Won’t I seem pushy?
I get this question almost daily from the mid-career professionals I work with. They read a job description that’s a perfect fit and they’re ready to apply. Yet during our strategy discussion, they’re worried about crossing the line between proactive and pushy.
“I don’t want to sound desperate”. Is the most common concern.
Of course not, who would?!
But here’s the thing to keep in mond; career networking and social networking are two completely different things.
On the social scene, a proactive approach can be interpreted as pushy. You don’t want to be seen a party crasher. Social dynamics are complicated, and assertiveness is risky. Sometimes it works, but most times, not so much.
In the job search however, proactive is definitely a plus.
My coaching clients are talented, qualified candidates. I have yet to work with someone I thought was unable to handle any challenge a new job could throw at them, usually with the experience to prove it. Yet, when they’re in conversation with someone pivotal to the role they’re pursuing, they get stuck.
Here are some common scenarios I’ve recently encountered (real names withheld):
Kristen, Executive Director; “The recruiter said she would get back to me and I haven’t heard from her. If I follow up, will I sound too pushy?”
Erica, Communications Strategist; “My friend Terry forwarded my resume to the hiring manager. I want to ask him for their contact information, is that too pushy?”
Ben, Senior Human Resources Manager; “My former boss offered to make an introduction and now there’s a job I want to apply for, but that was last year. Would it seem too pushy to ask her to do it now?”
Notice none of the people quoted are in sales role. Which makes sense, because salespeople know that taking the initiative, asking for the referral, doing the follow up are essential to their success.
And here’s the thing. Like it or hate it, looking for a job is a sales role.
In which case it helps to know some sales statistics.
- According to research, it takes an average of 8 contacts to get an initial meeting (or other conversion) with a new prospect. Which is much more than most people think! As I say to my clients, at the point you think you’re being annoying, you’re finally just piercing the surface of the attention zone.
- The job search is also about timing. Recruiting is fast-paced and high-volume. Often it’s a numbers game, and the more contacts you make, the more likely you are to time it right.
- Salespeople spend just one-third of their day actually talking to prospects. Use this information to level set. As a job seeker, your goal is to begin a conversation with a decision maker. So use LinkedIn messaging and email as a means to schedule that call.
- Nine in 10 buying decisions are made based on peer recommendations. Which goes back to the focus on LinkedIn and referral networking. LinkedIn makes it so easy to connect with your brand and work experience. In fact, it’s the number one tool for building visibility with decision makers both in your own workplace and the outside companies you’re targeting.
If you’re ready to gain more recognition and visibility for the value you bring, it’s time to readjust your mindset. In social terms, it pushy is a usually a turn-off. It’s true. But business is different. Hiring managers want to know you really want the job, that you’re proactive and not afraid to take the initiative.
In today’s fast-paced work environment, we all need a little push to penetrate a decision-maker’s attention zone. Don’t let companies overlook your potential by confusing proactive with pushy.
By stepping up to the plate and adopting these sales strategies into your career search plan, you’ll accelerate the way to your dream job!