Job Seekers: 13 Signs That You Are Surrounding Yourself with the Wrong People

Not All Advice Is Good Advice

There are many people that are more than willing to give you advice; the question is whether that advice has any value. How do you recognize the good advisors from the bad?

The 13 Signs telling you that this is the wrong person to be talking to:

  1. They tell you your dreams are too big.
  2. They tell you you do not have the skills.
  3. They tell you that you do not have enough money.
  4. They tell you that you do not know the right people.
  5. They tell you that you are from the wrong side of the tracks.
  6. They tell you that your ship has already sailed.
  7. They tell you that you are too lazy.
  8. They tell you that you do not have the education.
  9. They tell you that it cannot be done.
  10. They tell you that you are too old.
  11. They tell you that you are too young.
  12. They tell you that you failed previously, so what makes you think you can succeed this time.
  13. The first thing they say is why you cannot do it.

What these people are really telling you is that your dream or aspiration is too big for them and therefore it must be too big for you. They see themselves as being unable to meet the challenge and put in the work and therefore either they believe you cannot succeed or they simply do not want you to succeed.

People that have not been successful find it difficult to support people with dreams and goals. It is just not in to succeed themselves and therefore, they resent success in others.

Change Your Advisors

If this is the type of advice you are receiving; it is time to change your advisors. You will never accomplish those things you are capable of doing if you have naysayers hanging around your neck.

Find Solid Support

What you must do, not just need to do, is find solid support. Find people that can help you achieve your goals, either directly or through positive support.

Sure maybe your goals are a stretch today, but that does not mean that you cannot overcome educational, monetary, networking, and other challenges. If your dreams are real to you and you are willing to do what is necessary; do not let others stand in your way.

Zig Ziglar in some of his many books talks about people allowing themselves to be SNIOPed. SNIOP is allowing yourself to be Susceptible to the Negative Influence of Other People. You cannot allow others to have this power over you.

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Job Search – What Are You Made Of?

Are You a Survivor?

I recently finished listening to “The Survivor’s Club” by Ben Sherwood. This should be mandatory reading for anyone that is unemployed or under employed and looking for work!

The book is not about employment and there is nothing in it employment related; it is simply stories about survival against the greatest of odds. Some of the important characteristics that are made by all of the survivor stories include:

  1. Faith
  2. Courage
  3. Commitment
  4. Determination

As I listened to these stories the parallels that can be drawn to the challenges faced by job seekers is easy to see.

Faith

Job seekers must have faith and know that the right job is out there for them. So many job seekers are susceptible to the negative thoughts of their own and others; that they forget about the importance of faith. Whether that faith is placed in a supreme being or faith in themselves is irrelevant. Faith is a critical characteristic necessary to overcome the influence of the negatives.

Courage

The unemployed and under employed must remain courageous throughout their ordeal. Yes, I said ordeal, because that is just what it is. Finding that next opportunity is a challenge and especially in this job market. Regardless of what they say in Washington and elsewhere about things improving; if you are out of work or under employed – you just do not see what they are seeing.

It takes courage to maintain your faith and your persistence, but you absolutely have no choice. Courage can help you stay positive and committed; which you must. Without these traits prospective employers and recruiters may see through the veneer and realize that you are desperate. Employers do not want desperate employees; they want people that are in control and will be productive.

Commitment

Are you committed to your job seeking process? I mean are you really committed to the process? Many job seekers profess to be committed but when “push comes to shove” it is a half-hearted commitment. Where are you in the process?

One of the first things that you must be ready to do is to change. No, not change someone else, but to change yourself. What is your mindset when it comes to describing yourself?

      Do you see yourself as someone that changes as necessary or are you set in your ways?
      Do you see yourself as possessing a set of skills or do you see yourself as the job title you previously held?
      Do you see yourself as someone willing to learn new things or as someone who is too old to learn?
      Do you see yourself as someone with too little experience or someone willing to work to gain experience?

Commitment says that you have moved past these self-limiting beliefs and that you are ready to progress. To progress in your career and job search requires that you have a willingness and desire to change. Without change you cannot progress; in fact, you cannot even tread water. Without change you will drift with the current and it will take you over the waterfall, through the rapids, or out to see. When you drift you are powerless to control your destiny.

