Chapter 1: Everything You Need to Know About Finding a New Job in 2017

Finding a new job isn’t like it used to be back in the good ol’ days. The process back then was strictly limited to the following rubric:  create your resume, apply online, get interviews.

Now when you apply for a job online, you’ll be lucky if you ever get a response. Hell, most people would celebrate if they even got an acknowledgment email.

This old process is a good recipe for spiraling into a deep, unproductive depression.

The good news is that I have a solution. And it works. Let’s focus on what works, shall we?

The following items are crucial to finding a job while employed and finding a job quickly.

The 17 Commandments of Finding a New Job.

1. The hidden job market is real. Most jobs waiting to be filled are not posted online. Just because you don’t see a job listing, doesn’t mean the company isn’t hiring. Get that out of your head right now. Print this section out if you have to. Just because the job doesn’t seem to exist online, it doesn’t mean the company isn’t hiring. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see a job posting regarding a position you want, or with a company, you want to work at.

2. It’s not about who you know. It’s all about knowing the right people who know that you’re good at what you do. Let me say this again; it’s not about you knowing the right people, it’s about the right people knowing you.I know plenty of extremely well-connected people who for the life of them can’t advance their career for this exact reason. You need to fill your network with people who have a clear idea of what you do and who you are, and what you can do for them.

3. You can build-up your network fairly quickly with some guidance, even if you’re an introvert. The first part involves getting over the fear of reaching out to influencers in your industry. The second part includes practicing over and over, how to explain who you are and what it is you do in a clear and concise way. Meeting people in a coffee shop or on the train and striking up a conversation are more casual examples. Networking doesn’t have to be as painful as speed dating, so stop thinking of it the same way. 

4. Your current company isn’t responsible for teaching you new skills. That’s your job. Don’t wait for the company to teach you anything. That’s quite literally, not their responsibility. It’s up to you to continue your education and continue to grow. YouTube videos offer free tutorials, and they aren’t just for when you need to fix your iPhone. 

5. Applying for a job online is the worst way to apply for a job. Even if you don’t know anyone who works at your target company, submitting your resume cold turkey through an online site is always the worst idea. This is especially applicable when the job you’re not an exact match for the job you are applying too. There’s a better way to do this, and I’ll show you. 

6. If you don’t know what you’re good at, neither does anyone else. Don’t assume the company you are applying to knows what you’re good at, either. 

7. The resume is dead. If you spend more than an hour a year on your resume, that’s more than enough. I will admit that the resume will never go away, so it is still needed for formality’s sake. However, LinkedIn should be your new focus, and your most up to date, online resume replacement. 

8. You don’t need a formal education to do your job. Unless you’re a doctor, lawyer, scientist or another profession that requires a certain advanced degree, you do not need a formal education. There are any number of successful business entrepreneurs without a degree that are thriving. All you need is a little determination and the internet. The internet is an amazing place. Use it to your advantage.

9. People hire people. Don’t be afraid of reaching out to people more successful than you. Nobody is doing you a favor by hiring you. They will hire you if they think you can make their lives easier. You make their lives easier by doing good work. Successful people want to hire other successful people. I cover this topic in detail in the Ultimate Guide to Networking chapter [WILL BE RELEASED FEBRUARY 20TH]. It starts here.

10. The more proof you have online that you’re good at what you do, the easier your life becomes. Remember when I said the resume is dead? Hiring managers would rather see solid proof that you’re good at what you do, then read what your job activities are. Solid proof comes from building your online presence.

11. 70% of your effort should be in your existing job. 30% should be on building skills and relationships for your next job. If you find yourself too busy focusing on your current job, then something is wrong. Prepare for your future by staying on top of creating more opportunities for yourself.

12. Hands down the easiest way to make more money is to find a new job. Ever tried getting a raise and find yourself stuck in the grid of performance reviews that underestimate your value? Yeah, exactly, don’t get stuck in this cycle. It’s easier to go out and find a new job than it is to argue your way into more pennies at your old one.

13. You get jobs by talking to people. What’s that? You hate networking? You might reconsider once you realize the power of a conversation, and how it can make your life easier. My wife once told me that networking means you’re not working because other people are doing the heavy lifting for you.

