Know Yourself When Opportunity Knocks

These days LinkedIn has become a vehicle for employers to search for people to interview and possibly hire. Recruiters search the Internet, and most specifically LinkedIn, to find good people and invite them to apply for a job even if these people were not actively looking for work. For job seekers, that means showcasing your skills and telling your story in a compelling way on LinkedIn can open doors for you in a way that creates a better chance for success in the hiring process. When an employer finds you, instead of you banging on the door of the workplace, the employer is more psychologically ready to want you to succeed in the hiring process. There is a bias in favor of people who are not out of work and are currently gainfully employed. These are just the kinds of people employers would like to poach.

But just because you are found by a workplace that would like to vet you, does not mean the job is right for you no matter how flattering it is to be asked.

One of my clients, a freelance video content producer, was recently contacted by a recruiter working for a high profile nonprofit. The recruiter was hunting for the right hire for a full-time in-house producer job. The nonprofit thought it needed someone who would be good at “telling the story of the nonprofit” and this freelancer had done a great job of showcasing those skills in her LinkedIn profile. However, when the freelancer spoke with the recruiter by phone the job description became much clearer. The workplace was looking for someone to shepherd the many freelancers already shooting videos for the various branches of the organization, but the job itself did not include the role of shooting or editing video. The producer role for the nonprofit called for administrative, organizational, and communication skills rather than production skills, editing, or an artistic eye in the filming process.

My client called to see if she should take this job. It appealed to her because of the stability of the job and the benefits. But she realized that it did not play to her strengths. We went back to the template she had created when we worked together to identify the right career direction for her.

She had identified a number of essential elements for happiness in her work life. Some of the top elements were these: the freedom to come and go and be physically independent of a work setting, the chance to develop her skills as a film maker, an entrepreneurial venture with the ability to support her current life style, and the opportunity to learn more about the complex camera equipment she had invested in to launch her business. She had in fact already launched her business and was becoming successful by building her brand. All of this was very exciting for her. She would be giving it up if she took this full time job.

After a brief review of her career goals, and thinking again about the reason for the essential elements she had identified, she was easily able to make the decision not to take this job.

With a template to guide you, it gets easier to avoid the temptation of taking a job that sounds great until you vet it for your own needs.

Work on your own template and figure out your essential elements. The template tools you can use are in the downloadable Appendices of my book Job Quest: How to Become the Insider Who Gets Hired, which you can find on my website www.nielsencareerconsulting.com.