When you’re in career transition, your job is searching for a job.
Sure, hiring managers discriminate against the unemployed. It sucks, but it’s reality. Many of you have experienced it first-hand.
Rather than complain about discrimination against the unemployed, rather than write your congresswoman about how unfair it is, why not learn how to make it go away? Then it wouldn’t have an impact on your own job search.
The first step is to realize there’s a definite reason why employers are biased against out of work candidates.
Hiring managers don’t want to hear that you’re looking for a job. The fact that you’re looking for a job may be helping you (to find a job), but it doesn’t help the employer …
Saying you’ve been searching for a job gives hiring managers the impression that you haven’t kept your skills sharp. This is one of the reasons hiring managers discriminate against the unemployed – Unemployed candidates rarely do a good job in conveying they’ve kept their work skills honed while in-between jobs.
What if you could describe your career transition in a way that demonstrates to employers that you have kept your work skills sharp?
Here are 8 ways to explain your transition other than describing it as a job search:
- Market Research: When you are job searching, you’ve been identifying companies and decision makers within an industry and/or geographic area. You’re identifying pressing business problems in an industry and/or geographic area. You’ve build databases and contact lists of decision makers.
- Finance, process improvement, marketing, sales, operations, manufacturing or consulting: During interviews, you’ve been discussing priority business problems, issues, and opportunities with business leaders while identifying possible solutions. List some of the more interesting examples.
- Marketing: You’ve conducted email, phone, social media and PR campaigns, targeting area/industry leaders. You’ve tracked these campaigns so you can demonstrate results.
- Sales: During your job search, you’ve met with area/industry leaders, identifying pain points and recommending solutions.
- IT: While you’ve been job searching, you’ve met with area/industry business leaders, identified issues that could be solved by technology, and recommended solutions.
- Project Management: Job search is a project – containing many steps, requiring and coordinating the help of others, garnering resources, with a target deadline, budget, and desired outcome. Why not describe the project management aspects of your job search as what you’ve been doing while in transition, showing you’ve kept your skills sharp?
- Social media: Unless you’re technologically out of touch, you’ve either gained or improved your social media skills during your job search. Why not discuss your job search as a social media/social branding project? Talk about the number of additional contacts you’ve made, leaders that you’ve talked to and/or met through social media, how you’ve become a thought leader in your area of expertise, your participation and/or leadership in industry groups, Flicker/YouTube experience. Since social media experience is lacking in most companies, this becomes an important nice-to-have that can gain attention for you, no matter what position or job function you seek.
- Executives and Management: In your job search, you have the responsibility of delivering an outcome (finding a job) in a specific time frame, with a limited budget, requiring and managing the assistance of others, seeking ideas/best practices from industry leaders, sales (selling yourself), gaining access to business leaders, evaluating vendors (Career coaches, recruiters, job boards, other job search assistance) and negotiating (salary, benefits, terms) – all keeping your executive and management skills sharp.
When you describe your job search as a business function, you give a completely different impression to employers – that you’ve kept your skills sharp. You haven’t done anything different in your job search …
… you’ve just described it differently, in a way that resonates with employers.
Job seekers – Please comment: Do you have other examples of how you can describe your job search as a business function, showing you’ve kept your skills sharp?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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