Imagine this posting appearing on Craigslist or the classifieds:
“For sale: a mode of transportation to get you to work every day. Reasonably priced, environmentally friendly, and gets great mileage.”
Vague, yes? That “mode of transportation” for sale could be: an MBTA public transit pass (good only if you live in Boston), a pair of shoes (high heels or sandals or athletic?), a skate board, roller skates (one or two?), a bicycle, a hybrid car, a hot air balloon, or hundreds – if not thousands – of other things.
Would you buy that vague “mode of transportation”?
Not likely. After all, you know you need reliable transportation to get you to work and back. And, since you many very specific – and better – transportation options that clearly offer more value, you wouldn’t even waste your time responding. Instead, you would look for exactly what you need to fill your transportation requirements.
Employers Have Specific Needs Too
Employers operate the same way when they have a job to fill. They need to know that you can fill their requirements. They need to understand what you can do so they can understand why they should hire you.
Vague descriptions of what you could do are useless because employers have specific needs and many people available to them who can fill those specific needs.
Recently, a job seeker has posted an announcement in a LinkedIn Group about his availability to work for potential employers. He described himself as a “fast-learning, analytical” person who is also “flexible” and“a problem-solver.” No further details about skills, experience, accomplishments, and – worst of all – no indication of the job he is looking for.
Until he invests his own time and effort into determining and communicating the job he wants next… he is impossible to Hire!
Recent research has made it clear that employers are not interested in long lists of adjectives about how great a job seeker is. They want to know accomplishments, and accomplishments need to be very specific. “I solved 10 problems” won’t be any more impressive than “I am a problem-solver,” without relevant details that provide the context and document expertise.
To Get Hired, Get Focused!
Many job seekers take this vague approach to their job search. The theory: being specific will “limit opportunities” for them. By being vague, they feel that they are “keeping my options open.” As a result, their networking and their use of social media is not effective because no one understands what they want or where they want to work.
YOU take the time to figure out what you want to do. ONLY YOU know what you want to do. The rest of us don’t know, and very, VERY few of us have the time, talent, interest, and luck to figure it out for you.
AFTER you know what you want, tell LinkedIn and your network, and we’ll be happy to help you. In fact, we will be much better able to help you when we know what you’re looking for.
Choose your target job(s) and your target employers. That is YOUR job right now! Then, explain to your network and to social media what it is that you do – the job you want, including the names of those target employers and classes of employers (e.g. accounting firms, medical device manufacturers, auto parts distributors, etc.). And your job search will be much more effective.
Find help here:
- Your state’s employment office has people whose job is to help you find work.
- If you have attended a college, that college probably has a career center with people who can help.
- Your local bookstore and, probably, public library, have a book named “What Color Is Your Parachute?” by Richard N. Bolles. It’s been an enormous help to me whenever I’ve faced a job search. It doesn’t take long to read, and it is extremely helpful (which is why over 10,000,000 copies have been bought).
Want the job?? Don’t “keep your options open”. Be specific. Keep your eyes and ears open, and stay focused on what you are really, really want to do next!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Work Coach Cafe!
About the Author: Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased WorkCoachCafe.com, and Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since then. Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org, is a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a columnist on HuffingtonPost. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.