Why Looking for a New Job in 2011 is a Lot Like Fishing

O.K., so I’m not a member of any national angling societies, nor have I recently (or ever) entered any fishing tournaments, but I do know my way around a rod and reel, and I’ve caught everything from bass and trout, to flounder and cod. I’ve done fly fishing in Canada, lake fishing in New York, and both fresh and saltwater fishing in Louisiana’s bayous and the Gulf of Mexico.

But in my “reel” life (pun intended), I am a Certified Resume Writer and Career Coach. I have helped thousands of people find the jobs, promotions, and opportunities they want by preparing them, and in some cases, reinventing them for the challenges and changes in today’s job market. As I’ve gone about honing my craft, writing compelling resumes, and positioning my clients to get that great new gig (not another pun!), it has often occurred to me just how similar job hunting and fishing are.

As I see it, here are a few dead-on parallels:

1) In fishing, you’ve got to get up very early (I’ve never left for a fishing trip later than 5 a.m.) and be ready to brave the elements if you want to come home with a stringer… Most fish simply don’t bite late in the day…

In job hunting, you’ve got to contact people and network in the mornings… Nothing is worse than calling a potential contact and asking for a referral for a job opening late on a Friday afternoon.

2) In fishing, you’ve got to have the right tackle and the right bait or lures… end of story! If you get out on the water and suddenly notice that you’re missing the right tackle, it’s too late to go back and get it… Being prepared is the name of the game. If you’re not getting any bites and the folks in the boat right next to you are pulling them in on every cast, you need to find out what they’re using and that’s what you go with.

In job hunting, you must have the best resume, the best suit, and the best referrals / contacts (which you CAN find with our proven methods). Otherwise, you’re simply spinning your wheels (or your propeller!). In my resume and career coaching practice, I recommend what works, not what was done 15 years ago, or what somebody on a website claims.

3) In fishing, you take all reasonable preparations and precautions, and emphasize water safety above all else. Whether it’s ensuring that your outboard is properly maintained, getting your current fishing licenses, inspecting your boat for leaks, having communications gear and life vests in working order, or educating younger members of your party on the rules of the water, you must approach each fishing trip with professionalism.

In job hunting, you make sure your car or transportation to the interview is in tip top shape and allow time to change a tire or catch a cab if the need arises, you make a checklist of everything you need to conduct your job search (references, contacts, resume copies, cover letters, etc.), clean up your online image, if need be, improve and update your credentials and certifications, keeping in mind that your next job is the essential key to your future well-being.

4) In fishing, it’s often a good idea to use a guide. Now don’t get me wrong, most of the time I’ve fished, I went with buddies, family, or alone… but I have used guides and charters, and when I did, they were worth every penny. The fishing guide has the boat, has the best tackle, knows the hot spots, and even schools you on the best techniques (even though my buddies & I think we’re fishing experts).

Sure, I’ve read magazines like Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, or Louisiana Sportsman, and I often pick up helpful fishing hints and techniques… But let’s face it, with today’s busy life schedules, who can go fishing more than a few times a year? On the other hand, the guide goes daily or weekly, knows the ins & outs, knows the water, knows which baits are working, and takes my group right to the best spots. After all, if we catch a bunch of great fish, we’ll brag about it back at the office and he gets tons of referrals.

In job hunting, those who get professional help get the best results. You probably look for a new job every few years or so, you read a few magazine or online articles here and there, and maybe you even buy the hottest new book on Career Search. That’s simply not enough to keep up with the very latest in career search trends! There are new technologies that are landing great jobs (even in this troubled economy), as well as new leading edge changes in resume presentation techniques. In the Career Search industry, we obtain professional certifications, take continuing education courses, participate in ongoing webcasts, and attend annual conferences that are chock full of the latest in job search trending. When we “guide” you to your next great job, you tend to tell your family and friends, which is how we get our next clients.

So, the next time you’re fishing for a new job… angling for that upcoming promotion, or simply “testing the waters” (couldn’t resist), check out your Certified Resume Writer or Career Coach for advice… Most, like me, offer a free consultation.

Grant Cooper, C.A.R.W.


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