How can a career changer get a jobLooking for employment is difficult under the best of circumstances. There’s the time commitment, emotional stress, uncertainties, logistics, meeting strangers, selling yourself, etc.,  Few people choose to undertake a job search; most often it is a situation forced upon them. On those rare occasions when a person makes a conscious commitment to make a change, they should not risk their reputation. They should avoid wasted efforts by using the most effective and efficient methods and techniques embracing the theory of career attraction to get them where they want to be as smoothly and quickly as possible. Just look at the word, “campaign” which has military origins that is used describe a job search project. We think of job searching in terms of aggressive pursuit and winning a competition. Let’s get started!!

Assertive means purposeful. Within the careers industry, networking is universally recognized as the best job search method. It makes sense that job search networking must be intentional, not a series of random acts bumping into everyone and expecting someone to be the right contact. The connection must be the decision maker who can hire you for the role you want. The key to job search success is being focused on the right opportunity and clearly and compellingly communicating this to the right contact.

In 2000, I invented Network Purposefully™.  It is a 100% reliable, reproducible technique for establishing the necessary connections to source a new opportunity that matches a job seeker’s requirements.  It puts the candidate in control over their career and their life.

A job search is competitive not only because there are multiple players vying for the win, but also because a candidate must overcome the employer’s doubts to get the offer.

Still want to be in the game? Then let’s plan the roadmap to your dream job.

  1. First, define what you do that a company needs, i.e., what is your potential value contribution that will reduce costs, increase income or smooth processes? These are your strengths, skills, talents, knowledge, experiences you offer that employers can appreciate.
  2. Who needs you? Your search will be more effective and efficient if you focus on the right target(s.) These are employers who have challenges you can address and problems you solve (that will reduce costs, increase income or smooth processes.)
  3. The intersection of your ideal opportunity (title, responsibilities, compensation, location, growth potential, etc.) and employer’s ideal candidate (explicit requirements in the job description for what qualifies someone to be capable of fulfilling the role’s demands) represents your job search target.
  4. To overcome an employer’s resistance, you must provide unquestionable evidence that you have proven ability along with a keen desire to deliver, and will not impose an additional burden by making costly mistakes. Employers look for a guarantee that a new hire is a safe choice. Since this doesn’t exist, they want the next best thing which is to hire someone who has already successfully done the same job elsewhere.

According to number four, industry switchers, career changers and re-entry candidates do not have the credentials; they are not currently in the role they want next.

How can an eager, sincere candidate put themselves on the short list when they obviously do not offer what an employer wants? In the real world, it is rare that anyone ever gets everything they want. In fact, what an employer thinks they need, ie.,what they officially declare as the position requirements or necessary qualifications and credentials, is really a wish list. A company may ask for a purple squirrel but they will never find one; they are going to have to settle for a different color squirrel or accept a substitute that comes in purple. Such extreme expectations is an invitation for imperfect candidates to apply IF they can demonstrate that they can do the job and not cause harm.

In some instances, the ideal candidate doesn’t exist and other times the ideal solution isn’t available. Then the employer is forced to give up their restrictive specifications and re-write the requirements, change the assignment, restructure the organization, etc. If they don’t rethink their needs, the role cannot be filled. Modifications are an opportunity for a different type of candidate. What an employer wants and who can do the job is not necessarily the same person.

It is unlikely that a resume or LinkedIn profile will be sufficient to enable an employer to envision how an interested individual,  who doesn’t match their ideal candidate definition, should be considered as a contender. Therefore, if you are not an ideal candidate, the best way to break through the barriers that employers set up to screen out poor matches, is to skip the resume review and go directly to the interview or initiate an exploratory conversation with the decision maker, not HR or recruiters. HR and recruiters are hired and paid by companies to find the perfect match to their requirements. Everyone else need not apply.

The surest way to get in the door past corporate gatekeepers is through a personal introduction which happens through networking purposefully. In fact, when you are not fit into a category, are not a round peg or square hole, applying for an open listing or submitting your credentials is highly unlikely to generate employer interest. Don’t expect any response. Take the initiative to follow up if you must, but better spend almost all your job searching resources on networking purposefully to connect one-on-one with hiring decision makers who can appreciate your value, have hiring authority and the budget to make a job offer. They are the only ones in the organization who knows what needs to be done, who can assign  (or reorganize around available staffing resources) the tasks and is accountable for the finding the solution.

Now that you know that if you want to make a career change, networking is your job searching method of choice, you can begin to tackle the first four tasks of preparing for a purposeful networking campaign.

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