The Swamp of Discrimination

discrimination

Are alligators in your swamp?

 

I’m angry. What were they thinking? The recent SAE event should awaken us to unkind realities, not just at a college party, but in corporate America. Today I heard one of the ringleaders came from Jesuit High School, an excellent school in Dallas.  He knew better. They all knew better. Why? Why? Why?

Discrimination Affects All of Us

Discrimination is a serious issue. Whether we are old, young, married, unmarried, people of color or freckled, we experience discrimination periodically. Is there anyone reading this who has not experienced discrimination?

alligator in water

There’s one!

Possible Solutions

What can we do about it? Ranting doesn’t seem to help. For decades I’ve coached people to consider alternative careers. I’ve heard incredible stories of discrimination. I’ve listened to a number of stories from women who experienced discrimination and reported it. When the layoff came, they were terminated.

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? How has discrimination truly changed over the years? I’m not sure it’s much better than it used to be.

Stories of Woe

Long ago, working for a major company, I quit rather than work for the HR Manager who interviewed someone, telling me, “I liked her.” My response, “Why?” Her bright, bouncy attitude exuded confidence, but I couldn’t grasp why he liked her better than the others. “She’s married.” What??? The manager has a Master’s degree in Human Resources. Married? How did that factor into hiring her? He said, “She’d be more settled than a single woman.” What???

This week I heard from yet another technical female who reported inappropriate behavior from a co-worker who referred to women’s body parts in a derogatory manner. Should she try to change careers?

Recently I’ve read a number of articles about women in technology abandoning their dreams. What are women to do? Ignore it? I’ve heard too many stories like that.

Possible Problems

Maybe she’s a trouble-maker.

Maybe her skills aren’t as “valuable” as the transgressor.

Maybe she looks like the manager’s mother and he never liked his mother.

Maybe the company can afford lawyers if she decides to sue.

Handling a Hostile Swamp

  • Don’t over-react the first time.
  • Let your body language register surprise and distaste.
  • Sense of humor; “You can’t mean that!”
  • Quietly talk in private with the individual about your boundaries. Ask and tell the manager you expect harassment to stop. No difference…go to next step.
  • Talk with the department manager; lethargy or hostility…go to next step
  • Report it to HR; see if they handle it appropriately; if situation remains…go to next step
  • Update your resume and begin looking for a new job!

 

I don’t want to be tarred and feathered for the next statement, but do not share your story with the next possible employer. You want a fresh start. Words, kind and unkind, travel fast. You do not want to be known as a trouble-maker. You can read ways to state why you are leaving, such as “It’s time for a change” or “I’ve heard good things about your company. Your opportunity fits my career plans.”

Should I Leave the Swamp

Some feel they can’t afford to leave. If the situation disgusts and degrades, you can’t afford to stay.  Your emotional health is critical. You don’t deserve to be harassed .

If you are a manager, do not allow bad behavior from anyone in your group. You don’t want to be taken to court! It can cost your company millions. And I’m not just saying that! Be sure to watch this video.  Ignore the commercial.  The video is important!

Thanks to the anonymous lady who encouraged me to write this article!

3 Reasons to Doubt the Job Data

businessman looking at graphic

 

Last week Fox News ran an article about current job data.  Titled CEO of Gallup Calls Jobless Rate ‘Big Lie’ Created by White House, Wall Street, Media.  Jim Clifton, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Gallup, the renowned research company, is quoted telling a Fox reporter the unemployment figures are “lies.”  You can watch the video where Mr. Clifton tells his reasons for doubting the veracity of the data.  I doubt the job data.

Doubt #1

In Texas, we see mostly good news about unemployment.  Have you heard people say, “People should be able to find a job in Texas with unemployment under 5%.”  Really?  If you left your job a few months or a year or so ago with antiquated skills, you might not be counted in the data.  You may have a decent resume, but the skills needed for many engineers today are not the same as those used in recent employment.  The information in the Fox News piece clearly showed the data may be 11.2%, rather than 5.6% unemployment.  People out of work for an extended period may not be counted.  Part-time workers and the underemployed may be mixed with the full-time workers recently hired.  The data seems misleading.

