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Alan Kotok , , , ,

Job Hunting in Campaign Mode

To get your job search organized and energized, sometimes you need to take a step back and view it from a different perspective. On the Career Hub blog this week, résumé coach Louise Fletcher suggests that job hunters think about the task as a campaign, such as a political or marketing campaign.

According to Fletcher, the language we use frames the way we behave in the job hunt. If you consider a job search as a succession of job applications, you can get into a passive rut. “Applying sounds weak,” says Fletcher. “It makes us sound subservient — we are asking for something when we apply for it.”

Instead, Fletcher suggests, you should approach job hunting as a campaign, much like political candidates when they run for office. “When a politician runs a campaign, he is engaged in the act of marketing. He is deploying a variety of strategies in order to communicate his value. He is being creative. He is engaging other people. He is offering solutions.”

So how does this translate into job hunting? Fletcher recommends:
– Keeping your lines of communication open with peers and recruiters, even if you’re not looking for a job. Networking doesn’t stop even when you’re in a job you like.
– Choosing language for your résumé that describes the value you added to your employers, not just the duties you carried out.
– Contacting employers you want to work for even if they do not have positions advertised that you fit, which means finding people to contact and figuring out where and how to contact them.
– Approaching interviews with a set of solutions rather than merely answering the interviewer’s questions. This means at least helping to set the agenda of the interview, which takes initiative and a certain amount of risk. It also means approaching the interview as a conversation between equals rather than as what Fletcher calls “terrifying rirtuals”.

About a year ago, Dave Jensen’s must-read Tooling Up column, “The Cold, Hard Truth About Finding a Job in 2009” urged job hunters to take a positive attitude. Fletcher’s advice adds to that positive attitude a different, more assertive mindset for attacking the job of finding a job.