Archives for Jim Carrey

The #1 Mistake Job Seekers Make That Get Them Stuck

"You're only as good as your last at bat." Created with Pablo by Buffer

“You’re Only As Good as Your Last At Bat” Created with Pablo by Buffer

 

So you have decided that now is the time to start taking action to change your career circumstances. You sort through old files, dig up the old résumé, and realize that it has not been updated in years. You struggle to remember everything that you did. For a moment you doubt if you are hirable. Taking a look at your outdated résumé, you wonder if you would hire yourself. Conclusion: not with this résumé.

You wonder to yourself if you really have time to give this job search what it takes. You tell yourself that you have to do SOMETHING. You cannot stay where you are any longer. Something has got to give. Writer’s block sets in hard, though, as you look at job descriptions and say, “I could do that. I could do that, too. How do I put that in my résumé? What did I really spend all these years doing? Did the work I performed really matter?”

Dusting off and updating your résumé does seem like a logical place to start when you decide that you must take action. However, if this is where you start then you are making one of the most common mistakes that lead most jobseekers down a road of frustration, disappointment, and hopelessness.

I have found that a lot of people love to talk about themselves, especially when they are asked the right questions. It is not as enjoyable, however, to write about yourself, especially when it really matters.

If your résumé is not the best place to start your job search, what is the best first thing you can do?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about creating a vision that pulls you out of bed. I was certainly trying to speak to the people who find themselves in that state of frustration, depression, disappointment, and hopelessness, but do not wait until you are in that state of mind before designing your future. Save yourself NOW from that future torture.

Epic Careering outlines seven steps of the transition process, the first of which being Career Discovery. Questions you would ask yourself during this stage would be, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” and, “What is the next logical stage in my career if I am to meet my ultimate goals?”  Even if you think you know that you want something similar to what you have, but just with different circumstances, it is worth an investment of time and thought to decide exactly what improvements in circumstances look like.

Would you report to a manager who is much more open-minded about your ideas?

Would you want to work with people who you would hang out with socially?

Do you want to work for a company whose mission you support and believe?

If you have already reached the end of your rope with your job, you may believe that any change would be an improvement. Nevertheless, I have seen this type of thinking produce even worse conditions.

When writing a résumé and conducting the job search seem intimidating, it will be tempting to reach for the low hanging fruit and resort to doing whatever is easiest and seems to take the least amount of time. This usually means plopping in some new responsibilities that you assumed since you last updated your résumé, scouring job boards, and clicking apply.

This is exactly what leads to a cycle of frustration, disappointment, and hopelessness.

Take some time, and it doesn’t have to be much, to really think about what your next position and boss have to offer you in order to thrive and be successful. Maybe you do not change your role at all, but just the conditions under which you perform your next role. If you know you do not like your role, but you need to change and make an income, you might tend to think that you will do what is easiest. That is landing something you have the highest probability of getting because you did it already, and then take more time to search for something better while you are still working.

Hey, this is sometimes what you have to do, and recruiters will certainly tell you this is the most logical step (because you represent a placement fee). What I have seen happen more times than not is that people land, and they realize that they better perform if they want to keep their job. They put their efforts on hold for 90 days to obtain training in how to perform, and get to know the key players. That is 90 days wasted. They wind up miserable, and then have to try extra hard to seem motivated and engaged, when they are really already burned out. They come home, not only too tired to search job boards or attend networking meetings, but too tired to play card games with their kids or deal with the broken lawnmower. Not only do they feel like failures at their job, but they feel like failures at home. It bleeds into every area of their life, and they start to forget how brilliant and valuable they really are, which makes it that much harder to imagine interviewing. Essentially, they become “stuck.”

What you might not know is that you can land something you really like and would succeed in just as quickly with a clear vision of what you want. This includes a professionally branded résumé targeted to resonate with the employer who is able to offer you the conditions under which you will succeed, and an effective proactive campaign to find them and convince them that they need you.

You will not know if your résumé, however well-written and up-to-date, is effective until you know who’s reading it and what they need to know about you to identify you as the right fit. Furthermore, you will not know if your résumé is really a powerful tool in your success until the interviews that it garners are for jobs that you would really want and succeed in.

I think it is wise to have a plan A and a plan B. I challenge you, if you think that plan A is finding something lateral even though it will not make you happy, to invert which one is your plan A and which one is your plan B. Also, do not try to write your résumé until you know who you want to read it. (Then call us, because we will ask you all the right questions.)

