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How a Change of Focus Can Transform Your Job Search

Posted: 22/06/2012 5:00:00 AM by AMMA Mining Oil and Gas Jobs
Filed under: Job-seekers, Career-resources


One of the first things new sales people are taught is to ‘find the pain’ when going on a sales call. The thinking behind this advice is no one is going to invest money unless they need to or want to. If a sales person proves their solution is going to solve a problem, the decision to purchase becomes a whole lot easier.

A recent article in Forbes suggests jobseekers could improve their chances by taking the same approach. For a Successful Job Search: Solve Someone’s Problem states there are three steps to solving a problem:
  1. Focus on your target audience (employer)
  2. Figure out their problem (find their pain)
  3. Be the best solution (let them know how you can fix their problem)
Consider most candidates hit the interview thinking about what the employer can do for them. How refreshing would it be for the hiring manager if the jobseeker came prepared to discuss what problems they could solve for the employer?

Change of focus

Jobseeker Andrew Collingwood used this tactic as part of a job search that resulted in five job offers in a single week. In the Advice From a Successful Jobseeker post, he described it as a change of attitude.

“I started thinking about what I could do for the employer,” Andrew said.

“I didn’t ask one person what they could do for me. I told them what I was prepared to do for their company.”

In the ultimate commitment to the three-step plan, he even volunteered his services for two weeks to prove he was the best person.

Brutal truth for jobseekers

The Forbes article positions the technique in a more brutal fashion.

“It’s not about you. No one cares about you. No one cares what you’ve done. No one wakes up and decides to hire you on the spur of the moment for no apparent reason. They care about themselves. They care about their unsolved problems. Find the organization’s pain. And find the individual in the organization who feels that pain most acutely.”

It’s a good bet the person doing the interview is going to be feeling pain or be acting on behalf of the person or group doing the suffering. If you spend time doing your research before the interview, you’ll be well positioned to ask the right questions to find out what problem(s) need to be solved.

What this means for jobseekers

A job search is a time when you’re necessarily focused on your education or training, your skills and your experience. You spend a lot of time working on your resume and your interviewing techniques. You also spend considerable time speaking with your network. That’s an awful lot of ‘you’ and ‘your’, don’t you think? Step outside that focus and think about the problems a prospective employer is experiencing. It’s a great way to set you apart from the other jobseekers who are likely to be worried only about what’s happening to them.

Have you ever tried to find the pain in an organisation during your job search?

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