Career Steps in A Down Economy, And Learning From Geese

Recently, I was called by my church to assist others in taking steps to better themselves in thier career situations. In this down economy, many folks are struggling to make ends meet as they strive to find a new opportunity. In this economy it is important as a recruiter to help others define their career trajectory.

I think I have always taken for granted networking. I think as a recruiter this comes naturally, and it is part of our chemistry to know what to say and do to find better circumstances or for that matter to plant your own two feet on the right path.

I couldn't help but think of a recent walk at Vasona Lake Park in Los Gatos, CA. My wife and I had gone there to escape the rat race for a time, and to talk and connect with each other. While there we took some time to feed the Geese we saw. I remember how beautiful each of the geese were. In thier own way they taught some interesting life lessons. There were several goslings with the older birds. I think of each of us in our careers as kind of like a gosling. We start out in a situation that is safe, and then later have to venture out and our lives change as we grow in our careers. Careers span almost 40 years or longer. So many folks think about the money factor worrying about how they will make it from one day to the next. This is valid. But to find what you really want out of life, one must take the time to really study what course they want their career to go in.

Each of these geese knew where they wanted to go, and they stuck together as a group. My thoughts shifted back to how when we make forward momentum in our careers it is usually as a group, not alone. Later I saw some of these geese fly together in a V. The leader of the V stays up front and changes with others when they get tired. In careers it is important to "stick together" and to fly straight in a "V". How many times have you thought you were all alone? How many times have you tried to job search by yourself. Or for that matter, how many of us, have sought to recruit by ourselves. My greatest success as a recruiter comes when I reach out to my network for candidate pipeline development, and to reach out to my network to find the elusive needle in a haystack. I have found great candidates through professional associations. When it comes to career tractory, you must fly with the group so to speak.

I think it is important to think of your network as a target, in the middle is you, and as you work your way out, your friends, acquaintences, business associates, and community at large, all play a part in molding your career direction, your circle and sphere of influence so to speak. Is it small wonder then, that we are like geese? Geese fly together and protect one another from danger. Do you reach out to help your network circle, move in the right direction, is your group in a "V" pattern?

We too, are like geese in that as Human Beings, we gravitate towards others of like mindedness. For every position, profession, and career role, there is a professional association, for every job seeker there is a group that can help them move forward. I think that there is no greater opportunity, then helping others find that career movement path they want to proceed down. In the process, defining the client's needs and finding new business opportunities, comes from appropriate and consistent networking.

For every desired direction there is opportunity.

Each day as I work on a new role at work, I try to set in order my target audience for any given search. I know I can reach out to others in my network who may know that elusive candidate looking for my client's opportunity. Then it is my job to make the match, prepare the candidate, and coach them for interview success.

I think I really love the elusive searches the most, for when you find the right fit, it means all the more. There are many searches in staffing that take on a mind of their own, and they flow in the direction they are supposed to go in.

In many ways, in a down economy, career steps are forged by strong and meaningful relationships. Customer service is so key. I can't help but think of the type of environment we are working in today. Oil prices going up, rent going up, food going up, and jobs being outsourced, organizations right sized, and lives impacted.

But there is also another more hopeful way to look at the world. We can be like geese and fly in a "V". Go to the back and help the leader move the pack in the right direction. Sooner or later, individuals finally come to know what they want. Having a worthwhile goal will cut through the darkness like a flame in the night.

In a down economy how do you get from point A to B? How do you manage your career road to wind up where you want to be? One must take care of the economic circumstances first. If you are not working, start there. Do something, anything, to build skills. Even if you are overqualified, ask the hiring manager to consider your value. You can learn their way of doing business, build bridges, all the while you are networking for a better opportunity. Let your present skills shine through.

Those who keep their eyes on the goal, work out within themselves what it is they wish to do, and then go for it with passion, networking with professional associations, staying on top of your field, and doing all one can to keep a positive attitude, then you will start to rise in flight as a goose does. There you will soon find freedom. Networking accounts for 70% of all hiring in the United States. Those are jobs that people don't advertise because the hiring manager knows a known candidate. Does your phone ring? Have you been able to make the impact you need to make the next level of success?

Once the goal is understood, do all you can to get there. Does your professional association, your "V" group have a certification? Does it provide opportunities for you to grow? You become stronger supporting your "V" to the right direction.

It is networking that will help one arrive to the steps they desire for career definition and success.

Now about resumes, how do you build that message about yourself that "Sells" you. Well, have you been on top of your "V". Did you lead for a while? Geese know when their tired and they know when to make a step forward. They fly straight. They know their course. So passion helps ensure the right direction.

Your resume will shine if one puts down their accomplishments in real world dollars. Did you save money? Did you make an impact? This is what I look for as a recruiter.

So like geese we make an impact every day in our world. Will you be the one who takes the direction, takes the advice of those experienced members of your "V". Or do you fly solo when the going gets rough. I think that is where a recruiter adds value for their candidates, when we help them to realize that a career is not just a month to month or week to week paycheck. It is a lifetime of work and direction. You can only get to your goals in a group, you can only get to where you want to be, if you build skills in your career kit, find your direction, and learn to fly together in a "V". After all isn't that what career success is all about, Flying Free and High, in a "V" formation onto victory?

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Comment by Sally Raade on August 19, 2008 at 2:52pm
Great post...and great visual. Love your attitude! We are better as a team with common goals.... Thanks!


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