To Get The Job You Want, Seek First To Understand

One of the biggest reasons for Paladin’s above industry average for job-candidates-presented to placement ratio is because we understand hiring manager’s needs before we begin searching through our talent networks.  This seems simplistic, but I bet at least 1 out of 2 people reading this blog has seen a job posting for a position they wanted, grabbed their standard resumé, and fired it into a web portal… then never heard back again.

Now, it’s possible that you already have a great job and didn’t really need this job… or maybe didn’t want it that badly, so you did what was easiest.  But just thinking about the lengthy online application process of many major companies makes me cringe, then after a quick multiplication of the time to apply times the hourly rate of high-level talent and now I’m hiding under my desk and starting to break out in hives.

The reality is that you probably saw a job description for an opportunity that you could see yourself doing well in and took a shot at getting it.  What’s wrong with that? Nothing really.  However, if you think that you should be given this job simply because “I could see myself doing well here”, then you are in for a world of disappointment and a hearty helping of wasted time.

The distinction is subtle, but those who know me, know that I believe there is a way to get anything you want.  Every position I’ve ever ascended to in a company was created for me.  However ‘the right way’ must be identified not assumed.

I am confident that if your skill set is a pretty good match to the job description and you want to work for this company, or that department, or whatever your reason for stopping to daydream over this job, that you can have the job that you want if you follow these 3 easy steps before you ever submit your resumé again.

Identify the problem

Being in the Staffing & Recruiting business teaches you very quickly that people hire for one reason and one reason only… truly it’s the same reason any sale is ever made – someone has a problem that needs solving.  Now that problem may be in the form of a great opportunity that is just out of reach for the current staff on the payroll. Maybe the Board of Directors or CIO decided you were going to convert to new advanced analytics or ERP systems, bought the product, but no one on your team has the skills needed to really get the system implemented and configured. ERP consultants know this principal better than anyone because it is inherent in their job.  There is a lot that needs to be done when a major ERP package (like SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, etc.) is purchased – analysis of the current environment, data cleanse and conversion, implementation, configuration and optimization to fit the business requirements of the purchaser – it can require dozens of new, specialized people and take years! So ERP consultants have learned how to quickly and easily create recognition of their role in the process for the convenience of the hiring manager or lead integrator.

A common one today is an IT Development Team that has been using Waterfall methodology but the company wants to move toward Scrum or Agile.  Everybody currently on the team uses Waterfall, they’re comfortable with it.  Now, I’m not going to weigh-in to the SDLC debate but I’ll just say, in the immortal words of TLC, “Don’t go chasing waterfalls”.

This problem is relatively simple though once the decision to convert has been made, they need an Agile Advocate or a ScrumMaster that knows their stuff, fits with the culture, and can champion the cause.  If you are a Certified Scrum Master, but your resumé is 12 pages and includes your internship as a QA engineer you need to ask yourself this: “Does my resumé make it obvious that I can solve the problem this hiring manager is facing?”

Present Yourself as an Obvious Solution

A resumé rarely wins you a job, but that’s okay because that’s not the purpose of a resumé.  A resumé is intended to Win a job seeker a chance to interview for the position.  It provides an overview or a preface to a face-to-face meeting.  If done right, it should set the tone for the interview and provide a framework for your experience.  The story that you are framing for the interviewer is your Career NarrativeSM. At Paladin we help you to bring your Career Narrative to life by presenting you with positions that bolster your story and help guide you toward your career goals.  Our experienced Account Executives have deep relationships built with hiring managers and intimate knowledge of their technical, business, and cultural environments.  These factors together help us to work with our knowledge to identify exactly how your experience could be framed as a great looking candidate for our client’s job opportunity.

Limit Your Self Back-Pats to Objective Wins

This is the tricky part, but if you are making a career change or moving upward in your career (and I try to make that the only direction I move talent’s careers), it is extremely important that you understand what your wins really look like without superlatives and generally flowery language… and this is coming from a marketer.

I know it may be difficult or impossible to cull down to the facts, but the fact is that this hiring manager isn’t hiring your team that achieved X or that you were the most productive member of your team… that doesn’t provide any context for a decision maker to evaluate your claim.  For clarity, it doesn’t all need to be numbers and percents either, I won’t say numbers don’t help (especially if they are preceded by Dollar $ign$) but that’s not the only way to provide an understandable theme to your Career NarrativeSM.

If you would like for Paladin to help you develop your Career NarrativeSM, feel free to send me an email at