9 Lives for Women Blog

Hope is Not a Strategy | March 13th, 2012

A smart, humorous and very witty guy I know lost his senior-level job and lived to tell the story.  To document the experience he wrote a job seeker’s manifesto called “Hope is Not a Strategy”.  Though my focus is wholly on women, I find that men sometimes have good ideas, too—so I’m sharing some of his job seeking wisdom in this blog.

First of all, this guy is over 60.  So by all accounts the cards were not stacked in his favor.  But he’s my favorite success story because he simply refused to bow to the odds.  In my last blog (You’re Not Unemployed, You Have a Sales Job), I said job seekers need to be salespeople—and he sold himself so well and so tenaciously he should have won the sales trip to Mexico.

And he is such a Linkedin believer he should be their national spokesperson.

I told him that he should turn his manual into a book, but he’s too busy being a banker.  So here are a few of his best tidbits:

  • Say it well and succinctly.  Potential employers scan your resume and cover letter for 15 seconds looking for signs of life.  They’re thinking three things:  1) so what, 2) make me care and 3) do it fast.
  • Consider a biography to bring your CV to life.  It’s a way to give your candidacy some color, humor and depth—maybe even more than your resume.  (Look at my biography as an example—it’s a lot more fun to read than my resume.)
  • Get on Linkedin.  Know how people who are not on Linkedin are generally perceived.  They generally fall into one of the following categories:  too young, computer illiterate (they think it’s Nintendo for adults or an invasion of privacy), certain their job has a Lifetime Warranty, over 55 or naïve.
  • Don’t be on the JV Linkedin team.  Over 500 contacts means that you are a committed, serious and an active networker who’s in the game.  Under 100 contacts means that you’re not committed, you’re not a serious job seeker, you’re probably just accepting the occasional invitation and you’re sitting on the bench.
  • Build out your Linkedin profile.  Get a professional photo, put in a few books, join some groups, talk about some events you’re attending.
  • Recognize that networking is the battery that will run your job search.  You need to make an X-treme sport out of it.  Your search will only be as strong as your network and your ability to leverage it.
  • Engage in strategic networking that includes a request for specific help.  “Let me know if you hear of any openings” is not real networking. That’s called hoping.
  • Always try to have 10 to 15 possible opportunities in the pipeline.  Don’t be caught in a situation where your pipeline is zero.  If you don’t own a lottery ticket you cannot win.

Take these excellent job search tips and run with them.  And in the comments section share some of yours!

  • Realize that only those who are at the top of the job search game are going to win a job.
  • Don’t let your age stop you:  with the right attitude and approach anyone can find a significant job at any age.
  • Dig in and get it done—nothing is going to land on your lap and you have to make your job search your more than full-time job.
  • Get Linkedin and milk it for all it’s worth.
  • Don’t just be a networker—be a true connector who both gives and gets.



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