[09.07.10]
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The One Question Job Seekers Struggle To Answer

job search, objectives, finding a job, career networking, ideasIt baffles me.  How such a simple question throws off so many.

Watch this video for an example.

And then it doesn’t baffle me.  Because I’ve been through a job search.  And I meet with job seekers every week and see the brains working as the answer is being generated.  And I know at least one reason why people struggle.

It is a question that I have never seen someone answer to my satisfaction.  Without some prodding.

Isn’t it the most basic question someone could ask a job seeker?  One that signifies an offer of help.  A window of opportunity. One which most job seekers stumble over.

The question:  What are you looking for?

Here’s someone who struggled at a recent career networking event.

How do you answer this question?

And just to cut to the quick, here’s the answer I’m looking for when I ask it:

I am looking for a director level position in apparel sales based on the West Coast. My target companies include Nike, Under Armour, Adidas.

These are what I affectionately call your job search objectives.  It tells me specifically what “you are looking for” and gives me what I need to help you.  Without this level of detail, I am stuck with vague generalities.

Such as:

“I’m looking for a job in sales with a stable company.  I can do high tech, aerospace or medical devices.”

But in reality most answers I get to this question are no where near this short.  They tend to meander.  Like someone talking as they walk through a maze built out of hay bails.  And when they finally make it out of the maze, well, they’ve lost me.

And I blame this on two things:

1.  Poor preparation. Either you have not written specific objectives or you have not practiced sharing them in public. If you’ve not written them, you can practice by answering questions as part of submitting your objectives to my Watchlyst™.  Which you can do today.  Even if you don’t hit the “submit” button, you can use the process to determine if you are ready to publish them to others.

2.  Purposeful avoidance. Many I meet during their job search are vague on purpose.  Because in their mind, being too specific means that you are pulling yourself off of the general job market.  That specific objectives means that you will get fewer job leads.  And this part is true.  But job search is not about how many leads you get.  It is about the quality of leads and their fit with what you want to next in your career.  And they should be coming from people who have tangible (easy to remember) information about you.

You may have other reasons.  A warning: I won’t like those either.

So here’s a call for your job search objectives!

Please share in the comments your new or current job search objectives.  That you’ve written, practiced and will start sharing over the coming days.  The objectives that you will add to your updated networking business cards and networking one page bio.  And I will tell you what I think.  You can even help me provide feedback to others if you like.

Sharing your objectives below will act as a symbolic gesture that you “are in”.  Sold on the idea of answering this question with a real sense of purpose.

Are you?

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Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Career Networking

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