flowing motion

Get a Career Director to stop you making rash job choices. Yes, even now.

Posted on: December 19, 2009

Hire a Career Director when you look for a job

I once worked for a man who said you cannot Manage & Direct a project at the same time.  I didn’t really understand this statement, so I stored it away in the back-of-my-mind, to understand as time went by.

Now I have a good example of what he means. You cannot sell and do business development at the same time.

When you are looking for a job, you need a career coach to do your business development while you “sell” yourself.

This is why.

We need to separate execution from directorial oversight

When we are selling things, the marketers open up a market for us, the business developers find the prospects, & the sales people close the sale.

Once the sales process begins, the sales person will press on turning objections into opportunities. Quite rightly, because this is their job, sales people take the view that every sale is a good sale and they disregard every sign that they should walk away from the deal. In sales parlance, they counter sales objections. This is good selling, but dangerous business.

The business development people have a watching brief during the sale and watch how the sale unfolds. Sometimes they simply have to step in and say, “No, we are sorry. That prospect and that deal looked good but it is time to walk away.”

The Director/Manager distinction operates in the same way. The Manager executes and does everything to press on and solve problems. The Director watches from the sidelines and calculates the value of a project. Sometimes they too have to step in and say, “Yes, I know you can pull it off and complete the project, but it is not worth it. We have to pull the plug on the project but it is not a reflection on you. We were simply wrong about the value of the project and we must move on to something better.”

We need Career Directors

Whether we make our living as employees, freelancers or entrepreneurs, we have the same dilemma.

We open up opportunities on many fronts. And we press on to a sale. We are keen to make a sale and we disregard warning signs that this is a bad deal.

We need a mentor or coach to review the terms of “our sale”. We can try to do it ourselves but that is not reasonable. Psychologically we are in “close the sale” mode.

Even if we mentally put a different hat on, walk to a different desk, and open a file that says business development, we will find it difficult to backtrack from action to analysis. Moreover, if we do succeed, we will find it very difficult move back to action. Analysing our own actions will take “the wind out of our sails” completely.

At that moment, we want the deal and nothing else makes sense to us. Any friend who tries to give us any advice, is likely to get an earful!

That is where a professional coach comes in. Most career coaches help you to “sell” yourself. Selling is important too! Get a selling coach as well.

But you need a business development coach. You need someone to sit you down when you least want to and go through the details of the deal.

  • What you are emphasizing?
  • What are you missing?

Choosing a Career Director

You need someone who you will listen to. And it shouldn’t be someone with whom you have another relationship. You shouldn’t have a “dual relationship” as we say in the professions.

The professionals in your life often have to give you bad news and you may want to shoot the messenger. Professionals understand that. As long as you pay your bill, you will be welcome back after you have calmed down. Professionals are there to save you hide while you go off and sell yourself!

Framing your career search to avoid rash selling

Until you get a professional business development coach, here are a few rules-of-thumb that people use to stop them getting too carried away with any deal.

#1 Apply for 100 jobs, get 10 interviews and choose 1 job

This is a good tactic when you don’t know the market well and you need to get out there and explore what is available.

Focus on drawing a map and try to get 10 interview close in time to each other to give yourself a proper choice.

#2 Apply for 500 jobs, get 5 interviews and choose 1 job

Use this tactic when you are completely unknown in a market and you are building relationships.

Focus on meeting people and understanding who knows whom. Concentrate on moving into a circle of people who are motivated to look after you.

#3  Have 3 talks with other employers open and humming at any one time

Use this tactic when you have a job that is OK and you can take your time. In this way you explore the 3 best opportunities at any time and explore them in depth yet never be rushed into a bad choice.

#4  Send out 1 CV each & every month

Use this tactic when you have a job that you like and expect to move one in a year or so. This tactic helps you keep your CV in order and your eye on the market. When you are ready to move, the shift into choosing a job will be more considered.

#5  Deliberately plan to move employers every 2 to 3 years

See every job as a “project” within your career and work out how this job will lead you to the next job. What must happen in this job to allow you to move to the next one? Which of 10 organizations will be supplying the job after this!

This tactic will focus your mind on the essential features of the job that you must get right (for you).

Career Direction and Unemployment

If you have been a victim of the recession, restoring positive cash flow is probably urgent for you.  you may be feeling impatient. If you read this far in that frame of mind, well done!

Appreciate though, that the pressure of cash may lead you to make a bad decision. You definitely need a Career Director.  A Career Director will also share the burden of navigating the current job market will also make life considerably easier for you. Think about it!

How has the recession changed job searches?

I’ll leave you with these questions

How do you manage your job search? Do you have a career coach whose job it is to make sure you make a wise decision? Do you have a attention-management strategy that I can add to the ones above?

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