Being a Hobbit in a Middle Earth Sized Job Market

The Hobbit Job SearchAs you’ve probably heard a million times, the fantasy epic, “The Hobbit” was released in theaters this weekend. It’s kind of a big deal right now. In its opening weekend, the movie broke box office records for December with more than $84 million in ticket sales. If you’ve been secluded in your hobbit hole and are unfamiliar with the tale or the classic book the movie is based on, here’s a brief overview:

Young mild-mannered Bilbo Baggins enjoys living a quiet life in his secluded village until he’s recruited by the wizard Gandalf to join him with a group of dwarfs on a wild adventure to get back their stolen gold from an evil dragon.

Little Bilbo is just trying to make sense of this huge world he’s been thrust into. Doesn’t that feel like you when searching for a job? You – being a lone job seeker in a giant world of organizations, committees, hiring managers, and competition you have no control over – can feel a lot like Bilbo setting out on his first adventure. But, you don’t have to feel that way. You can be the hero of your own job search if you take some simple cues from “The Hobbit.”

Seek to be Unique
At first, taking Bilbo on a dangerous adventure seemed like a bad choice. He had no traveling, combat, or leadership experience with no apparent skills that he could provide the group. The dwarfs were properly equipped and trained for almost anything and had been working together for many years. However, the wizard Gandalf saw something in Bilbo that the dwarfs didn’t. The hobbit was small, swift, and stealthy – the exact opposite of the loud, fully-armored dwarfs. This talent helps Bilbo save the dwarfs from certain doom on many occasions throughout the story.

As a job seeker, you may not be the most experienced or have the most connections, but you do have a talent or skill that is better than the others. Focus on what you do best and find the employers who are looking for those skills. Being a jack of all trades but a master of none isn’t as impressive as a master of one talent that is in demand.

Mentor Locator
You can’t do everything on your own. Bilbo never would have started if he didn’t get guidance and counsel from the wizard Gandalf. The wizard recruited and promoted Bilbo to the skeptic dwarfs and gave him the encouragement needed to finish the adventure.

That is why mentors are valuable resources who can help you focus your job search, open doors of opportunity, and even help develop your career after you find work. Start sharpening your networking skills like you would an Elven sword and build relationships that will lead to mentorship.

Outgrown the Comfort Zone
What separated Bilbo from the other Hobbits was his desire for adventure. He never would have left his shire if he didn’t get the nudge from Gandalf. So, the first step in your journey to employment should be to step out of your comfort zone. Take small steps that may not immediately land you your next job, but can help you develop skills and connections that will. Start with activities like volunteering, interning, or applying at a staffing agency.

Your job search may not be as dangerous as a trek across Middle Earth to fight a dragon, but sometimes finding a job may feel just as scary. A little Hobbit named Bilbo took a chance and had an adventure of a lifetime. Will you take the same chances in your job search?

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