Know Who You’re Talking to

On April 1, 2015, in HRExaminer, John Sumser, by John Sumser

photo of resume with text 'looking for a job' and glasses in background on article April 2, 2015 by John Sumser

No one gets to the breakfast table and hears “I bet your job hunting skills are really improving. You’ve been doing it for how long now?”

The so called ‘active job hunter’ is one of the hardest things you can be. No one ever aspired to be a job hunter. No family says proudly, “Dad’s looking for work again” or “Mom is so great at job hunting that she’s had five in the last year”. No one gets to the breakfast table and hears “I bet your job hunting skills are really improving. You’ve been doing it for how long now?”

There are no awards for job hunter of the year. No testimonials for a career of job hunting. The work is intense, shame laden, lonely and confidence destroying.

Imagine the anxiety levels of some one who is desperate to find work and required to sift through a database of a half million job offerings. The combination of tedious work and the desire to get something done is a standard part of the Job Hunter’s Mindset. The Internet amplifies the intensity significantly.

Like cramming for a math final after skipping the class all semester, the active job hunter is faced with a sea of conflicting number one priorities, often without the resources required to effectively fill in all of the blanks. Clarity about the next step, self-confidence (in spite of whatever prompted the need to shift jobs), an orientation of accomplishment and a clear sense of “What Do I Want To Do” are the most basic components of this standard recipe for a nervous breakdown.

That’s right, people who are actively looking for work tend to be scattered and faking it. Otherwise, the layers of embedded conflict would eat them alive.

When you write for this audience in your blog, career advice, job posting or employment branding understand that you are dealing with explosive levels of conflicting value. What feels good is certainty and the ability to relieve the tension.

Truth is that after about a dozen thorough readings of job ads, they revert to skimming. The web actively encourages this approach…it’s a skimming medium. Following a skimming phase, the job hunter reverts to reviewing opportunities briefly and punching a resume button in response. It’s extremely Pavlovian.

It’s a difficult audience with an extremely high payoff.

The most important thing to remember when crafting advertisements for this group is that they are not “passive”. Delivering ads to a “passive” audience requires an entirely different set of tactics.

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