Job Seekers – Are You Sabotaging Your Job Search?

Do We Sabotage Our Own Job Search?

Speaking for myself, I know the answer is yes. We may not mean to do it but many times we subconsciously sabotage our own success. You may wonder how we do that and here are my thoughts.

We allow self doubt to creep into our minds. We tell ourselves that maybe we are not good enough or the right person for the job. When we have those thoughts, whether we are conscious of them or not, they will affect our product; whether the product is a resume, cover letter, or ourselves during an interview.

Where Does Our Sabotage Come From?

We may have our own self doubts as described above. We may have doubts placed by others; e.g. former employers and co-workers, friends and family, society in general, even our spouse or significant other can plant these thoughts.

When we allow these things to creep into our mind our confidence takes a hit and it shows. We second guess the things that we do or want to say; which results in hesitancy and does not inspire the person with whom we are talking. They can sense our hesitancy and regardless of how things have gone to that point, this becomes their most recent perspective.

What Kind of Sabotage Do We Perpetrate?

Maybe we feel that we are not worthy of the opportunity. Maybe we feel that we have not earned or do not deserve the salary, title, or benefits. Maybe we have a lingering doubt from a previous work experience. Maybe we were fired and somewhere in the back of our minds we feel it was justified.

There are many, many different things we can do to harm our prospects and we must be aware of them, so that we can prevent the harm they can do.

What Do We Do to Prevent Sabotage?

One of the first things we must do is stop beating ourselves up and even more importantly stop allowing others to beat us up! As long as we allow these things to happen we cannot move past what is holding us back. We must be proactive on our own behalf.

Take some time, when you are not preparing a product, and think about those things you or others say about you and write them down. Then look at the list and say to yourself; “Realistically are these things true; am I really like that or do I really do that?” The honest answer may be yes and if it is you must learn how to change that behavior and how to mitigate its impact on your job prospects.

That idea of change will be tough, because most of us do not like to change and we will, in fact, do everything we can to fight the change. However, change we must; take on the battle and make the change. Your ability to change will set you apart, because 90% of people are unable to make changes; they would simply rather stay in their situation and complain.

Another thing we can, and should, do is keep our own little notebook or diary of our accomplishments. In fact, you should always have it with you so you can record those special things you do and the results of your efforts. You should be writing in this book at least two or three times per week about the things inside and outside of work that you have accomplished.

When you or others are getting down on you, pull out this little book and start reading about the things you have done and accomplished. This little brag book can serve many purposes.

  1. To build you up when you or others are down on you.
  2. To provide you with ideas for your resume or on-line profile when you need to demonstrate what you have accomplished.
  3. To review just prior to going into your interview so that you have a positive feeling about yourself.
  4. To review just prior to going for your annual or semi-annual performance review.
  5. To serve as a reminder when your boss is preparing for your review and asks you to list some of your accomplishments over the past year. (Yes, the boss should know, but more often than not, they do not remember key accomplishments. Help them out, do not lament that they do not remember. Show them that you care.)

So my questions to you are;

  1. What are you doing to yourself?
  2. How are you or others beating you up?
  3. What are you doing to stop the beatings?
  4. What work have you undertaken to solve the problem?

If you need help find a Career Coach that will address issues honestly with you. Find someone that will be your Accountability Coach and engage that person to help you.

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Do You Know What Your On-Line Presence Says About You

Your Internet Presence

Virtually everyone today has an Internet presence. If for some reason you do not; you will attract as much attention as you would with a poor Internet presence. What story does your Internet presence tell people?

Have you ever taken the time to Google your name, enter it on Yahoo, or Bing? You must do this; you must know what is on the Internet pertaining to you! Go to Google.com and type in your name, press the enter key, and see what comes up. Are you happy with the result? Are you seeing, and therefore a recruiter or hiring manager seeing, what you would like them to see?

What Is Unacceptable Information

Things that are unacceptable include:

  • Pictures that show you in compromising situations.
  • Inappropriate language or posting from you or your friends.
  • Pictures or stories that include you in illegal activities, even as basic as under age drinking.
  • Discussions and stories that are derogatory to you or others.
  • Negative comments you have made about employers, businesses, other people
  • Negative comments about teachers, managers, supervisors, and other authority figures.
  • Insulting or disparaging comments about friends and associates.

Any of these items can be the negative that causes the recruiter or hiring manager to reject you as an employee. This is not discrimination, this is just business. Businesses cannot afford to hire employees that may bring discredit on the business, negative attention, or other adverse effects.

What employees and prospective employees bring to the business can be critical to the business success. You, as an employee, must bring positives; not negatives.

How Do You Clean Up Your On-Line Presence?

Cleaning up your on-line presence starts with your Social Networking. You need to remove any photos or information that is negative. If you started the discussion, you can delete the entire discussion. If you commented on a discussion, you can remove your comments. If you have friends or connections that are offensive you can unfriend or remove them.

Take the offensive information out of your on-line presence and do it now!

What If Your Removal Offends Your Friend or Friends

If the postings of friends and connections is negative, you can ask them to change their behavior because it jeopardizes your opportunities. If they are unwilling to help you, then they truly are not very good friends and you are probably better off without them.

If you are serious about having a good on-line reputation, then you must think of yourself first and make the necessary choices. Obviously your goal is not to hurt others or their feelings, but it is to ensure that you are presented in a positive light.

