Monday, May 6, 2013

Job Seeker Persona - An Example

Persona

A quick check on synonyms for persona, returns ...

  • character
  • guise
  • role
  • personality
  • qualities
  • part
  • fa├žade
  • front
Taking each in the context of searching for a job and the job seeker herself, I could say - 

Character - the character you become
Guise - the guise you take on
Role - the role you play
Personality - the personality you project
Qualities - the qualities you demonstate
Part - the part you memorize
Facade - the facade you create
Front - the front you present

Actual client example

Twenty year old female college student in need of summer employment (and hopefully part time during the upcoming school year) with two areas of interest. First, working in retail customer service or sales where she has experience. Second, working in a general business front office environment (clerical, reception, admin assistance) where she also has experience. Location is important because she uses public transportation (bus) to and from school and work. She has decided to concentrate first on a large upscale retail area located near her home. She has a resume for each category.

Persona

When it comes to searching for front-of-the-store retail positions walking in and introducing herself is critical. If it's a big name outfit, she may have already completed their application online. If not, she's prepared to do it on the spot or later at home. Either way, she carries her resume, ready to hand to the manager. All well and good. But want about persona?

I think the most important part of a walk-in is determining if she "fits" - which means, if she were to ask a perfect stranger if, on balance, her age, gender, and general "look" seemed to fit the store and the other employees, what would be the answer? 

If no, then she may have zero chance of working there. If yes, she proceeds boldly ahead. If the response is maybe, well this required more info to determine if there's a fit. To do this she enters the store as if a customer. She looks around, she gets a feel. The whole purpose is to determine what it is she needs to do to tweak her persona to fit in. Or not. She may decide right then and there it's not the place for her. No tweaking required. She moves on.

If fitting in is most important (* see below) then determining what drives success in the position is next most important. Again, we are dealing with front-of-the-store retail positions. The client has experience in retail customer service-centric and sales-centric work. Her persona (character, guise, role, personality, qualities, part, facade, front) needs to align with either a customer experience focus or a sales focus. She has been taught to determine this by how she is greeted and what the manager initially says. She gets it. She sees her persona, just like her general approach, as something she is able to modify in order to achieve her Job Search Objective.

All this happens fast. The "doing" of this approach starts with preparation of her (flexible) persona. Once done, it's all about showing up and executing. Quick, fast, to the point. It won't take her long.

Perhaps best of all for someone with a long career ahead, she's the one setting things in motion, taking the initiative to adjust her persona to fit the environment and situation. This is a valuable tool in her tool bag and one she can expect to use many times in the years ahead.

* fitting in - She needs to be seen as someone that fits in. Of course she will actually have to fit in (at least to a degree) once hired, however her first concern is getting her toe in the door. If she's viewed as not right or not a fit, no need to worry about anything beyond that.

Travel well.
John Jeffrey Lundell

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