Many job seekers approach their job searches as if they were waiting for someone to tell them what to do. I have seen professionals of all levels behave this way. People naturally take the path of least resistance. They want to write a resume quickly and toss it to the turbulent winds of job boards. With luck, maybe 2 out of every 100 applications leads to a loose employment prospect.
Even professionals who have challenging career paths approach their job searches like coloring books: They will color inside the lines until someone tells them to do something different.
If you’re one of these job seekers, expect to conduct your job search for years to come. If you want to see success, you should start paying attention to how successful consultants control their careers. These independent professionals have total say over how they work, when they work, on what they work, and for whom they work.
The consultant’s approach to working with clients is one you should adopt in your job search in the following ways:
1. Consultants Take a Holistic Approach to Problem-Solving
Consultants look at the larger picture. They identify the most significant issues plaguing their clients and the areas affected. Consultants tend to look for the root of the problem without ignoring the symptoms. They walk people through issues and through the thought processes underpinning the solutions.
Now, as a job seeker, imagine you approached potential employers the same way: Identifying their big-picture issues, uncovering the roots, and explaining exactly how you could address the problems and add value. Suddenly, you’re not just a job seeker anymore, but an asset.
2. Consultants Find the Right Fit
Before taking on work, consultants consider if they’re right for the client’s problem. No one can be everything to everyone, and consultants won’t work with clients unless they are absolutely sure it’s the best fit.
Job seekers should have the same mindset, instead of taking a job with whomever wants them. Successful job seekers see their interview with the hiring manager as a chance to interview the company. They ask questions during the interview not only to impress the interviewer, but also to determine if the company is the right fit for them.
3. Consultants Understand Their Industries
Consultants must find creative solutions. They adopt different strategies to identify and solve different problems. These thoughtful approaches require deep understanding of the consultant’s client and industry.
Do you have as deep an understanding of your industry and potential employers?
4. Consultants Know Their Competitors
Consultants know what their competitors are doing and the results they’re achieving. They know all the latest trends among their competitors, including what’s working and what isn’t.
Likewise, job seekers must know how their competitors are winning employers over, and they have to use this information to prove their value above and beyond other candidates.
5. Consultants Know When to Be Direct
Consultants may need to be tactfully direct when addressing a client’s issues. This approach often sparks additional questions, and consultants have to be prepared to offer strategies for moving forward.
Job seekers, likewise, must enter interviews with concrete ideas prepared. They must be ready to initiate direct conversations about what the employer needs and how they can fulfill that need.
The purpose of adopting a consultant’s mindset is not just to empower yourself, but also to break free from depending on employers to make decisions for you. Show employers how you’ve implemented what you’ve learned and how you’ve delivered results in order to separate yourself from competitors. Take control of your career journey.
Mark Anthony Dyson is a career consultant, the host and producer of “The Voice of Job Seekers” podcast, and the founder of the blog by the same name.