This is a post from one of my other blogs that fits the category of resumes and career planning for college and even high school students.
Job Search Challenge
Are you struggling with your job search? Does it seem that around every corner is another dead end? Are you receiving advice upon advice, but none of it is helping? Have you written, rewritten, and written your resume over and over?
If there is any comfort in this; you are not alone. Job searches are challenging, frustrating, and full of disappointments. Even sadder is that there is no quick or sure answer; except perseverance.
With all of this appearing to be stacked against you; what do you do? How do you move forward?
There Are No Easy or Guaranteed Answers or Solutions
I am not about to tell you that there is some easy solution, because there is not. What I am going to tell you, however, is that you will survive. How do I know that you will survive? Because I have survived!
I have a great education, excellent work history, I have been in a great industry full of opportunities; but that does not mean that I was protected from unemployment. In fact my unemployment has never included unemployment benefits.
I have had unemployment or underemployment periods from two or three months to 30 months over a four year period. You can lose your home, you can lose your cars, I have even slept in a car. I have gone from $125.00 per hour to $8.50 per hour. Every time, however, I have pulled through and you can to.
By nature we are survivors; we are born to succeed and to win. It may not seem like it; but it is the truth. You need to do whatever you can legally do to pull yourself and your family through.
Tom Staskiewicz is a survivor of multiple bouts of unemployment. He understands that you cannot get down on yourself, you must keep pushing forward, and you must have perseverance. He did it and you can do it too! Tom is a Career and Accountability Coach. He helps people through the tough times. If you need help contact Tom.
The Networking Challenge
I wrote Networking May Be Right Up There with the Fear of Speaking article in another of my blogs and thought you might find it interesting.
Networking can be a challenging and slippery slope, especially for the job seeker. As a job seeker you encounter the “no” answer when you apply for jobs which leads you to avoiding other situations where the answer may be no.
Getting “hung up” on no; is a problem that stands in the way of your success in getting a new job and moving forward. You cannot take the no answer as rejection, because it will stop you in your tracks.
What Does NO Mean?
No does not mean no, it simply means that this particular route may be blocked and that you need to take an alternative route. When you have a goal (which is imperative), you must always keep your eye on that goal. You may have to take alternative routes, but you can never allow yourself to lose sight of your goal.
One of the keys to goals is not to picture the goal, but to picture yourself from the goal. When you picture yourself from the goal you strengthen your desire and commitment.
I had two LinkedIn group members comment about professionally written resumes. The first was an advocate and said that she has received interviews since having it rewritten. The problem is she had it rewritten in 2008 and is still looking. The second said that she spent a boat load of money and it got her nowhere.
My experience is similar to the second individual; the professional resume brought me nothing. The problems that I see with professional resume writers is that most write to impress the person paying the fee, rather than the person that will be reading the resume.
No One Knows Your Skills as Well as You Do!
The truth is that no one knows your skills as well as you do and although your resume writing skills may be lacking; working with someone that will HELP you craft your resume is much more effective. The place where most fail is in self-promotion. We are not very good at tooting our own horn. You need to get the reader’s attention and leave them wanting to know more.
It Is Who Knows You that Counts
The point where I differ with Denise is it is not who you know, but who knows you! What are you doing to get your information out? How are you educating the people that you come in contact with and do you leave them with the ability and desire to promote you to their contacts?
You want the people that you talk with to want to present you to others because they feel they will be helping that third person solve a problem and make themselves look good at the same time.
What Do Your Five Closest Friends Say About You?
Most people do not understand the importance of their five closest friends. What they typically miss is; this group will greatly influence your goals, your ideas, and your achievements.
The average level of achievement within this group will parallel your progress. If they drive average cars; you will drive an average car. If they have an average house; you will have an average house. It is not that average is bad; it is just that if you aspire to more – this group of friends may not be the proper launching pad.
Look at the successful people that are around you; who do they keep company with? Are they running in the same crowd as you; if so then you are probably doing well because you will be close to the average of a higher income group. If you are not in that group then you are probably somewhere below their economic position.
The questions are:
- Where do you want to be?
- What are you doing to get there?
- When will you get there?
Social Networking and Your Five Closest Friends – Are Your Friends Right for You?
Let’s move this examination to your job search. The truth is that 80% to 85% of jobs are found through networking. This begs the question then as to how successful you are as a networker? If your group of close friends are not effective networkers, chances are that you are not an effective networker.
If your friends are on LinkedIn or other Social Networks and they have the average number of connections, then you probably have the average number of connections as well. If they are not on LinkedIn; then you are most likely not on LinkedIn.
People that are progressing in their careers have more connections than those that are not moving. People that are progressing in their careers are adding higher caliber connections; which brings higher caliber second level connections.
This concept may be familiar to you or maybe not, but there have been studies performed on friendships and this is exactly what the researchers found. We are heavily influenced by those around us and often times to move forward we need to break out of these relationships.
Are your closest friends supportive of your efforts, ideas, and goals?
The next question is whether those around you are supportive of your aspirations. If they do not share your vision and are not excited for you; then it may be time to change friends.
For you to be successful you need people around you that share your dreams and some that have obtained the level of success you are seeking. Without that support the negativity of your friends will can be a barrier to your achieving the success you desire.
Maybe you have heard of Zig Ziglar. When he was starting in his writing career he wrote that he was 165 pounds; the problem was that he was not 165 pounds. He was close to 200 pounds. Immediately he recognized that he had a credibility problem. Does he change his weight to 200 pounds in the book or does he lose 35 pounds.
