The 10 Truths of Job Transition, with Peter Paskill

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Find Your Dream Job, Episode 311:

The 10 Truths of Job Transition, with Peter Paskill

Airdate: September 1, 2021

Mac Prichard: 

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. 

I’m your host, Mac Prichard. I’m also the founder of Mac’s List. It’s a job board in the Pacific Northwest that helps you find a fulfilling career.

Every Wednesday, I talk to a different expert about the tools you need to get the work you want.

Find Your Dream Job is brought to you by TopResume. TopResume has helped more than 400,000 professionals land more interviews and get hired faster. 

Get a free review of your resume today. Go to macslist.org/TopResume. 

Our guest today says there are basic job search principles that we all need to know. 

And once you understand these ideas, your job search not only gets easier, it gets you the results you want.

Peter Paskill is here to talk about the ten truths of job transition.

Peter is an author, radio show host, and the founder of CareerMakers. His company has helped more than 9,000 people find rewarding work. 

Peter joins us from Lake Oswego in Oregon.

Well, let’s jump right into it, Peter. You’ve been a career coach for many years, and you say there are ten truths about job transition that every candidate needs to know, and we’re gonna go through them one-by-one.

But before we jump into the list, I’m just curious. How did you come to create this list?

Peter Paskill:

Well, like you said, it was a distillation of thirty-seven years and nine thousand people. Seeing the results of what worked and what didn’t work for my clients over the thirty-seven years. 

Mac Prichard: 

And what’s the headline here, Peter? Before we jump into the list, what difference can following these ideas make in a job search?  

Peter Paskill:

I think the transition will be a lot easier. A lot more effective in finding and creating a new, better, fantastic job for folks.   

Mac Prichard: 

Terrific. Well, let’s go through the list, and again, these are ten truths about job transition that you say every candidate needs to know. 

Truth number one, people hire people they know and like – whether or not the candidate has the exact experience, background, or skills to do the job. 

Why do hiring managers pick people they know, Peter? 

Peter Paskill:

Well, I think we’re all very aware of all the rules, laws, regulations that face both the employer and the candidate today, and this is not to run contrary to laws, rules, and regulations, and all the politics we’re facing today. But from an employer’s standpoint, and particularly if the job is a significant job within the company or organization, they’re very fearful of making a mistake. You know, that can cost them money, market share, company profits. So if they can get a person who is recommended to them, or have a company, or a person within their company or organization advocate for a certain employee, that goes a long way in helping a potential employee be hired. 

Mac Prichard: 

Number two on your list of ten truths of job transition is this: most open jobs are not advertised. These unadvertised jobs constitute the hidden job market.  

Peter, why don’t employers post every job? 

Peter Paskill:

They’ll post jobs as a matter of record, and again, we understand there are laws, rules, laws of affirmative action, and all the things that affect the hiring process. But the better jobs, the ones that are significant (pay more, have more responsibility, have more benefits, so on, and so forth), if they can promote somebody from within, if they can get a recommendation, if they can get an advocate, and not have to go through the tedious, laborious, and costly hiring process, many employers will go that route first.  

Mac Prichard: 

But aren’t employers hurting themselves by limiting their fields of candidates and not seeing the best that might be available? 

Peter Paskill:

That’s a very analytical question, and I think employers are more emotional in terms of, you know, the person who is actually going to make the decision- the hiring manager, the board of directors, the owner, the principal, he, or she, or they- are fearful of making a mistake.

That’s the emotional part of hiring.  

Mac Prichard: 

Here’s number three on your list of ten truths about job transitions: there is a structured way to access the hidden job market. It is a networking process called New Way Job Search. Most people don’t know how to do it effectively. 

How does this method work, Peter?

Peter Paskill:

Well, I think that a parable for the list there is that most people know more about the process of buying a car, buying a home, or making a significant decision than they do about how to find a job. I mean, they believe that everything they need to know is on the internet, and they don’t take their gifts and talents seriously. Therefore, they’re really kind of flummoxed about how to find or create a new, better, fantastic job.  

Mac Prichard: 

But, how does this New Way Job Search that you call it, how does it exactly work if you’re not looking on the internet? What do you do instead?