Gary Vaynerchuk, Social Media and Business thought leader, believes strongly in meritocracy, where “you’re only as good as your last at bat.” If you don’t take the time to set yourself up for a successful next job by developing your criteria, you can lose value in the marketplace, decrease your competitive edge, and make it that much harder to find something that really suits you. This means a weakened career and income trajectory. It means a lesser quality of life.

We’ve certainly quoted Jim Carrey before, “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

It is not that it takes a lot of time to develop a good idea of what you really want; it is that you have to dig through layers and layers of untruths that you have come to believe about what is possible.

Remember, we have systems, services and tools to usher you through all of this – Career Development, Criteria Identification, Target Company Profiling, and Personal Branding.

Fill out and send us a needs assessment form and your most recent résumé and we will help you begin a career roadmap that actually helps you navigate to a happy place in your career.

 

 

Is Chasing a Salary Keeping You Poor?

work by Karl Bedingfield of Flickr

work by Karl Bedingfield of Flickr

Ask someone to tell you how a job enables them to live the lifestyle they want and many people will reply with a good salary, a 40-hour work week, health benefits, a retirement plan, and a steady rise in pay. This job usually does not incorporate following their passions, as most people are taught to value safe and uninteresting over doing what they really love.

A major twentieth century work myth is that landing a job at a company and working from 9 to 5 will cement job security and stability. This was the best way to ensure that one could afford their desired lifestyle. Unfortunately, this is a fallacy. It does not exist and no company can offer such security. Individuals must take it upon themselves to learn the life skills to navigate today’s job market (we teach these skills through our Dream Job Breakthrough System) in order to generate their OWN job security. The reality is that like most people, you will be looking for another job in one to five years. The Millionaire Next Door brings up some interesting facts: “Self-employment in ‘dull’ industries and living below your means seems to be the way most millionaires achieve their wealth, and they have far fewer worries than the financially ‘underperforming.’”

The takeaway is that if you spend your professional life chasing a salary, this action could keep you poor. Instead, pursue what you love and the lifestyle you want will follow.

 

Your mindset matters

When you pursue your interests, you are doing what you really love and as a result you are fully engaged. As John Williams writes in Screw Work, Let’s Play, “You can’t really excel at something when your heart isn’t in it, so if you do want to get rich, choose something that feels more like play than work. It makes good business sense; you can’t compete with someone who loves what they do.” If you are completing a task and you are completing it just to finish it because it is something you have to do, you will see some results. That said, those results will not compare with the results of someone who completes the task with joy. They are completing the task with the mindset that they GET to do the task, not that they HAVE to do the task. This is a mindset of gratitude. In his INC.com article, Contributing Editor Geoffrey James wrote about the power of gratitude. People who approach their lives with a sense of gratitude have a constant awareness of what is wonderful. In turn, they enjoy the results of their success and seek out more success. Additionally, when faced with setbacks, grateful people can put their failures into perspective.

If you are passionate about your work, it does not feel like work. If you are enjoying what you do, it is easier to remain engaged and overcome challenges. Just imagine being passionate about your work each waking day. You are more creative, more motivated, and willing go further in your career to achieve success. Even in times of boredom, you still love the process and find it easier to complete tasks as a result. Furthermore, your passion will enable you to grow and to learn new skills and take on more responsibility.

 

Are you choosing a salary over happiness?

Do you REALLY want to spend your life doing what you tolerate or dislike? If you tolerate your job because it brings stable pay, health insurance and other benefits, you may be assuming that you cannot have benefits AND have a job that fulfills you. Sacrificing your happiness and passion may seem like a small price to pay for stability. However, feeling stuck in a career you are not excited about may lead to a death-like life. Spending too much time at a disliked job is often one of the regrets of the dying. Over time you find you lack the passion to enjoy what you love and become stuck in a cycle of “good enough.” In this state of mind, it becomes difficult to find the motivation to grow and to improve. If you are not constantly growing and improving, you are stagnating, which means a lower earning potential, especially if you tend to shy away from risks.

This may bleed into other areas of your life. Suddenly, you have lost that loving feeling for life! Stagnation is a threat because it is harder to find the motivation to learn new skills to take on new responsibilities, a new position and potentially more income. When people are stagnant, they lose their vigor, they feel older, age faster, feel less valuable, and ultimately make less money. That means struggling more to take care of the big things such as house renovations, the kids’ college tuition and having to work into your older years, instead of enjoying retirement. Dr. Abigail Brenner writes in Psychology Today that stepping out of your comfort zone (i.e., the safe and familiar) is essential for growth. The irony is heartbreaking because isn’t financial stability reason why people chase salary over their passions? It is a fallacy. As Jim Carrey said, “you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance with what you do want.”

