What Do They Know

Today I thought I’d take a moment to make another point on the importance of having the right mindset in your job search. Job seekers who are out there networking and making their efforts known are on on the receiving end of a lot of advice and leads. The quality of this information is often prematurely judged by the job seeker. In basic terms, the individual has a punctuation malfunction. Let me show you.

What do they know. They’re telling me ABC Company is hiring, but I applied there several months ago and never heard back.

What do they know. I search internet job boards for my field and there is nothing.

What do they know. I tried that approach and it bombed.

Notice above how I ended “what do they know” with a period. It’s so easy for a job seeker to do this. You hear information that sounds hollow or like something you already knew or tried and immediately mentally discount it as useless. What’s worse is when that judgment doesn’t remain in your mind, but is actually shared with the person attempting to pass on a valuable connection or nugget to you. It’s like there is a driving need to make it clear to that enthusiastic sharer of solutions they are wrong, two steps behind you or not really in a position to understand your situation.

With the period at the end of the sentence, conversation breaks down. By assuming the contact has nothing new or valuable to share, there is nothing to move the discussion forward in a positive way. Correct this punctuation malfunction and see where it takes you. Let me show you.

What do they know? They’re telling me ABC Company is hiring, but I applied there several months ago and never heard back. Do they have a contact on the inside? Do they have more information on what the company is looking for? Have they seen a recent posting or been asked to help refer people to the job?

What do they know? I search internet job boards for my field and there is nothing. Where are they seeing jobs? What resources do they know of that I may not? Who are they talking to giving them information jobs exist I haven’t seen?

What do they know? I tried that approach and it bombed. What did I do wrong? What contributed to others having success with that strategy? Did this person manage to make it work for him?

Can you see the difference a simple question mark can make in terms of mindset? Imagine the wealth of information you’ll have the potential to grab when your mind is tuned into wondering what that person knows you may not.


  • Scot says:

    What do they know? A comment and big Thank you!

    Lisa, after reading your article I found at least one trap I have fallen into during my current job search – not listening to others with a completely open mind. I liked your article and will incorporate more of it’s philosophy going forward.

    Thanks again,


  • Lisa says:

    Scot, thanks for stopping by. Glad the article helped. We all fall into this trap at times. It’s part of the human condition.

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  • Scot says:

    Thanks! I do read your information and the post of 08/20 really resonated with me today. I am, after all, a husband and sometimes it takes a little while b e f o r e I c a t c h on!

    Keep writing. The truth always has worth.


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