Archives for job momentum

Step 6 to Career Happiness: Refine! It is and it isn’t a Numbers Game

Numbers by MorebyLess of Flickr

 

A lot of people do not follow step five to happiness, asking for help, because they assume that the reasons they are not able to land the job that they want after making a concerted effort are beyond their control, or worse, that the problem is them. In other words, they feel beyond help. This is a dangerous and wildly inaccurate perspective, because it can lead to hopelessness and depression.

There has been a trend in the past year on LinkedIn I have been watching with concern. Against personal branding best practices, people are pouring their heart out about their despair in their status updates, as comments on other viral status updates, or even calling out people that they blame for their situation.

Even though most get what they seek with these actions, sympathy, encouragement, sometimes even advice or offers to help, there is a detriment to doing this, which I cover in my vlog, Get Interviews Through Your Network – The #1 Key Ingredient Most People Are Missing. However, some advice people give is good, and some of it, unfortunately, can actually make people feel worse in the end.

The advice that can be most damaging is that it is a numbers game. By the time someone has gone seeking advice online, they have usually already exhausted themselves replying to anything and everything for which they could possibly be a fit.

To hear that they just have to sustain that somehow can be very daunting. And, I do not think I need to repeat the definition of insanity.

What they really need to hear is that some of their activities are going to produce really great results, and when they discover what that is they do not have to spend nearly as much time and effort getting those results.

To be clear, the results you want to see in your job transition of course are interviews, but not just any interviews. Interviews are a big expenditure of our effort and energy. To do them right you have to do a lot of research, practicing and mentally practicing, making yourself look and feel professional, and then there is the adrenaline needed to just travel there and get through the interview. Then, of course, there is the energy that you spend after the interview wondering how you did, when you will hear something, when the appropriate time to follow up is, do you even want this opportunity, did they like you… On and on.

While momentum in your job transition does look like multiple viable opportunities in play at the same time, the key is “viable.” Judiciously give time and energy for opportunities that are a good fit for you and you for them.

Backing up a few steps, other results that indicate that you are doing the right activities, are introductions to other people relevant to your goals, whether they be in a target company or not. Even one introduction to someone who is well-connected can lead to multiple high-quality leads, if you can teach them how to develop those leads for you.

That is the other key – not only do you have to do the right activities, but you have to do them in the right way.

Though many people do not know what the right activities are and what the right way to engage and execute is, anyone can learn them. It is also true that this can differ from person-to-person based on individual goals, challenges, and strengths.

You can discover these on your own, which means instituting a good activity tracking system that also tracks your results, evaluating that on a regular basis, and experimenting with and tweaking your activities.

I estimate that if you were disciplined with inputting your activities, strong with data analysis, and bold enough to try various activities, that with some trial and error, you could be much more productive and efficient by week five or six.

If you do not have five or six weeks for trial and error, you do not consider yourself disciplined, strong in analysis, or bold by nature, but you are coachable, you can be more productive and efficient in half the time by engaging a career coach like me who has the systems, tools, expertise, and a strong track record of results.

Besides the pragmatics of your activities and what you do, there is also another how that must be addressed, because some people are doing the right activities, but who they are does not inspire the action of others. I’m not trying to say that people are being wrong, but what I am saying is that some people are not being their full, complete selves. Before you invest in a coach, you have to find one with whom you can be completely open and vulnerable, otherwise your investment could be in vain. A coach worthy of your investment will be able to identify and promptly, compassionately share with you when you are not thinking or acting in your highest good. Furthermore, besides tools and systems to help you and your activities, they will also offer tools and systems to help you heal and restore so you show up as a person that you would hire.

So, while you know you are doing the right things in the right ways from the right frame of mind when you have multiple viable opportunities in play, the key is to getting there is not to continue activities at a high volume for the sake of activity.

If you have come to an unfortunate and inaccurate conclusion based on lack of results that you are the problem, please have a free consultation with me. You are actually whole, complete, and perfect by nature, though you may have been taught and believe otherwise. You do enough, you have enough, and you are enough. You may need some help accepting that, or you may not have answered the call to adventure that is true to you.

 

Success and happiness is yours for the taking.

This is the final part of my six-part series. If you have missed previous entries please see steps one, two, three, four, and five.

 

For Every [Job Search] Problem, There is a Solution

Roots by Tim Green of Flickr

 

…and root cause.

 

The problems show up as symptoms that cause frustration or pain, however, what’s not so easy to identify is the root cause. It is not for lack of trying, and it is not a lack of intelligence either.

When you struggle to find a new job, your insecurities tend to manifest in the strongest ways. They lead you to believe that you are the problem, and make you question if you are deserving of something better, or if something better even exists for you.

