Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How to Get Your Foot in the Door Part 3: You May Be Interviewing For A Job Without Even Knowing It

If you had an especially caring (or controlling) mom, she probably told you that you should never forget that you're being watched, and maybe even judged, all the time. Her initial purpose for telling you this was probably something about making sure your hair is combed and that there's no spinach in your teeth (not to mention never forgetting "please" and "thank you"). And her advice might have been tinged with a bit of warning around it. As in: Keep your nose clean of cave bats, someone's noticing.

But this is also good nose, I mean news. When you're shining and performing at your best, someone may be noticing. And, while it may not be today, tomorrow, or next month, they just might offer you a job.

Last week I interviewed Scott Seaton, who works for SRI (a little known research firm in Palo Alto, CA, that invented things we use every day, like the mouse and the desktop computer). I asked him how he got his job. And he said that when he was in the Navy, he was stationed as a special electronics projects officer in Iceland (brrrrrr). And he was in charge of some visiting scientists from SRI. He was so impressed by how mission-driven and committed these people were -- so willing to tromp across the tundra in all hours of day/night, to work on some kind of whiz bang antennae. Why? Because they loved their work!

And they were obviously impressed with him! So when Scott decided that it was time for him to leave the Navy and rejoin the civilian world, he grabbed a transport from Iceland to California (how's that for a climate change?), interviewed with the folks at SRI and was offered a job.

You just never know when you're going to meet your future. You may be standing on top of the world on an ice floe. And some guy in mukluks emerges from the mist. "Hello, I'm from your future. And guess what? That future has palm trees."

So. Keep your hair combed, your teeth spinach-free and your nose clean! Someone may be noticing, taking mental notes and smiling to themselves as they think about what a great fit you would be for their organization.

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