What Are You Selling?


My father and mother were born in Poland, met in Siberia and emigrated to the United States after World War II. My Dad was a bookkeeper for a firm that he eventually bought from the founder’s son who was in the process of running it into the ground.

I worked for him as a teenager doing filing and proofing columns. I was not made for such work. It bored me into having blisters in my brain (metaphorical blisters).

One day as we got into his car to drive home, he looked at me and said, “Jeffrey (he always called me “Jeffrey), you can work with your hands or with your head.” I interpreted this father-son moment as meaning, you know nothing about working with your hands. Start focusing on my head.

The term, “knowledge worker” describes a lot of what my father meant. Many of you, like me, sell our knowledge of how something is done, should be done or can be done to employers who pay is for that work. But what happens in an age where such knowledge is readily available and the cost of obtaining that knowledge is declining because of its ready availability?

Using the example of manufacturing, it seems like when certain knowledge or experience is “commoditized,” technology has made it easy for the work to be sent abroad. Even adding the cost of shipping to the manufacturing cost allows firms to earn more than if the job remains in a higher cost market. We have seen the same occurring in what were once called “white collar jobs,” but can be thought of as “knowledge work.”

For most of us who are selling knowledge and experience, what are you actually selling to an employer that they should buy?


Do you think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell you as much as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com changes that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

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You can order a copy of “Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle for $.99 and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.” Connect with me on LinkedIn and message me if you want to buy a PDF.