Brian & the Perfect Job Hunt

One of the things that I really enjoy about Coach Joan’s Career Cafe is meeting some great people and hearing their stories.  These are certainly interesting times when I meet so many smart, erudite people brought together in a room because they are looking for work. The wonderful thing about this group is that it is a safe and nurturing place to share the tale of my search process which I confess has ups and downs. By sharing I formulate a better plan and I know my peers want to hear fun stories with happy endings so I focus on making some each week. Another great thing is that others bring their success stories to the (breakfast) table and I want to share the most inspiring of these as a model for job hunting in the current climate.

Brian is in the process of demonstrating the most important skill of the modern job hunter; reinvention. Leaving Michigan to relocate was only one part of the equation, he has also left the automobile industry and is now working in wind energy. Brian is an engineer; close your eyes for a few seconds and imagine what these folk do on a daily basis. For me it is summed up when we take notes side by side. Brian, captures all the details. His writing is a testament to the benefits of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; you can read it from 5 miles without glasses. At the cafe he knows (because it is written down) everyone’s name, what they do, what leads they are looking for and he graciously sets out to help them.

With regards to his job search he used the meticulous attention of an engineer and chose exactly what he wanted his end product to be. He broke it down into component groups and then worked on each carefully making sure that each part was ready before bringing it all together.

I confess to being glad to meeting him a number of months into the process; he is only human and like most of us, it took a while to define a vision of his end result. Once he had the concept drawing on the wall and a list of the features he wished to include there was no stopping him. He mapped out all the component parts he needed to put in place and consequently everything he did took him closer to his picture, every action was intentional.

So what were these component parts? It started with a lot of research, what skills did his target industry require? Trust me when I say Brian is extremely skilled, he packs more into his career in 5 years than many do in 20. He is also smart enough to know that looking at what a company wants is far more productive than selling what he has already.  Brian went back to school to make sure he catered to the needs of future employers, he also cataloged skills he already had that fit their criteria and promoted them.

More importantly he recognized that he was in a new town and he needed to meet people. This former wall flower practiced until he became the consummate networker. Brian connects with people and gives of himself, he comes from a place where he knows a relationship is made by finding what he can offer that will be of use to the person he is getting to know. He makes sure that he comes through and he follows up. The other thing I love about Brian is that he does not judge whether someone will be useful because he knows some of his leads have come from unexpected places. He looks for the best in people and gives of himself to everyone.

These tactics helped Brian to find his dream job with a salary to match. I know I am now closing my eyes and daring to dream about what I really want my job to be and I am putting these simple steps into play.

Thanks Brian, you have modeled a wonderful, humane approach to moving forward in difficult times and I want you to know I appreciate it a great deal.



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What do you stand for?

What is it most of us really want from work? We would like to find the most effective, most productive, most rewarding way of working together. We would like to know that our work process uses all of the appropriate and pertinent resources: human, physical, financial. We would like a work process and relationships that meet our personal needs for belonging, for contributing, for meaningful work, for the opportunity to make a commitment, for the opportunity to grow and be at least reasonably in control of our own destinies. Finally, we’d like someone to say “Thank you!”
Max Depree

Max DePree wrote a book called Leadership is an Art and the warmth and wisdom it contains leaves me nodding my head in agreement every page I turn. It is eloquent and tackles real issues head on, in fact President Bill Clinton calls it “astonishing”. The thing this book makes me do is read, re-read and think.

Here is what I am reminded of – I will only find the job that I truly want when I truly know what I want. Each time I edit my resume I am taken a little closer as I am that much clearer in my own mind of what it is I am looking for. The less often I edit my resume to fit a job and instead send the resume that describes the me I want to be the more likely I am to find the work that will leave me truly satisfied. The most important thing is to find a job and organization that aligns with my vision and beliefs – I had better know what they are.

In the words of a new friend, Stu Cabe, “what do you stand for?”

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