The other day, I had the pleasure of virtually meeting Hannah Morgan, the Career Sherpa, whose great motto is: "Expert in navigating extreme career terrain."
According to wikipedia, the term Sherpa refers to people who are employed as guides for mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas. "They are highly regarded as elite mountaineers and experts in their local terrain."
Sherpa. I love that metaphor for those who assist job hunters! In the work I do with people in career transition, guiding them through difficult and often challenging terrain, I am a sherpa too.
As a guide, the process I follow has five elements:
Galvanize: I am a proponent of a fast start. Because many of those I work with have financial and family pressures to reckon with, I emphasize a Get Moving strategy that starts with Setting An Objective, Identifying Target Companies, and Working Your Contacts.
Understand: At the same time as we galvanize, we also have to delve into, and deeply understand, the Client, particularly her strengths, skills, accomplishments, interests, and values.
Imagine: Many of those I work with do not want to go back to what they were doing before. But they often have a very hazy vision of what they want to do next. So it's important to tap the power of imagining to envision possibilities based on their strengths, interests, and values.
Develop: We go to work right away on developing key tools that the Client will need in their search, such as a personal branding pitch, a resume, and a business card.
Engage: And the approach to the search is one that I would describe as proactive engagement, featuring networking, targeting companies, and self-marketing.
In the end, it's the Client that will find and land the next job, not the sherpa. But the sherpa's role is to be the strong and reliable guide through daunting terrain.
Posted by Terrence Seamon, August 2, 2009