By Darrell Gurney, executive career coach for Career Guy
It’s that time again. You are now of the mindset you want to find another landing strip upon which to land until your next career flight. It’s all part of the one-way ride on an occupational airplane with multiple stops along the way to your dream destination. Rarely is there a direct flight to your one dream job of your career. You may not want to fly direct even if it is possible, because seeing more sites along the way is often a lot more fun than simply “arriving there.”
Yes, I’m using an aeronautic analogy for your transition, but isn’t our career growth like that? If we can see our career as many stopovers on an open-ended ticket to a greater experience, enjoyment, and fuller self-expression, then we don’t need to take it so seriously when any particular stop leads to another take off and landing. It’s just part of the flight plan to our ultimate dream job.
That becomes a key factor in having your current or upcoming job search be the most powerful and profitable: drop the seriousness, and have fun.
Often, folks operate in search mode with so much need and desperation dripping off of them that they actually repel rather than attract opportunities. Or else, individuals are so divorced from the inherent value they bring that they fail to show up as self-aware and self-assured.
Because of this, the biggest first step I take with clients is to “de-desperatize” them. You may think that your feeling of urgent need is necessary, yet it is really a noose around your neck. When you stop, breathe, and take an objective look at yourself (ideally supported by someone outside of your small opinion of yourself), getting in touch with your unique value can enable you to walk head held high.
I like to give people a mile-high perspective of themselves, a view of that unique essence they bring with them everywhere they go. With a strong sense of that unique gift – and everyone has one, independent of their past titles or even industry — its possible to go out and face the world with a smile of self-confidence.
And a good way to hold onto that self-confidence is to pursue the job search differently than everyone else. Going through the “front-door” of applying for jobs and pursuing openings through online postings and recruiters, you set yourself up for a lot of rejection. Sure, we can all handle some “not right” and “wrong fit” comments here or there…but, over time, they tend to wear down the self-aware soul.
This is true even for sales professionals. Rejection is a way of life when you are selling your company’s solutions. But when you are selling yourself and getting rejected, you will be hard-pressed not to feel some dings in your self confidence.
If instead you go through a backdoor method of search — where the focus is on knowing and getting known by influencers, decision-makers, thought leaders and industry experts you get to hold onto your confidence. You aren’t trying to prove anything to anybody (as you have to in the front-door approach). You don’t have to feel like you are wearing a sandwich board advertising “I Need A Job”. Rather, a backdoor approach is about getting in front of the people you want to be known by simply to be known and liked.
Which meeting are you more excited to take?
- An informational interview to help an acquaintance figure out how to get a job in your company?
- An introductory discussion with a topic expert on ideas you have to advance the state-of-the art and what actions you recommend?
People will meet you if you 1) present a compelling and authentic reason to meet, while 2) convincing them that they are the only person on the planet with the answers you need.
Think about how you want to grow your expertise and your impact in the business world and set up your contact as THE confidant who can fill in knowledge gaps you have.
On the contrary, people will avoid meeting you if you’re wearing a sandwich board of job search…not because they don’t want to help, but because they don’t know IF they can help. People want to win and don’t want to lose, so they avoid an uncertain, need-based meeting but often respond favorably to an authentically interested, passion-based inquiry.
Think about this – people want to work with people they know and like. So, you don’t even have to tell people you need a job. You just need to get known and liked by more and more people. And since 40% of all job placements come from referrals by a company’s employees, getting known and liked by more people puts you on more referral lists. The itinerary for your dream job journey will fill up with many more interesting destinations with this back door approach.
To expedite your job search, put your focus on knowing and getting known by the people in the know.
Who are these people “in the know”? They are the ones who understand more about the fields or functions in your areas of fascination than you do.
For example, if you’re truly passionate about solar energy, figure out exactly what it is in that field that evokes your interest. Develop some deep and detailed questions about where the industry is headed or what’s going on based on your authentic interest. Do some footwork to find out who the players are in the companies making the biggest impact in that arena. Then, ask to meet with them…not for a job but because they’re an expert in your field of interest and you are doing research.
They won’t all meet with you. But, if you approach them as I have suggested, some will. And, if you’re coming from authentic research, they will refer you to others who can tell you even more. Pretty soon, you’ll not only have tons more information about your field of interest (verging on becoming a thought leader yourself) but you will now have contacts left and right who know you. Massaging and maintaining those relationships, in both the short and long terms, will yield unimagined sweetheart insider information and opportunities…because people want to work with people they know and like.
As you plan your upcoming career flight plan, using the backdoor approach will uncover exotic and exciting adventures quicker, and get you the referral in to the job of your dreams.
Darrell Gurney is the founder and executive career coach for CareerGuy.com. His Amazon bestseller, Never Apply for a Job Again: Break the Rules, Cut the Line, Beat the Rest, has been endorsed by thought leaders that include Harvey Mackay, Keith Ferrazzi, and Dr. Ivan Misner. He teaches his clients how to effectively market themselves in any environment by developing their personal brands that represent their unique assets and abilities and to then go fly the flag of those brands through systematic backdoor career campaigns.