Consider the bigger picture– you simply do not know how much time you may have left on this Earth. In April 2014 I had two conversations that represented two different views of work. One was that it is okay to not to be inspired by your job, as long as you can do what you love during your free time. In another conversation, I was reminded of the possibilities when people spend their invaluable time using their talents and applying their passion. Not long after those conversations, I received the terrible news that my nephew had passed. Losing someone so young and so suddenly reinforced the idea we may not have until tomorrow to pursue our passions.

 

When you only work for a salary and you have no passion for your job, you run the risk of becoming trapped in a vicious cycle. You spend 40 or more hours at a job you do not like because you think it brings stability to your life, but most are finding they are just keeping their heads above the water. Instead of finding happiness, there is just anxiety and stress. It is not long before unhappiness, disengagement, and stagnation arrive. Why not work toward your passion now? Imagine being in love with your job. When work is your passion it becomes easier to grow, to take risks, and to ultimately trust that the money will follow.

 

Are You Too Picky in Your Job Search?

Job search by Aaron Gaines of Flickr

Job search by Aaron Gaines of Flickr

Is there such a thing as being too picky in your job search? Is it possible to have standards, expectations, or criteria so high that it becomes difficult to land?

When I was a recruiter, I had a consultant with a unique set of challenges, and very valuable niche clinical trial skills. She lived within five miles of a major pharmaceutical company for which she completed an 18-month contract, and then she was not allowed to return or extend her contract due to the company’s strict policy. The policy was designed to eliminate the risk of having any consultants misconstrue their employment relationship with the company and any claim to employee benefits. We wanted to place her again, because she was a very presentable candidate and her skill set was high in demand. However, her job criteria was to work for another pharmaceutical company within a five-mile radius of her house. This did not exist. In spite of her criteria, any time a position opened up in another company, we called her to try and convince her that she would not find what she was seeking.

She was also collecting unemployment compensation from my firm. As you can see, this became an issue that did not just impact the consultant’s ability to land something new, but it became costly to us. It was a lose-lose-lose situation. Our clients lost a good prospect. She lost her ability to make a great rate and to gain additional experience that could help further develop her skills; and we lost money on unemployment compensation and the margin we would make for placing her.

This brings up a good point about the other stakeholders in your career. Who else has an investment in whether you land and what you earn? Are you borrowing or living off of someone else while you search for something better? They will want to tell you to take anything, to be fair to them. However, taking anything could put you back on “their couch” within six months.  Many people perceive their challenges as being too great, and as a result, settle for less. Adjusting your criteria and your strategy will help you overcome a difficult job search.

It may take a little longer to find the right position that will return you to a good standard of living long-term, and then again, it may not take as much time as trying to market yourself for anything available. Those stakeholders want to make sure you are making an effort. If you need to educate them on why you are being more selective, you can show them this article, but make sure you are seeking something achievable. (If you have doubts, contact us for a consultation.)

It is possible to have standards and expectations that are so high that it may take longer to land at your next employer. The challenges may not be as specific as the consultant we tried to place, but a few common challenges do exist.

 

Challenge: Age

Age is one major example with its own unique set of challenges. Hiring managers may assume senior professionals are out-of-date when it comes to technology, or that they may command a higher salary than a younger worker. It is true that especially during the poor economy, some companies replaced experienced workforces with fresher, cheaper talent, but they also suffered from their staff not getting the benefit of experienced professionals’ wisdom, trial and error, and their ability to navigate VIP relationships. The value of experience can be sold!

Another perceived risk of hiring an older worker is more related to health and vitality. How many more years do they have in them? Are they half out the door into retirement? Do they have the stamina to keep up with younger staff? Are they “with it” enough to relate to the millennial workforce? These challenges and perceptions can be overcome by being the picture of health and energy. Take care of yourself- exercise and eat well. Promote activities outside of work on your LinkedIn profile that prove you are dynamic and have the stamina to maintain a full plate and thrive. Most importantly, keep up with technological trends by reading tech blogs, following tech authorities, and experimenting with new technologies and social media platforms.

