“Looking for new challenges” – So?

It’s a phrase I see fairly often on LinkedIn – “Looking for new challenges”. And it got me thinking about how that kind of statement looks in the eyes of a company or a recruiter.

Now, I’m neither hiring or a recruiter, so I get that I’m not the target audience. And I also understand that ”Looking for new challenges” is a kind of upbeat code for either ”I’m not employed” or ”I don’t want to stay in my current job”.

But here’s my problem with it. I’ve worked a lot with content marketing and in particular I’ve helped companies get started in that field. And one of the biggest challenges I’ve come across is getting companies to stop talking about what’s important to them, and instead start talking about what’s important to their customers. It’s often called an outside-in perspective (as opposed to the inside-out perspective where you focus on your own situation).

It’s really hard to get companies to stop having an inside-out way of looking at what they do. The people there are so convinced that the things that they do is of great interest to everyone outside the company. Or that the language they use is the same one as their customers. So they end up still talking about their own products in a way nobody cares about or in a language that most customers don’t understand.

And to me ”Looking for new challenges” sounds a lot like an inside-out way of describing what you want. Rather than focusing on describing yourself as a solution to what your potential employers need.

If I was looking for a new colleague I’m not sure that my first reaction to seeing “Looking for new challenges” would be “Great, that’s exactly what I want to spend my time doing – making sure that X gets a new challenge”. I think it would be more along the lines of “I really need to find someone who can help me with this problem, or give us an opportunity to move in this direction.”

Right now there’s a demand in marketing and communication for people that understands digital and social media developments. At least in the Nordics, and I’m pretty sure it’s like that in a lot of places. And in other industries there are probably similar areas of competence that are in demand. Why not focus on telling companies in your chosen area of work that you have skills that will really help them improve themselves?

Like I said, I’m not a recruiter or someone who does the hiring. If you can provide me with some good insights as to why “Looking for new challenges” is a great way of advertising yourself on LinkedIn, then I’ll listen. But I have a sneaking suspicion that there aren’t any good arguments for this.

Let me have it in the comments if you disagree with me.


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