In a recent article, I examined common mistakes that become additional barrier to opportunity. If you did not read it, I would recommend giving it a read to fully understand the nature of this follow up article.
What I want to address today is the depression of job searching, and how to adjust your mindset to achieve your goal. One of the biggest job searching challenges that you are going to face is keeping your emotions in balance, and the second biggest being the time it takes for you to find your job.
You are going to be dealing with Hiring Managers, HR, Recruiters and even procurement agents. These will be the ones that are going to qualify you for their position. All of a sudden you will get a lot of activity with companies you would be excited to work for.
You are sure that they need your skill and want to hire you because you are high impact talent. Furthermore, all of your accomplishments made a difference to the return on investment (ROI) for your past employer/s. Now you have three to four quality opportunities in your hopper. Things are great! You tell you significant other, your friends, or even past associates that you made it through the first screen. You may make it to a second or third interview, all signs are a go and new job is on the horizon.
A few days pass and you have nothing, you do not hear a thing. No one gets back to you.
No one has the stones to tell you why you were not given the opportunity you felt you were a fit for. No one tells you why you did not even get a shot at any opportunity within that company. All you remember is that you were told, “I like your style”, or “Your accomplishments would fit right into what we need here at ABC Company.” You are going to be frustrated and you have to let these emotions go. I talk to many people who are frustrated and it comes across on the phone. I am able to draw it out, and get past it, but most people are going to just turn off. They will feel it is a red flag on your attitude. Clear your mind before every call or e-mail. If someone calls you about an opportunity tell them you need to call them back in five minutes to get to a better location. Clear your mind, think of something that makes you happy. Smile and call them back with a genuine smile on your face. It truly is effective.
All you are left with are questions like: what is wrong with me? Could I have done anything different? What am I going to say to my family or friends that keep asking me how my search is going? Why does this happen to me? How am I going to take care of my responsibilities?
Do not fall victim to this negative mindset you are naturally going to have. You will have great new connections to talk about.
You are not alone this happens to all of us. The “why” is due to most companies recruiting for what their needs are NOW, not recruiting for what their needs could be in the FUTURE. That is why as soon as that company, or agency, gets their needs met everything drops. You are not a priority any more. Right or wrong that’s how things work. As a manager, think back on how relieved you were when you had a critical opening or need that was filled. When was the last time you thought of the 2nd or 3rd place candidate? What was communicated to them? Companies, I feel, are not trying to be mean spirited, hurtful or even malicious. However, they could be short sited. Either way it can not be taken personally. You do not have anything wrong with you!
Having a positive attitude is quintessential. Once your accomplishments, experiences and skills are identified you can now focus, with confidence, on identifying your targeted opportunities. You have awoken your network. Know who within your social network can help you create action or new contacts. Network entirely new industries where your skills and positive attitude could flourish.
Now comes the hard part. You need to be disciplined and most likely out of your comfort zone to build relationships live/online. You need to make a commitment to yourself to proactively uncover your next opportunity. If you break that commitment to yourself you have let your self down. It is a common thing to say what ever, maybe, tomorrow blah. Blah. Blah… Stop and remember you have already done all of the hard work. Now it is
the fun part finding out more about how you want to live your life. If you give a 100% to your family, self, community and career you will have everything you need to fulfill your life. Sure there will be curve balls, like your lay off/fired. But remember it was just a job no go out and find one that you have always wanted. They say the average collage kid is going to have 10 plus careers in his or her life time. Geeze I have that now and I am almost 40. I have progressed helped a lot of people along the way and love what I do. You can do the same thing by eliminating excuses, complaining, and have a positive attitude.
Here are some simple tips that can help you everyday. Some may be corny but they have helped me.
Rules of Job Search Sanity:
1. Keep your emotions in check and if people ask how the job search is going just smile and say “in progress”. I want to address time in this section. It can be a killer on moral, confidence, and finances. It can be a cause of negative pressures on your person and evoke a feeling of self worthlessness. These are normal feelings, but if you are proactive in networking, you will you reduce the time it takes to land your next job, and you can meet some great people which will have a profound effect on your life.
***Remember you need to like yourself, and be confident in your plan. It is a map and will take you to your objective in a shorter time vs. people who are like deer in the headlights.***
2. You are looking for the right opportunity, as well as companies are looking for the right employee. The interview, or screen, needs to go two ways. I am a firm believer that what separates us from others is our ability to ask intelligent questions. So know your story. Know where you came from, and where you want to go, so you can listen to what is being asked. Answer concisely and quickly. Know the company and/or environment so you can ask intelligent questions to see if this is the right company for you. I believe that there are critical questions that need be thought of before you interview. First, Relational: If a competitor were to call you, what would be the reason why you would stay at ABC Company? WOW: How does ABD Company differentiate itself from their competitors to attract the top 20% clients or employees? Business/Responsibility: Describe for me how you define success for the person who is in the job. What are your expectations?
3. For every $10K you want to add 1 month to your search. Prepare yourself mentally that this could take a long time for you to find the right opportunity. Are mentally prepared for this? If you were a Director or VP, there are not a lot of positions floating around, and most likely you were making more then $40K a year. So be patient! If you need cash, talk to a contract, or temporary help agency, to do some work to bring home the bacon in the mean time. This is where you need to look at your finances. Knowing how much money you have correlates to your sense of urgency. Do not be desperate, but tell the recruiters you are immediately available. If you need to take any job to pay the bills, do it. Right now it is understandable, and you should not be ashamed. If a company does not understand that, they you do not want you to work there!
4. Run your job search like your own business. You will need to manage your contacts, interviews, thank you letters, and resume submittals like you are in sales. You will have to identify which contacts and companies you want to keep in touch with, and which websites you will choose to look at for opportunities. I would not rely on the company, or recruiter, to remember you for all of their opportunities. The people who stay top of mind get the first opportunities. You do not want to be a stalker though. You will need to find out how they prefer to be contacted. “This is the fun part; now you pound the flesh, meet people and find out what they love about their jobs. You also will find jobs that you do not want to do. Remember an attitude of gratitude will open doors you never thought could be open for you.”
5. Networking is like cash, it is KING… Keep networking even after you land your job. In a current market like this you could potentially be laid off more then once. Also, you should want to pay-forward the kindness you received from other people that helped you out. “This is your golden ticket. Your network will help generate additional buzz, or personal branding. You need to find other avenues for jobs out side the job boards, recruitment sites and staffing.” It is with immense gratitude that I can share this information. I have seen this information help hundreds of people empower and liberate themselves from the negatives of waiting for something to happen. These real life tactics, or nuggets of knowledge, I have seen implemented first hand by job seekers today. Although I can not guarantee you a job, what I can guarantee is immediate results from these proven tips and techniques.
Remember you made a commitment to yourself. Those commitments cannot be broken.
Good luck, your networking will find opportunities for yourself. Have a positive attitude, and ask for what you want. Be realistic, fair-minded and understand your finances. My philosophy has always been that fifty percent of the jobs have not yet been created. So take some risks. Use your street smarts, and always pay-it-forward.