What kind of screwdriver are you?

February 27, 2009


I had coffee with a friend of a friend today. Like many folks at the moment, she’s looking for a new job. But she’s doing it a little differently and a little smarter.

Many candidates seeking work right now are presenting themselves as Swiss army knives. “Need a Phillips screwdriver? A knife? A corkscrew? Sure, I can do that.”

A Swiss army knife is great to have on hand for the occasional odd job. But it’s an unwieldy Phillips screwdriver. You use it when you can’t get your hands on a real Phillips screwdriver. Jobs of any size  (such as the job a company might want to fill in a tough economy) require more specialization than that.

The friend with whom I had coffee isn’t presenting as a Swiss army knife, or even as a Phillips screwdriver. She does something fairly specialized – more like a Torx screwdriver, which has a star-shaped head. A lot of people don’t even know what a Torx screwdriver is.

But when you need one, nothing else will do. I would think that’s how you want to present as a job-seeker in a tough economy. Recruiters have an oversupply of Swiss army knife candidates willing to fit themselves to the first open req. The candidate who is a genuine fit for that req is always going to stand out.

Waiting for and finding that genuine fit is the hard part. If you’re searching right now, the right thing is out there. And as I’ve talked with three laid-off friends this week alone, my thoughts are with anyone who’s looking and I’ll help if I can.

photo by muckingfajic


One Response to “What kind of screwdriver are you?”

  1. Bill Fitzpatrick Says:

    This has got to be simply one of the best uses of analogy I have seen in years. Outstanding. I think I must be one of those ones with removable tip and a batch of different heads. Able to do many things, but I have to stop frequently to change tips or I become useless. ;^)

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