By John Sumser
Things have really changed. Knowing exactly what you want is more important than ever. In the last generation, you could “parachute” into your new job . Today, it’s a guerilla war… clear, focused, targeted and opportunistic.
While you weren’t looking, job hunting became a direct marketing exercise.
“Who you know” matters less than “who knows you.” The transition between one job and the next is a matter of how quickly you can acquire and harness attention. You are now required to know what you want and where to get it. You are in charge of manufacturing your own luck.
Huge volumes of unwanted and indistinct resumes mean that you have to simultaneously stand out and look like you’re not trying to be seen. That is the essence of a guerilla job hunting campaign.
Have you noticed that it gets harder to make sense out of the world every day? The Internet created explosive growth in information sources. Each offers an opinion screaming for your attention. Survival depends on choosing among the sources.
Information overload affects everyone. Our organizations know more and more about themselves. They are less and less able to utilize that knowledge.
The workplace contains members of four generations. Differing preferences for differing communications technologies drive the vast gulf between them. Collaboration and file sharing, the favorite tools of the young, look like cheating and stealing to their elders. The ever present texting and social networking seem rude and unproductive to the technologically illiterate.
Several things make the workforce older with each passing day. The United States (and the entire industrialized world) produces fewer offspring than it takes to keep population constant. As a result, the average age of workers in the economy rises continuously. More elders stay at work. Changes in finance, housing and pensions raise the real retirement age. The differing generational perspectives cloud the certainty needed to make productive decisions.
New technology flows relentlessly into our lives. Cell phones became ubiquitous in under a decade. Universal Wi-Fi dominates public spaces including your car. Computers merge with phones to create an omnipresent connectedness. Old media dies. New media replaces it. Disruption and change define the era.
Amid all of this, we find our work.
The orderly processes of the last generation are evaporating as quickly as newspapers. Old industries disappear while new ones explode on the scene. Looking for work means finding people we want to work with. It means helping them find us.
Guerilla job hunters stand out from the crowd with purpose. The goal is disarmingly simple. Identify and build relationships with the kind of people who either do what you want to do or want you to do it. Let them know you are available, better than competent, creative and persistent. Demonstrate your value. Demonstrate it again.
The problem is always the opportunity.
Today, so much has changed, from demographics to technology, that getting simple things done can be confusing. An environment like that rewards people who are clear about what they want. It pays big benefits to people who persist. Environments with great potential are confused and noisy. You are on your own. Exhilaration, autonomy and self direction are now the necessities, not the consequences.
You find your next engagement by being distinct from the noise.
Glassdoor.com is a career and workplace community offering a free inside look at jobs and companies with access to millions of job listings. Glassdoor enables employees, job seekers, employers and recruiters to simultaneously see – for the first time – unedited opinions about a company’s work environment along with details on salaries, company reviews, CEO approval ratings, job interview questions and reviews, and office photos as well as career advice.