Determination

A successful job search requires determination that will see you through any setbacks or negativity. If you do not get the job, there is a reason. You may not agree, you may strongly disagree; but if you cannot put it behind you – you cannot progress.

Progression is they key and to progress you must move all of the negatives, your own or those of others, out of your way. You must have a strong belief in yourself, you must love yourself, you must be willing to continue moving forward, in spite of the negatives.

If you have people that are telling you that you cannot do it, that you are ridiculous to think you can do it, and any of the other negatives; get rid of them! You do not need that in your life. If they cannot pick up on your vision and support you in your efforts; what good are they? Some will say you need a dose of reality; maybe so, just not their reality. Do not let others put the box around you and do not box yourself in.

Commitment says that you will not allow yourself to be boxed in by yourself or anyone else. You are committed to making it through to your desired goal.

Is Thinking Out of the Box the Correct Advice?

Maybe Thinking Out of the Box Is All Wrong

I just finished reading “The Age of the Unthinkable” by Joshua Ramo and it has made me reflect on this topic. It is a great book and I highly recommend it.

We hear frequently about the idea of thinking outside the box and I’ve come to realize that maybe outside the box is not the correct term. In the book Ramo uses the example of a picture. Many pictures have a foreground object and then the background. Since reading the book; I now look at the foreground object as my current job and the background as my skills that put me in that position.

Your Job May Be Obsolete, But That Does Not Mean That You Are Obsolete

When a current job disappears, I mean becomes obsolete; if we are focused on the foreground then we have become obsolete as well. But if we look at the background as our skills, abilities, and talents that put us into the job we will see that we have many things working in our favor to continue moving us forward.

Personal Experience

When I discuss issues pertaining to job searches; I speak from experience. I have had numerous occasions over the past fifteen years where I have had to search for a job. Sometimes it was because a contract ended, sometimes it just was not the right fit, and sometimes I was too honest and people did not like it. Whatever the reason I have experienced many of the same situations as you. I have walked into the office and been told that today was my last day on more than one occasion. No preparation, no advance notice, nothing, just you are done.

Here’s an example; I’m in IT and after 9/11 my projects which were all new infrastructures, just dried up. I had been working for a local firm for a couple of years and things were going well. 9/11 changed all that and their business just came to a standstill. I was a contractor and they had to cut costs immediately. I was expendable and quickly out of work. They told me to come back after the first of the year and see where things stood. They did not pick up and eventually the operation shut down. Although not permanently obsolete it was devastating enough to be a challenge.

I lamented and mourned and went through months of not moving forward. Finally I stepped back and looked at all the things I had done (the background of my picture) and realized that, although I was not an IT security expert, I had over 20 years of IT security experience. I had grown up with IT security from four letter passwords to what it was at the time.

Restructure Yourself Based Upon What Made You What You Were; Not For What You Were

I restructured my resume to focus on this experience and lo and behold I found a job. Everything I needed was in the box, I just had to get past the foreground picture to find it.

We do not need to go off the deep end, we just need to be willing to look beyond the obvious.

Are You Exploiting Change to Create Your Opportunities?

Change: Where Your Opportunities Lie

Change is ever present in our lives and in our world and as long as change exists; opportunities will exist. With every change there is a multitude of opportunities that surface. Those that are prepared will see the opportunities, while those that are unprepared will lament the changes.

Your Ability To Recognize Opportunity Is Dependent Upon Your Ability To Recognize Change

Opportunities come along as the result of change. If you are seeing opportunities look for the underlying changes that are occurring. Once you find those underlying changes; you can look for the opportunities.

Embracing Change

When a change is announced within your organization embrace it, jump at it, volunteer to be part of it. In today’s world you must be looking for every competitive advantage you can have and change is one of the things that will bring opportunities your way.

If your company is adopting a new technology, not just new to them, but new period. Raise your hand early and often to participate in learning about the technology and bringing it into your organization. Somewhere, someone made a commitment to this new technology and the implementation will take leaders; be one of them.

Get excited about the new technology and take every opportunity to learn about it. If you are in a department within the organization that is not directly involved; find out how it might impact your department and become the local resident expert on the technology. Do whatever you can to learn about the technology and be able to apply it in your area.

Often times new technology comes with unfriendly user manuals; identify the problem, and then start developing the customer manuals and training that will make your department members more productive faster. Be the innovator and the catalyst as the early adopter of the technology.

