The Best Way to Land a Job These Days

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Career, Job search, Sweetspot
Reading time: 2 min.

Job boards, applications, resumes. Oh. My. Stories from the front lines tell us that the traditional way of finding a job is pretty well broken.

The best way to land a job today is to a) become a “killer candidate” and b) grow our network until it includes our next employer. Growing our network is how we will find the opportunities. Read more about that here.

Becoming a killer candidate is not about ticking boxes. It is not a form of beauty pageant; it is not about becoming someone we are not.

It is about clarity.

It is being clear about who we are and what we offer. I suggest people figure out their SweetSpot and use it to target appealing industries and companies and to hone their personal marketing content (elevator speech, resume, cover letter).

It is also about clear conversations with potential employers.  We do not start off talking about our qualifications nor do we jump through hoops in some attempt to match what we think they want from us. Instead, our conversations focus on understanding what the hiring manager is trying to accomplish overall. We explore next how this role–if it is done well–would contribute to that hiring manager’s and the overall company’s desired results. Only then do we talk about us. Only then do we tell stories that demonstrate how our talents, passions, perspectives, and experience line up to (help) deliver those results.


In your corner,


PS: None of this is difficult. It is just different.


Today’s photo credit: Canadian West Coast Fishing via photopin (license)


The Simpler Way To Land A Job

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Job search
Reading time: 2 min.

Landing a job can be a hard and unrewarding endeavor. We can waste time and drain our psyches by trolling job boards, sending out résumés, attending networking events, going on dead-end interviews, and hoping.

Yet there is a simpler way to land a job. First, we become killer candidates. Second, we grow our network until it includes our next employers.

We can all become killer candidates. It is not about becoming someone we are not, gussying up our resume to fit what we think employers are looking for. It is not participating in a form of beauty pageant, looking just so, doing the right things, and putting on our best, fake behavior. It is being crystal clear about who we are, who our ideal potential employers are, what they really need, and how what we offer will help them.

You can start by figuring out your SweetSpot (and more here).  Use it to know which types of people or organizations you want to work for. Use it also to craft an elevator speech, a résumé, and a cover letter that resonate with those people and organizations.

Next have conversations (interviews) with your ideal potential employers. Focus neither on how wonderful your qualifications are nor on jumping through hoops to please. Instead, focus on understanding what the hiring manager is trying to accomplish overall and how, if this role is done well, it would contribute to that hiring manager’s and the overall company’s success. Only then can you explain how you and what you offer can help.

To have those conversations, grow your network. Read this to learn how. Start with the people you know and trust. As you proceed, pay a bit of extra attention to the people you meet who are really good at networking including the mavens and the high-integrity professional recruiters.


In your corner,


PS: Even when we do them well, job searches can have us feeling bad at times. Remember to take good care of yourself and to feel good, then act.


Today’s photo credit: Frans Zwart via photopin cc

SweetSpot 2014

Four Ways To Know You’re In the Right (or Wrong) Career

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Career, Sweetspot
Reading time: 1

Work that doesn’t use your talents is work you should have others do.

Work that doesn’t engage your passions is a dead end.

Work that doesn’t meet your needs, wants, and/or desires is martyrdom.

Work that doesn’t solve compelling problems for other people or organizations is a hobby.

Work that engages all four of these factors–talents, passions, needs/wants/desires, and compelling problems–is work in your SweetSpot. It is meaningful, fun, profitable, and rewarding.

Which is nice.


In your corner,



Job Fit

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Career, Hiring, Job search
Reading time: 1

How can you tell if you are in the right job? It feels good. In particular:

  • You regularly use your core talents (as opposed to skills),
  • You engage (most of) your passions, values, and motivators,
  • It’s a win for you (you meet your needs for, say,  money, challenge, environment, freedom, working with good people), and
  • It’s a win for your organization (they see you deliver desired results).

How can you tell if the person you are about to hire is a fit for the job? It feels good. In particular:

  • The candidate’s talents meet the talents needed to do the job well.
  • The candidate’s passions, values, and motivators match the culture of the organization and the rewards of the job.
  • The candidate and the organization agree that this is a win (i.e. the candidate’s needs and the organization’s desired results are met).



In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: madlyinlovewithlife via photopin cc

round and round

You Need Not Struggle

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Career, Sweetspot
Reading time: 2 min.

We regularly struggle in jobs that have long ago stopped working for us. We get stuck because our day-to-day busy-ness takes all our time. And we harbor fear-uncertainty-doubt about what–if anything–else we might do. It seems easier to stay put and tolerate it. “That’s just part of life, eh?”

But it becomes a downward spiral. Staying put and tolerating drains us. The more we are drained, the less energy we have to make a switch. And the more it seems easier to stay put and tolerate.

If this sounds all too familiar, there’s good news: you can break the cycle. First, improve your thinking to feel better right where you are. Notice what is already good. Even before you make a change, feeling better will help you see better possibilities and make better choices. Then make a plan anchored in what you want (income, time, freedom, possibilities, etc.), what you are good at, what drives you, and where you get to solve the kinds of problems that you find compelling.

You need not struggle.


In your corner,


PS: We are talking about staying too long. Of course, flying away at from a situation too soon robs you of the chance to prove and improve yourself.

The Best and Worst Ways to Describe a Role

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Hiring, Leading, Strategy, Success
Reading time: 2 min.

“Fit” is such an important driver for people and need for organizations. Everyone–from the big boss to the mail room clerk–in every organization–from the largest multi-national to a sole proprietor–needs to understand where she fits and how she contributes to the organization.

The worst way to define a role is with a job description. A job description lists things like tasks or functions performed in the job, who the job reports to, and the skills required to do the job. Job descriptions don’t guide the person in the role because they are hard to recall, follow, and change as time and business needs change. Example: “The job of special assistant to the associate team leader includes drafting, distributing for comment, and publishing the daily TPS reports.”

The best way to define a role is with key accountabilities. Any role can be described in three to five of these sentences that answer the question, “At the end of the year, what will we see to know that this job has been done well?” Roles defined by key accountabilities are simpler to grasp and easier to manage. Example: For a sales person, the key accountabilities might be “Generate at least $20M in revenue for the company this year,” “Support existing clients; 80% of revenue will come from existing clients.”

Try it. Define your role (or one you have to hire for soon) in three-to-five mostly measurable sentences. Then watch how much easier it becomes to do, hire, or manage that role.


To your continued success,


P.S. Do any companies still have mail room clerks?

The best way to get a job.

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Job search
Reading time: 7 min.

How do you find and land a great job?

A great job is one that  suits you, rewards you, lets you offer your best to the world…and pays the bills!

There are many paths to landing a great job.  The one I’ve outlined works well and is more likely to get you a great job.

Slow down, avoid blasting out resumes.

Pause for moment.  Take a deep breath–or three.  If you are anxious to get started, worried about begin out of work or about making a transition to a new job, you’re going to want to jump in and get going.  I’m all for that.  Where you need caution is in the type of activity you choose to do.

Just like your Thanksgiving meal is 90% preparation and 10% eating, just as a good contractor wouldn’t start slapping together some 2x4s when someone asks for an addition to their house, your job search will be most successful when you spend the proper time up front and prepare.

Avoid the well-trod path

In general, this means not “sending out resumes.”  Though it seems like the most basic thing you can do to get into action and get a job, it’s actually not that productive.  Reason: it puts you in the position of a commodity and has you playing the wrong side of a numbers game. (more…)