It’s election time here in Jacksonville; our local mayoral and city council races are in full swing. It strikes me that your job search is a little like a race. Maybe there’s something you can learn from a well-run campaign.
First, a well-run campaign seeks out the best advice it can get. Candidates get help with organizing, messaging, and reaching out to voters and donors. The best candidates also talk to experts on issues and get candid feedback on their appearance and speaking skills. They seek out good advice and are smart enough to take it. Takeaway for jobseekers: develop a diverse group of advisors who can give you the best information on your industry and how to succeed.
A well-run campaign creates champions in the community, because the candidate can’t be everywhere at once. Part of your networking strategy should be to show people who you are so that they can promote you within their own personal networks. It’s why volunteering is such a powerful networking strategy; you get to demonstrate your skills and your work ethic in a real world setting. When people see what you can do, they will be able to champion you and your job search in more meaningful ways.
A well-run campaign listens to the voters and crafts a message that responds to their concerns. We’ve all hear about “tone deaf” politicians who can’t seem to gauge the mood of the electorate. Likewise, when a jobseeker is focused only on what he wants and doesn’t try to understand what the potential employer needs, he’s losing the race. And there are no polls to help him see and correct the trends in advance of the interview.
Finally, good campaigns don’t rely on negative messages. Jobseekers often run negative campaigns without realizing it. They blame their former employers for not receiving promotions; they blame the online application process for their lack of results, and they accuse companies of bad faith when they receive low salary offers. Focusing on what you can control and remaining upbeat is your best strategy for success. Just as voters are turned off by negative campaigns, your network will eventually tune out if you’re always complaining about what’s not fair in the current job market.