Peter Paskill:

Well, I think, number one, you have to have focus and clarity, you’ve got to take your gifts and talents seriously, and then you’ve got to create a doable plan of action that takes into consideration any commitments that you already have. But when are you going to commit the time, energy, and effort to find or create that new, better, fantastic job? 

Most people don’t have a doable plan and are all over the place. I can do anything anywhere. That approach doesn’t work. 

Mac Prichard: 

I want to get to number four of your ten truths about job transition. But can you just briefly describe the elements of that plan, what you call that New Way Job Search?  

Peter Paskill:

Well, number one, I think you’ve got to build a foundation of knowledge. Unlike, you know, somewhat similar to the car buying parable that I just mentioned a minute ago, you’ve got to sit down and figure out your transferable skills, traits, characteristics, needs, wants, desires, what puts a smile on your face and in your heart. You know, have a starting place. Not just being all over the place, and then do targeted research.   

Mac Prichard: 

Well, let’s go to number four of your ten truths of job transition. And you say, until you take yourself seriously and come to grips with your skills, values, and interests – the essence of who you are – you will not find enjoyable and satisfying work. 

Peter, why is it so important to know yourself and what you offer employers?  

Peter Paskill:

I think it’s absolutely…I don’t think there’s anything more important than knowing who you are and what you want. You know, I think if you look at people that you work with or that you share your life with in the world of work, and you say, “He is really successful,” or “She is really successful.” On balance, I find these people are doing something they really enjoy. 

You know, there’s a difference between what you can do, and there’s an awful lot of people just doing that, and there’s a process of doing what you want to do. And if you have the energy, you have a smile on your face; you’re going to show up early, stay late, and work is not work. And I think when you enjoy your work, you’re going to be a lot more successful and productive.   

Mac Prichard: 

Have you found, Peter, that most applicants invest the time to know themselves well? 

Peter Paskill:

No. Initially, they don’t invest in themselves. I mean, I think that there’s a lot of ignorance surrounding, you know, how to find a job today. You know, we’ve been brainwashed, if you will, to believe that everything we need to know is on the internet, and there is certainly…the internet is a fantastic tool. But for a job seeker, it is my opinion that the internet has more to do with deselecting people than selecting people. So then, we should refocus our energies about who we are and what we want, take those energies and gifts and talents seriously, and go out and start talking to people, and find out what the reality is as to where we can use those energies, and gifts and talents.

Mac Prichard: 

You’ve been doing this work for a number of decades now, and you remember what job search looked like before the internet. Do you think that the system has changed all that much, or has it just moved online?  

Peter Paskill:

Just moved online. When we started helping people years ago, you know, eighty to eighty-five percent of our clients were finding jobs through personal referrals and/or personal advocates. Today, thirty-seven years later, the percentage hasn’t changed at all. But just all the chatter, the white noise, if you will, you know, between us and the jobs, has affected people’s ability to successfully make a transition, and I think, oftentimes, it has not helped us. Because it keeps us distanced, it keeps us remote. You know, we find people, in trying to find a job, we’ll spend hours and hours and hours isolated and depressed, on the internet looking at jobs, and sending resumes out into the electronic blackhole and not hearing anything.  

Mac Prichard: 

Number five on your list of ten truths of job transition goes like this: what they, the employer, wants is not nearly as important as what you want. 

Peter, why does what you, the job seeker, want matter more than what the employer wants?  

Peter Paskill:

Well, who’s in this job? And I think it goes both ways. I think we’re not a supplicant to employers’ wants. In fact, I just had one of my clients get a job with a very prestigious organization in Portland, and they changed the job description to fit his needs, and skills, and talents. So they modified, and I see that happening quite often. That when employers see the value and see us as an asset, oftentimes not a perfect fit for the job description, but a better fit for a job description. When we’re there selling our assets, our talents, our successes, and the results that we can bring to them, the employers are a lot more flexible than we might imagine.     

Mac Prichard: 

What do you say to a job seeker who thinks, “Well, no, I’ve got to think about what the employer wants, because I want to get that job and I have to put their needs first.”? 

Peter Paskill:

I don’t think that’s…I think that they’re going down the wrong pathway. You know, I think that they’re giving their gifts and talents away, and they’re not standing out in terms of, you know, talking about and researching how their gifts, their talents, and their skills, supported by the results, achievements, and successes can be a value added to that employer.  

