[04.12.09]
45 great comments!

Looking For Work? Don’t Be A Desperado.

find a job, looking for work, desperado, job search, desperateDesesperado” is an ancient Spanish word for desperate.  According to a post on Wikipedia, a desperado “cannot wait for something to happen and sometimes may resort to violent or reckless actions”.  Later in the 20th century, the term became synonymous with a daring outlaw.  Think of an old cowboy movie where the lead actor goes riding into town and survives a swarm of bullets to take out the bad guys and save the girl.
But, for the sake of this post, we’ll be using the historical meaning.  And we’ll change the actions of the desperado.  Instead of violent or reckless actions, we’ll focus on a weakness that comes across in full view at just the wrong time.
Why?  Because being a desperado in job search puts you in a very bad position with recruiters, HR folks and hiring managers.
To be frank, it makes you look weak.  Instead of a person in-demand you are just demanding.
It’s sad really.  Modern day job search desperados are people just like you and me.  In normal circumstances (when employed) they are often highly confident and purpose-driven in their business style.  But, as I’ve said in other posts, something happens to some people in job search.  And there are certain triggers that brings out the worst in people.
The triggers?
1.  A Lack Of Communication
This is probably the biggest frustration.  Job seekers expect news.  Get none. And decide to do something about it.  That something is often not well thought-out and is executed in a way that irritates the target.  Just the opposite of what was intended.  Check out my recent post regarding communication issues between job seekers and recruiters here.
2.  The Wrong Communication
Here’s the example.  Job seeker applies for job.  Feels qualified.  Gets either a form letter or a clear “no thanks”.  What?  Me?  This draws more emotion because now it is personal.  “They saw my resume and rejected it.  They rejected me!  I was totally a fit for that job!”
3.  The Extended Job Search
As the planned three month search moves into month six, things begin to change in the mind.  The deep down confidence is still there.  The memories of greatness still simmering.  But after a while recent experience begins to trump those memories.  Think of it like a build up of muck or residue on your shoes. You might start to walk a little different.  The swagger shifts to a struggle.
The idea for this post came from a great comment on Linkedin.  A hiring manager suggested that she could sense desperation and it was a significant turn-off.  Yes, a qualified candidate can shift from the A-list to “off the list” if desperation is detected.
Does that sound unfair?  Don’t the decision makers know that job search is hard?  That it can be hard on the confidence?  Sure, most of them understand that – they just don’t want to see it.
So, how do you go about being a proactive, hard charging job seeker without appearing desperate, weak or needy?
First the DO List:
Present a strong first pitch with your resume and intro – one that clearly outlines your qualifications and fit with the position.
Find at least one way to network yourself into the company.  Using Linkedin or your local network, find someone who can walk your resume to the desk of a hiring manager, key HR person or internal recruiter.
Act interesting, relevant and confident in your phone interviews.
Vet the company and people with whom you’ll be interviewing.  This combined with solid and engaging interview questions of your own sends a message that you are choosing your next role wisely.
Play the pursued, not the pursuer.  This can often be the most difficult.  You’ve done it all right up to this point.  You’ve interviewed with everyone.  You’ve received great, encouraging comments.  You’ve even been asking some very leading questions about relocation, benefits and timing.  No call for two weeks?  Relax and focus on other opportunities.  If they want you, someone will call.
Feel like one last respectful push might do it?  Consider your second attempt as one that comes from a networked third party.  Especially if that person got your resume in the pile from the start.
Next, the DON’T List:

Apply for jobs where you are not qualified.  Small stretch?  Sure.  But if the company has asked for ten years experience in medical sales and you have six in the mortgage industry, don’t apply.  Your asking for at least one of the above triggers to launch you into a pleading fit.

