I'm Finally Unemployed And Need To Look For A Job The Entrepreneur's Way

by Mark
(Colorado Springs, Colorado)

jack of all trades unemployed entrepreneur bottle capI've been a desktop support technician – a generalist, who never targeted any specific technology problem. My contract employers have always just wanted someone to be a good slave and to know enough about windows-based computers and printers to solve typical, everyday problems.

Most of the companies I've worked for had no interest in my development or in helping me in other areas. In fact, they blocked me from doing other work, because of their low view of me as a 'hired gun' tech support guy that is in one day and gone the next.

I've been working like this for 17 years.

Recently I found out the following about myself. As a generalist, I consider this valuable. But technology recruiters and managers generally skip over it, considering it "resume fluff". They scan my document looking for some specific tech skills. However, I have much more to offer.

I now know that I'm really drawn to use the Internet to create how-to's tutorials, videos, and articles on many subjects, even though I don't seem to have any singular focus on any particular group of people because, again, I'm more of a jack-of-all-trades.

Also I continually look for better ways to solve problems. I take initiative to make solutions happen. This takes diligence. I stick with problems to cover all details in a project until all the problems get addressed.

There are other benefits in my way of doing business, such as gaining excellent customer satisfaction, advocating for their needs, achieving their trust by keeping cool on the phone when the heat is on. And I'm also pretty good at documenting and organizing results to help my colleagues continue troubleshooting. I'm even acknowledged for my ability to train people and be creative in ways not typical for most techies, using multimedia, blogs, etc.

So, my abilities cover far more than what's needed in a call center doing technical support work. Now I'm unemployed and I don't know what kind of help I could offer someone, considering all my skills and interests. Can you suggest a target that might use these things I've listed?

----- Arturo's Reply to Mark -----

Mark, it's regrettable you find yourself out of work right now. But all is not lost. You've made clear that you have a great deal to offer to...the right client.

For 17 years you've been developing a broad range of skills and you know what you have to offer. You know what kind of benefits you bring to a particular type of situation. The question is twofold. First and foremost, are there opportunities in the market right now to continue exploiting by offering the benefits that you've proven capable to deliver before to other employers? Second, do you want to work for employers who find these benefits of value to them?

It may be the case that there are such opportunities in the market and you don't want to work for such employers, because they don't pay enough, they're not loyal enough, they don't welcome you into their inner circle or whatever reason you may have. But if, on the contrary, you wish to continue working for such clients, then follow the next approach.
  1. Forget the resume.

  2. Identify a specific set of companies to target and research.

  3. Identify key individuals inside those companies to speak with.

  4. Connect via local events and social networking directly or indirectly with these specific individuals AND their types elsewhere.

  5. Enter the conversation that is already going on in their minds.

  6. Based on their feedback, draft a business proposal to participate in a project with them and deliver to a hiring manager.

  7. Ask for a business meeting to discuss the proposal.

  8. Fine tune the discussion to the strategic objectives that the groups wants to achieve.

  9. Prove on the spot that you can do the job needed by doing it on the spot.

  10. Help the manager craft the job description so you can submit a custom-fit resume for it once you're offered the job that you helped create.

You've asked me to help you identify your target. This is not possible for me to do for you nor can I help to do it with you in a public forum. You need literally to step out and meet people in the space where you both know you'll be useful and in demand. But the following may help you, because looking for a job is not much different than starting a viable business.

What To Ask Yourself Before Looking For A Job To Proposition For

Here's how you can determine the viability of your proposal to a potential employer, just as you would for a potential customer. Answer the following questions.

Question #1: Are you latching yourself onto a hot market trend or just creating proposing what makes you feel good?

(A) Market Trend
(B) Feel Good
(C) Don't Know

Question #2: Are you a __________?

(A) hammer looking for a nail
(B) feature looking for a product
(C) 'nice to have' looking to become a 'must have'
(D) stylish curiosity with no one to pay for you
(E) to-die-for, proven benefit someone with need and money expressly wants

Question #3: "I know I'm urgently important to my prospective customer employer because ___________.