14. Companies don’t hire you because they like you. They hire you for a very selfish reason. They want to make more money! Hiring you enables them to save more money or make more money. You are there to help them achieve that goal. The better you position yourself to help them make more money or save more money, the easier your job search will become.

15. Nobody will hire you for someone you want to beExcept for your mother or your Uncle. Companies need help from someone who has proven experience they know what they’re doing. They don’t care where you see yourself five years from now. They might ask you that question during an interview, but trust me, they don’t give a shit. This is probably the hardest pill to swallow for many of you. How do you get a new job if you can’t get the experience the new job requires? This brings me to my next and final point.

16. Switching careers is never a straight line. If you want to go from IT to Marketing, don’t expect to just jump from one job to another. This applies to any career where you don’t have relevant professional experience i. In reality, there’s a lot of things that happen in the middle of a “career transition” that leads up to finally making the switch to what you want to be. Nobody will hire you as a marketer when all of your experience is in IT. To change careers without starting all over, you must launch a side hustle, which I explain more in Rule #1 below.

17. If your first contact for a job is an online job application, Recruiter or Human Resources, you’re doing it wrong. I don’t have any issues with HR or Recruiters. They are needed. Except, they are the gatekeepers and almost never make the final decision on who gets hired. What I found funny is that for my last 2 jobs, on paper, I was unqualified for the job. If I went through HR or a job application, I would have never received an initial interview.  What I did differently for these jobs is that I got support from the VP’s BEFORE applying. Since I had that endorsement, it made the entire process much smoother. I didn’t have to prove myself. I didn’t have to answer “where I see myself in 5 years”.

These questions were already answered prior to my first interview and the rest of the interviews were focused on the role and how I can help. If you want to learn more about how to bypass gatekeepers, watch the embedded video below or go to this Coffee with Robbie episode page with text transcriptions

These 17 commandments are important, but none of these commandments are helpful if you don’t take action.

Luckily for you, I created a section dedicated to helping you identify where to start. I call this part, “Now What?”

But first, I recognize that this can be a lot to swallow. So, stop slouching, get up, stretch and observe your surroundings.

Find something around you that you appreciate and recognize its existence.

Take a few minutes break before starting this new section.

NOW WHAT?

Done stretching? Great. Let’s take the 17 commandments and put them into 5 actionable steps.

  • Step #1 –  Be the best at what you do.
  • Step #2 – Tell the world exactly what you’re good at.
  • Step #3 – Show undeniable proof that you’re the best at what you do.
  • Step #4 – Bypass the traditional hiring system by building direct relationships with executives.
  • Step #5 – Become better at what you do, even if you’re already the best.

When you nail these five steps, you won’t find yourself looking for jobs. You won’t be looking because you will be getting job offers, constantly. It’s amazing how many opportunities present themselves once people know what it is you do (and that you do it well!)

Relevant Coffee with Robbie Episode – How to find a job anywhere in the world. [Hint: It doesn’t involve applying for jobs online]

It’s 20 minutes and worth every second. This will change your viewpoint on how to find a new job.

Step #1 -Be the Best at What You Do.

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Not just good, but the best.

What’s interesting about most career advice I see online, nobody ever talks about the part that matters the most: how good you are at your job. All the interview tips in the world won’t work if it’s clear you aren’t good at what you do.

Being good at what you do is the best personal branding you can ever do for yourself. People don’t want to market themselves, but by being great at what you do, you market yourself every day.

So, how do you become the best at what you do?

Remember point #4? Let me refresh you real quick.

4. Your current company isn’t responsible for teaching you new skills.

To get new skills, you must learn them on your own. The best way to do this is to create a side hustle (AKA a passion project) with every intention that your side hustle will most likely never replace your current job.

You NEED a side hustle.  A side hustle almost always requires a skill that you don’t have. It requires an ability to market yourself or your product. It requires technical knowledge to build components of your business. It requires a network of people that can help you market your business or refer you leads. It requires a Rolodex of contractors that can help you with things you just can’t do for yourself. It requires you to face failure every single day. It requires you to understand a market better than you ever thought imaginable.

Most importantly, it forces you to learn.

Fire Me I Beg You was a side hustle.

