Be a Career Activist, Not a Job Seeker

Be a Career Activist, Not a Job Seeker

Finding a new or better job is fifty percent perspiration and fifty percent imagination. It takes hard work and a hard look at yourself. Success depends on both the effort you put in and what’s inside your head and heart.

Most of the people who find themselves in transition these days accept a descriptive label only an employer could love. They allow themselves to be called a “job seeker.” Indeed, many actually think of themselves that way. They are a supplicant for work.

Job seekers stand in long lines at career fairs waiting patiently for thirty seconds with a recruiter who’s going to talk to two or three hundred other supplicants during the event. They go to corporate career sites and follow the directions for job seekers who are one of several hundred who will apply for each opening posted on the site. And, they join hundreds of other job seekers who pore over the jobs posted on job boards and social media sites every day.

Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with attending career fairs, visiting corporate career sites and using job boards and social media sites. But, here’s the hard truth: if you let yourself be seen by recruiters and employers as just “one of the herd,” if the only way you try to stand out is with a couple of paragraphs on a resume that may get 15 seconds of attention when it’s reviewed, the odds of your being hired are slim and none.

So, what should you do?

Stop acting like you’re a supplicant for work – a job seeker – and re-imagine yourself as a success in your field – a “career activist.” As I describe in The Career Activist Republic and A Multitude of Hope, career activists have several defining attributes, but three are the most important:
• They never ever look for a job. They look for a career advancement opportunity that will increase both the paycheck and the satisfaction they bring home from work.
• They never ever let a gap appear in their resume. So, when they’re in transition, they employ themselves at working to expand their knowledge and skills.
• They never ever think of themselves as an employee. They are, instead, a “person of talent” who leases their expertise to an employer, but for only as long as it benefits them.

Those three attributes are the basis for “economic disobedience.” They enable you to take charge of your job search and career so you don’t become their victim.

So, here’s my question for our group: how do you keep from falling into the “supplicant for work” trap?

1 Comment

  1. I get really tired of reading the ‘no gaps on the resume’ line. Just why is that? It certainly isn’t real life and honestly, I don’t want to work for an employer – or anyone else – who doesn’t get that. What about travel? Life discovery? Life events? Seriously… And I don’t want to have to make something up or put my creative writing skills to work to cover that. Aren’t we passed that yet? Otherwise, I like this approach. Makes far more sense to me.