Doubt #2

Fox News likes the Republicans and often disses the Democrats.  Who can you believe?  Obama says the economy is thriving, yet the Republicans proclaim start-ups are at the lowest point in 20 years. We need start-ups!  I marvel at the creative ideas presented on Shark Tank, but investors and large companies are fearful of spending their cash. What is reality?

Doubt #3

If you are a new grad with an extraordinarily good GPA and fabulous technical skills, perhaps in security software, your search may be challenging without a degree from an Ivy League School. Fortune 100 Companies use lists of target universities to hire the “best” students.  The competition is fierce.

I heard a friend say, “The best education is a Liberal Arts major.”  I asked him how his son found his stellar job a few years ago with a Liberal Arts degree.  He responded; he referred him to a friend of his in the oil patch.  I think that’s called “networking.”  I don’t know what skills his son brought to the table with his Liberal Arts degree, but the world is full of “good-ole-boy” stories, such as this.

Who’s Hiring; Who’s Not

Read the Business Journal from your city to find opportunities.  Update your skills.  In the Dallas-Ft. Worth Business Journal, we see Toyota, Nebraska Furniture with many contract positions.  HCL Technologies mentioned 300 openings upcoming, but I had to search Dice.com to find the details.  Security technology jobs are abundant but require specific knowledge.  Diesel mechanics and truck drivers are in demand.  Today American Airlines lists 200+ jobs in Dallas-Fort Worth area but the right skills are required.  More than half their openings are at the lower end of the pay scale.

Exxon and Radio Shack are laying off people in droves…But, you know that.  Keep your ear to the ground to apply for real openings, not the job ads that stay online permanently, in case the company is building a pipeline to fill later.

Target Your Efforts

Sometimes I feel like I speak out of both sides of my mouth.  I rant and rave to job seekers to ‘target the job, but keep your eyes wide open.” Some may say the economy is great.  Gas prices are down.  Others may lament with gas prices down, we are bound to have a dip in the economy. I was in Houston this weekend.  The rest of the country may be upbeat, but the Houston paper provided sad stories of layoffs in the oil business.

Unhappy with your job?  Want to enhance your career?  Are you unemployed or underemployed?  I don’t think anyone knows for sure when or if the economy will decline soon, but you’d better hurry up!  You don’t want to miss the existing opportunities!

Jimmy Fallon and Job Search Thank You Notes

Possible job search “thanks” from Jimmy Fallon

Thank you, Mr. Hiring Manager, for never answering the phone, although I call you every other day to see for my status.

Thank you, Ms. Recruiter, for throwing my resume into the dumpster.

Thank you, Dear Friend, for telling me about your brother’s new job but “forgetting” to give me his phone number.

pickle store owner

Thank you for the pickle. Quite frankly I’d rather have a new job.

Job seekers might laugh at these snarky thank you notes. But Jimmy Fallon’s segment on his nightly TV show provides a tip for all job seekers. Saying thank you (appropriately) can never hurt.

Why Write Thank You Notes

I kept track of how many thank you notes I received during my recruiting efforts. Although I was not religious recording the numbers, I would say ten percent sent thank you notes, after an on-site interview. I loved receiving the notes. Perhaps some recruiters might scoff but I doubt it. Most people want recognition for efforts on your behalf.

Considering job search is actually selling you as the product, you need to take time to write a short thank you note to say why you are clearly the one for the job…that is if you believe it and want the job! In sales training we hear the buyer (in this case the hiring manager) needs to see your name or product six times before he or she “buys” it. A thank you note counts.

What to Write in your Thank You Notes

A thank you note needs to be short, engaging and worth reading. You can sell your skills in the process.

For example:

“Thank you for meeting with me on December 31 for the Systems Analyst position. I particularly enjoyed hearing about your recent software implementation. I’d like to be a part of the team during your upcoming “Next Gen” project. With my background in analysis, I could help you jump-start the process.

