By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
On November 20, 2010, I launched “No BS Job Search Advice Radio” as a weekly podcast on BlogTalkRadio. I called into a phone number that was provided and began a 15-minute conversation with an audience that did not exist. I talked about myself, spoke about how to ace a phone interview, and then spent a few minutes talking about jobs I am recruiting.
On January 30, 2018, the show reached 1000 episodes (Today, it is at more than 2100 episodes). It has more episodes in iTunes than any other job search podcast, a few hundred ahead of the #2 show, my version of “Job Search Radio (yes, I have the #1 AND the #2 shows about job search in iTunes).” The audio quality has improved. I no longer do recruiting, having transitioned into coaching where I work with people worldwide to help them transition into new roles. Along the way, I converted from a weekly show to a daily one to a five-day-a-week show where I provide a daily tip about job hunting because I believe job search doesn’t have to as hard, difficult or painful or take as long as it does. It’s just that the skills needed to find a job are different but complement the skills needed to do a job.
Along the way. I have amassed a number of thoughts about what job hunters should do in order to be most successful.
No one is looking out for you at work. One of the hardest things people need to hear is that their employer doesn’t really care about them. You are a tool to accomplish what they want. They don’t really care about you. Your boss/manager may tell you a bunch of things at review time or in between that communicate how important you are to the organization. Do not abdicate your future to Mommy and/or Daddy company you work for. They look out for their needs (and rightly so), not yours.
It starts with courage. Job hunting is going to force you to challenge a number of your assumptions about professional success. If you are like most people, you will probably be rejected many times before you are hired. Putting yourself in the way of other’s judgments and opinions, right and often wrong is courageous.
Practice will help you become better. If you’ve never heard the story of Michael Jordan practicing foul shots, Jordan would practice by walking to the foul line, repeat his shooting ritual, and sink the first shot. The next time, just before shooting, he would close his eyes and shoot. After all the rim was still 15 feet away and 10 feet above the ground. Closing his eyes made him pay attention to his mechanics and how it felt. Job hunters tend to job hunt by shooting with their eyes shut until they have experienced enough pain to start learning how to do it better. You should learn first and then close your eyes, not the other way around.
Coaching helps . . . A Lot. Great athletes all have coaches. Great entertainers do, too. Most people try to figure it out on their own without an ally to help them perform at a high level. After all, you are an amateur when it comes to job hunting and a pro at what you do. This is a skills deficiency that is easily correctible with coaching. Maybe you have a friend or mentor, a wife, husband or partner who is knowledgeable. You can hire a coach through LinkedIn’s ProFinder feature or hire me. No matter, you have an idea about what you should do. A coach will help you course-correct before too much pain occurs.
Figure out what’s most important to you in your next job or organization BEFORE you start job hunting. Until you can define what success will look like in your search to the same degree your employer has in choosing someone to do the job (or better than some of them do but that’s a different conversation), you have no idea whether this will be the right role or whether you should keep looking. Your uncertainty about what you are looking for and how to evaluate for it is part of the reason that somewhere between 50% and 60% of new hires fail.
Learn how to job hunt BEFORE you need to. If you drove from New York to Boston without working GPS or any maps, you might have a vague idea of how to get there but will probably make many wrong turns. Job hunters do that all the time. They are clueless about how to search, have let their networks disappear on them and suddenly lurch into action to find work and do this again . . . and again and again. You don’t want to have to figure it out when there is real or imagined pressure on you to find work. Be proactive, instead of reactive.
Branding and networking work together. It is fascinating to me that the least listened-to shows are my branding episodes. Branding and networking are intertwined with one another as critical career development strategies yet most people view it as little more than window dressing. Your brand will help you cultivate your network. Your work will help you confirm your brand. Your brand and your network, when congruent, will help lead you into your next position, as well as a successful career.
It’s easy to blame others for struggles. It is hard to look in the mirror and look at our part in our problems. When you don’t practice and just wing interviews, when you let your network go to hell when you have a resume and LinkedIn profile that are ordinary, when you have no forethought about your job search endgame when you get to negotiations with your new employer, when you refuse to ask for help, well, one finger is pointing at others and four are pointed back at you. You are often your biggest problem. You want to change your circumstances without any effort. How often does that work?
BONUS: LinkedIn messaging is a game-changer. This subject will be on the show soon but isn’t there yet. The ability to message a recruiter who doesn’t call back, reach out to a hiring manager for feedback, know when they are online because of the little green dot, message more people and get pretty immediate responses changes a lot for all of us. Less hiding from people creates more transparency . . . that goes two ways. You won’t be able to duck that recruiter so easily who is trying to schedule you for an interview that now you don’t want to go on.
There is so much more I can call attention to but these are some major themes among 1000 episodes. If you are not a subscriber to “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” you can subscribe in iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and other podcast services.
© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2018, 2021
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, 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 2100 episodes.
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