How To Job Search Like Peyton Manning – From unemployed to in demand

Mar 21 2012 in Featured, Job Search Strategy, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

best career advice, best job search information, career advice, job search information, job search advice, job search help, job search tips, career information, career help, career tips, career info, job search infoPeyton Manning went from being one of the highest paid and most respected professional athletes to unemployed – because of one bad year. Worse, he was considered old for his position, expensive and near the end of his career.

Sound like you?

Many of you have experienced similar challenges – at the top of your employer’s charts for many years, only to find yourself unemployed due to bad luck, changes in responsibilities/territories, health, personal issues, a new boss, or something else that wasn’t your fault.

Manning was able to not only find a new job at comparable pay, but have 7 organizations competing for his attention … taking a new job in under 2 weeks.

Peyton had one big thing going for him – he was considered a leading subject matter expert in his field … winning football games, scoring touchdowns, and leading his team to the Super Bowl.

Just because you haven’t won the Super Bowl, that doesn’t prevent you from searching for a job in the same way.

The only problem is that no one taught you how. When your subject matter expertise is a little less obvious than winning multiple Super Bowl and MVP trophies, how do you demonstrate subject matter expertise?

Answer … in exactly the same way Peyton Manning did.

Peyton had great information – he knew the major problems of each organization he considered.

Manning looked for organizations that had problems he could solve better than any other job seeker. Peyton looked for teams that had the ability to compete for a Super Bowl – with one exception. The teams he considered all had the same problem – they had all of the pieces they needed to be serious Super Bowl competitors, if they just had a world-class quarterback. This eliminated New England, Pittsburgh, New York Giants, Green Bay, New Orleans, and Baltimore – teams that already were top caliber teams and who already had a franchise quarterback.

Other teams were eliminated because they had different problems – ones Peyton wasn’t the solution for. Teams that were committed to developing a young quarterback, teams expecting to draft a top college quarterback or teams that wouldn’t be competitive even with a great quarterback … those were problems Peyton couldn’t solve. Still other teams didn’t have the budget (salary cap) to replace what he was earning with the Colts, so they were knocked out of contention.

That left Denver, Tennessee, San Francisco, Arizona, Miami, Kansas City and Seattle – Manning’s target list. Out of those teams, Manning saw the best chance to be the difference between a good team and a great team at Denver. So he used his inside information to determine he could solve problems at Denver, more effectively than problems the other teams had – giving him the chance to provide the greatest value to the Broncos.

Manning even turned down Tennessee, where he was already the state’s hero from his college career. his wife’s home state and an offer of a “contract for life” (ownership options) by the Titans. He turned down Tennessee because he saw he had a better chance to be that difference that launched a team to greatness at Denver.

Here’s 10 ways to search for a job like Peyton Manning …

  1. Make a target list: Make a list of companies that have problems you can solve. Peyton looked for teams that just needed a QB to take them to the highest level of the game to make his target list.
  2. Eliminate companies who need different solutions: While you don’t win Super Bowls, you probably are great at increasing revenue, increasing profit, decreasing costs, or solving some very specific problems. If you’re great at increasing revenues, look for companies who are trying to increase revenues … cross the companies with different priority problems off your list. Manning crossed teams off his list that needed solutions in areas other than quarterback.
  3. Eliminate companies with different priorities: Employers may need your solution, but may have other problems that have their full attention right now. If you are great at cutting costs, you’re not a good fit for companies who are making revenue growth their priority (even if they also need cost cutting). Manning crossed teams off his list who were committed to developing young quarterbacks to be contenders a couple of years down the road and teams planning to draft one of the top QB picks.
  4. Gain inside information: Talk to people inside the company to understand/confirm problems and priorities. Peyton already had the inside contacts he needed – former team mates and friendly competitors within the teams on his short list. That’s one of the main reasons he landed a new job within 2 weeks – he already knew inside contacts and had built trust with them. You can do the same thing … you might have to develop these relationships, so it will probably take you longer.
  5. Eliminate perception of ageism: Eliminate organizations who want young players and focus the hiring manager on how you can solve their problems better than anyone else. Manning eliminated the teams who were committed to or were drafting young quarterbacks and focused teams attention on how he could solve their problems better than anyone else – and proved it by holding private workouts to prove he still had plenty of game.
  6. Get to the hiring manager: You need to get to the hiring manager … after you’ve gained superior information. Manning didn’t apply through the HR department, send his resume to the company website, or apply online. Use the same strategy – don’t lead with your resume but instead talk to the hiring manager.
  7. Show how you can solve priority problems: Don’t look for a job … instead show how you are a subject matter expert in solving the hiring manager’s priority problems. Demonstrate the value you provided past employers by solving similar problems. Peyton showed how he made teams contenders and won two Super Bowls … How he was the difference between a competitive team and a poor one.
  8. Don’t give a resume until asked for one: Manning didn’t start by sending a resume to the teams he was interested in … why would you?
  9. Delay salary discussions: The longer you can delay salary discussions, the better. Peyton didn’t talk salary with every team – First, he gained information about budgets, understood his market value by comparing his salary to his peers and demonstrated his value.
  10. Mentors equal success: Finding a great mentor is one of the best ways to succeed in a new job. What better mentor for Peyton Manning than one of football’s all time greatest quarterbacks … John Elway – who won his first Super Bowls at age 37 and 38.

How many of Peyton Manning’s successful job search tips do you use?


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