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A Successful Job Search Attitude

October 28th, 2008 · 4 Comments

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I’m not a big fan of motivational posts. I much prefer to give you tangible tips and hacks, so this is probably as close as I’m going to get to this sort of thing.But the proper job search attitude is important, and I’ll tell you why. You can’t land the sort of job you deserve if you don’t think you deserve it. Here’s what I mean.

The Wrong Attitude

All too often, I’ve seen clients approach a job search in the same way they would the welfare line. They feel embarrassed or unworthy. They feel like they’re asking for a handout or, to quote Scarlett, relying on the kindness of strangers.Look, we all have to look for a job some time. And more often then not, a job searcher is in a quest to improve his or her career lot, not because they’re in desperate dire straights. Think of your own reaction to learning that a friend is looking for a job. Your first thought is not, What a loser! Your first thought is: I wonder if I can help?

We all have to look for a job some time

Yet still, people act like a job search is some great, arduous quest where you, the supplicant, are always on bended knee waiting for some all-powerful hand of fate to pluck you up and save you only by some great accident of chance.This is absolutely the wrong attitude.

The Situation Is In Your Favor

First of all, no one gives anyone a job out of pity or charity. A person is hired because an employer has a need to fill. In essence, the true job search balance is the other way around: the candidate is doing the employer a favor by agreeing to provide his or her labor at a fair market value.Secondly, it’s the hiring manager who has his butt on the line, not you. If you don’t get hired by a given job, it’s no sweat off of your brow… you just move on the the next interview. But if the hiring manager can’t fill the position – or worse, fills it with the wrong person – then operations will suffer, profits will suffer, the hiring manager’s reputation will suffer.Thirdly, notice the formal way in which a job search transacts itself. The employer makes “an offer.” You are free to accept or decline. In fact, you are the one with all the decision making power. You can come and go at any time. It’s the employer who is sitting there with an unfulfilled need until you come along to solve his problem.I make all the above points to try to disabuse you of the wrong job search attitude. You are not powerless. You are not a beggar. As the jobs seeker, you, in fact, hold all the cards.

The Proper Attitude

This might seem like a trite bit of mumbo jumbo, but it’s actually quite important to have a properly confident mindset.Think of yourself like an NFL free agent. You never see a cocky, highly paid, famous wide receiver begging a team to hire him (you might see him cry if his team loses to the Giants, but that’s another story). Just the opposite: the NFL free agent takes the attitude that he is a rare, prized commodity. He can score. He can help you win. He’ll be doing you a favor if he deigns to sign with your team.NFL free agents don’t fear a job search. Hell no! They dream off free-agency. That’s when they make the big bucks.

Think of yourself like an NFL free agent

You’re just like that free agent. You are a skilled and talented professional. You can bring success and innovation to any job you sign on to. You will improve any team you join. I’m not suggesting you take on the prima-donna airs of an NFL star, but you should take on his air of confidence. This is your year of free-agency. This is your chance to sign a better five-year deal and join the franchise you always really wanted to play for. This job search is actually a very good thing. This is your chance to move up and make the big bucks.Remember, the employer has a need to fill. You are a possible solution to the problem. The quickest way to get hired is to get across to the employer that they will be immensely glad they hired you. You will not just fill their vacancy, you will improve it. You will solve some of their problems. You will take the position and make it perform like it never has before. You will help the company earn more money. You’ll help the company shave costs. You’ll bring dynamism and new, brilliant ideas to the team. In fact, you’ll be such a great hire, the hiring manager will see his reputation enhanced just because he was the one who was smart enough to hire you.This is the impression you want to leave in the hiring manager’s mind. And you obviously can’t do that by projecting an attitude of neediness, desperation or embarrassment. You need to be relaxed, and more importantly, confident.I used to do this simple exercise with my clients. Imagine three candidates interviewing for a job:

  1. Candidate A interviews with a hiring manager and leaves the impression that, hey, she’s a warm body and she’s better than nothing.
  2. Candidate B interviews with a hiring manager and leaves the impression that they are competent and can fill the position adequately.
  3. Candidate C, however, convinces the hiring manager that he is a potential superstar, someone who can transform this organization and make everyone rich and make the hiring manager look good.

All three candidates can be hired in various situations. But who do you think gets hired EVERY time?You want to be Candidate C.So every time you begin a job search, you want to start with confidence. Keep reminding yourself:

  • I am a rare and valuable free agent.
  • I have something to offer them.
  • This is my chance to move up and make the big bucks.
  • I can convince them that if they sign me, we’ll all be winners.
  • They’ll be lucky to hire me.

This is the proper job search attitude.

Related posts:

  1. The Proper Job Search Attitude
  2. The 5 Dirty Little Secrets Of A Successful Job Search
  3. How To Prepare Yourself For A Successful Job Search
  4. The Secret of a Successful Job Interview
  5. Job Search January Roundup
  6. Job Search In a Tough Job Market

Tags: Getting Ahead · Job Search

  • CK

    Hiring is NOT about giving you a job – period! It’s all about making/saving money or saving time or costs for the owner/company.

    You have to think and present yourself in those terms when interviewing. Also it may help to understand that you are selling a product – the BEST product on the market – YOU!

    Don’t just tell them what you can do SHOW them want you can do!

  • Neil

    Thanks for this – I graduated from college last year and spent most of the last 6 months searching for a job. I’ve been selling myself short.

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  • whitecat

    It wasn’t Scarlett who relied on the kindness of strangers. It was Blanche Dubois, in A Streetcar Named Desire.

    I had a recruiter tell me that I come across as too confident, and people are afraid to hire me because I might show them up.