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  • Writer's pictureBetsy Kent


Looking for a job, especially if you don’t have the conventional career path for the job you want, is daunting. Most clients come to me knowing they need a new resume, an updated LinkedIn profile, practice interviewing and maybe a refresher on how to network effectively.

But once those things are in place, fear, overwhelm and confusion usually set it.

But it need not keep you stuck.

The job search is really just a math equation. The confusion and fear is drama that we create for ourselves.

It’s simple.


That’s it!

AND you don’t need everything to be equal on the left side of the equation to arrive at the product of a Job Offer.

Let’s go through this, one "number" at a time.

Skills - these are the minimum hard and soft skillsets that the position requires. Even if you don’t have the required skills from a previous job or an academic degree, you can still showcase (enhance/learn) skills in a variety of ways, for example:

  1. Create a portfolio of projects on your own time

  2. Volunteer where you can use the skills required

  3. Do freelance work using the desired skills

  4. Create a project or proposal of a project specific to the desired role

Uniqueness - this is the set of facts that make you more compelling than all the other applicants with approximately the same set and level of skills. Here are some ways that you can do that:

  1. Show you have industry experience, even if in another aspect of the industry, or show how your current industry is similar as it pertains to the role you want

  2. Exhibit passion and deep knowledge of the industry/company or specific role

  3. Have an advocate with gravitas who can speak on your behalf

Fit - this is the degree to which you will be pleasant to work with, BUT it also means that you show that you are not a retention risk, ready to leave at the next opportunity that crosses your path.

  1. This part is so important that many companies will hire someone with less experience or less sophisticated skills and invest in teaching them rather than hire someone who is a jerk or who doesn’t show they are invested in the company enough to stay for a reasonable amount of time.

The good news is that you don’t need equal amounts of each of these items. You can play around with each such that you still get the same result.

5 x 3 x 4 = 60 (last I checked) but so too does 10 x 3 x 2. And also 1 x 15 x 4.

The math of the job search is clear - but the way in which you play around with the value of each of the "numbers" is where the art of it all comes into play.

Where do you have the numbers? That’s the math.

Start there and get creative in how to best showcase them. You get to calibrate your energy and effort in the areas you are strongest in the way you most prefer. That’s the art.

The good news is that if you can make this equation work, then a job offer is closer than you think.

The bad news is that there is no perfect formula that works every time to guarantee success.

And we usually make any failure mean that there is something wrong with us, rather than that there is a better way to balance the equation for any specific job. That’s the drama. And it will slow you down you every time!

Start with the math, add the art and put the drama away. That’s the recipe for a great job search!

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