Orville Pierson’s Blog

It’s Not Paranoia, People Really ARE Talking About You

Ever have the feeling that people are talking about you? While it could be paranoia, it’s more likely that it’s true.

You can guess what some of it is. “Fred got laid off.” “Cynthia got caught in that downsizing over at United Amalgamated.” “I heard Harry lost his job twice in the last five years.”

Some of it is gossip. Some of it is genuine concern. Some of it is just that people always talk – about whatever happens to come up. What’s interesting to me as a job search expert is that you actually have some control over what they say. Feed people negative information, and it will very likely get circulated in the gossip circles.

On the other hand, if you choose what you say carefully and repeat it often enough, you can get good-hearted people repeating information that will accelerate your job search. What information is that? Your Core Message about yourself and your skills is one example. You want everyone to know what you have to offer and that – for the right opportunity – you just might be available.

You want people to remember and talk about you in a useful and positive way, so why not phrase it well and repeat it often? The same is true of information from your Project Plan, especially your Target List. You want people to know what organizations you are pursuing, and what kind of information you’re seeking about those organizations.

You can provide a real opportunity for people who like to talk by asking them the right questions about your targeted organizations and people who work in them. You should be sure to speak positively about organizations on your target list, because your interest and enthusiasm will also be talked about.

I’m not suggesting that you become a Pollyanna, that you never say a negative word or never discuss problems related to career transition. But I am definitely suggesting that you limit such discussions to a carefully chosen inner circle.

If you’ve held management jobs, none of this is different from how you behave at work. You’re the boss, so you’re careful about what you say because you know people will repeat it. And dissect it. And discuss it.

So why not use the same thoughtful, disciplined communication in your job search? After all, job search is a communication project. So if people are talking about you, that could be a good thing.

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