Last month I was sent a review copy of “Cracking the New Job Market – The Seven Rules for Getting Hired in Any Economy.” The book is by R.William Holland, Founder of R. William Holland Consulting LLC – a consultancy specializing in HR and career management.
While the book is comprehensive and covers almost everything you need to know about getting hired in a tough economy, including: demonstrating your value, creating value on your resume, using social media (a passion of mine), nailing interviews and negotiation to get what you want, not what you deserve – I was particularly interested in the chapter around career choice.
We’ve spoken about the importance of finding your passion to help with finding your career before, on this post. Bill, however, says that career choice is more than finding your passion.
“The idea that passion should guide our career choices is appealing. All of us would like to live in a world in which what we do for a living is a constant source of inspiration and satisfaction. But that does not happen very often. Most people know what they are passionate about – or least what they enjoy doing. Identifying our passions is not the problem. The difficulty is linking those passions to available work. The interaction between what we do for a living and what makes us happy has many sides. And the advice to find work often distorts as much as it clarifies.”
Interesting thoughts – passion as a strong influencer of career happiness is something I have talked about quite often, possibly because in my work I rarely see people who absolutely love their jobs.
With badly written advertisements, poor recruitment practices and many confusing hands involved in the recruitment process, I often wonder how anybody makes a sound choice in a job, let alone a career. I also think as a society we’re swept along by the idea that we deserve the best without actually having earned it – and that leads to a whole host of problems from the way we interact in the workplace, to the career choices we make.
My take from Bill’s chapter on career choice,is that we need to have broader insights into what makes us satisfied, such as:
- Our lifestyle
- How far we are prepared to travel and where we want to live
- What security means to us
- Whether we want to fulfill obligations that are broader than ourselves
- Our actual skills and strengths
- Our values and personalities
Bill also talks about serendipity and its importance in career choice.
I really loved this idea.
“Just as much as passion is overrated in terms of career choice, so serendipity is underrated. Never let the process of career choice blind you to unanticipated opportunities. Some professionals evolve in a straight line from what they studied in college to what they do in a career. In our experience, many more cannot trace their career path so easily. And most acknowledge the role of an accidental dimension that lead to the career direction they eventually took.”
Bill says, while you can never prepare for serendipity, you can position yourself to take advantage of it if you embrace the following:
- Learn to create value in whatever you do
- Make the value you create not about you, but what others want from you and your ability to provide it
- The market for the value you create may be hidden as much as splintered. Make sure that value is on display when opportunity knocks
I’d also add that you need to be social, and in a way that takes you out of your normal comfort zone of family and friends. I know of people who’ve found jobs talking to people on the beach and on bus stops. If you doubt me, take a read of this post here for some inspiration on ways people have found jobs.
For anyone thinking that they’re too old to change, Bill says:
“You never know when lightening will strike. Colonel Saunders opened his first KFC store when he was 65!”