It’s Not a Job Hunt, It’s a Campaign!
A great career needs a great launch.
We begin in Iowa
There’s a young guy working in a coffee shop in Iowa right now who wants more. He has no idea his skills are valued at a great company in Austin.
There’s a hiring manager at a startup in Austin right now who has no idea there’s someone in Iowa with a perfect skillset for her customer success role.
It’s not an isolated incident. There are tons of people in tons of cities across the country who have no idea their skills are in demand at tons of great companies they’ve never heard of.
This kind of information asymmetry exists everywhere, even in the networked age.
We’re still new to the info age when it comes to jobs
People are getting better at sharing information on the dating market, the social market, the charity market, and the entertainment market. There are dating apps where you share who you are to find a match, social media where you can find and make new friends, crowdfunding campaigns to share your favorite causes, and content ratings, reviews, and discussions around your favorite books and shows.
It’s a connected world!
But the hiring market looks a lot different.
A black box
Remember in school, when you’d write a paper no one will ever see, submit it to a single authority figure, then wait in suspense for it to come back with a grade? That’s what the job application process is like, except with less feedback.
Contrast that to publishing an article on Medium. There’s no one authority to decide if it’s good or bad. It gets seen and shared and anyone who might like it can come across it and give it a clap. That’s what the job hunt should be like.
Both sides are still doing the job matching process behind closed doors in a siloed, one-to-one, black box process gated by old stale status symbols and trusted third party credentials.
What if you opened it up?
Showing your skills, interests, and abilities in an open way, sharing with your network, tapping their dispersed connections, and treating your career launch as a campaign or event changes the game entirely.
It gets that info out of your head and lets the people who value it find you.
A vibrant, dynamic, open marketplace of talent and skills allows the best information to flow freely, and the best people find the best fits.
What if career launches were more like product launches?
Product creators have learned how to navigate this networked world. New products (books, movies, software, causes) gear up for launch day, rally their supporters, create landing pages, and broadcast to every platform they can so the world knows what they’re about and interested customers will hear about it and come to them.
Career launch hasn’t adapted to the possibilities.
You are your own startup. You’re Me, Inc. What would happen if you treated finding your next professional opportunity like a company treats finding customers?
It’s not as hard as you think
And way better return on investment than blasting tons of resumes.
Launching your job hunt campaign is almost as simple as flipping a mental switch. Switch how you think about the job search and instead of spending the time on cold resumes, create a narrative around your skills and what you can do for people. Then tell your friends. Ask them to tell their friends. You don’t need special genius. If you ready to come out from the job-seeking shadows, you can get started anytime.
The big opportunities
The thing you need on the job market is some kind of signal — a packet of information someone can quickly digest and get an idea where you’re a fit — and a way to get that signal in front of the right opportunities.
The dominant approach to the signal has been to buy a credential like a college degree and hope it shows your value. They get conferred behind closed doors and you’re asking people to trust what they stand for.
The dominant approach to sending that signal has been to submit resumes to 150 job postings. It’s the narrowest of narrowcasting. You aim your signal at a single target and hope it’s the right one to cut through the noise. It’s shooting blind.
Neither works well.
That means there’s an opportunity for innovation in both!
Opportunity #1: Be your own credential
Credentials are signals. But they’re declining in value. They’re generic and ubiquitous.
Now you can build a body of work that shows your skill and ability better than any paper credential. Show your work!
Opportunity #2: Broadcast your signal
Signals get lost in the noise. Rather than shooting resumes into application systems, you can share your skills with the world and rally your network around your job hunt. Harness the power of dispersed information.
Broadcasting the signal increases the odds of a good fit exponentially. Let as many people as possible bump into it, and the odds that the right ones will take notice increase. You’ll discover opportunities you never knew existed.
Taking the next leap in networked careers
LinkedIn was a big leap at the dawn of the networked age. One of their insights was that the best talent is usually (kinda happily) already working somewhere and unable to go send around resumes.
LinkedIn provided a way to keep a basic resume out there that people could find so there could be a secret job hunt going on all the time. This was a big win for recruiters and employees. It made it possible to have a perpetual soft test of the market at any time without jeopardizing your current job.
But the “tacit job hunt” approach also has limitations. You can’t put the richest, most relevant info on your profile. You can’t pitch your strengths aggressively or take a long shot pitching a dream company openly. You can’t proactively request recommendations and help in finding a better gig. Most of all, people without already-valuable titles and work histories don’t have a way of signaling skill and fit and don’t come up in recruiter searches. This is why hardly anyone gets on LinkedIn until they already have their first few years of professional work history.
Bringing the job hunt out from the shadows
What if you could scream, “Here’s who I am! Here’s what I want! Here’s what I can do for you! Who do you know that I should talk to?”
It’s ideal for first professional role seekers, because they have no cost in being open with their job hunt. The bookstore or coffee shop where they work doesn’t get jealous or pay much attention. In fact, their network is eager to help them as they first get started. And they are most in need of a signal beyond thin work history or generic credentials.
But it won’t stop there.
Companies aren’t pretending jobs are for life anymore. It’s common for employees to openly seek side gigs, or gig workers to openly seek jobs, and it’s becoming more common to leave a role on good terms and even have them help you find your next role.
In other words, the value of keeping the job hunt passive and secret is declining as the risk of a public search and pitching of companies drops.
Make the job hunt an event
Build and broadcast your signal out in the open. Unlock the power of your network to source jobs you won’t find on jobs boards. Crowdsource coaching, advice, and insight on your job hunt.
You aren’t just a set of data owned by a database and sold to recruiters. You are your own brand. Own it. Share it. Market it. Open up your career launch and win.
It’s time to turn the jobs board on its head. It’s time for a seeker-first career launch process.
Back to Iowa…
That kid at the coffee shop in Iowa can,
- Create a profile that showcases his character, skills, interests, and abilities.
- Make his career launch an event and rally his network for support.
- Broadcast his signal to the world.
- Get a friend of a friend to see and pass it on to a startup in Austin looking for young talent.
- Get an email from an amazing company he never knew existed offering him an interview for a role he didn’t even know he’d love.
That’s why we built Crash.
We hope you’ll come along and help us reinvent career launch.
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Thanks to Mike Maples, Clint Chao, Steve Cadigan, Chistopher Lochhead, Taylor Pearson, and Levi Morehouse for insight and feedback that shaped this.