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  • Writer's pictureBetsy Kent


Let’s face it. The job search is not anyone’s favorite activity.

We think the most important thing is that we have to be good at what we do.

So we hunker down and spend a ton of time improving and practicing our skills. We want to be sure that it will be clear that we are experts, the best at what we do. We take courses, read books, maybe even get yet another degree.

Then when we feel we are skilled enough we start the other stuff. The stuff we really don’t like doing. The stuff that requires us to go outside of our comfort zone and ask people to see our value, and to like us, and to want to pay us.

To add insult to injury, we have to network and ask a lot of people questions about open opportunities, and ask them to connect us with the “right people”.

Then when we don’t get the results we want fast enough we go back and learn more skills, or get better at the ones we already know.

We think that will make the difference.

I call BS on that!

Almost every client I have had who wants to uplevel or pivot their professional lives makes the mistake of confusing Behaviors and Skills (the BS of it).

In some cases, and it is the minority by a long shot, a client might need to materially add to their skill set to get to the next level.

But, the vast majority of my clients are expert enough in their desired job, but they still insist on investing most of their time and effort into improving their skills rather than actually cultivating their networks and applying for jobs.

This makes sense. We humans don’t like to put ourselves in situations where we could be rejected. Being accepted by a “tribe” is an evolutionary survival instinct - primitive man was much safer from those saber tooth tigers if he was not alone!

Learning new skills lets us side step the risk of rejection. It is comfortable and familiar. Most of us have done it all our lives. We are even comfortable with the discomfort of not getting it right from the start.

BUT unfortunately, risking rejection is the only way to find real success in landing a new role.

And that means that you have to take the actions/behaviors that lead to actually getting a job, not just working on the skills that you think you need if someone dropped a job in your lap.

If your job search is not going as quickly as you had hoped and you are not getting any traction even though you feel busy, you need to do a BS assessment.

Do you really need to learn/improve skills? Usually, until you get deep into a few interviews, you don’t really know which skills, if any, you are missing.

Why waste time learning skills that you only imagine might improve your chances of getting a job.

More likely you need to start, or scale the BEHAVIORS that actually move you closer to getting the opportunity to interview for a job.

Do a quick audit of:

- the number of outreaches you make in a week

- the number of applications you submit

- the number of industry events you attend

- the number of times you post content on LI or other social media platforms

Then ask yourself which of these behaviors has resulted the most conversations with real people, whether networking conversations or interviews.

Start with doubling the number of those behaviors first and see if you can scale your results.

Then move on to the next most useful behavior and double that.

Rinse and repeat.

If that doesn’t work, increase it again.

In my experience, the length of time it takes to get a job is all about BS confusion. Too much skill learning, not enough direct job seeking behavior.

Don’t be confused, don’t BS yourself.

Increase those job seeking behaviors.

Wait until you get to final interviews to decide if you need to improve skills.

And then, and only then, is it time to invest your time and effort on the skills you are sure you are missing.

The rest is BS!

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