I am a member of the Career Collective, a group of top career coaches, career professionals and resume and CV writers who blog monthly on a designated topic for careerists and job seekers. This month's topic is "Breaking the Rules in the Job Search". You can find us on Twitter. Our hashtag: #careercollective.
Breaking the rules in a job search is an interesting topic, particularly in today's new world of work and an ever-changing global marketplace.
The dictionary defines a rule as "one of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere". In other words, rules are beliefs we hold about how things should be that we use to guide our behavior and choices.
Sometimes the beliefs we hold about the job search can be very in line with reality, and other times they can have very little basis in fact. It is often the rules that create frustration and stress us out the most are the ones that are either not based in fact, or there is at least significant evidence to indicate that the opposite of that belief could also be true.
Let's look at some examples:
To find a job you've just got to find out the right way to do the job search in your target country.
REALITY: There is no right way to do a job search as a expat. Every expat's situation is different. Expats not only have to pay attention to how the target country's culture affects the job search, but how the culture of the region, the target industry and the target company affects the process as well. How you run your job search is also based on things like the current state of your network, your current level of market visibility and online presence.
IMPACT OF THIS RULE OR BELIEF: You desperately search out the right, all-in-one solution to a successful job search abroad. Because there is no all-knowing authority on the matter, you will never be able to confirm that the solution you've chosen is the right one, leading to doubt and stress. Without the help of a professional you may choose a solution that has minimal relevancy for running a job search in todays' new world of work, in your target country, region, industry or company. Once a solution is chosen you will likely just follow this strategy, regardless if parts of it may actually hurt instead of help you. Your focus will be pulled away from your own unique qualifications, needs or situation and you'll not be making informed choices that will serve you best.
Don't be too specific in your CV or resume. Presenting yourself as too much of a specialist will mean missing out on opportunities.
REALITY: Not being specific means presenting yourself as a generalist. A generalist in a sea of generalists in the global workforce will not stand out. Getting noticed amongst thousands in a talented global workforce that every expat is competing with may be extremely difficult. People hire specialists in what they need, not generalists.
IMPACT OF THIS RULE OR BELIEF: If you have not uncovered your unique value and your personal brand is not reflected in your career marketing materials, you will not stand out from the competition and hence getting noticed is much less likely. Without positioning yourself as a expert you will miss out on opportunities due to being lost in that sea of generalists. But also because the CV or resume will not accurately reflect what you have to offer your perceived value will be less. All of this means your job search will take more time and your chances of success much less. And certainly if you do manage to get a job you won't necessarily get the salary you deserve. Specialists command higher salaries than generalists.
The best way to get a job is talking to the right people or talk to recruiters and let them do their job. Doing research or using these new social media tools is just a waste of time.
REALITY: Most of us spend more time at work than at do anywhere else. The quality of our professional life has a huge impact on our quality of life in general and our lifestyle. Lifestyle is one of the biggest reasons why most expats chose to live and work abroad. Despite this, many people spend more time planning a holiday, watching TV or doing things that have very little impact in their lives. Given this (and the right job search strategies) the ROI on time spent on your job search will be higher than with any other activity.
Regardless of how you've run job searches in the past, a successful job search in today's new world of work for the expat is not just talking to other people and expecting them to open doors for you or depending on recruiters. Yes, your network is one of your most powerful tools in the job search. But the impact others can have on helping you has much to do with the strength of your network, who they are connected to, and their ability to accurately and effectively communicate your value in a way that is compelling and relevant to a target employer. If this is not an easy task for you, who knows yourself better than anyone else, are you confident that people in your network can do that?
Like it or not, social media is not a fad - it is here to stay. Reports indicate that employers and recruiters will be leveraging social media and online networks more than any of other method of sourcing candidates this year. Avoid at your own peril.
And lastly, recruiters do not work for you. They work for the companies they are searching for (and are getting paid by). They are given a checklist of qualifications of what the company wants and they look for that. Unless you match that checklist, they will not actively pursue you or advocate for you as you are not someone who is going to help them do their job well. Qualified candidates are their bread and butter. But only the ones that fit their specific needs at any given time. They are not in the business of and do not get paid to advocate for expat job seekers.
IMPACT OF THIS RULE OR BELIEF: You may not invest the time necessary to conduct a proper job search. When you do you spend time you will likely resent it, and as a result it will be unpleasant and you will feel frustrated. The resistance to the task itself means you'll likely do the minimum and certainly not take the proactive steps every expat needs to take to run a job search that will bring about the quickest and best results.
Without research, you'll have very little information about your target company and its needs, your target country, target industry, networks and competition. You may have less to share about and seem less informed in networking situations and interviews. And you'll definitely be less aware of how to present yourself in a compelling and differentiating way to your target employers.
Avoiding social media and online networks is going to keep you away from where employers and recruiters are most actively looking for candidates, resulting in missed opportunities for jobs or connecting with the right people. But you will also appear behind the times if you have no presence or network online.
When you depend on others and recruiters to open doors for you and they do not, you become more frustrated, frustrated with them even, which does not lead to building stronger relationships. Stressed out and frustrated people don't present well when networking or interviewing. Chances of you getting a job, a job you like, and certainly a job that leverages all of your value and pays you what you're worth are much much less. Hence your quality of life suffers. And your dream of having a job you enjoy that supports your ability to enjoy your life abroad is far from realized.
As you can see, simple rules or beliefs can have big consequences.
What are the rules you are playing by in your job search?
Do see how breaking some of your rules might actually help you?
In fact might be critical to your success?
EXPAT CAREER & BUSINESS SUCCESS TIP: If you are an expat in a job search and frustrated, open up to the idea that if you want different results you need to do different things. Today's world of work is so different so many of the "rules" that were once true have changed. Write down all of the "rules" or beliefs that you have about the job search. Question them. Particularly the ones that are causing the greatest stress. Consider the impact of letting go of one rule and how it might affect your current approach to your job search. Let one of these rules go, adjust your strategy and act on it. If possible, speak to a professional who can advise you on which of your rules or beliefs are holding you back and guide you towards embracing beliefs that are going to support your job search - not hinder it.
Here are other Career Collective members posts on this topic:
- Juice Up Your Job Search, @debrawheatman
- It's not your age, it's old thinking, @GayleHoward
- Want a Job? Ignore these outdated job search beliefs @erinkennedycprw
- Job Search Then and Now, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes
- Break the Rules or Change the Game? @WalterAkana
- The New: From The Employer's-Eye View, @ResumeService
- Job Search: Breakable Rules and Outdated Beliefs, @KatCareerGal
- Job Hunting Rules to Break (Or Why and How to Crowd Your Shadow), @chandlee @StartWire,
- Shades of Gray, @DawnBugni
- 3 Rules That Are Worth Your Push-Back, @WorkWithIllness
- Your Photo on LinkedIn - Breaking a Cardinal Job Search Rule? @KCCareerCoach
- How to find a job: stop competing and start excelling, @Keppie_Careers
- Be You-Nique: Resume Writing Rules to Break, @ValueIntoWords
- Modernizing Your Job Search, @LaurieBerenson
- Don't Get Caught With an Old School Resume, @barbarasafani
- How Breaking the Rules Will Help You in Your Job Search, @expatcoachmegan
- Beat the Job-Search-Is-a-Numbers-Game Myth, @JobHuntOrg
- 25 Habits to Break if You Want a Job, @CareerSherpa