Mac Prichard: 

Well, Peter, this is terrific. We’re gonna take a break, and when we come back, we’ll continue to go through your ten truths of job transition. 

So stay with us.

Here’s another job search truth you need to know: a hiring manager may spend just seven seconds reading your resume.

Are you ready for this challenge? 

Go to macslist.org/TopResume.

TopResume will review your resume for free. 

Go to macslist.org/TopResume

You’ll find out how to make your resume better right away. 

And if you don’t want to fix your resume yourself, you can hire TopResume to do it for you. 

Go to maclist.org/TopResume. 

Now, let’s get back to the show.

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio. I’m talking with Peter Paskill.

He’s an author, radio show host, and the founder of CareerMakers. Peter’s company has helped more than 9,000 people find rewarding work. 

He joins us from Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Peter, before the break, we were going through your ten truths of job transition, and let’s turn to truth number six. You say that before you will be seriously considered as a candidate, you need to tell employers how you will make the company money or save the company money or time.

Why is this, Peter? Shouldn’t your qualifications alone get you a job?  

Peter Paskill:

Everybody has qualifications. No, I think that what we need to be is advocates for ourselves. Instead of sending in resumes that look like obituaries, we need to be sending in resumes that look like sales brochures, that count our successes. When we’re in an interview, we need to be able to be comfortable using the pronoun I, and then coupled with success stories, using the format of what/how and results, or situation action results, that allows us to brag with credibility. 

So it’s our job to sell ourselves to interviewers, to hiring managers, to make it as easy as possible for them to see that we’re gonna be an asset, not a liability, and most folks are not comfortable doing that.  

Mac Prichard: 

And how do you recommend, Peter, that candidates you coach talk about how they can save a company money or what they might have done in that area in the past? 

Peter Paskill:

Well, I think it’s to research one of the challenges of that company, one of the challenges of the position, and do the research, so that you know you’re gonna be prepared, and then create what I call story files. So you have a good idea in advance what the interviewer’s going to be asking about, and in fact, you can…I have my clients ask the people who are calling them, that are selecting them for an interview, “What kind of questions are you going to be asking? What’s the agenda? What information are you looking for?” Because the interview is a performance, and my candidates are the stars.

Mac Prichard: 

Let’s talk about truth number seven. You say the prime rule of the job search is this: open your mouth and talk to people – anyone, anywhere, anytime. 

Peter, how does talking to anybody, anywhere, help you get your next job? 

Peter Paskill:

Because you don’t know. I mean, you know what you know. But you don’t know what your sister, or brother, or husband, or wife, or girlfriend, or boyfriend, or anybody you have contact with, they know, and I think a lot of people say, “Well, I’m introverted I don’t know what to say.” I think you need to let people know, as you move through this process, where you are in the process and communicate with people because you just never know what people know. And a lot of people assume, “Well, I’ve never heard this person talk about whatever I’m researching.” Well, have you ever asked them? “No.” You know? 

So I think that we tend to be reserved and put artificial walls around ourselves, and are very steadfast about not communicating very well. And I think that the more that we’re out there and just letting people know where we are in the process. We don’t have all the answers. That’s why I’m letting you know what’s going on with me today.

Mac Prichard: 

For some people who are between jobs, there’s a stigma that comes with unemployment. It’s hard to talk about their search. What advice would you give a listener that might be in that situation? 

Peter Paskill:

I think it’s more of self-reflection on that. I think more people are concerned than their friends are. You know, I think that if we stay closer to people that know us and like us, people we share our daily life with, those are the type of people who are much more willing and able to put their thinking caps on for us than strangers. I mean some people will go to, you know, on the internet and get into a chat room, and boards and things like that, where they’re reaching out to people who don’t know them, and they don’t hear anything back, and they say, “See I reached out and nobody responded.” But they don’t talk to people that they know, people who like them, people who are willing to help them and given the opportunity. 

Networking research is not based on the number of people that you’re researching with, but it’s the quality of the relationship, and the higher the quality of the relationship of the person you’re talking with, the higher the probability that they’re gonna be willing to try to help you.   

Mac Prichard: 

Number eight on your list of ten truths about job transition is, you do not need a resume to do a job search. 

