If you don't pay attention to employers' needs, they won't pay attention to yours.
This is a guest post by Mark Anthony Dyson. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.
When Charlie Brown said that Joe Shilabotnik was his all-time baseball hero in the Major Leagues, with a horrible batting average way below .200, we can understand why. As grown-ups, we do.
There is a valuable lesson here that anyone could be your hero, and it doesn't matter why it gets us excited. We know throughout the decades, Charlie Brown would have given up every single baseball card he owned for Joe Shilabotnik's card.
Value works for us when we've hacked into the interests of the other person, or in this case the employer.
If Charlie Brown is the job seeker and Lucy the employer, then the benefit of creating value must be communicated. Job seekers go wrong in never demonstrating value when the moment comes. Employers want to win in value more often than in volume. Employers tell you what they need some time by what they don't need.
Listen closely and you can discern accurately.
I will dissect Charlie Brown's approach from end to beginning in order to show how job seekers miss opportunities to connect with employers in demonstrating the value.
Lucy: “He's not as cute as I thought he was!”
Lucy ends this segment by throwing the beloved Joe Shilabotnik baseball card in the garbage. Similar to an employer tossing a resume or at least filing it away with no other intentions to look at it again. Charlie Brown didn't get that she liked Joe because at the moment, he was cute.
Lesson Learned: If you can’t persuade an employer what you have is valuable, then they will keep looking, sometimes forever (so it seems).
Charlie Brown: (tosses his whole baseball card collection in the air) “For five years, I've been trying to get a Joe Shilabotnik! My favorite baseball player and I can't get him on a bubble gum card… five years! My favorite player…”
We identify with losers at times. Charlie Brown loved this guy despite his .157 minor league batting average. My sons like badly-acted late '80s and early '90s sitcoms, but we like whom we like. Value is an individual decision that we cherished for one reason or another from childhood.
Lucy, at least at this time, does not care about collecting baseball cards. She cares about one cute baseball player although it is temporary.
Lesson learned: Charlie Brown didn't earn attention because he never listened to what Lucy said. Had he mentioned “cute” once or twice throughout his face time with her and the card he desired, chances are he would have obtained her interest.
Job seekers who succeed find ways to understand the employers need. What does the employer's team or company care about? The job seeker who serves it up on a delectable platter to the employer has their attention, causing salivation and perhaps, career salvation.
Employers test you from the beginning. They want to know you’re listening. Charlie Brown, who is representing the anxious job seeker, wants one thing. He thinks the way to get it is to trade.
Charlie Brown: “How about Nellie Fox, Dick Dovnovan, Willie Kirkland, and Frank Lary, Al Kaline Orlando Pena, Jerry Lulupe, Camilo Pacual, Harmon Killebrew Bob Turley and Albie Peason?”
Lucy: “No, I don't want to trade…I think Joe Shilabotnik is kind of cute…”
Charlie Brown: “I'll give you Tome Cheney, Chuck Cottier, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Maury Willis, Sandy Koufax Frank Robinson, Bob Purkey Bill Mazeroski, Harvey Hadoix, Warren Spahn, Hank Aaron, Tony Gonzales, Art Mahaffey, Roger Craig, Duke Snider, Don Nottebart, Al Spangler, Curt Simmons, Stan Musial, Ernie Banks, and Larry Jackson!”
Lucy: “No, I don't think so…”
Lesson Learned: What are the chances that Charlie Brown could have offered Lucy to pick out several other “cute” players from his collection? Is it possible Charlie Brown owned other cards she desired?
The reality that job seekers will need to increase their value by offering substantially more to get one package is eminent.
Remember, employers hold the one card you want. They won't give it away (or throw it away) unless there is a perceived value that equals or exceeds what they hold. They don't want to hire, but they could be persuaded possibly by something cute (or perceived by others as cute) as what they hold.
Creating opportunities is what you'll need to do, but won't happen by offering what is valuable only to you or what the employer’s competition cherish. Lucy, the employer, is the one you need to convince.
Charlie Brown: “Joe Shilabotnik? Really? You have a Joe Shilabotnik? You have a Joe Shilabotnik Bubble Gum Card? He's my favorite player! I've been trying to get him on a bubble gum card for five years! You wanna trade? Here…I'll give you Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle, Robin Roberts, Luis Aparicio, Bill Monbouquette, Dick Stuart and Juan Pizarro!”
Lucy: “No, I don't think so…”
Lesson learned: Um… strategy? Yes, Charlie Brown, the job seeker lacks the correct strategy. He may not need to bargain if Lucy the employer was a real baseball fan that trades baseball cards. But she wasn't. Just inundating her with what he has, without understanding what she wants, is a great way to be ignored.
Employers will respond if there is something they want. Lucy was only interested in “cute” Joe. If Lucy cared about his .157 batting average, she would have given the card to Charlie Brown without trading.
Charlie Brown, the job seeker, was only a loser because he didn't listen close enough to the message Lucy, the employer, conveyed. Proactive listening is effective when you listen to what an employer says and doesn't say. Employers will tell you “nice resume” even when it's not all that nice. In most cases what follows is the statement “… but we will continue looking.”
If Charlie Brown figured out what Lucy valued, Charlie Brown would have kept all of his cards.
Job seekers will find the right employer only by listening closely to employer needs.
Mark Anthony Dyson (@MarkADyson) is the founder of the award-winning blog, TheVoiceofJobseekers.com. He is a career consultant, and writer, coach. In September, he will be publishing “The Voice of Job Seekers” podcast to further give job seekers more tools to use for his or her job search.
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Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.