I got an email last week from Jim S. in New York. His job-search question may not apply exactly to you, but the mindset I suggest to solve it should.
So, if you give me two minutes here, I'll show you two ways to get hired faster, by playing to your strengths, and offering employers the equivalent of "found" money.
“I have been a self-employed residential general contractor with some commercial supervision experience for 35 years. Last fall I had heart surgery and as a consequence, I am no longer able to meet the physical demands of the job. How do I best convey this situation to a potential employer and still get in the door?”
When Jim asks, “How do I best convey this [health] situation to a potential employer and still get in the door?” what he’s really asking is: “How can I bring up my health problems and still get an interview?”
This is common, backwards thinking.
Instead, of worrying about how to confess a negative, Jim should build a case for his strengths until they overcome any resistance in the minds of employers.
Here’s the question that Jim (and you) should ask instead: “How can I appeal so strongly to an employer’s self interest that any issues about my physical condition won’t matter -- they’ll want to hire me for my brains and not my body?”
Put another way, there must be some management function Jim can perform in construction that can leverage his 35 years of industry experience and knowledge, without requiring hard physical labor. He should examine his work history until he can picture a suitable job.
Better yet, he should call past supervisors, vendors, and clients, remind them of the good things he did for them, then ask: “Given my knowledge and experience, what leadership role do you see me playing for an employer?”
This is one way to overcome obstacles of physical condition, age, etc.
Now, here’s a second way to get more job interviews …
Let’s say you find a wallet full of money and credit cards. On the driver’s license, it reads: “Warren Buffett, Omaha, Nebraska.” Now. Do you think you might be able to meet the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway?
All you’d have to do is call Mr. Buffett and say, “I found your wallet. Can I deliver it in person?” You would enjoy making that call, having that conversation, and meeting Mr. Buffett.
Well, you can do the same thing with employers -- get to meet them by offering to return their “lost” money.
Research employers until you can call a hiring manager and say something like this: “Mr. Smith, I found some lost money that belongs to you. You see, I called your office twice posing as a potential client, and your staff didn't ask me a simple question that my last employer used to increase revenues 35%. Can I meet you for 15 minutes this week and give you that information?”
You would enjoy making that call, having that conversation, and meeting Mr. Smith.
And if you brought your resume and more tips to help him in his business, a job interview would be the likely result.
Or, you can mail a letter describing your “found money” information, say you’ll call to discuss, and then call at the appointed time.