Get upset with someone for giving you honest feedback about your lack of fit.  If you are not a fit, let it go. If you can, try to ask a few questions to see if you can understand (if not obvious) where you missed the mark.
Be a pest.  In this case, three calls are not better than one.  Especially if each call gets a little louder, more angst-filled.  You will start to appear, yes, desperate.  Not the confident decision maker that can lead their company to the next level.
Make a fool out of yourself.  Ever thought of showing up in the company’s mascot outfit to show your company spirit?  Please don’t.  And please consider every action you take before doing so.  Ask a conservative friend or two in advance of any unique approach.  I would say that most unique efforts put you on the water cooler conversation list – not on the call back list.
Plead.  This can come in many forms.  Pleading suggests weakness and asks a hiring manager or company employee or a recruiter to change a decision based on your need instead of the need of the hiring company.
Now, some of this sounds cold.  And I don’t want to take all your tools away here.  Everyone wants to stand out during the application
and interview process, right?  But sometimes in a desire to get our point across we can begin to sound desperate.  Pleading.
You’ve heard stories where a salesman asked for the order unsuccessfully 99 times and was told yes, finally, on try 100.  If you decide to make repeat attempts at a company, be careful.  And do it with a relaxed confidence.
And make sure you really are the right person for the job.

Tim Tyrell-Smith is the creator of Tim’s Strategy. As a blogger, Tim has been a regular contributor to U.S. News and World Report, interviewed twice on NPR and is the author of two career books (“30 Ideas” and “HeadStrong”). Become a fan at http://facebook.com/TimsStrategy and follow on Twitter (@TimsStrategy). He lives with his wife and three kids in Mission Viejo, California.

Tim Tyrell-Smith – who has written posts on Tim's Strategy®.



Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Keeping A Positive Attitude In Life
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  • Shariq

    Excellent and very useful article, one that you should read again and again and more importantly remember always.

  • Shariq

    Excellent and very useful article, one that you should read again and again and more importantly remember always.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Thanks Shariq – I thought it helped bring the point to life as well. Thanks for your comments!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Thanks Shariq – I thought it helped bring the point to life as well. Thanks for your comments!

  • Leesa Goldin

    Amen! Thank you for this post Tim. While I’ve had a little extra time on my hands (here at the opportunity seeker), it has become a daily practice to fill my mind (and spirit) with motivational material. Yes, this is a different time, and being unemployed is hard on the psyche. However, I am reminded, to be an Eagle, not a Duck! In a newsletter that I receive from Simple Truths, I have read, “so many times, it’s not what is said but how it is said, that turns the switch from off to on.” Zig Ziglar once commented, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” We have to first change our thoughts, then our words and actions will follow. Thank you again!

  • Leesa Goldin

    Amen! Thank you for this post Tim. While I’ve had a little extra time on my hands (here at the opportunity seeker), it has become a daily practice to fill my mind (and spirit) with motivational material. Yes, this is a different time, and being unemployed is hard on the psyche. However, I am reminded, to be an Eagle, not a Duck! In a newsletter that I receive from Simple Truths, I have read, “so many times, it’s not what is said but how it is said, that turns the switch from off to on.” Zig Ziglar once commented, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” We have to first change our thoughts, then our words and actions will follow. Thank you again!

  • Glen Loock

    Tim
    Great article one that should be posted next to your computer and phone in your office, with a heading read before you act.
    THANKS

  • Glen Loock

    Tim
    Great article one that should be posted next to your computer and phone in your office, with a heading read before you act.
    THANKS

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Hi Leesa – You are welcome! Yes, being unemployed can be hard on the psyche. I love to write about the psychology of job search! Thanks for adding your thoughts . . .

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Hi Leesa – You are welcome! Yes, being unemployed can be hard on the psyche. I love to write about the psychology of job search! Thanks for adding your thoughts . . .

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Thanks Glen – really appreciate all of your comments. So glad to have you as a reader!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Thanks Glen – really appreciate all of your comments. So glad to have you as a reader!

  • http://www.growinggreatideas.com Karen Sieczka

    Your article makes some great points.
    Job seekers should keep this advice close at hand. I have been in this position before and it is good to remember, do what you can from a position of strength and then let it go!

  • http://www.growinggreatideas.com Karen Sieczka

    Your article makes some great points.
    Job seekers should keep this advice close at hand. I have been in this position before and it is good to remember, do what you can from a position of strength and then let it go!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Thanks Karen – From your lips to the ears of job seekers. A lot of folks believe they are not able to do this, but it really is the best way to operate!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Thanks Karen – From your lips to the ears of job seekers. A lot of folks believe they are not able to do this, but it really is the best way to operate!