After the Clean Up

Once you have cleaned up those things that you can; what is left? If you still have negative or derogatory information, what can you do to eliminate or at least mitigate the impact.

One way is to create positive Internet articles related to you. Participate in events or organizations that generate positive information and get involved. Join organization boards, involve yourself in civic activities, write your own blog articles, comment on popular blogs and leave your name, join LinkedIn, Facebook, and other Social Networking sites that receive high search engine rankings. Build your connections and friends lists which will raise your rankings. Create a Google Profile, put positive postings and videos on YouTube.

If you have many negatives associated with a Social Networking profile, delete the profile and start over.

What If the Negatives Are from Someone with the Same Name?

If you are being haunted by someone with the same name that has negative information; do not despair, you can address that as well.

Some of the steps you can take include:

  1. Post a consistent professional picture with all of your profiles.
  2. Use your middle initial, middle name, maiden name, nickname, or something else that will differentiate you.
  3. Create an Internet Gravatar (picture) that can be used for postings on sites where you cannot add your picture.
  4. Change your reference on your sites to a consistent name. Use the username function on Facebook, the change profile name on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., to capture your identity. Choose a name combination that no one else is using.

    Cut, purge, erase, delete, replace, create, post, comment, participate, and do any other positive things you can to recreate your on-line profile in a positive manner.

Summer Jobs – Are You Ready

A Little Ground Work Is Important

Are you hoping to get a summer job? What steps are you taking to make that happen?

Getting a summer, job in today’s job market, is not as simple as walking up, getting an application, filling it out, and getting hired. You must be prepared by doing the groundwork and your homework.

Here are some basic steps:

  1. Clean up your Social Networking sites.
  2. Identify your target work location.
  3. Will they be hiring this summer?
  4. When will they be hiring?
  5. How many do they plan to hire?
  6. What Is the Projected Start Date?
  7. What Is the Projected End Date?
  8. When will they be accepting applications?
  9. What is the application process?
  10. Do you need a resume?
  11. After the application process what comes next?
  12. Who is the hiring manager?
  13. What do they look for in an employee?
  14. Have them describe their ideal employee.
  15. What can you do to ensure that you are the one to be hired?

Clean Up Your Social Networking Sites.

If you have questionable content on your Facebook, MySpace, or other Social Networking sites clean it up. Over 60% of employers will check and with high school and college students, the percentage increases dramatically. Employers do not wan employees that will potentially bring negative attention to their organization.

Google yourself and see what comes up. If it is negative see what you can do to get positive information to come up at the top of the search. Joining Facebook, LinkedIn, creating a Google profile, and posting to your blog; are all ways that you can add information to a Google search that will rise to the top. Get people to click on your blog and these other materials to increase the visits and again raise the ranking.

Identify Your Target Work Location.

What is your short list of places where you would like to work this summer? Make a list and start working the list; contact anyone of interest.

Will They Be Hiring This Summer?

Find out the summer hiring plans. If they will not be hiring move on. If it is a maybe mark it as such.

When Will They Be Hiring?

What is their hiring timetable? How does that fit with your availability? If that does not fit your schedule what alternative arrangements might be available?

How Many Do They Plan To Hire?

How many will they be hiring? Will they hire everyone at the same time?

What Is the Projected Start Date?

How does the schedule fit with your schedule? If the schedules do not match, can you work something out? Is there any flexibility?

What Is the Projected End Date?

When do they see the summer jobs ending? Is there a set date or does it depend upon availability?

When Will They Be Accepting Applications?

Find out the date when they will start accepting applications and plan accordingly. Make sure you are timely. Check out the process ahead of time to ensure that you will have all the answers to the questions.

What Is the Application Process?

Is the application process a kiosk at the employer’s location (i.e. Target, WalMart, Albertsons, etc.), is it on-line (CostCo, Home Depot, etc.), or is it a paper process (McDonalds, Burger King, mom and pop, etc.). Know ahead of time and be prepared. If it is a kiosk or on-line one of the first questions will be if you have filled out the application. A “no” answer will be their first reason to dismiss you. You must be prepared.

Do You Need a Resume?

Some places may want a resume in addition to the application, be prepared and have one available. List previous employment, organizations (especially leadership roles), and do not put references. They will ask for those.

After the Application Process What Comes Next?

Know what to expect after completing the application. If the next step is to meet with a hiring manager, when are they available? If there are certain days and times, know as much up-front as possible. This saves you the inconvenience, but even more it shows commitment, determination, and most of all interest!

Ask when you can check back. But do not simply say that say “When I follow up do you prefer I call or come in?” This approach gives them no option on whether you will follow up; only on how you will follow up.

What Do They Look For in An Employee?

Employers do not discriminate, they just know what they want and prefer. Visit the location and look around. If the employees look like skaters (that is the desired image at some businesses) and you are clean cut that will tell you something. It tells you what they look for and hire, but it also begs the question is this what you want?

Have Them Describe Their Ideal Employee.

Have them describe their ideal employee. You should get this as early as possible and ideally before completing the application. If they are looking for people that are sports oriented, you want that on your application. If they are academically oriented you want that on your application.

What Can You Do To Ensure That You Are the One To Be Hired?

Express your profound interest in working for them and the reasons for that interest and then ask: What can I do so you will hire me? How can I prove to you that I am the one you want?