The Job Search is Not Lotto

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by Grace Totoro, creator of the “Winners Pitch”

If you have ever applied for a position with the expectation that your years of experience and training will generate that phone call, interview and offer, you’ve likely felt the frustrations of the hiring process. It is almost like playing the job search lotto. Someone wins, however, the odds are generally stacked against you.

Why Jobs Are Created

Think about it. The highest expenses of a company are generally people — and real estate. Yes, it is true that an organization with people and real estate will not be in business long without sales. However, the need for other roles in the company becomes greater as the company grows and outgrows the current skillsets of the existing staff. Hence, new positions are created and people are hired to bring them to life.

However, before that can happen, the company leaders must decide on the various roles, skills, traits, educational requirements, duties, wages and potential outcomes the positions must generate. In other words, what are the new needs of the company and what are the costs vs. benefits associated with resolving those needs through the hiring process?

Job descriptions take people and time to develop, therefore, they stick around longer than they should. Sometimes, the job description is created with “hypothetical” needs, which may not have been tested. The company evolves, but the job descriptions remain the same. Some descriptions are written so obscurely that even a superpower would not qualify. Scanners and algorithms only interpret words or strings without the human interpretation often needed to see beyond the paper credentials.

Do you see the challenges faced with the “broken” selection process? Those lucky enough — and yes, luck can be counted — probably know someone who helped to advance their credentials to the hiring authority, the final decision maker who truly understands what needs to be fixed.

Once in the door, your job is to sell your sweet spot.

Connecting Your Sweet Spot To Your Target Audience

In your job search, the sweet spot is the place where your expertise and potential impact meet your target audience’s pain points. It is in this place where you become the authority through your accomplishment and impact stories. Now you must ask yourself, what industries and companies have the problems that you can fix today, not yesterday?

Hopefully, you see that the job search today is becoming more and more of an entrepreneurial venture; therefore, in order to be successful, you must think and market yourself like an entrepreneur. When you apply to ads, think of yourself as the door-to-door salesperson who just knocks on doors all day hoping that you will connect with at least one customer who will buy what is being sold. Yes, sales is a numbers game, however, randomized approaches stack the odds against you.

Steps To Creating Your Sweet Spot And Your Job Search Collateral

• Identify the companies you are targeting and uncover the parts of your background that will resonate with them.

• Uncover the problems you will solve for them, being mindful that you are an expense until you show your value and potential return.

• Think about how you are different than other professionals who claim the same title and expertise. In other words, you are as individual as your fingerprints.

• Identify companies that are a cultural fit for you and add that information to your marketing collateral as keywords.

• Speak more about your potential audience than about you. Ask questions, listen more, speak the company’s language and address its needs in a manner that resonates.

• Include search engine optimization terminology in all your collateral.

• Pay attention to any changes that may affect your profession and the industry you are following so that you can adjust your sweet spot and stay “new” with your solutions and language. Your goal is to become a respected thought leader and expert in your profession.

Become The Brand That Your Audience Will Want To Hire

Think about your skills, interests and the impact you want to generate. Sometimes you, too, must change your job description and brand yourself to your “why.” Your why is what will generate emotion for you and drive you to succeed.

I’ve been working with people for close to 20 years, and what I have learned is that people are motivated by whythey do what they do more so than by what they do.

My coaching style is one of collaboration that encourages individuals to reflect on where they are, how they got there and where they want to go. Unfortunately, if you let job ads influence your journey, you will probably take longer to reach your destination, and you will perhaps create your marketing collateral to match the dated job description of a role that has been around longer than you. You will also probably look like everyone else who is marketing themselves the same way. Others may not know any other way, or their why isn’t strong enough to make them want to change their approach.

So are your credentials getting lost in translation? Regardless of where you are in your career, you must identify your sweet spot, spin yourself new and learn that you don’t need to play the job ad lotto to find a job.

This article originally appeared at

Overqualified? What You Need to Do to Get HiredGrace Totoro is is a career transitions coach,  Founder and CEO of TransitionsByGrace,LLC, Member of Forbes Coaches Council and contributing writer for  and Creator of “Winner’s Pitch”.  To Learn More visit

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