Or:

“Thank you for interviewing me. I’d like to work for your company.”

If you were the recruiter or hiring manager, with both candidates equally qualified, would the thank you note help you decide which candidate to hire?

My Experiment

The other day I spoke with a group of 10 job seekers. I asked each to send me a thank you note to see how many would reply. I requested feedback to tell me what point in the presentation helped most. Five or six responded, but only one provided a specific response.   Four said, in essence “Liked it.” I was thrilled to hear from everyone, but his note helped me most. I’d been a little nervous about including the point he chose. I’ll remember him. I thanked him. If I come across a lead to help him, I’ll contact him.  That’s the power of an engaging thank you note!

My bet is Jimmy Fallon probably got his job through someone he knows, rather than a thank you note, but he recognizes the value of thanking others. Remember Fallon’s crazy thank you notes, the next time someone does something nice for you. Just don’t be snarky, if you want the job.

Here’s a clip from NBC’s Jimmy Fallon Thank You Notes.  It takes a few seconds for it to pop up.

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First Interview in 12 Years

Got the job on her first interview!

Got the job on her first interview!

We finished re-writing her resume into a hybrid format the first of October. I assured her that recruiters hate hybrid resumes and that she would need to network like crazy to find work. Why? This would be her first interview in 12 years, as she’d been taking care of kids. I must add; she is smart, articulate, and well-educated. And scared. I asked her how soon she wanted to go to work, as I need to know if the individual is serious, when I coach him or her. “How about Thanksgiving?” she asked. Let’s call her Pearl.

In my experience as a recruiter and outplacement consultant, finding work usually takes six weeks minimally. Pearl may accomplish the goal if she treats the job search like a job, working at least six hours a day.

Credentials

No work experience in the last 12 years. Very little volunteer work. Joined APICs ( the leading professional association for purchasing and inventory control) a few years ago to learn the latest industry jargon, but attended only a few times. No certifications with a little knowledge of Six Sigma.

Pearl flailed a little. “How about I apply where my husband works?” she asked. Although her husband has a lengthy history with a Fortune 500 job, his company regularly suffers layoffs, no matter the longevity of employment. After a short discussion, she decided to target corporate headquarters with hefty distribution in consumer products near her home. The second week she slowed down, while sending resumes and arranging coffee dates with her target list of contacts.

Career Fair Confidence

Her chosen target company would have a career fair early the next week, mostly for warehouse workers. She searched to find an appropriate opening and submitted her resume online, but took hard copies of her resume to the fair. The night before the career fair was restless, as fear crept to the forefront. In the morning she dumped the fear, put on a happy face and her new, interview duds, fully intending to get the job. She didn’t think it was practice.

In job search, people must push themselves into their discomfort zone. With resumes and a big smile, she took a deep breath and asked the person at the registration desk, “Which line is for the professionals?” No professional recruiter was available, but they let her talk with one of the recruiters for hourly workers. When she explained she was targeting a particular job, he asked her to wait while he ventured behind the scenes to see if he could find the right person. No luck, but he took her resume, telling her, “I’ll make sure the right person sees your resume.”

Interview

I called her for a mock phone interview. I could tell that her positive attitude and action could mean quick success. The call came the next day. After a few quick questions, she heard, “Pearl, could you visit with Mr. Rover tomorrow?” Music to her ears!

We scurried to assure she knew the difference between behavioral and traditional questions. Since neither of us had time for a face-to-face interview, she studied www.quintcareers.com.  I gave her a document about competency based questions. With limited time for preparation, she’d need to “wing it.”

Mr. Rover turned out to be the hiring manager. He showed her the warehouse and asked her if she wanted to move forward with the interview (she said yes). Her interview lasted more than two hours. Later that day, he called to offer her the job.

Got the Job!

“Wow! Whew! Great job, Pearl!” I did the happy dance with my cell phone.