The reason I’m so good at marketing now is because of Fire Me I Beg You. I wrote 200 articles in one year. I became a better writer because of it. When I released my book, I had no idea how to market it. One year later, I was coaching others on how to become better at marketing.

When I released my book, I had no idea how to market it. One year later, I was coaching others on how to become better at marketing.

It forced me to become a better writer and marketer. I would have never learned this at my full time IT job.

I think I did OK for myself.

Side hustles are how you become the best at what you do. This is how you complement your primary job. Instead of being a great accountant that only a few people within your company know about, you’re now a great accountant with an excellent website, network and social media chops that help you land your next higher paying job and some side income.

You must get out of your brain that the full-time company you work for is responsible for making you better at what you do.

There are two more things that you need to do to truly become the best at what you do.

Step #2 -Tell the World Exactly What You’re Good at.

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It all starts with you knowing what you’re good at.

This is how you do it:

Tell the story of your life.

Think of the last 4 people you recently met for the first time.

Now write down what their story was in one sentence.

For example, here are a few people I met at an event in Chicago:

  1. A guy with 2 or 3 side projects and a full-time job at big company.
  2. Bright strategy consultant who believes digital is the only place to be. She has no digital experience, but is looking to connect with digital agencies in Chicago with hopes to join a growing company.
  3. Someone who enjoys entrepreneurship and wants to learn more.
  4. Someone looking for a new IT job.

Of these 4 people, which one do you think has the best story?

Let me rephrase that.

Which one of these people do you think has the simplest and most clearly understood story?

For me, #2 has the best story. During the 4 minutes I talked to this person I knew:

  1. What her job currently is in very clear terms.
  2. What job she is pursuing.
  3. The help that she needs (connect with digital agencies).

Of those 4 people, she is the only one I keep in touch with. I’ve helped her achieve her goal of connecting with digital agencies in Chicago.The most important part of her story was that I could understand it, and I could clearly understand how I could help her achieve her next goal.

The other 3 were too confusing for me to understand and I already forgot almost everything about them.

The difference is palpable, and I remembered the Bright Strategy Consultant because I felt something as she told her story. You see, her story was all about the why. The other 3 were all about what.  This is the fundamental flaw amateur storytellers make every time. They drop loads of forgettable detail, but never get to the essence that is the why. As in, why is this important to you? Why should it be important to me? An honest story is inspiring, always.

I want you to write down what your one-sentence story is. This story is focused on your current skill set. The next step after this is to create one focused on your future skill set.

I’ll show you how I came up with my own story. The key is that I don’t know what the end result will be; I just type what first comes to my mind. I press enter, and I do it again and again until I’ve discovered the reason why, not just the what or the how.

Here is an unedited flow of how I came up with my story in 2012.

 

  • I’m an IT Consultant.
  • I help clients help themselves.
  • I’m an IT Project Manager who leads complex IT projects.
  • I’m a self-taught developer who manages IT projects.
  • I lead complex IT projects as an independent consultant, specializing in SAP Software
  • I’m a technical Project Manager who leads IT projects for enterprise companies.
  • I help deliver projects through my communication skills.
  • I’m a Project Manager whose main focus is to manage IT projects.
  • My goal is to make everyone’s life easier through leading complex IT projects.
  • My mission is to make your life easier by helping solve complex IT issues and projects.
  • I will make your life easier by untangling and delivering your complex IT projects.
  • I solve complex IT problems while making everyone’s life easier.
  • IT projects all have the same problem regardless of what the technology is. My specialty is untangling troubled IT projects with clear guidance from IT and Business.
  • My specialty is untangling complex IT projects by acting as a communication bridge between IT and business.
  • My specialty is turning around and leading complex IT projects by acting as a communications bridge between IT and Business.
  • I lead complex IT projects because I believe IT has power, but if it’s not supported with great communications, nobody knows what to do.

 

 

Ah, yes! This last one sounds great for me.

If someone asks me who I am / what I do in conversation, my answer is “I believe in the power of IT. My specialty is turning around and leading complex IT projects.”

That’s my current story.The other stories were good, but they weren’t clear enough and they weren’t powerful enough. Let’s be honest, we’re not going to remember your details, but we will remember what you stand for.

Now let’s move on to your future story. Ideally, your future story is what you will be known for if everything works out the way you planned it.

