I have not looked for a job since 1986, when I applied at Kinko’s Service Corporation. Since then, all of my employers and clients have found me.
For the last five years, I’ve been freelancing as a writer, photographer, and marketing consultant, but I miss the achievements and camaraderie one experiences in a team environment. So now I am looking for a job.
A lot of people reentering the workforce worry that the world has changed and their skills and experience are irrelevant. For example, pay-per-click and search-engine-optimization strategies from five years ago are obsolete today. Big deal. Marketing strategies and tactics change constantly, whether one is in the trenches or not. Playing catch-up is the nature of the beast. I’m not worried about the pressure to learn and innovate, because that should always come from within anyway.
The biggest hurdle I’m facing has nothing to do with changes in marketing trends, but in how much I have changed over the course of my career.
I know a lot of divorced people, and my workplace re-entry challenge is analogous to the frustrations they face re-entering the dating world. In a nutshell, experience has taught us what we absolutely will not accept.
For example, I insist on working for a company that does something concrete, honorable and useful. That narrows my prospects dramatically.
Moreover, I’ve had the great privilege to work with outstanding leaders and managers over the past thirty years, so I’m pretty spoiled. That’s why I do not include cover letters with the resumes I submit online. My accomplishments and experience speak for themselves. Why would I want to work for someone that can be swayed by a couple of elegant paragraphs?
Hiring is the most important activity in any organization, and I want to be found by an employer willing to dig deep to discover the right person for the assignment at hand. The hiring manager that prefers a candidate because, “he wants it more” misunderstands the assignment for which he or she is hiring. Why would I want to work for an incompetent employer?
Am I missing opportunities because of this attitude? Certainly, but so are employers that treat the hiring process like speed dating.