Best of CoBiz: You gotta have game …
In the movie Hitch, Alex Hitchens, a “date doctor” who coaches men on meeting and winning the women of their dreams, says “You’ve gotta have game.” Anyone who has ever been single knows that you can’t just go up to a woman in a bar and say “My place or yours.” At least not until it is very close to closing time.
As I’ve said elsewhere, looking for a job is like looking for a mate. You’ve gotta have game. Now, some people on their high horses will object to this reality. They’re also probably the people who sat alone Saturday night after Saturday night. Your choices, whether in the dating realm or the employment realm, are to get game or be left out. Here are some things you must be doing in your search for the perfect employment:
1). Don’t be too easy. People are more drawn to that which is difficult or even impossible to get. The woman a guy has to work for will be far more enticing than an equally wonderful woman who is always available. Perverse, yes, but a law of human nature. The same goes for your candidacy. Don’t make yourself too available.
2). Don’t act desperate. Make your search about the company, not about the fact that you need a job or you’ll miss the mortgage payment. This is difficult to do, but absolutely essential. Employers want to maintain the illusion that you’re taking the job sweeping the back room for opportunity, not because you’ll starve if you don’t.
3). Don’t act needy. Remember the person who, after the first date, called 12 times to “just say ‘hi’?” Didn’t it creep you out a bit? Well, employers get the same feeling if you keep calling to see if you got the job. Call once after a couple of weeks, and then once thereafter. Otherwise, trust me, you didn’t get it.
4). Look your best. I got some very negative reaction when I told people in another article to dye their gray hair if they could get away with it. Sorry, folks, but the advice still stands. If you look older and you’re being interviewed by a younger person, you probably will lose out to a younger candidate. You don’t have to like it. But living in a fantasy world where everyone is taken “just for them” (isn’t that special?) is not going to get you employed in the real all grown up world.
5). Don’t spill everything at once. I once had a friend who could get any first date he wanted, but had a hard time getting a second date. Why? Too much information! He would spill his whole life’s story on the first date. Women would run away. Don’t make your résumé tell everything. Don’t have your elevator speech drone on for five minutes telling your whole career, either. Pick and choose what you’re going to reveal up front depending on the situation.
6). “‘You’ is a very fluid concept.” Hitch is helping a man pick out his “date shoes,” and he states that the shoes are not really “him.” Hitch replies that his concept of self is a very fluid one at that moment. It is my favorite line of the movie, and one I use with my clients. Don’t be rigid in who you think you are. Bend a bit. Be willing to learn and be new things. Just because “you” worked for you the last 30 years doesn’t mean it works for you today. Reinvent yourself. It can be fun and it is certainly healthy.
7). Don’t be angry. It doesn’t work in the dating world and it doesn’t work in your job search. If you’re angry about being dumped, whether by a significant other or by an employer, you’re not going to find “love” again by being bitter about it. So you got dealt a lousy hand. Life isn’t fair. Get over it and move on.
8). The best man (or woman) doesn’t always win. The person who is best qualified, whether for a mate or for a job, doesn’t always win. In fact, the best person will rarely win unless they have “game.” Those who know how to network, interview, and close the deal are those who get employed, not those with the best credentials. Sorry if you don’t like this, but it is the real world. Play the game well or lose. The choice is yours.