Why was she successful? Attitude, likability, friendliness, articulation, overcoming fear with confidence and credentials meeting their needs. She applied for a lower level job to re-enter the business world. Both company and candidate know a learning curve exists. Her resume didn’t get the job. The interview sealed the deal, as they saw her eagerness and confidence. She didn’t apologize or beg. She showed them she would be perfect for the opening. Asking good questions, listening carefully, while connecting, contributed to her success.

Role Model

You, too, can shorten your job search. You must focus and target what you want, plus believe in yourself.  Her attitude demonstrated she would learn quickly. Pearl got the job on her first interview in 12 years. Use her for your role model!

All the preparation cannot take the place of confidence and attitude! These are Pearl’s words of wisdom for your first interview after a gap…or any interview for that matter!

1100 Days of Risk and Perserverance

Risk-taking

No risk, no gain!

A couple months after graduating from college, in August 2012, I applied for an entry level finance position with an airline. No one responded. I continued to look for the right job where both my analytical and creative talents could be recognized.  Shoot!  With my excellent grades and work experience in college, I didn’t think it would take long.  However, it took 1100 day!  If I had let down on my risk and perseverance, I’d still be looking.

I’ve always had a strong interest in geography, travel, and transportation. I have family roots in the transportation industry, too. My uncle worked for an airline, and another uncle worked on the railroad for over 35 years. Both men made constant remarks about their love for the job, giving me a strong incentive to work in transportation, especially for the airlines.

Refining the Search

In November 2013, I decided to approach my goal of getting into this company another way. Through a Google search, I came across a company employee based at Los Angeles National Airport, who attended my alma mater. I emailed her; to my surprise, I received a response 10 minutes later. She helped me land a phone interview for a finance job. I excelled during the phone interview. The next step would be a flight to the company’s headquarters for a final interview, but that fell through due to a hiring freeze. I gave myself permission to feel sorry for myself, rage to my family and a networking friend, but I didn’t quit. I continued my relentless perseverance to work at this airline.

While searching for additional jobs, I came across a contractor program this company offered. I didn’t know much about it, but I  researched, which peaked my interest. I applied to participate in it. I thought this would be a great way for me to get my foot in the door at the company. I received a call asking if I wanted to interview.  Absolutely! I took the Amtrak from Northeast Ohio to Chicago and to Texas for an interview.  I felt sure I aced the interview, as the HR lady indicated as soon as an opening occurred, she’d contact me.

The Contract Job in Texas

When the cell phone rang, I’d rush expectantly to answer and the miracle occurred.   In a week, I made my way down to the Lone Star State. I moved across the country knowing the risk involved to start my career with this airline. I had six months to find a full time job with the company. If I didn’t, then I would have been out of luck and looking for a job far away from friends and family.  I knew no one in the area.

I rented a small apartment, sight unseen, near the airport and drove myself to Texas.  The pay was low, and I owe $350 a month on my student loan.  Scared?  Of course!  Excited.  You bet!  But I wanted out of Ohio and a job in transportation.  I took the risk!

The vast majority of my contractor assignment involved working in the baggage department, doing administrative work. I dedicated my life during the six-month training period to my assignments and job search at the company.  Although I sent a few resumes to other airlines and transportation companies in the area, I concentrated on where I was.

Risk with Urgency

I knew people respected me.  My boss encouraged me and spoke on my behalf to others.  I heard comments about myself such as:

“You’re smart, responsible and dedicated.”

“You are so motivated. I’m sure you’ll find a job here.”

“Our company is lucky to have you.  Someone will pick you up.”

And the one I liked best was:

“Do you know what we need here?  We need ten people like you!”

I contacted over 60 employees at the company seeking help or advice on landing a job. I wrote a personal note to an executive at the company and by chance, met the CEO on an elevator when I was attempting to speak with the hiring manager about a job application. I extensively researched the company, its competitors, and airline industry trends.

Unfortunately, my six-month period passed without obtaining  position. But, my faith and confidence kept me moving forward.

