Yesterday I was speaking with a job seeker, Billy, who was struggling with landing his next career move.
Billy had an impressive resume. It was clear that he had professional advice in putting it together.
He had located what he’d thought were appropriate jobs, applied, was shortlisted for many and attended interviews for them.
The problem was that all he received was rejections.
Billy was frustrated because he did not know what he was doing wrong.
After asking a few key questions it became very apparent.
Rejection letters are designed to be vague.
This is because employers and recruiters do not have the time to tailor a response for every applicant.
Some job advertisements may receive over 100 applicants (Vacancies for trainee recruiters at MACRO generally receive over 400!)
Fortunately we could see a pattern in the rejects that Billy had received.
Prior to our meeting I had asked billy to list all the jobs he had applied for.
In the meeting we analysed the list. It was an eclectic list of companies from different industries all advertising for the same type of role.
Billy was applying for a marketing manager role.
When we listed the reasons, I also asked Billy to rate out of 10 how transferable he thought his skills were to each vacancy.
What we saw was that Billy had been rejected from every job because he did not have experience in the sector that the employer worked in.
He had applied for employers that worked in industries such as FMCG , Manufacturing, automotive.
It was at this point the penny dropped.
Employers wanted to see a demonstrate-able passion or understanding of their industry.
Although Billy had transferrable skills he was pipped at the post by applicants that knew the jargon of the employers industry.
Interestingly when I asked Billy about the companies he had applied for, he was rather emotionally flat on them.
It seemed he was just applying for jobs to get himself into the market, but not following his passion. You can bet anyone that interviewed him would have seen that to.
So I asked Billy “What industries are you passionate about?”
Immediately the room lightened up.
Billy spoke with enthusiasm about his experience in film, online software and the surf industry.
The next question I asked was “What kind of role do you think that you are just made to do? I mean what is it that is literally embedded in your DNA that appears effortless for you to do?”
Billy again spoke with enthusiasm about his love for making Marketing Strategies.
He proudly produced an example of his work. His eyes lit up as he spoke of the elements and the benefit if offered his past employer.
My last question to Billy was simply “Imagine yourself working in one of those industries you are passionate about; imagine waking up loving what you are doing. How good would your life be?”
Well the hair on my head stood on end.
Billy had spotted why he was not getting the jobs he applied for – in his heart of hearts he did not want them. But instead of dwelling on this, his mind was racing ahead; he was listing companies in the industries he wanted to work in!
His passion was clear. Suddenly Billy knew what he needed to do. He was almost racing to end the meeting so he could start his new project!
You see Billy is like most job seekers I see.
They look for jobs based on what the market is offering at the time – not their ideal job.
For the most part they are just trying to solve an immediate problem and not follow their passion.
Even if they were successful in solving their immediate problem by getting the job, most within a year would have left the job.
They chase the dollar first instead of their passion.
Jim Collins in his book “good to great” talks of the Hedgehog Concept.
He explains that the hedgehog only knows one thing – to roll up into a ball when attacked.
The hedgehog has mastered that defence so well that it is practically undefeatable.
The fox on the other hand is a cunning creature that knows many ways how to trap his prey, but yet can’t trap the hedgehog.
And so it is with your career.
Find what you love to do, find what you are just made for and do it, find out a way that you can make the most amount of money from doing just that.
Don’t play small with your life. The money will come naturally.
PS: Billy has agreed to keep me up to date with his progress towards his new career path.