Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Dissent, disagreement, compromise and consensus 5 – the jobs and careers context 4

This is my 5th installment to a series on negotiating in a professional context, starting with the more individually focused side of that as found in jobs and careers, and going from there to consider the workplace and its business-supportive negotiations (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 484 and following for Parts 1-4.)

I began a process of more systematically discussing negotiations and negotiating skills and approaches in a jobs and careers context in this series, with its Part 2 and Part 3, focusing there on the earliest, orienting steps of a job search that would precede you’re approaching and applying for a position with a more desired, first choice category possible employer. And I began to transition from that in Part 4, where I focused on the issues of practice in how you would reach out to a more preferred or first choice employment possibility, and on what you would offer about yourself and about what you would share as to what you could bring to a new job working for them. And I at least briefly touched upon the issues of how you would do all of this. And all of this, of necessity also has to include practice in both listening and two-way communicating. And that also means you’re gaining practice in conveying that you have learned about the businesses that you apply to, and that you have in fact learned what you can, of what you should know about those businesses that you seek work with, and that you really understand precisely what you are explicitly applying for and trying to land a job with them to do there. Note that I just offered that point in terms of what you have learned in advance of meeting with people at one of these hiring businesses. But I stress here that your preliminary, pre-direct encounter study and research can only be a first step, and with a goal of helping you to more effectively listen to and learn from the people who you meet with there. This next step in your research is at least as important, if not more so as this is where you build your foundation for what you would seek to become a more collaborative, and buy-in framed conversation with these first-step hiring gatekeepers. In summary, all of this means you’re showing that you are not simply using a generic, to whom this may concern approach when applying to specific possible next employers, that you are using when approaching others too, and even indiscriminately so.

So I assume from this point on in this emerging narrative that you have a fairly solid idea as to what you would see as an ideal next job for you, and with a business that would be a best fit for you. And I assume that you have updated and refined the job search marketing tools that you would need for this: with your resume and other written documents, and with your interviewing and other skills as they could most effectively be used for these jobs in presenting your case. And that brings me to this posting, which I begin with a challenge of sorts. I just said at the top of this same paragraph that “you have a fairly solid idea as to what you would see as an ideal next job for you.” I begin the core line of discussion of this series installment by questioning what that means, by offering two understandings as to how that type of door opening but also door closing decision might be made.

• Are you approaching your job choice decision making here, deciding where you would put your greatest effort, on the basis of short-term need, and reactively so?
• Or are you making this decision from a longer-term, career development perspective and as such, more proactively so?

Both of these approaches can be necessary and even essential, depending on your needs and your circumstances. If you are out of work or facing a likely downsizing or other challenge that would lead to that, as one possible source of immediate need, then you might very well have to focus entirely on simply landing a job and on having a steady source of income again. (I have on occasion referred to such immediate needs jobs as “umbrella jobs” in this blog and in my Guide in it, where the basic idea behind them is that you take on work to meet your immediate here-and-now needs, to keep a roof over your head among other details.) If, on the other hand you are already employed but at a position that might not offer you much of a future, even if it keeps a roof over your head and food on the table now, you might want to pursue the second of those two bullet pointed approaches in seeking out a more career planning-oriented next job.

I could give other examples that would more fully support pursuing one or the other of those two job search approaches, and I add here that there are gray area contexts where you would face needs that would arguably lead you either way. In that case, I would suggest that you take as proactive and as long-term value an approach as possible, if you have to in effect find a middle ground between them. But the most important suggestion that I would offer here is that you at least know and understand the differences between those two approaches, and what you are actually contemplating and doing.

The default for most of us is to simply take a short-term, here-and-now next job search approach, and to simply drift along, longer-term from that as far as any possible career planning or development is concerned. So know what you are doing as far as that point of distinction is concerned, and why, and seek out opportunities to become more proactive, and to be more in control of your own work life and your own career path.

I have offered some tools for helping actually do this in this blog, and in my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development in it, in particular. And one of the most important and useful of them is in thinking through your constraints box that would list what you most want to pursue and what you would most want to avoid or at least limit too. For some basic orienting reference pieces on this, see:

Job Search and Your Constraints Box,
Globalization and Your Constraints Box and
Working In-House, Working as a Consultant and Your Constraints Box.

Know yourself and your needs, goals and priorities. Know everything pertinent that you can, about the businesses that you apply for work at, and certainly where that involves the type of work that you would do there, and the basic goals and priorities of that business. Find out who you would meet with and communicate with, and with that definitely including the hiring managers responsible for finding and bringing in the right candidates for those jobs, and for bringing them on board if selected and hired. And remember that everything that you share with these people will serve as a step in a conversation that at least ideally from your perspective, would lead to a job offer and to the terms of employment discussions and negotiations that would follow from that.

And with that, I turn to consider those two-way conversations, starting with your initial outreach to a desired business that you would want to work for, and to a specific hiring manager there (or their first-cut gatekeepers who would feed selected possible candidates to them for their consideration.) I will at least begin discussing all of this as an unfolding process, starting in my next series installment. Meanwhile, you can find this and related material at Page 3 to my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, and also see its Page 1 and Page 2. And you can also find this series at Social Networking and Business 2 and also see its Page 1 for related material. And I particularly recommend your at least briefly reviewing a specific job search best practices series that I developed here on the basis of both my own job search experience and from working with others going through that: Finding Your Best Practices Plan B When Your Job Search isn’t Working, as can be found at Page 1 of my above-noted Guide as its postings 56-72.

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