Saturday, June 6, 2009

Walking in A Job Seeker's Shoes

Anyone who's undergone a search for employment in the past year knows that job hunting is not easy. The recession has increased not only the number of competitors an applicant is up against, but also the level of experience and skills prospective employers are able to seek in candidates.

Ultimately, many highly qualified candidates find themselves in the heart-breaking position of hearing, "While we decided to go with someone else, we appreciated your time and we've enjoyed getting to know you." Growing up, my mom used to say, "Close only counts in horseshoes." In a job hunt, second place is perhaps the most difficult honor to receive. Second place doesn't pay the mortgage.

I recently applied for a Director of Marketing position in the city where I grew up. To date, I have had three interviews. In the last one, I learned that the company really hoped to find someone with at least some graphics skills. While I'm an ace at using templates, I am not experienced in graphic design -- and I was upfront with them about that.

As someone who regularly speaks and writes about the jobs market and the economy, I address people every week who are searching for jobs. This experience has made me more keenly aware of the personal experience that accompanies the professional search.

So far in the process, I've learned that companies are ultimately seeking smart, creative employees who bring a variety of skills and a zest for life with them. It's very hard to bring that "zest" or that "positive energy" when you've been job hunting for months and the unemployment is running out or you've moved in with family or friends to just get by.

When some of my friends found out I applied for this position, they suddenly got worried. I've made my living as an author and freelancer for so long. Was this a sign the economy was so bad that even I had to find a full-time position?

The premise of the Creating Job Security book series is that what's ideal for you today might not be ideal tomorrow, and it's okay to change your choices based on your needs at the time. For many years, freelancing made great sense to me. It was my ideal choice. But the position that came available, at the company I applied to, was such a wonderful opportunity, that applying was a personal choice that made sense to me. It was not my way of making a statement about the state of the economy at large.

I would love the opportunity to work with this company. It's a terrific company and it would offer me the opportunity to work as a Director of Marketing. Indeed "I believe" it would be the ideal job for me right now. Having said that, the process of applying for this position has increased my awareness and empathy. It has taught me new things that I'll write about here in the weeks ahead.

To get your hands on the Green Light Scoring Model, and discover your ideal job at this point in your life, visit and select the featured title, "Creating Job Security, The 2009 All-In-One Workbook."