Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Yep, that’s right... Stop looking for a job.
You’ll find a better job, a more fulfilling career, and likely higher pay if you just stop looking for a job already.
You can be more effective in your career search if you change the paradigm. Instead, start searching for a problem. Find a problem that you can uniquely solve; a problem that needs a subject matter expert – you.
So how do you find that problem?
If you are interested in a particular company, read press releases, articles, Yahoo Finance, annual reports, 10Qs, looking for clues about that company’s problems and opportunities. You should easily find the big picture problem or opportunities, but can that affect you, if you’re not a corporate exec?
If you are interested in an industry or job function, read the trade press and industry reports to find out what the industry trends are, and think about what kinds of problems those trends cause for participants.
What tactics might a company might use to achieve its goals, or what challenges might be a result of that 25% revenue increase the company projects? If the company is merging, being bought, or is acquisitive, what kinds of problems does the post acquisition integration bring?
It’s a little like playing chess, in that you’ll have to think a few moves ahead to gain insight to potential problems.
Of course, you can still ask these questions in an interview….even better because you’ll be knowledgeable, and will look brilliant by asking such insightful questions.
How is an opportunity a problem? Let’s say a company projects a 25% revenue increase due to new offices opening. Why is there a problem, the company should be celebrating! But 25% more revenue may mean 25% more invoices, 25% larger receivables and bad debt, 25% more sales staff, training new employees, system changes, new office openings…. You may have to extend ahead a few chess moves, but regardless of your level in the company, you should start to see problems that look familiar.
So you’ve found problems…but which problem is the problem you want to solve? The one you can solve best, and will help you advance your career.
Think about how you’ve solved similar problems, problems one away from this one, the same problem in a smaller or larger magnitude, or in different industries. Or you’ve solved a problem that stopped this problem from occurring. Think outside of the box here, so you can demonstrate expertise.
In an interview, don’t, don’t, don’t say “I haven’t done it, but I can learn” (See my earlier Interview Roadkill posting). It’s death. Instead find similarities with the specific problem, in your own experience.
So stop job hunting already….and start problem hunting!
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