Peter Paskill:

Well, that flies in the face of it, doesn’t it? 

Mac Prichard: 

Yeah, it does. I mean, doesn’t every employer want to see a resume, Peter? 

Peter Paskill:

Yeah, most people say, “Well, everybody says, I have to put a resume out.” And I think that, oftentimes, you know, a resume submitted too early is the kiss of death. You know, unless you know what the potential employer wants- what he or she wants the resume for, what they want to see on the resume, what format or layout of the resume suits their needs, what kinds of documents or substantial documents they’re looking for- just sending a resume out in the electronic black hole is a crapshoot. But that’s what we’re told to do, and so we spend hours every day on the internet sending resumes out into the electronic black hole and not getting anything back. 

You know, I think that maybe to do a resume as sort of a source document to begin the search, so you have something written down. You’ve spent some time in thinking about it. But I think you’ve got to connect with people. 

You’ve got to have a balanced approach. If you believe what my clients are experiencing, that eighty to eighty-five percent of my clients are getting and creating new jobs through personal advocates, and/or personal referrals, and the remainder through the internet and all those things, then you need to have a balanced approach. And so, eighty to eighty-five percent of your time should be out in the community, networking with people, researching with people, and only fifteen percent on the internet.      

Mac Prichard: 

When you’re reaching out to people for informational interviews, advice, introductions, is it helpful to have a resume just as a background document? 

Peter Paskill:

No. Mac, that can be the kiss of death too early. You want to be a researcher. You want to be an investigator because you don’t know about things, and I think that if you’re asking for information about areas of interest, opportunities – not opportunities, but companies, or organizations, or interests, then you can get information. But once you ask for jobs or opportunities, or submit your resume to them, now you move from a researcher who gathers information to make informed decisions to a job seeker who can only be told yes or no.   

Mac Prichard: 

Number nine on your list of ten truths about job transition is, a successful job search is ten percent analytical and ninety percent emotional. 

What do you mean by this, Peter? 

Peter Paskill:

Well, I think it is ninety percent emotional. I think it depends on how you’re feeling about yourself, how you’re feeling about your world, and how you’re feeling about the people in your world. And if you’re not feeling good about those three factors, it’s sort of like walking through this world with the emotional flu. We’ve all had the physical flu, or COVID, or what have you, and we know that it, what an effect it has on us. 

If you’re not feeling good about yourself, or you’re not feeling good, and positive, and energized about what you’re looking to find and create, you’re not surrounding yourself with positive and like-minded people, I don’t care what kind of organization, what kind of strategy, or structure you put, it’s not gonna work.    

Mac Prichard: 

How can you improve those emotions? You mentioned surrounding yourself with positive people. What other steps do you suggest to your clients that they take? 

Peter Paskill:

Well, I think you’ve got to consider the source. There are a lot of what I would call cold water throwers out there. It’s really easy to get the naysayers who tell you why you can’t do something. You know, as much as you can, I would stay away from those folks and stay around people that know you, and like you, want the best for you, that are like-minded. I would be around people that are, whether it’s in volunteer or whether it’s in a hobby, be around people who share your interests that you’re exploring, to see how you can find or create a job within that area of interest. 

Mac Prichard: 

And how’s that gonna help you get your next job, Peter?  

Peter Paskill:

It’s gonna put you in contact with people. Because in all probability, eighty percent, it’s gonna be somebody – a people, not an internet – that’s gonna give you that tip that’s gonna help you land that new, better, fantastic job. And just like my client who just got this new job, it was all through personal referrals first, then through resume second. 

Mac Prichard: 

Number ten on your list of ten truths about job transition is that whatever you believe to be the truth about the job market probably isn’t.

So, Peter, how do you figure out what to believe about the job market?   

Peter Paskill:

Well, I just think you’ve got to talk to people who’ve been successful in landing new jobs and ask them what worked for them. I think that a lot of people will hire pragmatic counselors, coaches like myself, that will help them guide them through. You know, the people who come to me are bright, savvy, well educated in the world of work they’ve been doing. Typically, a client of mine has been in a job for fifteen eighteen years, and he or she knows a lot about that job. They know sic’em about, if they acknowledge it about how to find a job. And so, if they can surround themselves with people who understand the process, are positive about the process, have been successful in managing the process, that really helps. But a lot of people just isolate themselves because they’ve been lead to believe that everything they know is on the internet, and it just exacerbates the process. It makes it more emotionally defeating because you send so much out, you do so much on the internet, and you’re isolated, and you don’t feel good about yourself.

