Career Lessons from TV

Because TV Doesn't Really Rot Your Brain

Lesson from “Burn Notice”- Using a Recruiter

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No, I don’t watch just 3 TV shows. There’s more. Trust me. This particular lesson is rather timely.

In the most recent episode of “Burn Notice”, Michael encounters a mysterious figure named Tom Strickler (played by Ben Shenkman), a self proclaimed “Agent to The Spies”, as the witty signature captions in the show illustrate. Makes sense the writers should introduce Strickler now. Michael is still burned by the CIA, and the mysterious organization that got him burned no longer controls, or protects him.  He’s completely unemployed.  Hence, another archetype of unemployment comes on to the scene- most of us call them “recruiters”.

Jeffrey Donovan & Ben Shenkman on "Burn Notice"

Jeffrey Donovan & Ben Shenkman on "Burn Notice"

How a Recruiter Can Help (Maybe)

In the episode “The Hunter”,  Strickler sets up the main plot  by tipping Michael off to an old adversary that’s come to Miami to settle a score, in which there happens to be monetary reward for disposing of him. After Michael dispenses with his old foe, Strickler attempts to solidify the relationship by offering Michael his cut. Because he doesn’t want to be a mercenary, Michael refuses, and Strickler asks Michael what he wants to do with his skills, without anyone of consequence to work for, or protect him.  A question many of us ask as we continue our job search. Using a recruiter can be a powerful resource in your job search, but you have to know how to work with one. Selena Dehne has some tips on working with one in “What Works When Working with Recruiters“. Keep in mind it’s a business relationship. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to dictate what kind of job you want your recruiter to get for you or where, especially now. Recruiters are in essence matchmakers. If they have a job spec and it appears that you fit the spec, you’ve got an opportunity. Like any relationship matchmaking service however, it can take some time.

As For Me…

Many of my past positions were landed through recruiters. There were very helpful in interview preparation and were interested in continuing a business relationship after contracts were done. However, even as I committed to a certain career track, recruiters weren’t able to match me with future opportunities. Not for the lack of trying. Most gave a concerted effort, and that’s why I say it may not work for anybody. You still need the right education, qualifications and experience to readily fit into opportunities a recruiter receives on a daily basis, which means you can’t take work solely on financial need. You need clear vision of your career path-where you’ve been and where you’re going. I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but sometimes the most valuable lessons are the ones you have to learn over and over again.

I’m working with a recruiter now from Kforce. It’s uncertain what might come of it, but no matter what happens, there’s always something to learn. Regardless of your job hunt status, whether you decide to use a recruiter or not, getting all the help you can is always a good thing.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

July 18, 2009 at 7:06 pm

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