This past Thursday (12/18/14) I visited my friends at the First Presbyterian Church job search group (Triad Career Network) and asked these questions:
- How many job applications have you filled out in the past 30 days?
- How many new people have you met and actually had a conversation with in the past 30 days?
- How many hours a day, on average, have you spend behind a computer over the past 30 days?
- How many hours a day, on average, have you spent out of the house working on your job search over the past 30 days?
The numbers were all over the place, but there were some answers that became rather clear:
- Too many of the attendees were wasting time filling out job applications
- There was not enough networking going on for their network to be able to help in their search
- Too much time is being spent staring at a computer screen, trolling job listings, filling out applications and massaging the resume.
- Most job seekers have not figured out the true value of getting out of the house.
To help combat these problems and get past Waiting for a Job, I offered some advice on the following areas of job search:
Accountability & Responsibility
We have to hold ourselves accountable to our own actions, behaviors and attitudes in life. This is still true when we are unemployed and looking for our next job. There is no boss telling us what to do, when, how or why. Therefore this becomes our responsibility to hold us accountable to doing the actions needed to get a new job. If we can’t hold ourselves accountable to the right actions, behaviors and attitudes, we will never find that next great job.
Build a Process and work it
Success in life occurs easier when we build a process for success and then work the process. We need to make deliberate decisions as to what steps, tools, resources and time to invest in the process. These decisions must be made as we focus on a clear and beneficial goal. In this case, the goal should be to get employed.
As we build this process we need to take inconsideration stepping stone successes as well:
- Growing our network by a specific number each month.
- Having a specific number of new and repeat conversations each week.
- Connecting with a growing number of relevant and potential employers each month.
- Resume, cover letter, networking profile management.
- Online Profile management.
As we build and work our process we need to pay attention to steps and actions that do not work well. Adjust the plan as necessary and keep moving forward.
Prayer & Support
Part of our responsibility is knowing when we can’t do it alone any longer. Often when this happens we have to reach out to our network and ask for help. Also, we need to know when to reach out to God and ask for help. Support from our network as well as from God is important during this career transition journey. Know when you need help and what kind of help you need. Ask for it when you have permission. Never go at this alone.
Often some of the best results occur when we take a risk. This applies to career transition as well. Press yourself to be a little uncomfortable and take a little risk.
Frequently I hear people say that networking makes them uncomfortable. Again, press yourself to get just a little uncomfortable. You don’t need to get upset and put yourself in a situation that will cause you to crumble and tremble. However, I urge you to keep pressing your boundaries. One way to press your boundaries at networking is to practice with people you already know and like. Get them to introduce you to other good people and keep the conversations going.
Take a Risk
Don’t let being safe get in the way of being successful. Often taking a risk, a calculated risk, can help you to discover ideas, people, businesses and opportunities you don’t know about and have never imagined. As in my conversation about getting a little uncomfortable, take a little risk and see what happens. Walk up to someone you don’t know at a networking event and say hello, call a LinkedIn connection and introduce yourself, email an old work buddy and say hello. Think of the worst case scenario. Take a little risk and see what happens.
You don’t have permission to ask until you have given
In career transition you can’t ask for help until after you have helped others first. Get permission to ask for anything. Just because we know someone, does not give us permission to ask for anything we want. We need to first do what we can to help the other person, even if it’s just listen to them first. Get permission for every question or request you have before asking. This will always get you a much better response to your request or question.
I took this a step further in regards to praying to God for help. I believe I don’t have permission to ask God for help unless I have first done something meaningful to help another person.
Be a Freak
In career transition if you walk, talk, interview, resume and look just like very other candidate, you are going to be treated like every other candidate. Be different, better, unusual, unique, unexpected. This is the definition of Freak. Be a Freak. Here are a few simple ideas:
- Go the extra steps in an interview, ask lots of business questions.
- Do something different in the cover letter, refer to the business goals and expectations
- Have a better LinkedIn Profile, make it look good and speak well of Who you are, not what you have been.
- Follow up every conversation with a very polite and friendly thank you message, email, post card.
If you are just sitting around the house hoping that one of the jobs you applied for will eventually pan out, all I can do is offer you a prayer. Dear Lord, I hope that this person will Stop Waiting for a Job
If you are holding yourself accountable to working your process, asking for help when you have permission, getting a little uncomfortable, taking a risk and being a career transition freak, I applaud you for doing it better and differently than everyone else. You are likely to be successful sooner than later.
Are you still waiting for a job?
I hope that I can encourage you to stop waiting for a job.
Good luck with that.