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Looking for a job or losing a job can really challenge a person’s job IQ! It seems reasonable that you are smart, and you have had a good career so far. You can do many things and yet, smart people can sometimes be too smart for their own good to realize they are not smart about everything.

photo-2For 25 years I have worked with hundreds of “smart” people that gave up trying to find a “job” because they did not have a coach or a recruiter. They felt that asking for help was in some way admitting defeat or admitting they weren’t as smart as they thought. Times have changed and the rules are different. Searching for a job can be overwhelming and frustrating. So many “perfect” jobs can be applied for with no response. After many months, this wears on a person’s confidence, not to mention their wallet! So what does it take? How do you raise your job search IQ?

It’s about communication. What, how and when are you communicating? Do you know how to communicate your value in a way that is relevant to the opportunity? Most people just go about it with the same approach that got them the last job or the current job. They haven’t revamped or updated their resume in years, have no clue what their value proposition is or how to convey it with relevance, and simply said, have a low job search IQ.

So, below is a little sample to give you an idea of your job search IQ. Just answer true or false and then read the answers. If you get more than 3 wrong, as we say in academia, 70% is marginal and below 70 is not acceptable. Try your luck.

What is your job search IQ? Answer True or False to the following:

  1. Immediately writing a resume is the first step                                          ____
  2. Call everyone you know to tell them you are available                            ____
  3. Commit to searching for jobs on the computer                                         ____
  4. Answer all ads in the newspaper or online                                                 ____
  5. Highly qualified people always get the job                                                 ____
  6. Begin by seeking a job in a similar environment and role                      ____
  7. Most jobs are found by using recruiters, internet, newspaper              ____
  8. Include salary requirements when answering ads                                   ____
  9. If a job does not have the right salary, don’t waste your time                ____
  10. Over 80% of all people underestimate their ability                                  ____



  1. False: Immediately writing a resume is not the first step. First, it is time to think about your total value. Create opportunities that are in line with your personal values, re-think your skills, knowledge and accomplishments to create a super marketing tool called a value proposition and a resume.
  2. False: Do not call everyone you know to tell them you are available, but do write down all your contacts as a networking possibility to contact later for informational meetings.
  3. True: You can commit to using the computer, but it is only a small portion of your “career campaign”. Most jobs are acquired in the hidden market through networking.
  4. False: Do not answer all ads. Only answer ads that you are truly qualified and that support your values structure and that will offer you opportunities that you truly desire.
  5. False: Highly qualified people do not always get the job.
  6. False: Understand your skills, knowledge and accomplishments. This will guide you into a “value proposition” that could be transferred into new industries also.
  7. False: Most jobs are found through networking!
  8. False: Do not include salary requirements.
  9. False: Sometimes a job without the initial “right” salary can be negotiated into accelerated reviews, additional perks, bonuses, and prove to be worth your time later on.
  10. True: Eighty percent of all people underestimate their abilities.


How did you do?

If you answered them all correctly you should now be on your way to managing your career with some success. If you missed several, then it is definitely time to retain a coach. Understanding your value and how to package it is not only a game changer, but also a life changer.

When I was teaching at SMU Cox School of Business, one of my students asked if I knew a certain professor, as he was not doing very well in his class. He said, “Dr. ____ is so smart, I haven’t understood a thing he’s said all semester!”

Don’t be too smart for you own good.

“Your relationship with people has as much to do with your success as all your professional knowledge.”

The first relationship you should have is with yourself! Get to know your value.