Stop Looking for a Job | Ladders

The best way to get a job is to connect with people outside of your need for a job.

Stop Looking for a Job

The best way to get a job is to connect with people outside of your need for a job.

“The best way to get a job is to not look for one.” Does that idea sound crazy? It’s true, and I’ve shared it with my clients for years.

That doesn’t mean sit on your backside eating bonbons watching reality shows. It simply means it’s critical to find reasons to meet with people outside of your need for a job.

Take a case in point. A client of mine was a high-level, VP-marketing type. We had completed his preliminary career inventory work so he understood his unique value and patterns of success; we even branded him in an authentic yet catchy way. He proceeded to knock on back doors the way he had been taught — to research and relationship-build. Yet he still allowed survival-mode desperation to seep into his conversations. His hints weren’t overt, but a tone of fear-based neediness limited his results.

One day he said, “Darrell, through all the introspective work we’ve done, something has become clear: I have entrepreneurism in my blood. My father was an entrepreneur. His father was an entrepreneur. My brothers and sisters are all entrepreneurial. So I’ve come to this conclusion: To heck with these corporate jobs — I’m going to start my own business.” He went on to purchase a couple of franchises and was happier than ever.

Once he stopped “needing” a job, interesting events started to occur.

Without even pushing, he began receiving calls from folks he had met during his campaign. He also fielded unexpected calls on the resume he had placed in cyberland. With no attachment to landing an interview, he discussed frankly the opportunities people presented to him. In one instance, he told a hiring manager over the phone, “In all honesty, the role and compensation you’re describing is simply far below anything I’d consider, so I don’t want to waste your time by getting together.” The hiring manager responded that he would be more than willing to come up significantly if he could find someone of such high caliber … and basically pleaded with him to come in and meet.

He went in and opened some further doors for himself, but that’s not the point. What matters is that when he “de-desperatized” himself — removed all neediness from his conversations and demeanor — the world responded immediately. His internal sense-of-value shift caused an external awareness-of-value shift. He called me to say he finally understood what I had been trying to impart for so many months. Withoutneed glaring through everything he did, and by simply focusing on building authentic relationships, the world was practically begging him to come out and play.

A quote from Franz Kafka sums up this principle nicely:

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

However, although I believe that whatever we seek is seeking us at the same time, we have to get out and connect with it. No sitting at your table here.

The way to stay completely outside the crowd of job seekers is never to enter it — even if you really need a job.

Rather than write cover letters saying, in effect, “I need a job,” or setting up meetings to discuss your need for a job, turn your outreaches into something less “me”-oriented.

How about setting up meetings to explore and get answers on areas of your passionate interest? What about becoming a thought leader in a specific field?

Guess what? The folks in jobs right now have to focus on those jobs. So they won’t be as up on everything going on in the industry as you could be, with all of your time to research and gather information. What if you became so knowledgeable and informed that people wanted to meet with you to get the skinny on things they are too busy to keep up with themselves? What if you went into meetings bearing gifts (knowledge or information) rather than only because you want something from them (a job)? Do you think it might create a different feel for your meetings?

Understand that if you are branded well and fly a “flag” of who you are when you meet people, you never need to ask for a job. If they see value in you and are attracted to the flag you’re flying, they will find whatever they can for you automatically. Simply find reasons to connect and ask for a few minutes. Meet people in a memorable way ( personal brand ) and maintain those relationships to stay top of mind. You’ll have so many members of your “career net” attuned to you that nothing will slip through without your hearing about it.

Darrell Gurney

Darrell Gurney Darrell W. Gurney, executive/career coach and 15-year recruiting veteran, supports folks to make profitable transitions or create thriving businesses. Author of "Headhunters Revealed!" and a personal- and business- brand strategist, his Backdoor Method for networking has helped individuals expand careers and new client circles.

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