Five Coyotes and Me

Chance plays an undeniable role in our lives.  We have so many expressions reflecting this: roll the dice, lady luck, fortune favors the bold… and many sayings to help us respond… play the hand you are dealt, roll with the punches, anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… What do you do when you encounter five coyotes?

But when chance presents you with the opportunity to make a rapid decision, what do you do?  Many of us rely on our guts and react instinctively.  Some reflect and consider options.  Others panic.

Then there is the minor consideration of whether you are in imminent danger or not.

For example, I used to jog in Golden Gate park at night with a headlamp.  It was a wonderful feeling to smell the damp eucalyptus and see the occasional raccoon lumber off the path at the sight of my lamp.  Then one evening, I rounded a bend on the north end of the polo field and barged into a pack of five coyotes, their eyes flaring red in the sudden illumination.

Most decisions that you make affecting your career mature more slowly than my encounter with the coyotes.  It might take months or even years for you to recognize that you are being left behind financially, not being promoted actively, missing opportunity, in the wrong role or industry, and sacrificing income during your prime years.  But then, sometimes (particularly now due to Covid-19), redundancy raises its ugly head and you find yourself on the street without a plan.

The panic reaction is to start contacting everyone you know and asking them for a job, to add “open to new opportunities” to your LinkedIn profile, and/or to begin combing the job boards and applying everywhere and anywhere, usually with the same resume regardless of the opportunity.

The fact of the matter is, if you have not looked for work recently, the process has changed dramatically in the past few years.  Human beings often do not even read resumes much anymore until you get down to the last round or two.  Finding your way through the maze of ATS software (that screens resumes) is an art form in itself.

Besides, these published opportunities represent no more than about 15% of the job market based on our thirty years of experience.

Contacting recruiters is another way of promoting yourself, of course, and a highly appropriate way—if done correctly.  However, you should have reasonable expectations from such contacts.  Recruiters either have a client who wants someone like you or they don’t.  They typically do not have the bandwidth to maintain lots of relationships with candidates who do not fit their current clients’ needs.

And recruiters make up no more than 10% of the job market, again based on our experience.

Most of our clients land through the unpublished market.  That is exactly what it sounds like: opportunities so new that they have not yet been published.   These represent about 75% of our client employment contracts but they require time and a clear process to nurture, cultivate and ultimately harvest. 

We help clients manage all three of these routes to market with a tried and true, five-stage process beginning with the all-important targeting step (our Clarity Program©) that helps clients figure out where they are now, what they really want from their careers, and how to get there.  Our clients are supported by a six-member client team at all times—so they do not need to face the job market alone.

Our process works well—even now during the Covid-19 age—as more than 100 clients who have landed since April can attest.  (Read their stories on the Hiring Line.)

Sure, I felt the cold hand of fear clutch my heart as I ran into a pack of coyotes.  Who wouldn’t?  But I never faltered and kept on running.  Fortunately, the coyotes were sufficiently non-plussed by a six-foot apparition with a blinding light on its head that they backed off and only followed me for a short while.  Perhaps I was just lucky.

In any case, don’t leave your career to chance or to instinct.  Give it the active consideration it deserves.  We make it our job to help you find yours.  Give us a call.

Peter Irish
The Barrett Group

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