One of my career coaching clients recently asked me what the “profile of an ideal job-seeker is.” Career building and job-seeking consulting has been my profession for over thirteen years and after a career in advertising and retained executive recruiting. But in all that time, I had not thought about this question in just these terms.
So, what is the profile of an ideal job seeker? One man’s opinion follows.
Nine Characteristics of the Ideal Job Seeker
1. They know themselves. He/she has taken the time to drill down and truly
assess their real goals, their real interests, their real talents, and their ideal career and job. They have taken professional personality assessments (Birkman, Myers-Briggs, Strong, Emotional IQ, etc), have thoroughly evaluated their “career bridges and barriers” (factors that are helping and thwarting their career growth), and have learned exactly what type of career, and jobs make the most sense for their career success and satisfaction. They are fully prepared to answer that simple, but important question, “tell me about yourself” succinctly and persuasively.
The key here is that you must know yourself so that you “seek work, not just a job.” Jobs are fleeting; work is eternal.
2. They are comfortable in their own skin and in their professional value. They have learned to modulate their self-promotion, to cast their search in terms of how they can help others rather than being mostly self-focused and self-serving. This attitude is infectious; others will sense and appreciate it, and very likely, will want to help the person achieve their objectives. If they are over fifty (and sensitive to the issue of age in their search), they adopt the persona of an “expert,” someone who is fully experienced and informed to help a company solve very challenging problems while working seamlessly with a younger group of people.
3. They rely on themselves instead of others (friends, recruiters, Lady Luck, etc) to make their career happen. They take a proactive, rather than a reactive, approach to their search. They do most of the work, even if working with a career coach or outplacement firm. They know their success is up to them.
4. They have a solid, well crafted Action Plan. They know that clear, well-written communications are key to life, so they have revised their resume to include a tight and unique “summary statement;” they have written a powerful and arresting biography, have their elevator speech down pat, have a tight email template designed to get recipients to call them to meet, have improved their interviewing skills, and have done all the other important “homework.”
5. They have a clearly defined Prospective Company Target List. They have researched and identified ten to twenty companies within a reasonable commute of their home that they match their skills, interests, and experience. They know the companies “where they deserve/are qualified to work.” This is their mission; to obtain employment at one of these firms while keeping all of the best connections alive with ongoing communications in the future. This list is their “search world.”
6. They do not waste time firing off hundreds of résumés, wandering around job boards, calling friends (who are likely in the same boat or may soon be) for ideas on job opportunities.
7. They go into action and remain in action. They allocate a significant part of each day and week to their search. They “live their search.” They go after their future and do not wait for it to happen.
8. They keep their family apprised of their progress so they are not “left in the dark” to wonder how the individual is faring. They carefully choose their references and keep them apprised of their progress. They keep a careful record of all contacts and events with their Target Companies. They avoid being concerned about “pushing too hard.” Remember, today, everyone understands the deal that people are having a challenging time being or getting employed. If done well, including people in your search will bear fruit. Just do not rely on them for the work you should be doing
9. When you land, be sure to thank people. And stay in touch with all of your contacts at your Target Companies. Again, these firms are now your career universe—your future will likely include some of these companies, so keep your relationships via email or phone calls alive and healthy.
This, I believe, profiles an Ideal Job Seeker. I hope this is helpful for you.