Mac Prichard: 

What’s the biggest myth, Peter, that you see people believe about the job market today? 

Peter Paskill:

I’m too old. I’m too young. I don’t have enough of this. I have too much of that. 

Mac Prichard: 

What do you do about those beliefs? 

Peter Paskill:

Don’t believe them, and get out and start talking to people. I meant we have to…there’s a spot for everybody if they take themselves seriously, you know. I’m in the backend of my career; I shouldn’t be looking for jobs that are advertised for recent college graduates. People hire me today because I’ve got thirty-seven years of experience. We all have our own gifts. We all have our own skills. We all have our own successes. We all have our own achievements. We all have our own passions. The more we take those seriously, the less competition we’re gonna have, and if we stay around people who understand those, the easier it is, in a challenging environment, to find or create a new, better, fantastic job.  

Mac Prichard: 

Peter, how do you recommend a listener use this list of ten truths about job transition in their next job search?  

Peter Paskill:

Well, I think that everybody’s got to take it to their own suitabilities. There are no absolutes to any of this because as soon as we hang up, someone’s gonna call you and say, “Mac, I did nothing but on the internet, and I got this new, better, fantastic job.” I’m not saying that it’s impossible. But I think that you’ve got to integrate the ten truths in your own personal search, and make do, and use it to make it better for you, understanding that this is a process, not an event. And for many people, the process is gonna take several months to find or create that new, better, fantastic job. I think if people will keep in mind, you know, I’ve had clients of mine who have even taped these ten truths list up on their bathroom mirror and use it, you know, as a morning reminder of what we need to do to be effective. 

Mac Prichard: 

Well, it’s been a great conversation, Peter. Now, tell us what’s next for you? 

Peter Paskill:

I get to help new people every day. That’s the joy, that’s my mission. And I get to help people find or create jobs that put a smile on their faces, in addition to putting money in the bank. What a deal. 

Mac Prichard: 

I know people can learn more about the work you do and your company by visiting your website; that’s careermakers.com. 

Peter, given all the great advice you’ve shared today, what’s the one thing you want a listener to remember about your ten truths of job transition?  

Peter Paskill:

Well, it’s really not on the ten truths, but it leads to that. I want people to listen to their heart and follow their smile. Take themselves and their gifts and talents seriously, and go out and research and ask the questions. How can I find? How can I create a job that puts a big smile on my face? I want to look forward to going to work, and I want to get paid for it. 

So I think that it’s – if people quit listening to a lot of the negativity that’s out there, and just take ourselves seriously, and talk to people, they might find things that they never knew existed.    

Mac Prichard: 

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Next week, our guest will be Pam Leone. She’s a certified career coach and the president of Impact Coaching. 

Employers hire problem solvers. So when you show the value you created in past jobs, you stand out from your competitors.

Pam says that a value-based resume is one of the best ways to document your accomplishments. 

Join us next Wednesday, when Pam Leone and I talk about how to write a value-based resume, and the difference it can make in your job search.

Until then, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job. 

This show is brought to you by Mac’s List. Susan Thornton-Hough schedules our guests. Lisa Kislingbury Anderson writes our social media posts. Our sound engineer is Will Watts. Ryan Morrison at Podfly Productions edits the show. Dawn Mole creates our transcripts. And our music is by Freddy Trujillo. This is  Mac Prichard. See you next week. 

Are you trying to transition to a new position or field? If so, you need to go into the process with a definite strategy in place in order to get a new, better, fantastic job, says Find Your Dream Job guest Peter Paskill. Peter says that starts with knowing your skills, desires, and talents, and using them to do a targeted job search. Having the right qualifications isn’t enough; you need to show a hiring manager how you can specifically solve their problem. Finally, Peter strongly recommends holding out for a job that puts a smile on your face.

About Our Guest:

Peter Paskill is an author, radio show host, and the founder of CareerMakers

Resources in This Episode: