The subtitle of Rick Smith’s The Leap is How 3 Simple Changes Can Propel Your Career From Good To Great. Like that catchy subtitle, the rest of The Leap includes easy to digest tips and strategies and real-life examples to clarify and inspire. It’s a fast read with good content. The mix of motivational and practical ideas make it especially good for the holidays — meaty enough to share but breezy enough to enjoy. It’s a good selection for your stocking stuffer list or for your book club — Smith includes some interactive material to keep the reader engaged long after the book. BUT the key lessons for me from The Leap came in the story behind how I got this book…
Lesson 1: it’s not enough to be a fan; you have to remember that you’re a fan. Apparently, I was already a fan of Rick Smith. I had read his first book, The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers, and while this was before I wrote book reviews, I have it on my personal recommend list. HOWEVER (and this is key for you jobseekers looking for memorable marketing) I didn’t remember that 5 Patterns was Smith’s book! He co-authored it with Jim Citrin, and I remembered Citrin as the author because I had been following Citrin’s previous column in Yahoo! Personal Finance. So until I got my hands on this follow-up I didn’t realize how much I appreciated Smith’s work. Don’t assume your clients/ customers/ prospective employers can recall your value at the exact time you want them to (i.e., when you have something to sell). You need to remind them of your value and get your product in front of them.
Lesson 2: even well-meaning folks don’t follow through all the time. The Leap was on my reading wish list because I saw it mentioned on the Recommended Book List of a newsletter I follow (can’t remember which one unfortunately — do you see what I mean about Lesson 1 and needing constant reminders of who you are?). However, it was just on my someday list. It leapt (pun intended) to the front of my reading line because the book was physically placed in my hands. When employers/ customers/ clients don’t get back to you, it’s not necessarily because they don’t like you or don’t mean to get back. We’re all busy, and we need helpful reminders.
Lesson 3: don’t discount the power of showing up. Smith has an illustrious career and a full family life. This man is busy with other things to do…yet, he somehow managed to find my book reviews, realize I covered coaching-style books, and sent me an autographed copy. That’s how the book got to me. A shiny new hardcover, autographed with an inspirational note. How could I not dive right in and read the book? Remember jobseekers, put yourself out there. When you show up, things get moving. If Smith can do that, with all the things he has on his plate, surely you can contact a few more target companies on your wish list.
Finally, the key corollary to the lessons above is to back up the style with substance. Put yourself out there. Be persistent. Remind people of your value. Smith did all of this, yes, but with a great book. The marketing wouldn’t have mattered as much with an average book or a bad book. The whole thing works because the product works. Jobseekers, your “book” is your background, skills and experience. Invest in yourself, not just your search.