Sometimes insecurities manifest as cynicism about people and opportunity. You may start to feel like other people are just too shortsighted to understand how great you could be, or you could feel like business leaders are too focused on numbers to appreciate the person that you are. While that can be true, and you may have seen evidence in your past, I can assure you:

  1. You are not the problem.
  2. You deserve an opportunity that enables you to use your talents, apply your passion, and earn a great living.
  3. That opportunity does indeed exist.
  4. There are people out there who would appreciate the value that you offer, and would enable your success.
  5. Plenty of great business leaders understand that their greatest asset is their people.

When your mindset is dominated by your insecurities, it is naturally challenging to see things the way they really are; you cannot be objective.

The good news is that the problems can be solved, and the symptoms can be relieved, but first we have to identify and “treat” the correct root cause(s).

On January 27th I will be holding a free webinar to divulge the top symptoms people experience that cause pain and frustration during their job search, as well as the most likely root causes. Furthermore, I will be sharing how we “treat” those root causes to alleviate the symptoms and fortify your job search to produce great momentum.

Momentum is the symptom that occurs when you have a healthy job search, and the result of momentum is a sense of empowerment and control over your career destiny. When you have JoMo (Job Momentum), you emanate confidence, attract even MORE opportunities, inspire even MORE job offers, and then the problem becomes choosing which opportunity represents your best chance at fulfillment in your career AND your life. (We also have solutions for that!)

Join us Friday, January 27th and we will help you identify the root cause of your job search pain and present the solution that enables you to land your dream job.

 

Registration is now open and seats are limited to 200.

 

5 Common Job Search Myths Debunked

Emma reading the newspaper by Diego Sevilla Ruiz of Flickr

Emma reading the newspaper by Diego Sevilla Ruiz of Flickr

 

Is it really possible to switch industries? Can anyone land at their dream job? As a career coach, I have seen many job seekers limit what is truly possible in their careers simply because they believed common misconceptions. Not only do common misperceptions or myths hold job seekers back, but they can be detrimental in the long run. Think of the prolonged job searches, feeling trapped at a job you are disengaged from, and how your health can suffer because of stress. By uncovering and debunking some of the most common job search myths, your job search can soar to heights you never imagined.

 

Myth #1: You do not need a cover letter

Are cover letters a requirement? Many employers require a cover letter, but think of them as the key to getting directly in front of a hiring manager. A cover letter demonstrates an interest in the company, explains your skills, and covers what is not included in your résumé. It is an introduction to a hiring manager that highlights your accomplishments, accompanies your résumé, and it is your chance to make your case for an interview. In fact, a cover letter is read before your résumé and often determines if a hiring manager will take the time to read your résumé. A well-written cover letter is tailored to a specific company, grabs the attention of a hiring manager, and beckons him or her to take immediate action.

 

Myth #2: Changing careers is impossible

Jennifer Ghazzouli was a bench chemist for the Philadelphia Police Department. She wanted more from her job and switched careers. She is now in recruiting and leads global hiring strategy for QVC. Jennifer was approached early in her career about becoming a recruiter and was told by others that recruiting is sales. She initially balked at the idea. However, Jennifer knew that she was not happy as a bench chemist. When she talked to her friends, they shared insights and ultimately the job lead.

Changing careers was one of the top frustrations of the many job seekers we asked. They find it is challenging to enter a new industry without the industry experience the job appears to require. A career change requires more work than changing employers, but it is not an impossible task. Like Jennifer, many of the people who successfully broke into a new industry do so through their network. In fact, I saw this happening as a recruiter. A position that called for a specific industry experience would go to someone who was able to promote transferable skills and experience as value-adds. Branding in these cases was just as responsible as networking. In terms of transitioning, research the new industry by looking at employers, asking questions of those already in the industry, and volunteering. Hard skills can be transferred from one career to another. Additionally, soft skills  also play a huge role in your career. Unlike hard skills, a good grasp of soft skills is required in any industry. Like changing an employer, consider what makes you happy in your career and why you want to transition to a new industry.

 

Myth #3: The job of your dreams is not viable

Jack Morrison of SAP America never doubted his chances of success. Unfortunately, most people somewhere along the way are told and believe that success is not possible for them; that they are not worthy to receive what they really want, and/or that it is better to be accepted, and to not rock the boat. So many people settle for a job that pays the bills. Settling for a job you are not passionate about is a recipe for disengagement. Employee disengagement is an epidemic at 70%, costing US companies $450 billion each year, and costing individuals the chance to thrive, be fulfilled and well-paid. Just like with changing careers, research is king when it comes to landing your dream job. Make a list of companies that fit 80% of your criteria and begin finding and reaching out to contacts within those companies. Brian Quinn dreamed of being a rock star from a very young age and never gave up on his dream career. The path was not easy, but he worked hard to fulfill his calling and found success.

