Help me help you

My favorite scene in the movie Jerry Maguire has Tom Cruise’s Jerry at the breaking point, berating Cuba Gooding Jr’s character to “help me help you!” Jerry is a former star sports agent on the brink of losing everything (including his mind), who is left with a one last client, a talented, chip-on-his-shoulder Wide Receiver (Tidwell) who is Jerry’s last hope at salvaging his career.

I learned today of a new phenomenon in the job market, what I’ll call the “preventative job search.” This is where a person who has a job but who has watched a few rounds of layoffs gets a jump on getting laid off by quietly searching for that next job while still employed.

Sensible, and it reinforced my feeling that the follow-through on job cuts is still to come, and that competition for jobs is fierce.

So before you send that next email asking for an informational interview, decide what it is you are looking for. Know what it is that you are best at. Point to your track record and explain how you hope to parlay that into success in your next role. “I’m interested in what you do and I’d like to talk to you” isn’t enough any more.

Help me help you.

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