Engaging in a well-defined and diligent job transition will go easier if you have support. Looking for a new job can be anxiety-producing, to say the least. Keeping up such a search, day-after-day, can feel exhausting; submitting resumes or having to actually go tell people you are in a job transition can be scary, and waiting to hear on a job can seem like a life-time – all of these can leave you feeling depleted and alone.
That is why it is important and very beneficial to get support to keep you focused, be your accountability partner, a sounding board, as well as a cheerleader. It is easy to lose perspective during this time so having support can give you that ‘outsider’s view’ and help you remain in a good frame-of-mind. Here are some types of support to consider:
- A Career Coach – these are the ‘experts’ who can help you define your goals and create a strategic strategy for getting your next position; they also have resources, the accountability, and the ‘rah rah’ you need
- A Career Support Group = finding a group of like-minded job seekers can help you feel not as alone and you can learn some ways that others are coping during their search
- A Mastermind – this is a group who are very specifically coming together to help each other find work; you might be in the same industry or not but the idea is to brainstorm ways or identify people who will help find that next position
- Family, Friends – these might be the first people you reach out but they also may not have the best perspective on the situation, especially if you live with them
Finding a new position ,whether internally or externally, can still be challenging so finding support can help jump-start that transition and in a quicker amount of time.
I have two big ‘pet peeves': one is people who negate what they want by using the word “but”, and the other is when people don’t go after what they by ‘presuming’ they already know the outcome. Either one can set me off as that person has essentially stripped themselves of having what they want most. One area I hear this from is in the area of careers and job hunting.
As I help people who are in a career transition, I hear daily from job changers who feel frustrated and anxious that they are having difficulty in finding a new job, or moving up the corporate ladder. As we rewind, so to speak, to see what hasn’t worked for them, it becomes apparent that they usually haven’t even tried. Answers like, “That company doesn’t have any openings,” or “There are too many others looking for job so I don’t think they’d consider me,” are actually presumptions that are made and can occur for a variety of reasons.
Presumptions are facts that one accepts as truth but may not have the hard facts to back them up; they are preconceived thoughts. We may think something is true, typically based upon what someone else has told us. Somehow it is easier to accept these truths rather than research on own to see if they are true. If we believed even half of what we hear we would never do anything!
Stopping this pattern is essential if you are in a career transition; you could be missing out on your dream job or from moving up within your organization, thus leaving you stuck in what you want to get out of. Here are 3 steps you can take to stop presuming before you act:
1. Be aware – pay close attention to statements you make, or even thoughts you have, where you use a justification for not going after your goal. Do you truly know that you won’t be considered for that promotion? Are you so sure that you’re too old, young, unqualified, etc. to be considered for that job? Ask friends or family to point out presumptions you are making to give more awareness to them
2. Research – the best way to stop a presumption is to have the facts. Taking time to develop a good job search strategy, paying attention to the labor trends in your area, and then doing your own fact-finding to see what organizations are hiring or what their needs are will help you to challenge any opposing views that may develop
3. Challenge – a great exercise to use is to talk back to yourself when you have a presumption (you might want to be alone if you do so out loud). Write out your presuming thought and then ask it is absolutely true and what facts do you have to base it on? This is a great way to help you to see that, unless you directly talked to your company or you went out and talked to hiring managers, you could not know if your thoughts are true.
Stopping any preconceived thoughts will help you to see more of the possibilities and free you to go after your wants and desires. Repeating these steps will become the pattern and you will, ultimately, achieve more and more confidently.
My question to you: are you managing your career or is it managing you? This is an important one to take awareness of as it can help you to feel in-charge of your professional life at all times. The concept of career management has been defined as “an ongoing process of preparing, implementing, and monitoring plans undertaken by the individual alone or in concert with the organization’s career systems.” (Story, Hall). But the definition of career management I like best is: “the pattern of work-related experiences that span the course of one’s lifetime” (Greenhaus, 2000). The concept of career management allows each individual to have control over their jobs and all activities related to the, such as our self-awareness, the goals we develop and the subsequent action steps needed in order to obtain and manage the job we desire. And these activities last throughout our lifetime.
Career management involves insight into the self, as well as the work environment. It is a problem-solving process that consists of information-gathering to gain insight, goals and then the development of specific strategies to attain those goals. When we are in control of our career, there are many benefits we gain which include:
- you will be more aware of your skills and talents and how they will benefit an organization
- you have an awareness of the type of work environment you thrive in
- you will be prepared for your next job opportunity
- you will feel empowered as you will be in control of your career versus being reliant on others
If you’re not currently managing your career now, I strongly urge to start. Your future depends on it!
