A lot of people ask “Where can I find a (insert position) job.  It hit me the other day while listening to Question of the Day.  Maybe the job search is so tough for some people because they are asking the wrong question.

You may have the correct answer, but you asked the wrong question

This happens all the time in business and life.  Look at the gay marriage debate…  rather than asking should it or should it not be legal very few people are asking what I think is the real question “Why is the government in the business of deciding who you can marry?”  or better than that (this one I have not heard anyone talk about) “Why is the government allowed to discriminate on the basis of marital status?”  OK, I am off the libertarian soapbox 🙂

Many people in their job search are asking all the wrong questions.  You need to first realize that this is a sales process.  You are the product.  Your knowledge, skills, abilities (KSAs) and your background are all the attributes of that product.  Your first question is…

What are you selling in your job search?

Take a look at your KSAs and your experience.  Notice I did not just limit it to “work” experience.  Maybe you have done things as a volunteer that could transfer over to your work.  It is helpful if you have the job descriptions and reviews from your past positions.  Many times you don’t realize how great you are.  It is also helpful to look at the job posting for jobs you have had in the past.

Pull out the key words and phrases.  You can use them in your resume and to help in searching for positions.  Keywords are used by applicant tracking systems and recruiters when screening or searching for resumes.  You also want to be sure you use them on your LinkedIn profile.

Who is buying your product?

After you know about your product (you) it is time to identify your target market.  Who are the companies, industries or professions that need your KSAs?  One trick is to look and see who has previously held the same positions you have and find out what they are doing now.  They are also great people to network with and it can give you an idea of where to look for your next job.

Good questions outrank easy answers.
Paul Samuelson