I’ll do anything
March 9th, 2009
When asked by networking contacts, “What are you looking for in your next job?”, many job seekers reply, “I’ll do anything.” Since this answer seems to communicate that you are open and flexible, it’s a tempting response.
However, it’s a terrible response. Why?
1. Most people won’t do “just anything”. When questioned further, the job seeker typically admits “I won’t move to Toledo (no offense to Toledo residents)” or “I really hate sales” or “I have no interest in technology”. It’s pretty uncomfortable to be caught in a lie while in the middle of an informational interview. And it sounds like you have no idea what you’re looking for.
2. It sounds desperate. Employers prefer to hire people who are confident, positive and have opinons (but not over-confident, arrogant and stubborn). Networking contacts retreat from people who are desperate and not clear about what they are looking for. They will not refer job seekers to other people when the job seeker is not clear regarding what they are looking for and why.
Here’s a better response.
“I have experience in consumer marketing and am an avid gamer. I would like to perform a marketing role in a video game software company like Electronic Arts or Sony or Valve, which made Half Life and Steam. I’d prefer to stay in the San Francisco Bay Area and I am open to other U.S. cities in the west coast like Seattle or Los Angeles.”
A. The role/function is general. This demonstrates that you are not title- or role-constrained. A VP in one company could be a director in another. If you’re too specific, you may never get in the door to find out.
B. The industry sector is specific. It’s not just any old software company. Sector-specificity enables greater chance of finding relevant contacts by breaking down large industries into manageable chunks for the networking contacts. It’s easier to remember, too.
C. Company names and products provide another memorable anchor. If you haven’t done enough homework to have a list of at least 10 companies that are interesting to you, you’re probably not ready to be having networking meetings.
D. You may have very rigid location constraints. If you do, say so. If you’re open, be specific about where you are willing to move.
If you’re not sure about what you want, then take the time to figure that out before you start networking. Meet with a career advisor or career coach. Use some self-assessment tools, like the 100 Jobs Exercise or CareerLeader. If you’re in the early stages of the networking process, you can answer instead, ” I am interested in marketing and consumer products like video games. I am hoping to learn more about the field and possible opportunities through meeting with people like you.”
But never say “I’ll do anything.” It’s a killer answer – for you.
What are YOU looking for in your next job? Share your pitch.