Now that the job market is on the upswing, it might be time to ask if you should put yourself back out in the job market. Perhaps you got discouraged and stopped looking; maybe it’s time to seek that promotion or make that career change. The time seems right to dust off the resume and job search plan (hopefully you had one) and get back out there. Certain industries are hiring again and there is job movement. Here are some steps that can help you to get ‘back in the game:
1. Research – look at the job boards and companies in your industry to see what jobs are open and if they match your skills and experience
2. Assess – go back and re-assess your skills, values, accomplishments and experiences to align them with the job market; this can also help the ego and confidence
3. Network – call up those contacts you have and tell them you are job-hunting; find networking meetings in your target market and attend; visit your alumni association and attend professional association meetings; get online to reach out, such as LinkedIn or Branch Out on Face Book
4. Update Your Resume – make sure that your resume is current and highlights the skills and accomplishments you identified in your self-assessment; make sure you have quantifiable descriptions and no errors or typos
5. Develop Your Plan – make goals and develop a job search strategy for how you plan to find your next job; be clear on the type of job you want and set daily actions and intentions on how you will conduct your job-search
6. Get the Mindset – make the decision to be positive; write about your intentions, your mood and your progress; visualize yourself in that job to increase your motivation and confidence
These steps will help you once you make the decision to get back out there. Your options are to stay where you are or to go after the job you want and enhance your life. Which will you choose?
I don’t know if it was the recent moon phenomena we experienced or my bad luck, but I had yet another computer crash. This time, my operating system stopped working. No virus found so no explanation for it stopping. You can imagine my panic but this time it was not for my data- I smartened up and had my data backed up – but for the need to be connected. I am teaching an online course, so I definitely need to be accessible for my students. But I felt so lost while my computer was getting fixed, which was a day.
I see how people in job-search mode can become tied to their computers. It is common practice, and often the only port of entry, to apply for a job position by the computer. So most people become “hostages” to a computer as they spend time searching for a position that they feel they qualify for and then spend more time completing the online application. Then the wait begins to see if someone may read the information and if they call for an interview. It can be a very tedious and frustrating process, which is why a good majority of job seekers have stopped or lessened their time (now down to 40 minutes a day!).
So what is the answer? There is no one “right” way but doing nothing will solve nothing and leave you feeling more frustrated. But spending all your time on the computer will also leave you feeling just as frustrated. Getting out among people will help you – go to a networking meeting or a professional association meeting, volunteer or set-up some informational interviews. These will help you to meet people who either are in a position to give you a job or to connect you with someone who can. It will also get you back out in the working world which can give you credibility and confidence. You might have to ask yourself if you need to revise your job-search strategy (you do have one??) to include being out among the crowds. Getting away from your computer can be the ‘shot-in-the-arm’ you need to regain your professional footing and to connect with others who can lead you to finding a job.
Interviewing is an artform to be developed, especially in these challenging times. As jobs are being added, it is opening up more opportunities for people to become employed or to change jobs. Employers are still looking for quality hires, which means the job search needs to be focused and consistent. But how prepared are you to go through the interview process? Today’s employers are asking tougher questions in order to challenge and weed out potential job candidates; they want to see how well a candidate does under pressure, what traits and experiences they will bring to the job, and are sizing them up to see if they are a “fit” for the organization.
I find a lot of people very unprepared to get in front of an employer. Here are five blunders I see people make – check to see if you make these same mistakes so you can correct them:
1. Not being prepared – this means that you can’t answer questions about yourself; your resume is not current, doesn’t highlight your accomplishments, is not in a good format or has typos. How would you act if you got a call for an interview the next day – would you be ready?
2. Not entering the room well – this means that you come in very casually or scared; you don’t shake hands or have a limp handshake; you may joke or laugh in nervousness. The way you enter the room and greet the interviewer sets the stage for the rest of the time spent. An impression is made in the first 20 seconds so make the most of it. Smile, have a firm handshake – put yours out first, and wait for the interviewer to ask you in and where to sit. Stand tall and be confident.
3. Not sitting well – this means that you either are too stiff, wring your hands, play with your hair or your pen, look away or not at all – you can just sense the discomfort; OR you are too casual, sitting back in the chair with your arm on the back, or crossing your leg – you seem too comfortable. When you are in front of a potential employer, act confident but respectful – smile, be enthusiastic, sit with your hips toward the back but leaning towards the interviewer; mirror their actions and take your cue from them.
4. Giving away too much information – this means that you overtell personal information, such as your age, marital status, children, financial difficulties, being fired, negative comments about past employers or coworkers or a host of other facts that will open a door you don’t want to enter. These all give reasons for employers to not hire you. Stay focused on the facts of your skills, past experiences and how you will add value to the organization.
5. Not ending the interview well – this means that you don’t ask questions, don’t ask for the next steps or for the job. It also means that you don’t shake the interviewers hand and ensure that you are leaving with a good impression. Turn those around for what needs to be done.
These are the main mistakes I see job seekers make but there are many more. When you’re competing with others for a job, one little mistake can make the difference to getting a second interview or getting hired. Take the time to ensure that you are fully prepared in all areas. Practice interviewing. If you’re not feeling confident, hire a career coach who can help you get prepared. Give yourself the opportunity to stand out among the crowd and hear “you’re hired!”