Stop Being A Job Seeker

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: July 8, 2008 - 3:08 PM

Stop thinking of yourself as a job seeker, and start thinking of yourself as an investment. One that pays returns of 100%, 200%, or more.

Kevin Donlin

Photo: Jamie Hutt, StarTribune.com

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I can hear you now: "Huh? I'm looking for work. How can I stop being a job seeker?"

Well, you can think that way, if you want to be like everybody else. But why be ordinary?

Let me illustrate with a thought experiment ...

What kind of reaction do you think you'd get if you knocked on an employer's door and asked, "Could you give me a job?" I'll tell you. The reaction would be underwhelming. If you knocked on 100 doors you might get three or four "yes" or "maybe" answers. That's the response rate in a typical job search.

But what if you took a different approach?

What if you knocked on an employer's door and asked, "Wanna buy a dollar for 25 cents?" Here's the answer you'd get: "Tell me more!"

In other words, you will get more attention if you offer to sell employers money at a discount, than if you simply ask them for a job.

Which leads to the following paradigm shift: You need to stop thinking of yourself as a job seeker, and start thinking of yourself as an investment. One that pays returns of 100%, 200%, or more.

How?

Think back to your last job. Were you fired within 90 days? No? Good! That means you were either making more money or saving more money than your employer was paying you in salary. Otherwise, you would have been terminated. (If you left on bad terms, of course, think back to a successful job.)

In other words, when you did your job well, you produced a return on somebody's investment in you. Maybe it was 10% or 20%. Perhaps much more. How much? That's for you to figure out.

You must examine your work history and determine how much money you saved or earned on the job. Every job. Then, stick those numbers in your résumé and cover letters. And mention them in every networking conversation and job interview you have.

You need to be very clear about how much of a return on investment employers will get by hiring you. When you do this, you will stand out from a crowded field of ordinary candidates. And you will get hired faster.

Here are two ways to do it ...

1) Write down all the money you've saved or earned for employers.

What have you done to increase profits in your current and prior jobs? Be specific!

Do NOT write: "Sold products and met quotas." Write: "Sold $516,750 in one year while exceeding all four quarterly quotas by an average of 21%."

Do NOT write: "Produced substantial savings." Write: "Saved $45,890 in 45 days."

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Kevin Donlin