A job seeker recently posted this Discussion on a LinkedIn Group for job seekers.
“Looking for a Job Opportunity.”
And, then he invited Group members to check his LinkedIn Profile, and send him appropriate opportunities.
In other words, he expected complete strangers to spend their time analyzing his Profile to:
- Figure out what he was good at (skills, experience, accomplishments).
- Know where he wanted to work (location, industry, target employers).
- Determine exactly what job would be best for him.
- Send him appropriate opportunities.
How many people do you think had – and took – the time to provide him with a useful response?
A Generic Response Is a Wasted Opportunity
Job seekers have told me that they give generic responses so they can “be flexible” and “keep my options open.” That sounds logical, but it doesn’t work!
A generic response is a wasted opportunity, compared with telling a waiter at a restaurant to “bring me anything.” Would you get what you liked or wanted or could afford? Possibly, but it is much more likely that you would get better service if you specified what you wanted (a cheese burger or a cup of coffee).
If someone asks what you want, it’s usually because they want to help if they can. Don’t waste those opportunities. Be easy to help – be prepared, be brief, and be focused.
Be Specific about What You Want Right Now
It may take time to figure out what you want, but it will be time very well spent! And, you can modify it later, if you need to.
Instead of an I’ll-take-anything desperation answer, when someone asks what job you are looking for, tell them -
- The job title(s) that interest you – maximum of 3.
- The industry(ies) or class(es) of employers that interest you – maximum of 2.
- The employer(s) that interest you – minimum of 10, by name if possible.
Then, even if the person you are talking with has known you for 20 years, briefly share why you are interested in those job titles, industries, and employers -
- A summary of your background (e.g. 3 years working as a project lead in a Ruby-on-Rails environment for an eCommerce company)
- One or two major related accomplishments (e.g. led the successful implementation of 2 new applications to collect user feedback and product reviews)
Your goal is to give someone a very good idea of what you want next. Something concrete and memorable.
Bottom Line: Focus for a Shorter Job Search
When you can quickly and memorably tell people what you are looking for, you will have a more effective network. Being generic may feel like you are “keeping [your] options open,” but it is self-defeating in a job search. So, fight that instinct, and focus – for a shorter job search.
© Copyright, 2012, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 1998, her company, NETability, Inc. purchased Job-Hunt.org, and Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt since then. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.