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  • Stop Applying And Start Competing

    Are you still APPLYING for a job instead of COMPETING for one? In today’s hypercompetitive, brutal job market, where there are still many more job seekers than there are jobs, you had better be doing the latter or you’re going to end up missing the boat entirely! Still, many job seekers apparently either don’t want to believe this, or simply choose not to believe it!

    It’s a  competition

    photoReading comments across the Internet in blogs and news articles, quotes in the media, callers on talk radio, etc., the laments I regularly read/hear from many, though certainly not all, of today’s job seekers go something like this:

    • Hiring companies are no longer “playing fair.”
    • It’s almost impossible to contact a hiring manager or company directly about a job these days.
    • Hiring companies don’t really seem to care if you have a job or not. The only thing they want to know from you is, “What can you do for them!”
    • The whole job market seems to have been “turned upside down!” What worked just a few years ago when it came to getting a new job doesn’t seem to work at all anymore! What has happened? What can I do?! Does anybody care anymore?!
    • I am so desperate these days . . . why doesn’t somebody give me a job?!
    • And the one that was most interesting was a comment to one of my recent blogs: “Congress should make it illegal for companies to lay people off. All companies want to do is make money. They don’t care about people.”

    And, you know what? Such fears, anxieties and laments are hardly without foundation. You are NOT being paranoid! This is precisely what is happening in the job market today! This precisely describes today’s job market! And, to add insult to injury, there is little chance that things are going to change for the better in the job market anytime soon—if ever.

    So, it seems to me—and I hope it will also seem to you!—that today’s job seeker has essentially two choices: Revert to the “fetal position” and continue to obsess about the dismal state of affairs, blaming “them” for not “giving” you a job, or, learn how to adapt to changing circumstances, learn the NEW rules of the “hiring game”—and, yes, that’s what it is, a “game”—and then learn how to “play” by the NEW rules and effectively compete for the jobs that are available.

    Playing the game?

    In other words, you must COMPETE for a position in today’s job market, NOT just apply for jobs, and it all starts with proper BRANDING.

    Let’s go back to bullet point number three above:

    “Hiring companies don’t really seem to care if you have a job or not. The only thing they want to know from you is, “What can you do for them?”

    That is EXACTLY the case! Unless you can BRAND yourself as someone who can DO something for them, you won’t get hired in today’s job market. Simple as that.

    • You must BRAND yourself as SOMEONE WHO GETS RESULTS.
    • You must BRAND yourself as SOMEONE with the QUALITIES that will SATISFY A SPECIFIC NEED of an employer.
    • Employers don’t hire “generic” employees. They hire people who have clearly BRANDED themselves as SOMEONE WHO CAN MAKE AN EVER-INCREASING CONTRIBUTION to their organization.

    Let me illustrate by sharing with you two, very representative reader comments posted to an article that appeared on America Online about “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed Forever!

    Here is the first comment, obviously from a job seeker:

    “I miss the good old days. Today you have to jump through hoops for companies. Maybe it’s the red tape, maybe it’s just THEM, who knows. I’m sick of stupid tests (I get the highest scores possible and STILL don’t get the job!), drug tests, credit checks and providing my driving record for a lousy $8.00/hr job with no benefits. It is truly an employer’s market these days.”

    And here is the second comment, apparently from a hiring manager:

    “Getting a job is really not rocket science . . . As a former Hotel manager and now CEO, I can assure you that a hiring manager’s goal is simply to place the best candidate in to any position. This means that even when a company is not officially hiring they are always looking. This is especially true in industries (with) high turnover. This means that individuals need not focus on getting a job, but really on constantly improving and perfecting their skill and knowledge. If you approach an employer as a charity case they will direct you to the Red Cross . . . they’re in it (business) to make money and usually age, education and experience are associated with spending it. This does not mean that you should try to appear young, stupid and less experienced, it simply means that you must illustrate how these factors will translate into SAVING (emphasis mine) the additional money which they may have to spend on you.”

    The business of making money

    Contrary to popular opinion—and as so well and succinctly expressed by the second person’s comment—companies are NOT in the business of hiring people! They are in the business of MAKING MONEY! That means they are looking for potential employees who can either MAKE THEM MONEY or SAVE THEM MONEY, and ideally, be able to accomplish both of these things! One more thing: No company “owes” you (or anybody else) a job. A job is something that has always had to be earned in America, regardless of the state of the job market.

    So STOP APPLYING for jobs and START COMPETING for them! And, make sure you BRAND yourself not only as someone who has the necessary skills and background to actually DO the job, but equally important, as someone who can indeed MAKE ‘EM MONEY or SAVE ‘EM MONEY, or better yet, do both of these things!

    Author:

    Skip Freeman is the author of “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever! and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The HTW Group (Hire to Win), an Atlanta, GA, Metropolitan Area Executive Search Firm. Specializing in the placement of sales, engineering, manufacturing and R&D professionals, he has developed powerful techniques that help companies hire the best and help the best get hired.

    avatar

    Skip Freeman is the author of “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever!  (http://portal.sliderocket.com/BFDSG/Find-Your-Dream-Job), an international bestselling job hunting book on Amazon.com, and Career Stalled? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEZD-bqj4bE), his latest book in the "Headhunter" Hiring Secrets Series of Career Development & Management publications. He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The HTW Group (www.hiretowin.com), an Atlanta, GA, Metropolitan Area Executive Search Firm. Specializing in the placement of sales, engineering, manufacturing and R&D professionals, he has developed powerful techniques that help companies hire the best and help the best get hired.

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    Posted in Brand Yourself As, Career Development, Job Search, Personal Branding
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    4 comments on “Stop Applying And Start Competing
    1. avatar
      EXPERT
      David Ledoux says:

      Skip I work a lot with offline marketing consultants and I am going to force them to read your article! You nailed the importance of language. No owner wants to be first in google, they want more customers. I love how you reference “the good old days”…not only are they not coming back, they never really existed. Keep encouraging the job hunters to think like freelancers. The 9to5 for 40 years mentality is dangerous history….

    2. avatar
      EXPERT
      Marc Miller says:

      We are rapidly moving to a contact based employment model. The days of getting everything from your employer (medical benefits, vacation,..) will soon be gone. You can bemoan this to embrace it. As the author states you will need to compete.

      I work with a lot of baby boomers who are scared to death of the need to “Brand” themselves through social media because they perceive they will reveal to much about themselves to the world. As a baby boomer myself, we are a pretty private bunch.

      Time will tell when we get out of a employers market but I believe we are rapidly reaching an employee market in certain industries. People need to retool to where the needs are and will be. The days of old are gone. You need to celebrate and embrace the new world.

    3. avatar
      EXPERT

      Marc,

      You are clearly forward thinking in regards to knowing that, in the future, the idea of getting everything from your employer will soon be gone. No matter how the government tries to force US business more towards a European model, it won’t happen as long as capitalism reigns.

      This comment isn’t a “comment” on capitalism vs. other economic models. It IS a comment on the fact that one needs to know what the rules of the hiring game are in order to win a job in today’s competitive economic environment.

      Skip

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