It is your personal style, it is how you do things – boiled down it is how you attempt to influence a situation. We use game in dating, our everyday work life and career searching.
Examples in dating: I know a couple of guys who are completely different as are their games. One is a tall, lanky sweetheart who uses the “aww-shucks-self-depreciation-I-don’t-have-game-because-I’m-just-a-big-dork”. The other is a committed workaholic not only on his career but in working out, he uses the “strong-silent-almost-brooding-say-very-little-giving-intense-looks” game. Completely opposite games, both work very well for each of them.
Examples in work life: think about your workplace or a place you have worked and I imagine you can recall the guy or girl who refused to every do one ounce of work above what was required of them. If asked to stay five minutes over quitting time they would raise such a fit that management simply stopped asking. Or the guy or girl that seemed to be permanently attached to the bosses back-end and never failed to seize an opportunity to get ahead by any means possible. Everything had a score, even if it was somehow finagling to get the great office chair that is now vacant by a former employee.
Each one of my four dogs has their own game and they apply it if they want something. For example if I am sitting down enjoying a Buster Bar here is the scenario:
The biggest one grabs a toy and plops his head squarely in my lap as if saying “I’ll give you my toy for that.”
The protector slowly moves forward until he is within inches of any potential falling object all the time giving me the sad basset hound eyes – oh and moving him is almost impossible as he is a pit and dead weight when he doesn’t want to give up his position.
The littlest one simply lowers and cocks her head to look up to give the true “puppy dog” eyes, ears raised and shakes; literally shakes her whole body as though she is having a convulsion that can only be cured by ice cream.
Lastly the oldest simply walks up, snorts at me and then lays down across the room. She has learned after 12 years I don’t share Buster Bars; but if I ever do share anything she gets first dibs because she was the best behaved.
The problem with game is when you use the wrong strategy for the situation. On the weekend I often make scrambled eggs and I make enough to give the pups. They have learned that their best strategy is to abandon the ice cream tactic and to all sit quietly at least 2 feet away and wait. When I am done they each get their bites – one by one in a certain order and only by remaining seated.
When you are job searching you must modify your game to the new situation because it is a whole new playing field.
First you must be willing to put yourself out there more than you ever have before. You must also learn to sell yourself in any situation at a moment’s notice. The wallflower game may have worked well for you in your last position; but that next job is not going to come up and ask you to dance. You have to take a chance and make the first move. There may be rejection but it is the cost of opportunity. Developing a thick skin is also part of the game.
Abraham Lincoln once said if he had eight hours to cut down a tree he would spend the first six sharpening his ax. Applied to job searching this means study the playing field and prepare your tools. These tools include your resume, your selling speeches (elevator pitches), your networking strategies, your plans of action and the appropriate follow through measures.
Adjust your game to your audience to get the results you truly want. It takes work, self honestly, trial and error and practice. Most importantly keep in mind your truly desired end result. Do you want a job to just get by or do you want a career? As we progress our needs and desires change and therefore we need to adapt in order to reach that next level.
The playing field may look the same as 20 years ago, but there could be subtle changes. It could be the way in which you apply to the job, the questions asked in the interview or even that a resume is now required where none was before. Discover the changes, adapt and go get your game on.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.