Newsflash to Job Seekers: Your Job Search is Not About You

What is the most importance piece of advice I give to job seekers? Your job search is not about you!

Many of us grew up thinking that the world would bend to our needs and desires. We were raised with the expectation that work equaled self-actualization, meaning our jobs should provide us psychological, emotional, and material satisfaction in addition to a steady paycheck. Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but in today’s loyalty-free workplace there isn’t time for that.

Consider this:

Jared worked at the same company for twenty-four years. He’s never missed a day of work, nor has he ever reported late to his 9:00am shift. Coworkers are therefore concerned when Jared is not at his designated seat for the regularly scheduledTuesday morning 9:30 staff meeting.

Six minutes after the meeting starts, Jared stumbles into the meeting room, visibly shaken. “I passed out on the stairs heading down the subway and nearly died,” he explains. His boss replies, “You mean to tell me it took you thirty-six minutes to roll down a flight of stairs?”

OK, this may seem like an extreme example. But the reality is that the boss’ comments are perfectly aligned with today’s loyalty-free workplace. If you’re Jared’s spouse (or perhaps one of his coworkers witnessing this scenario), your natural reaction is to worry about Jared’s well-being. If you’re Jared’s boss, however, your focus on the company and the work that needs to get done.

Let’s face it: Work is work. No one wakes up in the morning and says, “Have a great day, honey. I’m off to have fun!” More likely you wake up and say, “I really have to get going, or else I’ll be late for work.” It’s a professional obligation, and we have to be professional at all times.

Let me try to reinforce this very important point in a different way:

A woman is arguing with her husband over whether he is being aggressive enough about asking for a raise. “You need to tell your boss that you have five children, a sick father, three dogs, and a wife that has to stay up all night cleaning your home because you cannot afford a housekeeper,”she insists.

The next day, the husband returns home and announces that he has been fired.

“Why?” yells the wife. “What did you do?”

The husband says, “My boss told me I have too many outside activities.”

The reality is, if you’re looking for a job, potential employers could not care less if you’re unemployed with a mortgage to pay, growing medical bills, and absolutely, positively need this job. A prospective employer will see this desperation as a distraction that may, and probably will, prevent you from being productive. All a prospective employer wants to know is (a) Do you have the skills that they’re looking for and (b) If they hire you, can you hit the ground running and get the job done?

Even if you consider a particular vacancy to be your “dream job,” the last thing a hiring manager wants to hear is how excited you are about working for the company. Believe it or not, sharing that information can actually hurt your chances of landing the job. You have to remember that it’s not about you—it’s about what you can do for the company. In the loyalty-free workplace, making it about you will be a hindrance to your success.

Think about your friends who hijack conversations. They’re the ones who, when we tell them how depressed we are or that we’re going through a really bad time, turn it around so that they’re talking about their problems, instead of listening to ours. In other words, they make themselves the center of attention. In most cases, you can right the situation by reminding your friend, “Hey, this isn’t about you!” But if you hijack a job interview by bringing up something that has nothing to do with the company’s needs, you may not get a second change and you will end up eliminating yourself from further consideration.

The point is that employers want what employers want—and almost always get it. So, if you want to have the greatest chance of success in your job search, make sure every single thing you write, say, or present in the hiring process is about what you can do for your employer—and what your employer can do for you will follow, in the form of that coveted job offer that has previously been just beyond your reach.

Interested in learning more? I have you covered! Head over to Amazon to look inside The Perpetual Paycheck: 5 Secrets to Finding a Job, Keeping a Job, and Earning an Income for Life in the Loyalty-Free Workplace, or my new book Over the Hill But Not the Cliff: 5 Strategies for 50+ Job Seekers to Push Past Ageism & Find a Job in the Loyalty-Free Workplace.

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