Perseverance Pays Off

Before my contract ended I had an interview for a Product Planner position with the company and received an offer the week after my contract ended. All my hard work paid off. I’m very excited and thankful I’ve been given a chance to prove myself where I focused my efforts.

My parents allowed me to take this risk because they had the utmost confidence that with my work ethic and the effort I put forth that I would be successful and accomplish my mission. I’m very grateful to them as well.

I know this is said all the time, but my message to those looking for a job is to never give up. As long as you are willing to take risks and work hard, someone will definitely notice. I’m a very good example of this. It took me over 1,100 days to complete my goal with major emotional ups and downs, but I’m thrilled to be starting this new chapter of my life.

Written by Anonymous

Edited by Ruth Glover

 

 

 

Writing a Resume Is Like Writing a Best Seller

thumbs up

Thumbs up for a winning resume.

Lighting struck me last week when I attended a fabulous writing conference in Portland, Oregon. I had the good fortune to hear Luke Ryan*, who was Executive Producer for “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.”  His impressive career in the film industry is relevant to writers.  He knows how to choose a great story.

Writing your resume is like writing a best seller, which could eventually be a blockbuster movie. Writing an extraordinary resume could eventually find you the best job of your life. Here are points for you to ponder to make your resume a “winner.”

Summary:  “Your log line needs to say it all concisely and quickly.”
Use action words: “Make it real.”
Duties/ responsibilities: “What is your story? What genre is your book?”
Accomplishments: “Correct the flaws, solve the conflict.”
Limit words to 1000: “Would someone want to read it?”
Focus, focus, focus: “Bake the theme into your work.”
Grab attention: “Show the right way to live through with your character (YOU).”
Downplay what is not important: “Subplots shouldn’t be an additional story.”
Customize it for your reader: “Make it all come together.”

Mr. Ryan shared funny, relevant stories to help the audience. He didn’t try to sell himself, but gave excellent content that demonstrated he knows what he’s saying. He awakened our emotions to the fact that it’s not just a story, but the emotional impact on the audience, which is critical.

win the award

Will your resume win the job?

What emotional impact will your resume have when the possible new employer reads your resume? Will he or she say when opening your resume, “Crap! I don’t need another detailed, over-qualified engineer.” Or will the response be, “Wow, this guy has the credentials and experience we need for the job!”

Read your resume. Would you want to work with the person on that resume? Is he or she outstanding or not? Employers want exceptional employees. Your resume content must garner attention for winning an academy award… or a remarkable, well-suited job!

Now go revise that resume! Make it resonate!

*Also involved in Valentines Day, Halloween, The King’s Ransom and other film endeavors.

Finding a New Job Is Like Getting a Dog

Learn from your dog

What will he teach you about job search?

When my dog Sinder died in 2009, I was devastated but he was 16 and ready to go.  Since my husband and I like to travel, he stated repeatedly, in a very loud voice, “No more dogs!”  .

History

Sinder knew my name when I met him, calling me “Rooth, Rooth, Rooth,” at the  McKinney SPCA, long ago. I knew there would never be another Sinder.  But finally toward the end of 2010, my husband decreed I could get another dog, as long as he or she would be neutered (no problem), under 15 pounds (no problem), short haired (dog haircuts are as expensive as emeralds) and under five years old.

Requirements

The husband really didn’t want me to purchase another dog, so I encouraged him to look online for this very special animal.  He found six pictures and I chose one to visit.  We drove about 100 miles to see this dog.  “Better take a collar and leash with you,” the loved one uttered.  No, I wasn’t going to get the first dog I saw, but I took the leash.

If you are not familiar with dog rescue groups, they are wonderful.  The members foster the dogs until someone purchases the dog, which has been neutered and “chipped.”  If the dog bolts and someone takes him to the vet or SPCA, the owner can be contacted.  The new dog weighed about 10 pounds, age one with short hair, and house trained.  He fit the husband’s requirements.