  • http://www.hellinthehallway.net/ Deborah Mourey

    Good post, although almost all common sense. I suggest to people that they turn their thinking this way. What if you were the recruiter, what would impress you? This simple exercise (and I suggest talking/role play to/with someone else before most interactions)can demonstrate clearly whether what you want to say is in your best interest. Thanks…
    My blog also provides positive ways to approach job searching and other life transitions.
    http://www.hellinthehallway.net/

  • http://www.hellinthehallway.net/ Deborah Mourey

    Good post, although almost all common sense. I suggest to people that they turn their thinking this way. What if you were the recruiter, what would impress you? This simple exercise (and I suggest talking/role play to/with someone else before most interactions)can demonstrate clearly whether what you want to say is in your best interest. Thanks…
    My blog also provides positive ways to approach job searching and other life transitions.
    http://www.hellinthehallway.net/

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Deborah – Thanks for adding your perspective. Great to have you out there blogging!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Deborah – Thanks for adding your perspective. Great to have you out there blogging!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115702384ac970b Stacey Craig

    This is great common-sense advice, Tim. Job seekers need to keep their end goal in mind and remember it before they take any action that could jeopardize their ability to achieve that goal.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115702384ac970b Stacey Craig

    This is great common-sense advice, Tim. Job seekers need to keep their end goal in mind and remember it before they take any action that could jeopardize their ability to achieve that goal.

  • http://www.LaBursa.ro Cristian

    Good article.
    One observation you may add at the Don’t list:
    Don’t apply on jobs were you are overqualified. Even if they will hire you, you’ll have a salary that will not satisfy you and maybe you boss will know less that you know. And this will frustrate you on long term.

  • http://www.LaBursa.ro Cristian

    Good article.
    One observation you may add at the Don’t list:
    Don’t apply on jobs were you are overqualified. Even if they will hire you, you’ll have a salary that will not satisfy you and maybe you boss will know less that you know. And this will frustrate you on long term.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Hi Cristian – Thanks for your addition to the “don’t” list. There are some great examples where an over-qualified person can come in and add real value – especially on a young team. But I agree generally that you are better suited applying for jobs at your level and that asks for similar types of experience.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Hi Cristian – Thanks for your addition to the “don’t” list. There are some great examples where an over-qualified person can come in and add real value – especially on a young team. But I agree generally that you are better suited applying for jobs at your level and that asks for similar types of experience.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Thanks Stacey! It is all part of the always important psychology during job search.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Thanks Stacey! It is all part of the always important psychology during job search.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/daultonwestjr Daulton West

    The psychology of the job search expressed very well via the DO list and DON’T list. Great insight and worth remembering. For some who have been in career transition a while, a great article to come back to for an “attitude adjustment” every now and then. It’s how you market and present yourself and the “Don’t be a Desperado” theme is good advice for a better way of approaching the job search.
    Thanks, Tim

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/daultonwestjr Daulton West

    The psychology of the job search expressed very well via the DO list and DON’T list. Great insight and worth remembering. For some who have been in career transition a while, a great article to come back to for an “attitude adjustment” every now and then. It’s how you market and present yourself and the “Don’t be a Desperado” theme is good advice for a better way of approaching the job search.
    Thanks, Tim

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Thanks Daulton – Yes, we all need an attitude adjustment during job search. Either to get “up” or to prevent getting to sure of our situation. Great addition!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Thanks Daulton – Yes, we all need an attitude adjustment during job search. Either to get “up” or to prevent getting to sure of our situation. Great addition!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/susanwalls Susan Walls

    Thanks for the article,Tim. All great reminders, particularly for job seekers in our once-in-a-lifetime economy! I agree with many of the other comments – we should read it as a daily reminder!
    Thanks again!
    Susan Walls
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/susanwalls

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/susanwalls Susan Walls

    Thanks for the article,Tim. All great reminders, particularly for job seekers in our once-in-a-lifetime economy! I agree with many of the other comments – we should read it as a daily reminder!
    Thanks again!
    Susan Walls
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/susanwalls

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Glad you liked it, Susan!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1220292248s14607 Tim Tyrell-Smith

    Glad you liked it, Susan!

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  • Lisa

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve been looking for the past, er, year since graduation for something in my field and this is some of the most helpful advice I’ve found. :) Definitely bookmarking it for reference later.

    • http://timsstrategy.com/ TimsStrategy

      Hey Lisa and thank you. Feels good to know people are getting value. Good luck in your search! :-)

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