Sunday, November 21, 2010

Are You Remarkable?

More again from the wise Seth Godin: Check out this video from a talk Godin presented at TED, entitled “Sliced Bread and Other Marketing Delights.”

In this video, Godin notes how marketing has changed: Interrupting people to get their attention doesn’t work any longer, because we just don’t care. We have too many choices, too little time. What worked for the “TV Industrial Complex” – mass marketing that brought average products to average people – is no longer viable. The key is to reach people who care with things that are remarkable.

These ideas apply to one’s job search as well. Broadcasting (mass mailing) our resumes to potential employers has proven to be ineffective. Employers don’t care, and they have too many choices, not enough time.

We need to be remarkable to those that care.

We need to figure out what people (employers) want and give it to them. And we need to be remarkable, because being very good is average.

So are you remarkable? Can you identify your value and articulate it in such as way as to be remarkable for a potential employer who cares?

When I have clients that get frustrated with their search, one of the first things they want to do is develop a resume like the one they had before; one that looks like everyone else’s; one that is average. The second thing they do is quit networking – quit looking for people who care – and apply to posted positions on Monster, Career Builder and other job boards. This is not being remarkable. It’s being average. Employers don’t care about average; they don’t have time for average.

Remarkable is getting in front of the people who make decisions in the companies you’re interested in working for. Remarkable is listening to what their problems are and developing solutions for them. Remarkable is that you are the solution.

Is being remarkable easy? Of course not, if it was it wouldn’t be remarkable; it would be average. So this is hard work. It requires focus: How am I remarkable? Why am I remarkable? (Hint: See “Start with Why”.) It requires diligence: Who cares that I’m remarkable? How do I reach them?

So be remarkable. Figure out who cares. Figure out what they want and give it to them.

What do you think? Can you be remarkable? Do you know how you’re remarkable? Can you tell how to those people who care?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Are You Indispensable?

It seems I’ve been reading about artists and artisans lately, in the most peculiar places.

Tom Friedman recently wrote a column in the New York Times about what the recent mid-term election should have been about. In usual Friedman fashion, he laid out a cogent argument. But one issue in particular stood out. Friedman cited economist Lawrence Katz, who notes that everyone today “needs to think of himself as an ‘artisan’.’’ Artisans were people who made things or provided services with a distinctive touch in which they took personal pride, prior to mass manufacturing. Today everyone has to be an artisan and bring something extra to their jobs; doing one’s job in an average way – in an integrated and automated global economy won’t cut it. “The age of average is over. We’re in the age of ‘extra,’ and everyone has to figure out what extra they can add to their work.”

This week, I’ve been reading Seth Godin’s Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? Godin’s premise is that in this “hypercompetitive world” workers must make indispensable contributions and be the linchpins – leaders and connectors – who make a difference; people who can walk into chaos and create order; someone who can make things happen. Godin says that linchpins are artists, who bring their humanity to work; who are brave enough to make a difference.

Godin talks a lot about how a number of artists can’t draw, but he says, “all artists can see.” They see what’s right and what’s wrong. They see opportunities and “can see around corners.” Art is creative, passionate and personal; it’s about intent and communication. “An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artist takes it personally…The combination of passion and art is what makes someone a linchpin.”

As an artist, Godin notes, the job is not your work. Your work is what you do with your heart and soul.

And, says, Godin, art must have purpose. “Artists,” he says, “don’t think outside the box, because outside the box there’s a vacuum. Outside the box there are no rules, there is no reality…Artists think along the edges of the box, because that’s where things get done…that’s where you can make an impact.”

So, are you an artist in your work? Do you make a difference? Are you indispensable, or are you average and expendable?

What are your thoughts?