Last week I did a webinar for hundreds of Harvard Business School alumni, titled Can I stand out in the talent glut? The presentation was largely based on the ideas and methods that I talk about in How Can I Change Careers? (Which, by the way, isn’t just for career changers. It’s for anyone who wants to stand out.)

Talent glut? Yep — and you’re part of that big clog of talent stuck in the Employment System, trying to land a job. Big bucks are conspiring to keep you from getting together with the manager who needs to hire you — and HR departments are playing along. In fact, they’re paying along, to the tune of billions of bucks.

Listen to the audio (approximately 7 minutes), and please chime in on the discussion:

Why is it so hard to stand out? Simple: Everyone is dumbing down, pretending jobs come from key words and databases. And employers have come to believe that the more they spend acting stupid, the more successful they’ll be!

In the next post, we’ll get more specific — we’ll “run the numbers” and listen to a little more audio. But they’re not my numbers. Though I’m not a number-crunchin’ guy, I know that if I just wait long enough, there’s an Ask The Headhunter subscriber out there who will step up to help. And one did.

An experienced CEO named Mike, with a specialization in finance, actually ran the numbers for me, after he got burned by one of the job boards — TheLadders. After wasting 14 months applying for between 600-700 C-level jobs on TheLadders, he now describes that “exclusive” service for “$100k+ jobs” as “a long-shot Powerball lottery tucked inside a well-oiled public relations machine.”

(Maybe Ladders CEO Marc Cenedella would like to use that line in one of the daily e-mails he blasts out to all those C-level executives who pay him for lottery tickets every month.)

We’ll cover Mike’s scathing analysis in the next post, but this isn’t about TheLadders.

This is about Can you stand out in the talent glut? By the time we got done with the webinar last week, lights seemed to flicker on in a lot of Harvard MBA heads: This ain’t rocket science.

So stick around. We’ll talk about the daunting challenges you face landing that next job, and we’ll talk about getting past them. (And you don’t have to be an MBA or a C-level exec to understand it.) You might be surprised at what works, but you probably already know what doesn’t.

(Anybody want to take a guess what our friend Mike calculated are the odds that a Ladders member will actually land a C-level job through TheLadders? Harvard folks who attended the webinar: Please keep it under your hat for just a little bit, and let others take a stab at Mike’s estimate!)

[UPDATE: For more audio from the Harvard Business School webinar, and for the odds of landing a C-level job through TheLadders, see TheLadders: A long-shot Powerball lottery tucked inside a well-oiled PR machine.]
  1. Hi,

    I liked you speech but it doesn’t appear to be all there and I would like to hear the end of it!



  2. Thanks, Terry, but the presentation was an hour long – far too much to post. I plan to post some additional clips that cover specific topics I’d like to discuss here on the blog.

  3. My guess at the odds. 100:1 no wait too high…. 500:1, nah.

    My guess 1000:1

    Heh, it’ll still probably be too low.

  4. It sounds like my situation, but at a different level. I am “old school”, where you went out to meet the people in charge when searching for a job. After a year of bull crap internet “tests” and applications that ask the same thing over and over I am changing my strategy to cornering the person in charge and letting them judge me rather than a HR paper pusher.
    I took my dad (who was visiting from out of town) along to a “computer interview” and when I left the interview he asked how it went. I told him they asked if I ever lied to him as a teenager. We got the biggest laugh out of that and I hope they don’t call me for a job!
    Businesses are missing out on some really talented people by herding them like cattle through a process they have been led to believe works.
    And they wonder where government leaders get their policies and practices.

  5. One’s ability to stand out from the crowd is in direct proportion to the size of the crowd. If you are no more than digital dregs in an Applicant Tracking System/Resume Datebase (Nick’s technical term for this is ‘swill pot’), your chances ain’t that hot.

  6. Is there a follow up audio to this. This only seems to be an excerpt.

  7. Hello, my name is Joseph Di Marco and I am retired from full time employment. However, I enjoy being active in the selling arena and am interested in your program.
    I have been successful in every area of employment and self employment, and would look forward to learning what it is you have to sell and to whom it is offered. I am very selective in what I choose to do, so if you would be interested in a person that demands success, please get back to me with your info.
    Joseph Di Marco