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Getting noticed is now 5 times harder

A friend alerted me to a blogpost by Auren Hoffman, CEO of Rapleaf, about Why Hiring is Paradoxically Harder in a Downturn. In the article, Auren makes the point that - with all the recent layoffs, the “signal-to-noise” ratio of Really Top Talent vs. Mediocre Talent has exploded. What that means for companies is that to acquire top talent, they will have to wade through many more resumes and have many more interviews (because, really, who can tell from a resume whether the candidate is truly exceptional?). Consequently, the risk of a bad hire has increased, perhaps 10-fold.

What does that mean for you? If you’re one of those A-players he talks about, and you’re looking to change employers? Or you’ve been a top-notch contractor, but you’re looking for the right employer that will look to you for innovation and intrapreneurship?

What it means is that you will have to work so much harder to stand out from the [Mediocre Talent] crowd. You will have to get very much smarter about developing your business contacts, investigating and researching companies’ needs, and prospecting for potential opportunities. While you may have been able to secure interesting and rewarding work in the recent past, using resourceful, but basically traditional job-hunting techniques, you will need to radically change your game.

To get to the next level of the Art of Getting Hired by the Right Company, you’re going to need help. This, then, is the primary purpose of your jobhunting activities: to get help. From whom, you ask? From all the people you know, your business and personal contacts, and from the people they will refer you to.

Mind you, when you meet people in the context of hunting for a job, the one thing you don’t talk about is how you want them to give you a job, or a job lead. You want their help, to be sure, but the help you’re looking for is information, feedback, suggestions on how to stand out, and - above all - introductions to hiring managers and influencers. Your purpose is to meet these people before there is a vacancy. Your goal is to identify their problem, and help them understand that you are the solution. If you do that well, you’re saving them, and yourself, a lot of time, effort and money.

In addition, now might be a good time to invest in a coach. Having a good coach can make the difference between searching for 6 months, or for 4. Just as elite athletes would not be at the peak of their game without the guidance of a coach, if you want to stand out in a positive way, it helps tremendously to have someone by your side to keep you focused and injury (screw-up) free. You can’t learn to run a marathon from a book, and you can’t train to Win the Hiring Lotto from behind a computer screen, either. I’m just sayin’ ...

Last updated on Apr 24, 2009 at 09:10 AM
Category: Career Marketing Career Strategies Interview Strategies
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