One of my favorite concepts was (poorly) captured in my (wordy) blog post Substantiate Yourself.
Recently I was asked by a new graduate for my thoughts on her job search. My advice started with this:
140 chars just isn’t enough to share a thought sometimes. Here’s the second tweet, linking to my Substantiate Yourself post:
She responded with this:
and I responded with this:
Again, 140 chars is not enough to get the point across, and I think even with that last tweet I failed to communicate it well.
Let me break it down here.
Very simply, this is what I have seen.
A job seeker is in a job search, and eventually gets branded as a job seeker (needy, helpless, hurt, desperate, really trying hard to be positive, staying active, etc.).
The longer they go, the more something might be wrong with them. I had that happen to me… even if no one thought that, I thought it about myself.
When I started JibberJobber, which was a small project during my job search, something changed.
I was different.
I acted differently.
I had a different attitude.
What’s more, I had something that people could understand.
I TOLD THEM who I was and what I did.
They did not understand, even though they nodded their heads, and wanted to understand, and to help.
I told them many times how they could help me, or what I was looking for.
It wasn’t until they could SEE a website (JibberJobber) that they “understood.”
I was perplexed.
How could they see one web interface and “understand” me?
They really didn’t understand who I was, but they thought they did.
Going live with my website PROVED I was good.
It proved something. I’m not sure exactly what it proved, or what they “understood,” but it was something almost-tangible that they could understand.
The point of the post Substantiate Yourself is to do something (sound familiar? I wrote about doing it this week and last week) that can produce tangible, or near-tangible results so your contacts can finally “understand.”
Even if they understand just 10% of you, that’s more than before, and can open the door to more understanding.
What’s more, when they “understood,” they were excited about introducing me to their contacts, and getting an excited introduction is much better than a forced or obligated introduction.
How can you substantiate yourself?