Clarity – Being “On Message”
We all look forward watching the Super Bowl
? Funny Commercials
For me, the best part of the Super Bowl is the commercials. I’d risk a bladder infection hoping to see a hilarious ad 🙂
When we are networking with people in our job search, it is like running a commercial for ourselves. When the message is garbled or unclear, it is like airing a bad commercial. And just like advertisers who spent a lot of money getting their spot in front of as many people as possible, so is the job seeker who is staying very busy networking but with a poor message.
I call this “netwasting”
If you lack clarity in the role you’re looking for, how you add value, and a list of target companies, the best course of action is to go off-air and get your message right first.
I can’t emphasize this point enough – Until you know what you are looking for and can clearly express that to someone else in a way they understand and can act on, you shouldn’t be actively networking. It is the exact same thing as airing a bad commercial. You are only hurting your brand and turning off people who otherwise want to help you.
The Junk Drawer
Another common and costly mistake job seekers make is to try and “keep their options open” by identifying as many roles, functions, and industries as possible that they might be suited for. The logic is that by having a broad array of places where they might be a fit, they increase their odds of finding an opportunity.
Unfortunately, the exact opposite consequence is the result. Failure to be reasonably specific dooms you to going in the junk drawer of people’s minds. If you’re familiar with Daniel Kahneman’s bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow, you will recognize his finding that our brains need a way to classify information (in this case, your job search specifics). When your job search focus is left too wide open, our brain doesn’t know where to “put you” and just like with things in our homes, stuff that doesn’t naturally go in a predetermined place goes in the junk drawer. Not where you want to be.
A key concept here is that all of your messaging needs to be consistent, focused, and integrated. Whether we are talking about networking, your resume, your LinkedIn profile, how you present yourself in an interview – whatever the forum or medium, you need to be “on message”.
Clarity is a beautiful thing because it frees your mind from confusion. If you’re confused about your core convictions, then you’re like a pinball machine, reacting to the last thing someone told you was important in your job search. This is why so many job seekers are constantly tweaking their resumes and making them a cluttered mess.
Conversely, when you have nailed down your convictions, you are liberated from trying to be all things to all potential employers (and staying out of the junk drawer). You are free from faking it in the hopes of convincing someone of something you’re not even convinced of yourself. One of the hallmarks of having established clarity is the ability to say, “No, that’s not a good fit for me.” Clarity will unlock your ability to convey your brand in an articulate, unambiguous, and compelling way.
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