02 April 2012

The Art Of Fighting Without Fighting!: How To Strategically Approach Your Job Search

One of my all time favourite heroes was Bruce Lee, not just for his sheer brilliance and the artistry he brought to the screens, but more so for his immense dedication to his art and also his simplified philosophy on life. An example of his simplicity on how he approached a battle was in his 1973 blockbuster film - Enter the dragon.

There was a particular scene from the film which for me captivated how we as jobseekers or jobhunters living in the 21st century need to strategically position ourselves when seeking work. In one of the scenes on his way to a fighting competition he was on a boat where he encountered an adversary who had challenged him to a fight. Although, Bruce Lee would almost have certainly won the battle, he instead did something rather extraordinary and said to the man who had asked him initially, 'what is your style?' To which, Bruce Lee replied, 'the art of fighting without fighting!' And so Bruce Lee proceeded to offer his adversary a fight by leaving the boat in a dingy suggesting they needed more room to fight. So as the man got into the dingy which was attached to the boat expecting Bruce Lee to then follow him, Bruce Lee instead took the rope and loosening the rope the dingy became further and further detached from the safety of the larger boat. It brought laughter from other crew members on the boat and a cheeky smirk from Bruce Lee.

So what has this got to do with finding work you say to yourself? Well it has a lot you maybe surprised. As in my experience of working with the long term unemployed as well as those in fear of redundancy or losing their jobs, the one area among others that can sometimes reduce your chances of success and i am particularly aware of this as i see this from time to time in candidates is their approach to finding work. Understandably people tend to show more 'desperation' in their faces when they feel they have hit a brick wall with their job search. Now i am not saying you should not show enthusiasm and massive interest in the job but there is a fine line and you need to be careful of not crossing this line and coming across as desperate when looking for work.

Every employer, certainly most are looking for an expert to help them in their businesses, with varying needs ofcourse, and so we need to wear the hat of an expert. The question i would ask you, is when or how many times have you passed a beggar on the street and dropped some money into their hat? Now if you are like me you would feel for them and want to help in some way, reason why i am all for charities and volunteering in the local community, but we all live busy lives running at 100 miles per hour, very few of us would stop to drop some change into the beggar's hat, not because we don't care but in part because it is not attractive and we all seem to be in such a rush these days.

So in conclusion, when approaching employers or indeed agencies for work, look to ask for work without asking for a job per se! Basically, focus on a need, current requirements that match with your line of expertise. This approach is more professional and less likely to receive resistance as most people typically when looking for work mention the 'J' word, by changing your approach as described above you automatically set yourself apart from the crowd and can be especially powerful and effective if you are making contacts with your own 'personal contacts' or general networking.

Femi Yusoof


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