The wisdom of that breakthrough book "What Color Is Your Parachute?" still is right on the money. Those professionals who are most skilled at applying for jobs, contract assignments and new business for their enterprises are the ones who pull in the big fish. No, it is usually not the most qualified.
Yesterday I coached a branding expert who is in her early 60s. Her job with a startup had ended. The entrepreneur over-reached and went bankrupt. When she went to search for a full-time position, she hit the wall of age bias. This was the first time that had happened.
Together we navigated the realities of the current marketplace. What she came to see and accept was that she had to switch to earning a living through freelance assignments in branding. That meant she would have to rethink and reconfigure her personal branding and every aspect of her approach to actually marketing herself and closing deals.
There is no one way to do that. Forget the experts. And forget ego. The only way to become the best at presenting ourselves for work is to experiment. That includes:
Where we fish. At first we will try lots of different fishing spots. We answer ads. We send pitch letters to where we think there might be work. We cold call. We network. Then, based on results we get a handle where the fish are biting.
The story we tell. Times change. We change. The marketplace changes. We have to continually review our story to assess if it's selling us or positioning us as yesterday's people.
The positions of strength we develop. Never enter any niche without some positions of strength. Those might be discount priciing, speed of service, formidable track record and reputation for easy-to-do-business with.
Letting go of expectations. Opportunity fequently comes through a side door. If we focus on this or that possible result, we could miss out on what could be far better.