Here’s one of the most interesting takes on job hunting and career strategy that I’ve read in quite a while. See Skip Freeman’s “Job Hunting Frustrations? Consider Becoming ‘The Rag Man’” on the Personal Branding Blog:
Back in the Wild West of the 1800s, pioneers got most of their news from a person everyone referred to simply as “The Rag Man.” Because it was so painful for the family when someone in the family died, it was The Rag Man’s job to come by and clean out the deceased’s personal effects—clothing, jewelry, whatever—and take them away. The Rag Man then traveled from town to town, village to village, either in a horse-drawn cart or using a push-cart. At each stop along the way, upon his arrival, he would shout, “Rags for sale, rags for sale. Come and get your rags!”
People flocked to greet The Rag Man at every stop, but it wasn’t because they were just interested in the “rags” he was selling. Rather, the people actually were eager to hear the latest “news”—any “stories”—that The Rag Man may have learned or picked up along his route.
The contemporary equivalent of The Rag Man is the professional to whom others in his/her official or unofficial network consistently and regularly turn to learn what’s going on in a particular industry or in specific companies within that industry, etc. The term which probably best fits today’s “Rag Man” (who obviously could also be referred to as “Rag Woman”) is “center of influence.”
Regardless of which term is used, the job hunter who brands himself/herself as someone who is—if not the expert—an expert in any given field or professional specialty can have considerable impact on and wield significant influence with prospective employers. Indeed, the job hunter who is branded as a “center of influence” can capitalize on this perception to “re-touch” hiring managers or companies when no response has been received from initial efforts.
Read the whole thing (it’s worth it if you’re in a job transition).
What the post advocates is in line with the contemporary best practices in job searching coaching: avoiding dependency on reactive approaches and becoming a proactive player grounded in self-awareness of your distinguishing features as a careerist. (Incidentally, the “Rag Man” advice works just as self for entrepreneurs and small business owners whose sales pitches have been rejected.)