Here’s my unedited flow of how I came up with my future story while I was writing Fire Me I Beg You.

 

  • I’m an IT Career Coach.
  • I help IT professionals advance their careers.
  • I mentor business professionals looking to advance their careers.
  • I empower business professionals to take ownership of their own careers.
  • I help motivated business professionals transition to self-employment.
  • I mentor business professionals who were recently laid off.
  • I mentor business professionals who are interested in transitioning into a career in digital marketing.
  • I mentor business professionals on how to transform from being a consumer to becoming a creator.
  • I mentor technology professionals who have built successful careers in the enterprise and are interested in entrepreneurship.
  • I help successful business professionals transform their careers to entrepreneurship.
  • I specialize in helping successful IT workers build a career in a non-IT field.
  • I believe in mentoring recently laid off business and IT professionals who are looking to re-invent their careers as entrepreneurs.

 

 

The key concept to understand here is that my future story will change almost weekly, as I develop myself and my skills. It will continue to evolve naturally. But the essential foundation will never change. At the heart of it, I believe in helping people. Regardless of how it manifests itself, the why never changes. Sure, the what I do may change over time, but the reason I do the things I do — remains constant.

The first story will help you make money now.

The second story will help you make money in the future.

Use the first story until it makes sense to transition to the second story.

Step #3 -Show undeniable proof that you’re the best at what you do.

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AKA “Social Proof”

When someone tells me that they are great at something like Instagram marketing, the first thing I do is look at their Instagram profile or their company’s Instagram. If they have less than 100 followers, then something is off. In this instance, they don’t have social proof and it’s an immediate turn-off.

The same applies to you. These days employers don’t want to know where you’ve worked or what your duties were.

They want to see your work.

  • If you’re a programmer they’ll ask you to show them what you’ve created.
  • If you’re an editor they’ll ask you to show them the before and after of an article you’ve edited.
  • If you’re a marketer they’ll ask you to show them a marketing plan you’ve created and the results it got.
  • If you’re a designer they’ll ask you to show them your portfolio.
  • If you’re an accountant they’ll ask you to show them what you did to help people save thousands of dollars on their tax returns every year.
  • If you’re a lawyer they’ll ask you to show them what laws are working against them and how you can better structure their company to avoid such things.

Show employers that you know what you’re talking about – that’s the bottom line of what potential employers are asking today. It also happens to be the core problem with resumes. They’re all about telling and not showing.

There are plenty of ways to show this information without having to share confidential information. You can do this by writing articles on LinkedIn & Medium. You can create your own videos and talk about your industry.

You just need to show it.

How do you get around showing your talent when you can’t share any of your work because of company confidentiality reasons?

Many times you won’t be able to show your work because it’s for a client or your company, and you can’t go around sharing presentations, designs or excel sheets with the whole world.

A few ways to get around this:

  1. Write about your experiences on LinkedIn or Medium and don’t mention any client names or the company you work for. Teach the world something new from your angle. You can then include these links in your email signature.
  2. Side Project. This is why it’s important to have a side hustle. A side project allows you to control the work you create and you have a little bit more control on how you show your work. You have something to show for.

Step #4 -Bypass the traditional hiring system by building direct relationships with executives.

This is how your job search should look:

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Don’t be afraid to build relationships with successful people. I cover this topic in detail in the Ultimate Guide to Networking chapter [GOES LIVE ON FEBRUARY 20TH]. It starts here.

If you want to learn more about how to bypass gatekeepers, watch the embedded video below or go to this Coffee with Robbie episode page with text transcriptions

Step #5 – Become better at what you do, even if you’re already the best.

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You’re reading advice from a guy who stalked his idol to get a coffee meeting.

When I know what I want, I get it.

When I don’t know what I want, I end up browsing aimlessly on my computer and waste my entire day. Don’t let this zap all your energy that can be used for planning your future. Don’t let your future story go to waste by not practicing telling it. All successful people started where you are now; the difference is they didn’t give up, and they refused to take ‘no’ for an answer.

Start by picking your cult leader.

This is like WACO without the Nike shoes and the shootout at the end.

Pick 2 people who you believe to be the absolute best at what they do. Follow their blog and follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. I don’t want you to miss a thing they post. This also works offline as well if the cult leader does a lot of speaking events instead of writing online.

