Stop Seeking, Hunting, or Searching for a Job

by William S. Frank, President/CEO of CareerLab®

Words like seeking, hunting, or searching imply that something is lost and hard to find. Even phrases like “I’m looking for a job” or “I’m unemployed” hide a bit of desperation.

Don’t ask yourself or others, “How or where can I find a job?” Instead, ask “What is the best and highest use of my talents, and who can I help the most?”

See, the process isn’t about finding something hidden. Whether you staff the loading dock or belong in the C-Suite, the method is the same. It’s about arriving at a place where you can make a big difference.

So tell yourself, “I’m really talented. I want to make a big difference.” And ask yourself, “Who needs help? Who is hurting?” Or as they say in sales, “Where’s the pain?”

You’re a talented person. You’re one-of-a-kind. There are many companies you could help, perhaps hundreds; and as a matter of fact, you only need one.

Next time, instead of saying “I’m in a job search looking for a Vice President of Finance position,” try something like this: “I love numbers and can see patterns in data that are invisible to almost everyone else. The numbers tell a story, and I can see it. I want to make the biggest difference possible to a non-profit in the early childhood education world. So I’m meeting people in the non-profit world to see where the excitement is.”

This language tells the story of being in the world ready to make a contribution. It communicates excitement and exuberance. And as William Blake said, “Exuberance is beauty.”

A burned-out CEO once hired me saying, “I want you to help me find my excitement.” The fun was gone, he was depressed and at a standstill. By exploring past likes and dislikes, and then applying the spark of imagination, we re-ignited his passions. He found his excitement, and was hired to be CEO for another global company.

Where’s your excitement?

That’s what you want to talk about in your day-to-day as you navigate a career transition, even a difficult one when you’re in a lot of pain.

Tell others where your heart is, what you love doing, what big successes you’ve had. Tell them how much you want to help.

A physician executive approached the market with a letter to friends and acquaintances that included this text:

I spent 10 years working with national hospital systems implementing some of the most innovative clinical quality improvement initiatives anyone has ever seen. . . My goal is to help any group I work with become on the best-performing, highest quality care organizations in the U.S. within 5 years. I know that sounds like a lofty dream, but because of my experience over the last decade, I know it can be done.

Using this script, the physician was hired by a national healthcare consulting firm to launch quality initiatives. His first client was The Mayo Clinic; his second client was The Cleveland Clinic. When I asked if he had achieved the 95-98% good fit we were after, he said yes: the job was near perfect.

As an executive career coach, I don’t say, “I’m looking for people who need career help.” Or I’m searching for a company that’s laying folks off.” Instead I say, “I just had a huge success with a VP of Human Resources who was laid off at the same time his wife lost her job. It was a complex problem, a national effort, and he landed a position that’s a 95-98% good fit. That’s what I love doing. I’m eager to do more of that.”

This same mindset will work for you. You’re a talented person. You’re one-of-a-kind. There are many companies you could help, perhaps hundreds; and as a matter of fact, you only need one.

Stop searching. Stop seeking. Stop hunting.
You’ll be hired much more quickly.

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