One of my favorites occurred some years ago, when I was Training Manager at a Germany-based chemicals company. A hotshot up-and-coming manager was giving a presentation to a management group. A slide came up and he smiled when he saw it. It said “A now idea.” But it was supposed to have said “A new idea.” Being very quick on his feet, this guy took it in stride and quipped, “This is not just a new idea, it’s a NOW idea.” The audience chuckled, appreciating the humor in the flub.
Interestingly, earlier today, a colleague of mine from southern California shared the following comment from a job hunter she is coaching:
“I had a telephone interview with a recruiter recently. She was about as old as my daughter and said to me, “The manager is looking for ‘NOW knowledge’ and would be concerned about my being off the playing field for a couple of years...”
NOW knowledge, eh? Great phraseology. And the meaning is clear: if you are a job hunter, and you’ve been looking for more than a year, employers are going to wonder if you are current in your field.
It’s a legitimate concern. Especially in fast-changing fields like IT.
So if you are having a protracted job search, what can you do to make sure you have NOW knowledge? Here are a few ideas:
Working: Though you are out of work, can you “keep your hand in” your field somehow? Volunteering your skills, for example, for a non-profit.
Reading: Select a few publications in your field and keep up with them every day.
Teaching: Identify your favorite areas of expertise and offer to teach classes on them.
Listening: Pay attention to what the thought leaders in your field are saying.
Networking: Get out of the house as often as you can to attend group meetings with others in your field.
You can keep yourself sharp as a tack during your job search by making the above part of your daily and weekly routines.
That way, you will be sure to have NOW Knowledge when an employer invites you to interview.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Sunday August 28, 2011