Personality

This shy, little dog was bigger than the rest.  He walked around behind me, put his paws on my back:  I was smitten!  He shook most of the way home.  The foster family called him Ledger.  Didn’t fit!  He didn’t look like Heath Ledger (deceased singer) or have an accounting degree. “I wonder if he’ll be a good traveler?  I wonder how far he’ll go with us,” I thought.  That’s it!  I named him Far-Go.

Fargo is much loved; we could have named him Mr. Personality.  He’s not the best behaved dog I’ve ever owned.  He thinks of his stomach constantly, hates rabbits and is not fond of dogs until properly sniffed.  He loves to play with his stuffed toys, working diligently to get the squeaker out and distribute the “guts” of the toy throughout the house.

I taught Fargo to lie down, sit, play dead, and roll over.  He is very particular about arranging his little baby blankets in a circle when he sleeps.  Funny dog!  Great friend!  Even the husband loves him.

Lessons Learned

  • When your dog dies, the next dog may be wonderful, but certainly not the same.  If we translate that to the business world, if you lose your job or hate your boss, the next one definitely won’t be the same.
  • If you want an animal, know what will work with the family. Define and focus.  Know what you want. Ask good questions.
  • Animals have quirks but can be trained.  Learn quickly what you can and cannot do to cope with the new reality.  You are in training when you get a new manager.  Watch the personality traits and accommodate.  Be flexible.
  • Is the new animal beyond what you can live with? Find out history, if possible.  Research the company.  If  the atmosphere is unbearable, start looking for the new gig, as life is too short to stay unhappy.  Interviewing is two way.
  • Traveling with a dog is a hassle.  Managing management is sometimes a hassle.
  • Waiting for the right dog may never happen.  Listen to your instinct about whether you should take a new job or stay with the known. Don’t be fearful, especially if you are unhappy with your current situation.

Change is inevitable but you can become ill from too much stress.  Getting a new animal in the family is like finding a new job.  You need to define carefully what you want with input from those who love and understand you.  It may take awhile…but you can do it!

Ruth Glover writes articles to on a variety of topics: many help with career and job change. Some are about fascinating people and places.  She is a former recruiter and helps people with the many aspects of moving forward.

 

3 C’s of Change

Caring, Confidence and Connecting are crucial for change.  You probably know that, but as you face job search or other change, think about them in your own life.  Each plays an integral role in achieving successful change.

3 C's of Change

Change=Caring, Confidence & Connecting

Caring

When Rusty (not his real name) retires early, he flails miserably the first year.  At age 55, he feels like a failure, thinking his career is over.  With his retirement checks and investments, he could be comfortable, but his family life is in shambles.

His wife explodes when she returns from her job.  “What have you been doing all day?” she roars.  His teenage daughter’s hair glows shocking pink, while his son, the older of the two, excels in sports.  None of them think Dad is worth two cents, as he hides in the garage, working on his hotrod.  He begins to focus on the children’s issues, rather than finding a new career.  Life becomes unbearable, before desperation forces his action.

If you are facing change, take control of the situation.  Age 55 is not old.  Do what you can and leave the other mess for later.  Family issues may mire you in misery, rather than improving the situation.

Realize the world won’t end if you don’t watch all of your kid’s sports events. Let the daughter alone unless, grades drop and she changes crowds.  Tell the family you care but must be passionate about finding a new job.

Confidence

Confidence comes through carefully analyzing your assets and liabilities.  What do you bring to the job or other change?  How are you unique?  How do you cope with your liabilities?

You know you should be confident but the roller coaster is inevitable.  Going through any change creates emotional upheaval.  Do not be surprised by your rapid pulse on the way to an interview or doctor’s appointment.  Recognize your personal anger, doubt, and sadness. Moving forward helps level the stress, returning your confidence.

Does your wife know how many contacts you made yesterday to follow up with recruiters?  Keep accurate records, as you are in sales (selling yourself).  Knowing how many phone calls, in person contacts and interviews helps you  stay on track, plus you may share the information with incredulous relatives!  By planning the change, rather than riding the bumps in the road, confidence returns.