 

Challenge: Lack of qualifications

You may not have all the qualifications needed for a position. Many great companies would RATHER hire someone who has the aptitude to learn the skills rather than someone who has the skills mastered. This is especially true if they already have a master of skills on their staff, and if that master is looking to move upward, and they want to create growth and development opportunities. One way to overcome being underqualified is to build rapport and establish a relationship with hiring managers, or employees at your companies of choice. It is not just about the relationship here, but more about the unique value you can bring to the table. Yes, a hiring manager wants to hire someone they like and feel comfortable with, but hiring is a business decision, and the hire is going to make the manager look good; so an applicant better bring something unique to the table.

An interesting statistic I learned at the PA Conference for Women is that women will apply if they have 7-out-of-10 qualifications, while men will apply if they have 3-out-of-10 qualifications. If it were true that the most qualified candidate obtains the job, women would be landing at these jobs, but only if they threw their hat into the ring. Does this make you rethink your applications?

 

Challenge: Being overqualified

Hiring managers may assume if your education and experience are more than what the position requires, you will command a higher salary as well. Or they may fear you will quickly become disengaged and will leave as soon as the next job opportunity arrives. However, some people legitimately want to take a step back. I have had many clients that for heath reasons no longer want the stress and responsibility of their executive jobs. They want to assemble widgets. They want to do something monotonous and cathartic. Yes, they can bring a certain something with them from their executive experience that could be very valuable in developing the team as a whole- this is where you have to be careful, though. If you want to assemble widgets now, sell your ability to make widgets, not your previous executive experience.

You cannot refute the personal experiences other people have had. Hiring managers and recruiters have already experienced more senior workers underestimating the challenge of NOT being the manager, not having input into how things are done, and not being able to mesh with a younger staff. You cannot easily overcome this perception by promoting your executive experience as a value-add, and you cannot just convince someone that it will not be a problem and that you will be satisfied with a lower position. Recruiters and hiring managers have heard these reassurances before and have lived to regret them. Before jumping into a major career shift, take a few moments to consider what you really want from that shift and your overall goals.

Too many others have sought lower opportunity because they had challenges looking for work at their level that they could not overcome because of their limited knowledge of job search strategy. Being more flexible is advice many people get, and it seems logical – if you cannot land something suitable, settle for something less. Seeking work at a lower level can be a good opportunity, but only if a company is willing to offer growth opportunities. It is similar to taking a position for which you are underqualified. That said, beware of not so great companies that only want to take advantage of desperate workers willing to accept lesser pay.

Do not underestimate the cost of working for a not so great company. You will have found employment, but consider the detrimental costs to your health, quality of life, and your self-esteem. These companies are often bullies who create a toxic work culture and make you feel and believe over time that you are somehow lucky to have work, fostering a fear of leaving. This is essentially mental abuse. No one has to ever settle for this!  Searching when overqualified often takes LONGER as you get invited for interviews, think you have better experience than other candidates, only to find out that you did not get the job. This cycle can affect your faith in yourself and in your chances of finding work, but there is nothing wrong with you- just your strategy and system. We can help!

 

Our take

Having high standards (within reason) may make it slightly more difficult to land, but it is possible. Know what you want, map a plan out to achieve it, and pursue your goals. If it is not viable as the next step, fill in the steps in between. What steps do you need to take to achieve what you want? More training? Acquiring new skills? Discovering how you can apply your existing skills, if you are not completely qualified? There are ways to overcome these challenges* and we have already helped our clients through many of them.

*There are challenges we are not adept at handling (see the FAQs on this page), but we do have resources and partners who do specialize in helping you overcome unique challenges.

Overcoming challenges sometimes requires shifting tracks or retraining. Grit, or your perseverance and passion for long-term goals, is a key ingredient in your job search, but you could also run the risk of spinning your wheels and burning out with the wrong strategy and job search system. We have devised the perfect system that will help you do this in 90 days or less, guaranteed, if you find that you are wasting valuable time (and potential income) figuring this out for yourself. We are here to be your partner.

 

Is your search filled with unique challenges that make it more difficult to land? Are you being too picky in your job search? It may be tempting to lower your standards and settle for less.  However, a shift in your criteria or a change in your mindset will help you overcome these challenges. If it is possible for someone else to land their desired job, you can certainly do the same. If you are having a difficult time creating a road map, we can help! Do not settle for less because your criteria and standards are higher than most. If you are hesitant with a difficult job search, here is some advice to consider from comedian Jim Carrey: “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance with what you do what.”