you, don’t step up. Let others do that.
3. Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date. Both corporate and third-party recruiters are spending thousands of dollars per year to search LinkedIn for profiles of people who match skills for open jobs. Keeping your profile up-to-date allows them to search and find you to propose new opportunities to you. Check in on LinkedIn daily to respond to messages that you receive with opportunities. Download the app and check and respond to your messages.
4. Write articles. Who would publish what you have to say? LinkedIn, for one, has a blogging platform that you can publish to that will allow what you write to be located by Google. You can share your articles with your connections. There are websites that specialize in what you know that might be willing to publish what you have to say. In addition, interviewing others is a great vehicle for writing an article.
5. Create content for YouTube. Interviewing people for YouTube is an enhanced version of writing. It puts you in the position of being recognized as an expert because your guest is being asked quality questions by you. Soon, LinkedIn will rollout LinkedIn Live to everyone (it is still in beta as I write this). You will be able to do live interviewing there, too.
6. Become a speaker. Public speaking takes many forms. You can speak to trade groups, at conferences, be interviewed by others for their podcast, as well as for YouTube and LinkedIn Live. If you are afraid of being a speaker, the best way to overcome that fear is by attending local Toastmasters meetings and making your mistakes in front of a supportive group. It helped me — and now, more than 8,000 videos and 2,800 podcasts later, I know I’m helping others.
When you are chasing opportunity because you are aggressively looking for a position, it is like being in a pond with thousands of fish all jumping for one hook. Instead, you want to be the person they are reaching out to for opportunities. By being in that place and developing your celebrity through visibility, over the course of time, a better class of work will present itself to you.
Like your 401(k) and IRA, an investment today, tomorrow and the next day can pay massive results in the future. It doesn’t take much time. It doesn’t take much effort. It requires consistency. Remember, you are the CEO of your life and your career. Don’t outsource it to others so that they make decisions that affect you without your conscious consent. Taking these simple steps can put you back in control for many years to come.
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1700 episodes and “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was named a Top 10 podcast for job search. JobSearchTV.com is also a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.
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