Maybe you aren’t working hard enough.  Listen to the complaints and if they have merit, correct your behavior.  One phone call a day to an employer or possible customer is certainly not enough.  Staying behind the computer constantly is not healthy.  You will gain self-respect and new energy with continuous improvement.  Recognize, however, you may have to push yourself hard when you move out of the office chair into a less comfortable spot.

Connecting

Connecting is networking.  Whether it is online or in person, do it!  Job leads come in surprising doses.  Sitting next to someone at a Lions Club meeting may provide the lead you need to sell your product, which is you.  Singing in the church choir may give you emotional support and respite from your crazy home life.  Talking to your Uncle Ed in Seattle may not seem like networking, but he may have valuable contacts for your agony.

After a careful examination of his assets and liabilities, Rusty started looking for a job related to cars.  He joined a Corvette club, meeting new people with connections to after market for automobiles.  A new friend suggested  he talk with a start up where Rusty’s background in Information Technology would be helpful to the organization.  He talked to the start up.  Not a fit. Another member convinced Rusty to sell cars.  “No way,” thought Rusty.  “I was an executive!  I don’t want to do that.”  But friends kept pushing him.  He interviewed with a Chevy dealer.  Yes, it would be commission, but he would meet new people.  He had to get out of the house.

Much to Rusty’s surprise, he loves the sales job and customers love him.  The agency gave him excellent training.  He’s making money and his confidence radiates.  He and his family are happier and healthier with his new endeavor.

Facing Change

So, go have coffee with a friend.  Ask for creative ideas.  Take care of your family by analyzing what is real.  Your confidence will grow stronger and your transition, shorter.  Change is rarely easy.  And change is continuous.

Change, whether it’s a job change, moving to a new community or getting a new dog in the family, involves the three C’s.  You need to care about the process or project, build confidence with enough analysis and connect with the right people to make it happen.

“Continuous effort-not strength and intelligence-is the key to unlocking our potential.”

Winston Churchill

Ghostly Fears in Your Job Search

Ghost in Job Search

Get rid of the fear and ghosts in your job search.

What is holding you back?  Could it be fear?  Do ghosts interfere with your job or job search?

Do you hate your job, but stick with it because you know the people and politics?  Are you facing a possible layoff by the end of the year?   How can you conquer your fear during job search?

Finances

Let’s name the fear.  If your fear is financial, study the monster and  lighten your load.  Don’t buy alcohol.  Cancel excess cable channels.  Fire the housekeeper.  Talk with your creditors to alert them about your issues.  Don’t let your kids browbeat you into buying $100 tennis shoes.  Hide some cash for the holiday gifts now.  Face the reality that it could be a long haul.

Momentum

You need to remind yourself constantly that your job is to find another job.  Rather than trying to find a job with the same requirements of your current or most recent job, think creatively.  If you are stuck, you might want to read a good book to pump new energy into your job search.

Post-it notes may help.   Place them on the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror and in your car.  The notes may say:

“Get over it,” if you are harboring anger.

“Today’s the Day!”  OR

“I will hear from my next employer today.”

Affirmations may seem silly, but they help you maintain momentum.

A quiet time daily for inspiration helps, as well.  No matter how hard you work, you don’t have total control; other factors intervene.

Time

Conquer time management.  Block time on your calendar for items on your “to do” list.  Spend more time on the telephone or in person networking than on the computer.  If you decide to spend eight hours a day on job search, then two to three hours a day on the computer can be accomplished nights and week-ends. Accountability and organization play an integral role in your search.  Maintain accurate records, as if you are in sales, to see what happens when your activity improves.  That means you must track the number of phone calls, phone interviews, networking meetings and interviews.

Often I hear from people who suddenly see a bigger picture.  If unemployed, the time may be important to help an aging parent or special needs child.  If employed, remaining in that boring job may help you keep your sanity when the spouse decides to leave for “greener pastures. Maybe the time is ripe for you to start Plan B, the business you’ve envisioned for years.

