Look Where The Rocks Are

A few minutes ago I browsed some  job openings on LinkedIn.

I imagined I was totally unemployed, and tried to get in character; measuring my reactions to the posts, paging through the list of qualifications.

Was I feeling overwhelmed, underqualified, or completely capable?

I tried to imagine what it is like for you; searching for something, an upgrade, a place to point your energies.

I teach a class on reinvention on Skillshare, this very cool eduprenerial site that matches folks with “skills” to people who would like to learn them.

During last night’s class I showed my students this PowerPoint slide:

Clay Shirkey is a fascinating guy. I love his quote (from 2008!) so much, I couldn’t wait to share it.

If you are looking for an upgrade in your career or  trying to get back to work and escape unemployment, let’s think of the goal of your search as a rock. It doesn’t seem very efficient to look here:

Pastoral and calming, yes- but not a rock in sight.

When we search for a position that will make us fulfilled and competent, we frustrate ourselves by looking in non-rocky places for these figurative boulders.

There are infinite amounts of information, billions of web destinations, holding data that we can never possibly completely gather. Think of data as air. There is more air available for us to breathe than we can ever possibly consume as one person, so why don’t we ever fret about that?

The same goes for information.

You will never be able to access it all, but you can have a chunk of it, filtered, manageable and targeted to you.

When you are using an aggregator like Feedly, Fark or Google Reader,you are filtering. When you “like” or “+1” something in social media, you are asking for information about the object of your desire to be filtered to you, a way of saying “More of this, please”.

Your search doesn’t have to be broad, immense and overwhelming. It can and should be focused and filtered. You should ask for and receive only those opportunities for which you are confident you can master, jobs that give you your best shot at both competence and excellence.

To get to the point where you can fine-tune your filter, you have to first know a) who you are and b) what your strengths are. Your talent is the raw material that gives birth to strengths you might not know you possess.

When you can write down the following sentence (for example) that looks something like this…

“I would like a job in Michigan working for an enterprise that creates social media campaigns for businesses in the health care sector that utilizes my strengths in branding and marketing and primarily focuses on smaller doctor associations and requires a small amount of travel regionally and pays 50,000 dollars a year and exploits my fabulous skill of being able to charm clients.”

…you can now deploy one hell of an efficient search.

To find what’s under the rock, look where the rocks are- and you will rock your career.

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