In your job search, are you just another Shell on the Beach?

I had the fortunate opportunity to spend a few days on one of my favorite islands last week and weekend.  My wife and I were on Captiva Island, just off the cost by Ft. Myers, Florida.  If you have never been there, you need to go.  I have been to only a handful of places that provide enough quiet and solitude to help me almost fully “unplug” from the hectic life I normally experience.

While walking on the beach the millions, no billions, of shells there made me think of job search and job seekers.  Not surprisingly, I gave some thought to why I pick up certain shells and leave others behind.  I gave this more thought and have come to the conclusion that there are at least three reasons that I pick up a given shell versus not picking another.  I believe the same things hold true for those who are seeking to be chosen in their job search.  Read along and see if you agree.

  • Complete shells appear to be the most desirable-Almost every shell I ever pick up is one that has few, if any, imperfections that are apparent when I examine.  A complete shell has a symmetry that makes it beautiful and something that I feel I will want to keep and also share with others.  Job seekers who are complete in their skills and expertise hold the same attraction to firms looking for talent.  A job seeker with a chip in their shell, a hole in their resume, a gap in employment that is not explained, many small chips or short stints in employment may not appear as desirable to the talent seeker.
  • Many shells look alike; those that stand out get noticed and picked up-I like to find shells that are different or unique.  When you wander down the beach you see so many shells that look the same.  These shells all blend in, just like many job seekers do.  Finding a way to stand out as a job seeker is critical.  The number of applicants for any given role can be large, so standing out is a key way to be the “chosen one”.
  • Waves bring new shells onto the beach on a regular basis-The waves come and go and the appearance and population of shells will change continuously.  So too will the appearance of new candidates in any job search.  This point is key for not only the job seeker, but also for the hiring manager.  Just when you find that perfect shell, the wave comes and takes it away.  The perfect candidate is also in a state of flux and if you don’t act quickly, the waves, or another hiring manager, will take that perfect candidate away.

Walking on the beach can be one of the most serene and relaxing times.  Finding a job may not seem so calm, but finding a way to make yourself noticeable to those looking for someone like you is key when you are in the job search.

Enjoy the waves and watch out for that undertow!