Ghosts

Ghosts live with all of us.  Maybe you call them another name but ghosts from our past can erode confidence during job search.  If someone in you life gives you grief daily about finding a job, you may rebel, as a child might.  When we are stressed, we don’t always behave as sane people.   Perhaps a ghost from your childhood told you that you would never amount to anything or that you lacked the intelligence to become an engineer or a public speaker. Our ghosts may affect us more than we realize.  What “voices” do you need to kill, which play with your mind when you start to make a phone call?  Perhaps you can identify that “ghost” and slay it forever!

Look carefully at what you are avoiding.  I could become psychological or philosophical about this, but the bottom line is clear.  You can play the blame game, be tortured by your ghosts from the past and/or present or you can murder the monsters and move away from your fear.

Happy Halloween!

If you would like a spreadsheet to assist with your marketing and time management while looking for work, please send an email to careers.@hotcareers.com for your free template.

Reminder: Sachse LIbrary is sponsoring a writers group.  The organizational meeting is at 6:30 p.m., October 29, 2013.  If you are an author in the area, want to blog, write articles, fiction, a memoir for your family, please contact the library or me for details at careers@hotcareers.com  about the group.

 

Twist Job Search Rejection into Opportunity

You hang up the phone in disbelief.  You didn’t get the job.  You feel like someone hit you in the stomach.  This was the perfect job.  You’re screaming, “I’m so angry!  I can’t stand this.”  How will you overcome this travesty?  Devastation reigns in the moment!  You plummet into the abyss of job search rejection.

I could tell you to “get over it,” but let’s twist the situation into opportunity.

man screaming into phone

He didn’t get the job!

Feedback

What did you learn in the process?  Call the recruiter.  Likely, you won’t hear any meaningful feedback but you might as well ask.  Granted, the recruiter may not answer, but if you can entice the recruiter into a conversation, you can also ask if there are other positions  which could fit.   If you reach the recruiter, do not be belligerent.  Be inquisitive, not angry.  Recruiters document, especially about the angry candidates.

Thank you

Be sure to send a thank you note, whether you reach the recruiter for feedback or not.  Everyone likes to be thanked.  I don’t care if the thank you note is hand-written or an email, but do it!  If you still want to work for the company, seeing your name again will help the people you met remember you.  Don’t just thank the recruiter, thank the hiring manager. Share that you want to work with their company.  Add why you hope the recruiter should contact you when the position becomes available again.  Be friendly.

Social Network

Have you connected with the team members you met?  If you collected business cards from everyone, you can send each a note through either LinkedIn, Google, Facebook or Twitter.  Facebook is good for forming relationships.  If you become a friend on Facebook you can see what your new friend likes or possibly where he or she eats regularly.  Remember that “like-ability” is often number one in hiring decisions.  Don’t be invasive but make a new friend, not just a business acquaintance.

Again and Again

Do not be fearful to try again with the same company.  Maybe they will tire of you contacting them and realize they need to hire you!  That, of course, can backfire, so you must be careful. I interviewed twice with the same company.  When I saw a third opening, I took a deep breath, shunned my ego’s message and called again.  I got the job!  Looking back, the third job was a better match for all of us.  I was prepared when asked, “Why would this one, rather than the other two, be the right position for you?”

Personal Insight

Use the rejection for personal examination.  What challenges would you have faced?  Did you truly fit the team?  Were you dressed appropriately?  You must realize that you are closer to the yes with each rejection, but it’s difficult.  Set a time limit to feel bad about the rejection, then review your marketing plan. Where have you had the most traction?  Where did you feel the most comfort when interviewing?  What do you really want to do?  Are you on track?  Do you need to revise the target companies on your list as a result of this rejection?

Our system of hiring is often irrational.  Maybe no one ever read your resume.  You didn’t have a chance To limit your pity party, do something nice for yourself and repeat after me: “They were foolish not to hire me.  I am closer to the right job now.”  After you walk, go to the gym or visit to the zoo, it’s time to move forward.  Rejection in job search is part of your future success!