Do you struggle with how to describe yourself in your job search? Don’t fit into a nice box? In this economic environment, you need to modify your job search strategy.
You need to learn how to describe yourself and change your story depending on your audience. It’s not that hard!
Describing ourself the old way will not work anymore.
We are in a risk-off world. A safer bet is to hire a person who has done the exact same job for the past 5 years. You, the jack of all trades, represent a risk since you are not a “pure play professional”.
A hiring manager is worried about their own job and therefore, any hiring risk is a threat to them, never mind the firm.
To learn how to describe yourself, check out my video below.
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How to describe yourself
Hi, this is Mike Mittleman, your personal career coach.
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Today, I’m going to be talking about why approaching your job search as a ‘Jack of all, Master of none’
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will not work well in this job environment.
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If you are a Jack of all trades, well, that’s great.
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I’m not saying you need to change yourself,
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but you need to change how you market yourself
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because we’re in much more difficult times.
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So there’s nothing wrong with being a ‘Jack of all,
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Master of none.’ It simply means you need to describe yourself better. This role applies to many different people
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and in an up market people hire you if you are a Jack of all,
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hoping that you’ll eventually specialize
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in a role within their company because everybody eventually specializes.
Up-market job search trends for a Jack of all trades
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In an up market, companies need to grow
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and they need to grow really at any expense.
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So they’re going to take risks
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with their hiring decisions since they have money to spend.
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And in an up market, they’re going to take a risk on a Jack
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of all master of none because they can afford to.
Down-market job search trends for a Jack of all trades
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However, in a down market like we’re in today,
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the focus is on controlling risk, not growing.
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Therefore, since risk will be evaluated at every level
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in the organization, hiring will now be seen from a risk point of view also.
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The risk that a Jack of all trades will not quickly
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specialize becomes very top of mind for management.
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A Jack of all is now a risky hire in a de-risk environment, and they’re
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simply just not going to get the job, everything else being equal.
An example for your job search for a Jack of all trades
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For example, John works in the office of the CFO at a large money center bank.
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He has worked on raising money for the bank,
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worked with regulators on capital initiatives,
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and helped the retail side of the bank with new deposit products.
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So he’s got a technical background from his engineering degree
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and he’s got a few years of coding behind him, very much
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a master of all and Jack of none.
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Well, in the past five years, though, John has grown to achieve success
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in creating go-to-market strategies for new products,
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managing a small operating unit as a CFO,
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and managing many different high level vendor relationships.
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So in an up market,
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the combination of these skills is incredibly valued, and companies
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could hire him as a generalist and expect him to specialize in a product,
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an operations, or a relationship management role.
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However, in a down market, though, budgets are very tight
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and companies seek very specific hires
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to replace those who have left either voluntarily or involuntarily.
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Even if a new role opens up, it will probably go to someone who is well-known
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by the firm to reduce the risk of hiring the wrong candidate.
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So in this down market, unless John knows the CEO,
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he really has to pick a hat to wear: product, operations,
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or relationship management — for purposes of his job search.
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Because these jobs are so wildly different in what they do every day,
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that if John tries
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to market himself as anything but an expert in one of the three fields,
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he will appear like he simply has too much risk for the organization.
What is John’s next step in his job search?
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So what should John do?
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John should either select one of the three roles that will satisfy
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his career objectives and go with that one,
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or wear three different hats at the same time.
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So what he can do is he can have three different resumes
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and he can be very, very flexible in how he tells the stories when he’s networking.
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So he literally is wearing a different hat depending upon who he’s talking to.
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That’s not easy to do, but if you train yourself, it’s possible.
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At the end of the day, John really has to think of themselves
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as a specialist when he’s talking to other people.
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So let’s just think about this.
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If I as a hiring manager need to hire a product specialist
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and I may get fired if I hire the wrong person, I’m
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going to go with someone who appears like a pure play product specialist.
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Why would I take a chance on John, who appears like
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a product-ops-relationship professional if he markets himself this way?
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I don’t care if he’s the most qualified.
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I don’t care about growth.
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I care about reducing the risk of a hire and saving myself from a bad decision.
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I care about not being fired myself.
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See, risk aversion drives many bad decisions.
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Hiring is no exception.
The job search strategy answer for a Jack of all trades
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If you’re a Jack of all, you will find it harder to get a new job.
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My advice is pick a horse for marketing.
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Please don’t market yourself as a generalist.
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So, I hope you found this video helpful
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if you are a Jack of all master of none,
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Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel and download my cheat sheet to getting found by the right recruiters on LinkedIn.