I had a fascinating networking meeting the other day with Tracy who is seeking an HR position. She didn’t contact me to network for names or ask if I knew of any companies with open HR positions. She wanted to talk about how to demonstrate to her target company that she could work strategically.
What a concept!
It was refreshing to talk with a job seeker interested in doing something different to separate herself from other candidates, demonstrate her strategic thinking, and build a relationship with a target employer based on problem solving and ideas.
We had a fascinating discussion about the problems and issues keeping the CEO up at night at this small firm. We synthesized the information she gathered during a series of interviews to understand the problems. You have to figure this out. No one lays this out at your feet. Tracy knew that so she sought my help to pull the information together. In this case, we saw a relationship between interest in going global and concerns over managers’ ability to delegate. These issues are related. We brainstormed how to lay out the problem in a new way while suggesting a path forward. We even worked on how these ideas could translate graphically to capture the CEOs typical short attention span.
I found the conversation invigorating. I think Tracy got some new ideas. She will work on the graphic display over the weekend. She wants my input when she is done. Then she will arrange a time to meet with the recruiter and the CEO to share her thoughts about the issues and path forward.
Think about Tracy’s approach for a minute. Her unique approach works well for job seekers and those who want to move their career path forward in their current company. But most people don’t think this way.
Tracy is not satisfied with the normal job search / promotion process. She wants to set herself apart from other job seekers. By creating a plan and presenting it in a way that will appeal to the CEO she demonstrates what it will be like to have her on the team. She reveals how she thinks and works. The Frequently Asked Questions are out the window. She is pushing the interview into a discussion about real issues using experience and knowledge from many sources. She is conducting a strategic job search!
You can do this too. All you have to do is think about your search or your career path as more than a series of resumes sent to advertisements. Make it three dimensional. Incorporate knowledge, past experience, and current information to generate new ideas that will help your target company or boss. Act like you already have the job. I can guarantee you that you will separate yourself from 99% of your peers. This approach works!