A lot of job seekers find frustration out there in a market that is in full recovery. They can’t seem to get that offer that they’ve been looking for. But maybe that’s the problem: they are looking for a job that no longer exists. While they’ve been unemployed, struggling, the market has been shifting, changing in that way winds turn when a storm is on the way. Take John, very experienced in sales with lots of contacts in international markets. He runs into Ken who knew him from his previous corporate life. Ken knows John is good, but he can’t afford to hire someone at John’s level of expertise. So John gets discouraged thinking he’s never going to find the right role. And he’s right: that role is no longer there for him. It’s a lesser job; it’s changed with companies trying to drive cost out and profits up.
John’s mindset hasn’t changed though. He’s still looking for that same type of job, thinking that it will magically be there in some company waiting for him. He’s a passive job seeker, but not in the way that is typically defined as a person who currently employed and not actively looking. No, in this case, it is someone unemployed who is looking for a job the way it used to be. And that’s a hard truth to accept.
What John doesn’t realize is that he has a wealth of knowledge to share and fruitful years of his career waiting out there, but he has to decide how to share that expertise and it might not be through the tried and true way of a particular ‘sales manager’ position. It doesn’t mean he has to launch a costly business either. This is the age of ‘free agent nation’. All he has to do is to network with some of his former colleagues, contacts and ask if they have a problem they need him to solve. Pretty soon the word will be out and all kinds of people and contacts will come forward needing his ability.
John needs to have faith in himself, faith that he still has something of value to offer. He also has to market himself in a new way, not expecting the typical permanent job offer with its salary, bonus and perquisites. Will it be different? Yes, of course. He will have to cultivate multiple contacts, projects and learn new industries, regions. It can be done, but it requires effort, something that people don’t want to expend these days. It will require rethinking everything he knows about jobs, companies, business and projects. It will require changing up his personal brand.