The Always Looking Approach | Foundation 3 – Lesson 4

Go back to Job Search Prep Syllabus.

You Need to Know What You’re Looking For

The job search is paralyzing to creativity. Need proof? Look no farther than me.

After I graduated from college and started looking for a job, I struggled. Big time. I didn’t find a single opportunity that interested me. I applied to some jobs, but I can’t honestly say that I wanted to land any of them. (It’s no big surprise that I didn’t get offered any of them.)

When I finally stopped looking for jobs and started One Day, One Job to help other new grads with their job searches, it became a lot easier. All of a sudden I was finding really cool companies with exciting jobs left and right.

What changed?

Was there suddenly a surge of exciting jobs available?


What happened was that I was no longer stifled by my job search. I was able to regain my creativity, even though my goal was essentially the same – to find interesting jobs.

The reason that One Day, One Job keeps people coming back for more isn’t because of the jobs. Nearly every job that I write about I’ve found on another website – there are very few exclusives. What brings people back to the site is that I bring life to the companies’ stories, the problems they need solved, and I tell my readers what they can do to become a part of these stories and to solve these problems. That’s not only approach that takes creativity, but it’s also one that prepares people for the hiring process.

I solved my problem of not having a job by stepping away from my own job search, solving a problem that bothered me, and helping companies tell their stories. Although I did it by starting my own company, you can do the same to achieve your goal of finding a job that you love.

This lesson should be one of the simplest to understand, but it’s also going to be one of the most difficult for you to adopt.

Are You Always Looking?

Let’s put it this way: When you think that you’re looking for a needle in a haystack, you’re going to get desperate.

Desperate people don’t get jobs. For the record, they don’t get dates, either. So don’t be desperate unless you want to stay desperate.

What you need is a way to trick yourself into not being so desperate… a way to see lots of opportunities, and to see clearly what advantage you bring to each case. A way to define companies’ problem on your terms.

You’ve already got the most important parts — the right attitude and mindset — but now we’ve got to get tactical.

If job descriptions are the opportunities as defined by others, then your first step has got to be to anticipate where, when, and how job descriptions will come about, and you need to intercept that process. Actually, you not only need to intercept it, but you also need to redirect it!

And to do that, you need to be working with companies that are a good fit for you. Companies whose stories match your own, so that when you start meeting their people and solving their problems, the “fit factor” question is reinforced at every interaction.

This may sound like managing a paradox, but it’s actually quite doable. It started with the Clarifying Event. Now we brainstorm.

How do we brainstorm?

By always looking. That’s it. Everywhere you go and everything you do should generate ideas. You need to be insatiably curious, but not about jobs. About stories and problems. Once you do that, the jobs will start to appear.


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7 responses to “The Always Looking Approach | Foundation 3 – Lesson 4”

  1. mdabhi says:

    Before matching a potential company’s story to fit, is it worth-while trying to figure out what my story is?

  2. Willy Franzen says:

    Figuring out your own story is worthwhile, but don’t use it as an excuse to put off other things. By trying to match yourself with a company, you’ll start to understand yourself better anyway.

  3. mdabhi says:

    Good exercise, but at one-point had to mind map more ideas on this exercise. Took me a few days, so I don’t know if i’m hitting the marks with this exercise but here goes!

    1.) Story: Richard Branson.
    I have to say I’m fascinated by this business leader, especially his mental mind-set and
    tenacity and how in the span of 20 years he has been able to bounce back from many set-backs and still be able to continue. So from founding Virgin Atlantic Airways to his a-round the would attempts in a hot-air ballon whilst at the same time being able to innovate and build a truly global business empire. So what excites me? I think it’s about challenging pre-conceptions, making the impossible happen which people may think is impossible.

    2.) Story: Creativity & Innovation.
    The story with creativity seems to be for me to solve problems visually. So thinking outside the box which may be similiar to the post above about challenging pre-conceptions. Stories that I want to know more about are “Creating Environmental Experiences”, “Visionary”, “Interaction Design”. All these seem to be about solving problems on a visual scale. So what excites me about this topic? I think it’s about translating ideas into practical solutions that work. e.g. Visual Interface Designs for MS-Word.

    3.) Story: Presenting Ideas.
    The story with presenting ideas seems to be about making presentations and speaking in Public. The ideas that I can think off are “Political Speech Writer”, “Technical Author”, “Novelist” to name a few. So what excites me about this topic? I think it’s about communicating ideas effectively to others.

    4.) Story: Making A Difference/Helping
    The story with Helping/Making a difference seems to be about learning/teaching and inspiring others to take “ownership” of thier own lives. So for example, implement a traning programme that will get others to belive in themselves and then use skills gained to turn thier lives around for personal/educational goals.

  4. Willy Franzen says:

    This is a good start, but these are broad stories. You need to focus on specific stories and problems that you can become a part of.

    Richard Branson is the closest to what we’re looking for, but you need to focus more on what he’s doing, and how you can be a part of it.

    Here’s an example: I’m sitting here using an Apple computer. I love Apple products. If I’m looking for a job, have I considered Apple? Do I know their story well enough to see where I can fit into it? If I don’t have technical skills, what do I have that can help Apple further their story? Those are the questions that you need to ask to determine fit.

  5. annamonster says:

    Hey Willy, I can’t watch the video…Would you mind giving me the homework in writing?

  6. Willy Franzen says:

    Take a pad of paper and a pen everywhere you go. Start writing down stories that you want to know more about and problems that you’d like to solve. Then report back on what you find.

  7. jm2010 says:

    This assignment is very interesting from my perspective because of my background. I do a fair deal of media production, so when I articulate a story or a solution to a problem, it almost often comes to me visually. Here is an example.

    Organization: Bristol Renaissance Faire
    Story: I recently visited a Renaissance Fair that has been around for over 30 years. When I arrived I found a well established and thriving community of re-enacters along with several thousand guests that existed without the slightest degree of awareness of my friends or family. We are close to a lot of well known theme parks, and it is possible that some surrounding areas may only visit this or that and completely miss the great experience I had.
    Solution: Promotions based on location, whether as video or print to gain notoriety and distribute to communities near other attractions.

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