Random musings, observations, squeaks, whimpers and perhaps the ocassional rant. About what, I'm not sure.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Looking for a Good Job?

Great Head...

Not one, not two, but three excellent posts on landing a job/the hiring process on Seth Godin's most excellent blog. Here's a blurb:

"I've been thinking about the job-finding/person-finding paradox a lot lately, and it seems completely broken to me.

The traditional way to get a job is to send a boring resume in response to as many posted jobs as you can afford. Your resume will be scanned, culled and if it doesn't stand out too much, a person might look at it.

Then you go for a job interview and try to be coglike in your malleability and desire to fit in. If random acts are working in your favor, you get the job."

My god, do people and organizations still do this? I guess they must. What a crappy process.

What I really mean to say is that may in many ways be the highest effort for lowest probably reward. In today's world, some of the most talented folks have the hardest time finding great jobs because they don't fit the mold. This is at the same time that businesses, in press if not in practice, seem to be clamoring for people who DON'T/WON'T fit the mold.

By chance I downloaded an article from the current Harvard Management Update entitled"The High Stakes of Hiring Today" (its costs $6, but if you post a comment here I can probably at least summarize it for you without Harvard suing me). The article talks about a shift in how companies identify talent (a subordinate may be better able to recognize talent in a person to place for a position than the manager was one interesting observation), attract the interesting hires and apply them. More importantly, and exactly what happened with me and my current job, is the notion that companies are increasingly hiring for talent and attitude and teaching technical skills, since you can't very effectively teach attitude or aptitude.

I'm the kind of person Seth talks about - a Purple Cow. It would be hard for me to just float a resume and find a "great" job, I think - at least not one that matches my business experience, drive and problem-solving skillset at a high enough level in a small company to make the biggest difference/provide greatest payoff.

I'm lucky in that I haven't had to look for a job for - what, maybe 15 years now? I worked in Public Safety for a number of years, left to go work for someone that essentially hired me away, built his business, started my own business, merged with another company, built some alliances, sold the business... and then essentially created my own job. None of this could have been accomplished in the "traditional" hiring manner.

If you're a Purple Cow and you're looking for a good job, here's my advice...

1) Know what you're great at, and be able to prove you're great at it.

2) Be creative in identifying what role(s) you might be able to perform for what organization(s).

3) Be assertive, and don't give up. Who gives a steaming pile of crap if they
don't know you yet or know they need you, because you're going to

Unabashedly. Like a son-of-a-bitch with your hair on fire and its spreading fast.

Good companies always (eventually) need good people. Purple Cows finding good jobs with resumes - they find them through personal connections. If you don't have them today, start making them.

Screw the mold. Conforming is highly overrated.


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