Change Can Be Your Friend

Did you know that change can be your friend? Typically it is because of change that we have the opportunity to pick up new skills or attend new training. Because of those new skills or training our value to our current and future employers increases.

We now have one more skill or trait to add to our resume. We have one more class to add to our educational profile. Adding skills, abilities, and training makes us more desirable as an employee and we should seek out these opportunities wherever we might find them.

How To Exploit Change

Change always needs a leader and those that raise the issue and make the justified case for change often become the leaders for the change process. Opportunities lie in change and when you can foster and lead the process you raise your visibility. When you are successful; you raise your value.

How Can You Benefit From Change?

Your willingness and ability to dig into and learn the details will set you apart from others within your organization. By getting in on the ground floor you can also become a sought after expert. Other organizations that are not the early adopters will be looking for people that are experienced with the technology when they are ready to implement. If you have taken the opportunity to create your brand and increase your sphere of influence can lead to many lucrative opportunities with other organizations.

Resume Tips – Deciding What to Include in Your Career Highlights

Do Not Waste Your Prime Real Estate

In Commercial Real Estate the answer to the age old question of the three most important things is: location, location, location. You can say the same thing about your resume. As such you do not want to waste the top of your resume; which includes your Career Highlights.

Your Career Highlights Are Just That Highlights!

Career Highlights are those accomplishments that speak to recruiters and hiring managers and say: I did this for them and I can do comparable for YOU! Career Highlights are not about you; rather they are about what you can do for your new employer. They are about the reader!

As with your entire resume your career highlights are a sales process that must convey to the reader:

  1. Why they would be foolish not to talk to you.
  2. Why they must read your entire resume.
  3. Why they cannot disregard you for the position.
  4. The highlights of what you have accomplished in your career thus far.
  5. What the new employer can expect of you after you have been hired.
  6. All of this communication is accomplished by the use of Situation, Action, and Results statements.

Think of Julius Caesar when you construct this section. Caesar was never shy or reluctant to boast about his accomplishments.

He encapsulated that perfectly when he said Veni, Vidi, Vici! I came, I saw, I conquered. That is exactly what you must tell your recruiter and hiring manager. Ideally there should be three to six of these conquering statements with no more than two from a single employment experience.

Follow the Advice of Marshall Goldsmith

A couple of years ago Marshall Goldsmith, he is a career coach to high-level executives, wrote the book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. In his book Goldsmith says that as your career progresses your skills must progress as well. The skills that got you noticed are not the same skills that you will need to succeed in your new position.

Your ability to be recognized in the subsequent position and the skills you will use are not be the skills you will need as you continue to move up. Understanding the requirements at the lower levels is critical; but you are no longer the one performing those tasks; you are now managing the performers.

Throughout your career you must evolve or you cannot move forward. When you are writing your career highlights remember that you are an evolving being and that your highlights must show that as your career progressed.

Your highlights must reflect your growth. You should encompass and showcase the new skills you have acquired to demonstrate your understanding that your role has changed. Your early highlights will be in the capacity of the “doer”; your middle highlights should demonstrate your skills as a manager; and your later highlights should demonstrate your skills as a leader.

Making your highlights section speak to the reader is critical to getting that interview you desire.

Copyright Tom Staskiewicz

“Who Knows You?” and “Are You Attracting the Attention You Want?” Understanding the function of career highlights is key to building your brand.

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What is your unique value or selling proposition?

This is a THINKing exercise. In the past IBM gave out desk signs that had the work THINK on it. We are always thinking, but what is it that we are thinking.

Right now, during your job search, you need to be thinking about what makes you uniquely attractive to a prospective employer. Realize that there is probably nothing unique that would apply to all employers, but there may be something different that would make you uniquely attractive to a specific employer.

1. Maybe it’s a skill you possess or a previous employer where you worked.
2. Maybe it’s your knowledge of a process or procedure.
3. Maybe it’s the intimate knowledge you have of an industry.
4. Maybe it’s how a previous employer does business.
5. Maybe it’s the people or contacts that you have within your network.

There is something about you that can make you stand out; your job is to identify that characteristic.

If you look at any successful business person there was something uniquely special that brought them to their current position. What is your unique value or selling proposition? Package it properly and this is what will get you the opportunity that you desire!

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