He decided to lose the wieght. He wanted to do it properly so he went to his doctor for advice. Once there he realized that this was a problem because his doctor was over weight and decided right then that he needed a new doctor. A doctor that believed in what Zig wanted to accomplish.
The moral of the story is that you must surround yourself with people that share your goals and ideas. If they do not they will not be supportive and, in fact, they will be negative and detrimental to your efforts.
You Are Employed; but You Know You Can Do Better
Social Media and Networking can be a great way to search for a new job or career; but there are definitely drawbacks when you are currently employed. It is a fact, there are many, many people that have taken positions below their skill levels, abilities, and interests during the current recession. The problem is how do they get back to where they were OR MORE?
You Are Connected and You Cannot Hide
The ubiquitous nature of the Internet knows you. You are no longer able to hide. You have an Internet presence and people can see what you are doing. If they are one of your contacts, connections, friends, followers, viewers, or whatever they have an even greater insight into your activities. Does this mean that you have no hope? Absolutely not; it just means that you must be more creative.
The Advantage of Being Employed
The truth is that being employed is an advantage during these lean employment times. Being employed means that you have survived the cuts, the layoffs, and the failed firms meaning that your value continues to be recognized and desired. This does not mean that those currently unemployed do not have value or are not desired. It just means that those that are employed have been more fortunate and right, wrong, or indifferent; it is an advantage.
It also means that coming from a position of employed to employed has an advantage over coming from unemployed to employed. Again, this is just a fact and not meant to demean anyone.
The second advantage to being employed is that you have the opportunity to create a situation where you are being sought, rather than you doing the seeking. The benefit is that it puts you in the driver’s seat for negotiations and gives you a better opportunity to say “no” when the opportunity is not to your liking. It is great when you are not desperate!
Keeping a Low Profile
How do you keep a low profile while carrying out an effective job search? The first way to keep a low profile is to avoid announcing that you are searching. Strange as that may sound, there are people that profess to want a low profile, but blatantly announce their intention to change jobs. This is not a wise tactic if you want to keep your job until you find the new opportunity.
I will use LinkedIn for the second example, but this would apply to any Social Networking site with similar capabilities. In your LinkedIn profile you have the ability to identify your reason for networking. Your answers should be networking, connecting, collaborating, answer questions, research, etc. None of your answers should have anything to do with looking for opportunities.
Next you must have a complete profile. You cannot expect success when your profile simply lists the places you have worked. What did you do there; what were your accomplishments? As Caesar said Veni, Vidi, Vici; I came, I saw, I conquered. What did you see, what action did you take, and what were the results of those actions? Let the reader know what you have done and what they can expect?
Your next focus should be getting the word out about your expertise. Join and participate in relevant groups. Ask and answer questions, offer advice and information, share your knowledge so people get to know you. Do not hide what you have to offer. Successful networking starts with you giving of yourself, your knowledge, and your expertise. Build your credibility and trust; so people will seek you out.
Join the answer boards and respond to posted questions. Give excellent, thoughtful answers; on LinkedIn people vote on your answers; work to get recognized for the quality of your answers. You are building your presence, reputation, and your brand. This must be a focus of yours.
Following these steps can help you create a presence without necessarily exposing your intentions. If you have not been very active on the Social Networks; make this a somewhat gradual process so you do not attract too much attention immediately. Let your presence grow so that you demonstrate reliability and consistency. You cannot jump out there one day with a flurry of activity and then disappear. You must create a consistent presence for the best success.
Some Job Seekers Pursue, While Other Job Seekers Are Pursued
There are many different ways to seek new opportunities but all of them will fall into one of two categories: to pursue or to be pursued. A job seeker that is pursuing is the person that is out beating the bushes looking for the next opportunity.
The pursuers are targeting employers, sending resumes, filling out applications, searching job boards, networking and making contacts, responding to want ads, etc. They are working to find that next opportunity.
The second category are the pursued. Those are people like Lee Iaccoca in the 1980s, when Chrysler was looking for someone to save the company. Iaccoca’s performance record with Ford made him not only a logical, but a great choice. Iaccoca was the father of the Mustang and that innovative mind was just what Chrysler needed; a person with talent and vision. Iaccoca was pursued by Chrysler.
This is what today’s job seeker should be looking to accomplish with their career.
- What have you done in your past that you can do in your future to make people seek you?
- How are you presenting your skills and abilities?
The pursued have a brand and a reputation that is known by some or even many. The more that know your brand the greater your appeal and the greater your opportunities.
Develop Your Brand
Success requires that you develop, build, and promote your brand. Do you have a brand? What is your brand? How can you promote your brand?
These are important questions that you must be able to answer and then act upon. What can you do to establish your expertise and gain the visibility necessary to promote your brand?
Developing your brand requires that you have visibility. In the past this was often difficult to accomplish. There were limited places where you could promote and there was tremendous competition to get your information placed. Today that has all changed.
With the advent of Social Networking. Blogs, and other Internet capabilities; you can get your word out. There are numerous outlets (magazines, ezines, blogs, websites, etc.) where you can gain tremendous visibility and credibility. These outlets suffer constantly from the lack of quality information and ideas. They are experiencing increasing competition for materials and therefore they are always looking for new material and differing perspectives. If you want to get the recognition; the possibilities are unlimited.
Are you pursuing or being pursued? Most job seekers fall into the category of pursuing; what can you do to change yourself from pursuing to being pursued?