(A) I've spent time with them and they've explicitly told me so.
(B) There are competitors who are already profiting from delivering on this urgent need.
(C) The felt need is so huge, the prospect needs little convincing about its legitimacy.
(D) I know 3 hot buttons that when pressed will activate a response in my potential customer employer.
(E) None of the above

Question 4: How many times have you iterated through the process of having your potential customer employer validate your assumptions about their pressing desires?

(A) Once
(B) Twice
(C) More than twice
(D) Never

Question 5: Do you know your unique value proposition?

(A) Yes
(B) No
(C) Don't Know

If your answers are (B) or (C) for #1, anything other than (E) for #2, (E) for #3 and anything other than (C) for #4, then you are nowhere close to having a monetizable business proposal icicle's chance in hell of getting and surviving an interview, and your business job search most likely will never get tracking no matter how much you spin your wheels.

But if you have no unique marketing proposition (USP), then you don't even have tires and got nothing to spin. Find your USP.

I know you're not starting in your career. But you are facing some transition challenges. You may benefit from some of the practical advice in this book on finding the work you want in 12 weeks using the techniques of an entrepreneur.

Comments for I'm Finally Unemployed And Need To Look For A Job The Entrepreneur's Way

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Oct 31, 2012
Thanks Arturo... I just saw this
by: Mark

Hey Arturo,

For some reason I didn't get notified of your response... but thanks a bunch... I'm reading it intently right now.

I had sent you another post today... I guess you could just disregard that one and maybe incorporate some of it into this post if you feel it might be relevant.

I'll reply to all your great comments soon.


Nov 02, 2012
Options As I See Them...Which Options?
by: Mark

Hi Arturo,

I read your comments above and took the quiz. I also read your college grad job search article, the milking job search websites article you wrote. I even watched your video on your homepage for inspiration again. And I did a quick read of your book "Here's My Degree, Where's My Job." Before I studied what you have written, for a solid week I did the usual job hunting stuff you don’t recommend. And I’m still at it.

After reading your post, articles, and book, I must admit I neither qualify nor deserve to work for any company as a help desk tech, according to your standards.

I did not go to school for tech skills. I have never really learned that much. My certifications are years out of date. Most of all, I have no USP or anything that would give an employer a reason to hire me. Frankly, I wouldn't hire me. I have considered it a small miracle for each job I have gotten in the last 10 years, because I felt it was just my good interview skills and big name companies on my resume that got me the job...not my technical skills.

Each time I've job hunted, I've gotten less and less interviews, as my type of position (jack-of-all-trades help-desk support), which was in demand 17 years ago, is no longer really needed at most companies. Frankly, all I do now is basic troubleshooting of Windows Office, printers and computer issues related to application performance, email and connectivity.

Most of this can be done now by someone working remotely from Asia.

As I kept reading your great advice about networking, creating my USP, brand, selling myself, creating work proposals, I just felt completely in a different world.

I am a wage slave that never developed any important skills in the marketplace and due to my age, family, health, my being burned out, needing more money, etc., it seems that a young guy out of college or some sort of training program and settled in his direction in life is farther ahead than me.

What options do I really have?

Nov 02, 2012
Why Change?
by: Mark

So at this point here is what I think I need to do: more of the same.

I'll still try to find any help desk job I can before the money runs out in a couple of weeks (even if it pulls me down another few dollars an hour below what I need to survive on). This way we can get the majority of our income taken care of.

Then I'd focus on launching a business on the side, as we’ve done before back in the glory days of eBay, when we sold antiques, CDs, junk in our house, etc.

My wife and a couple of other folks and I feel that I could actually be a guitar teacher very soon and as a family we could run a small business re-purposing and rebuilding things directly for customers.

Those are things we can do, that have just never had a place in the corporate world, and don’t really fit on a resume. I do have other ideas as well, but we’ll start with what we feel confident about.

If I do not get any more hits or interviews on any help desk type of job in the next couple of days show up, I will try to blanket the neighborhood, and any businesses that I can get a hold of with a proposition to do part-time work, and one-time computer help for general computer, printer problems, etc.

And once I am not doing computer work or marketing around for, I'll use whatever time I can muster to do the other business ideas you mentioned above.

Even if this plan isn’t perfect… it does involve plenty of action and uses some of my experience and existing knowledge, don't you think

I’m open to suggestions if you have any. And I always appreciate your input.


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