Listen to them. Interact with them. Learn from them.

Don’t know who to pick? Ask your friends. Post a question on an industry forum.  Post the question on Facebook or Twitter.

Cut out the rest of the noise. Focus on the best.

I am always looking for people to join my cult. Follow me on twitter for a good head start.

Still can’t think of anyone to follow?

This is how I used to spend my night right before I went to sleep:

browse internet…scroll…scroll…click on article…meh..back button..scroll..scroll..scroll..click on article…good article..retweet…back button…scroll…scroll…step away from computer…go to bed..open phone…open app..scroll..scroll..click..meh..back button.put down phone…fall asleep

I woke up every morning and I had no idea what I read or even what I retweeted the night before. I wasted at least 30 minutes every single night with pointless activity.

So I made a pact with myself. If I was going to waste 30 minutes every night, I was going to focus on absorbing content that was generated by people who I believe to be the absolute best in their field.

I dedicated every single night to reading content from these 4 people:

James Altucher (Entrepreneur, Author, Podcaster) – He is the only reason I write the way I do. He gave me the confidence to “bleed on the page.” I studied everything he did.

Mark Suster(Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist) – I learned entrepreneurship the right way from Mark. He writes with care, and essentially does formatted brain dumps for other entrepreneurs to learn from.

Noah Kagan(Entrepreneur, Ex Facebook / Mint) – When Noah speaks at events, he does the Questions & Answers BEFORE he begins speaking. He has taught me that success comes from following systems that work. His articles tell you step by step how to do things. I buy almost everything he creates.

Ramit Sethi(Author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich) – He has taught me that boring topics can be written in a humorous tone and still be very effective. The tone of my book, Fire Me I Beg You tone was stolen mainly from Ramit.

Learn from the best and mimic them.

Listen to these podcasts that not coincidentally contain 3 of the 4 people I am dedicated to following 🙂

  1. James Altucher and Noah Kagan (Episode 33)
  2. James Altucher and Ramit Sethi (Episode 36)

 

IN CONCLUSION

If you find yourself applying for jobs online without much success, then you need to read this article twice. It doesn’t work the way it used to and is also a short term approach.

  • Rajiv Nathan

    PREACH! This is the gospel I have been spewing for years to others. Glad to see your advice aligns.

    Favorite part: “7. The resume is dead.” This is literally what I said in an article on The Muse I was quoted in. Glad I’m not the only person who thinks that.

    Least favorite: Breaking into 5 rules was good, and the content that followed was really good, but after getting through the 16 commandments, I found myself thinking, “Ah shit, there’s a lot more here. Do I want to commit to this whole thing?” Ultimately I did, but I considered scrolling past all of it to get to the end. Maybe shorten the length of each rule?

    Expand on: I don’t think there’s anything that needs to be added for this part 1. And I don’t know what I would cut either.

    Keep it up!

    • Thanks! Glad we agree. Thanks for the comment on the length. I’ll see what others say. Thanks for the commitment!

  • ShaLonda Wickerson

    My favorites are rules #2 and #5.

    My least favorite is “Tell the story of your life;” can you be a little more specific and give more examples.

    I would love for you to expound on ways to actually connect with VPs and CEOs.

    • Thanks ShaLonda! I’ll expand more on the “tell the story of your life” in the updated version this weekend. Also, I’ll cover connecting with VPs and CEOs in my networking post which is on the schedule 🙂

  • MrDee

    Fav: Rule 2 – I love telling stories, refining my story will focus me and clarify my intent to those i am pitching myself to.
    least: Rule 3 – felt wordy until i realised the ‘If you’re a ‘ section was essentially bullet points. For me putting lists into bullet points picks up the cadence and adds weight
    missing: Pick your cult leader… how? advice on looking outside your current bubble

    • Thanks @disqus_8agnUgLtNA:disqus I’ll adjust to add bullet points this weekend. I agree with you.

      Got a few comments about the cult leader. I’ll see if I can clarify. Maybe it’s a sub section on “how to find a mentor”. Probably part of the networking chapter. Thanks again!

  • Thanks for a very long article now am Late to return to work after lunch break but I love love love this post….

    • Thanks @ahechoes:disqus. Work first! Then fire me i beg you 🙂