A Simple Plan to Reduce the National Unemployment Rate in 2013 – Part 1: Get a (Better) Job

Reposted from: Linked in

Author: Lou Adler

We don’t have a national skills gap, we have a national thinking gap

If you’re underemployed, supposedly past your prime, a returning military veteran looking for a substantive first job, a disabled person, a diverse candidate lacking some skills, a young person itching for a chance to do something relevant, or anyone who wants to accelerate his or her career growth, you might be interested in trying out a few new non-traditional ideas for getting your next job. In my opinion, we don’t have as big a skills gap as everyone thinks driving persistent unemployment, we have a thinking gap instead. By trying out these ideas you’ll be able to prove it.

Some background: in my new book, coming out in January 2013, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired, I show recruiters and hiring managers in step-by-step fashion what they need to do to hire more high performing and motivated people. The bottleneck-breaker for all this is to define the actual work needed to be done as a series of performance objectives rather than relying on an outdated list of skills, academics and experiences to attract, screen and assess people. Defining the job based on what the new hire needs to do, rather than what he/she needs to have, in combination with compelling career-oriented messages (both approaches have been fully vetted by the largest U.S. labor law firm), opens up the prospect pool to top performers of all stripes, ages, and sizes, who don’t possess the typical laundry list of archaic stuff.

Unfortunately not enough recruiters and managers do it this way, so throughout the book I show job-hunters what they need to do to first get their foot in the door and then to ensure they’re accessed accurately. So if you’re one of those people who’s “weeded-out for all of the wrong reasons,” but still worthy for all of the right ones, following are some things you can do to get a worthy job in 2013.

A Bunch of Non-Traditional Things You Can Do to Get a (Much) (Better) Job in 2013

Reverse engineer your resume and LinkedIn profile. Most candidates are either referred by a company employee or found by a recruiter searching on LinkedIn or some resume database. As a result you need to make sure you can be found by people who need to find you. If you have a friend who is a recruiter, ask the person to run a typical Boolean search for candidates like you, or do it yourself. Based on the results you’ll know what you need to do to get to the top of the right list.

Be compelling, you only have 10 seconds. Make sure your LinkedIn profile stands out from the crowd. This means a real picture (no pets, family, cartoons or face shots), a standout second and third line, and a meaty description for each company and job title. This summary is what recruiters receive when you apply, and you only have about 10 second to make your case that more reading is appropriate.

Don’t apply directly unless you’re a perfect fit. Most recruiters box check your skills and experiences, so if you don’t have the requisite list of stuff, you won’t be considered. If you’re worthy though (great person, but imperfect skill set) you’ll need to enter through the side door. This means finding someone who can recommend you to the hiring manager or recruiter. (Here’s an early post for more on the importance of this approach.)

Become a networking maven. Since 30-40% of most jobs are now filled by some type of referral (and growing) and fewer jobs filled by applying (and falling), networking must be at the core of your current and future job-hunting efforts. That’s why LinkedIn is becoming the “go to” place for most corporate recruiters and why every job-hunter must immerse his/herself in the networking process.

Reframe the conversation. When you finally get the call from a recruiter, don’t appear too anxious, and only ask questions about what the job entails, not where it’s located or the compensation. (Asking insightful question is how the candidate can control the conversation.) By clarifying expectations this way, you’ll then need to provide examples of work you’ve done that’s somewhat related and/or describe where you’ve learned and applied similar skills quickly. Even if you’re not a direct fit for the job as described, but respond confidently and logically, the recruiter might recommend you for other jobs, or suggest to the hiring manager that the job could be modified a bit to fit your current level. Most important: view every call like this as a networking opportunity. These all start by first getting either foot in the door.

These tips are just a start for you to personally help prove that our national hiring problem is based on the continued use of outdated hiring practices, especially skills-infested job descriptions. Stay tuned, though, this is just a start.

Getting a new, different, any, or better job is not easy, but a lemming-like following of the ill-designed processes and rules most companies use today is largely a waste of time. Many years ago I heard Jim Rohn say, “if you want things to become better for you, you first need to become better.” In my opinion, in the hunt for a new job becoming better first starts by first being different.