 

Myth #4: Do not leave your job without having another one waiting

It is always better to have a new job waiting before you quit. Having a job makes it easier to negotiate for a higher salary and you avoid unemployment bias. However, you may not always have the luxury of searching for a job while employed. Also, consider your happiness if you are employed at a job you dislike. If the job is stressful enough that you want to leave immediately, take your financial situation into account. If you have savings to get by for a little while, plan your job search out, and even consider the help of a career coach. Evaluate the costs to your life and potentially to your wallet by staying stuck versus the investment you make in being able to take control of your life. Think about being able to land at a company where you can thrive and be paid well. That is what we help job seekers obtain!

 

Myth #5: Employment is a one-way street

The job seekers who feel that they are at an employer’s mercy may be stuck in a cycle of disappointment in their job search. Their confidence is gone and they start to believe something is wrong with them, and they must take whatever they can get. In these instances, it is their tools and tactics that need adjustment, not who they are or what they want. The end result of putting yourself at the mercy of an employer is landing an awful job. It does not have to be this way. Just as an employer is making sure you are a good fit at an interview, you are doing the same. You owe it to yourself and your happiness to accept a job at an employer who will keep you engaged and fulfilled. Ask questions at your interview, discover their mission, and research them beforehand. Additionally, your number one weapon against being at an employer’s mercy is momentum, which we help job seekers generate. Momentum is having several offers in play, while employers bid over you- much like an auction. Instead hoping that you are hired by an employer, the employer hopes that they can persuade you to work for them. That is the power of job momentum!

 

Job seeker misconceptions or myths can prolong a job search and frustrate employees who want to make major career changes. Worse, these mistaken beliefs can cause job seekers to doubt themselves, to give up on their job searches, and to reach a place of disappointment and desperation. Often job search methods and tools are the problem, not the job seeker. By clearing away these misconceptions we hope that job seekers will reject these self-limiting beliefs and realize what is possible in their job search.

What common job search myths would you add to this list?

 

 

How to Create the Ultimate Leverage in Your Job Search

Schach by BenJTsunami on Flickr

Schach by BenJTsunami on Flickr

A job candidate who’s in high demand is highly desirable to potential employers. The better talent they have, the more competitive they can be. A powerful and distinct brand is expressed through your résumé, LinkedIn profile and biography. Being a competitive candidate also means having an effective targeted employer campaign and being able to elicit several job offers. How you accept and turn down offers can impact your future career prospects. Strategic career management is like chess – you want to think several steps ahead. Let’s take a look at how this can play out.

Katie is a Marketing Director who is ready to move on to a new employer. She’s highly influential on social media and she has established herself as a thought leader. Katie enjoys a mode we call “career autopilot,” where offers to interview and meet high-powered players in her industry come weekly, and sometimes daily.

After confidentially letting her network know she’s looking for a new job, it wasn’t long before Katie began to receive interviews for a variety of companies. She had several job offers, but knows she’s only really interested in one company. The other companies offer her better pay and benefits, so Katie decided to play the companies in the hopes of getting the same benefits from her favorite company. Her favorite company ultimately rescinded the offer after deciding the amount of pay Katie wants is too high. The other two companies feel as though Katie manipulated them by using other offers and suspect that she had no real interest in ever accepting their offers. They also rescind, and Katie suddenly finds herself without any job offers AND with a new reputation as an unethical manipulator who will waste precious time and man-hours. Word spreads because the world is so small. Not only did Katie eliminate her current prospects, but also future prospects with these companies and many more who will learn about the games she played. Where did she go wrong?

Many job seekers would envy Katie’s scenario of having multiple job offers. That said, no one wants to find themselves in a position where their attempts to negotiate better pay or benefits from potential employers backfire, and they find themselves without any job offers. There is a way to create demand for yourself, use that demand to get competing job offers, and to negotiate what’s best for you without manipulating potential employers so that you can remain in-demand and position yourself for future career moves.

 

Creating demand:

Youre-not-in-a-position

Social media is an excellent tool to establish yourself as an expert and to generate demand by creating and sharing valuable content. The ability to engage a recruiter or an industry influencer as a sponsor is only a few clicks away. This shows potential employers that you’re passionate about your industry and it may even help them partially determine if you’d be a good cultural fit. A productive presence on social media where you constantly create and share valuable content for your followers can make employers want to reach out to you.

That said, social media can be deceiving if you’re not careful. Being in demand doesn’t mean just having a lot of followers. Being in demand means having job opportunities that are organically generated amongst your engaged followers because you’re constantly in the spotlight. However, you’ll need to use real-world networking activities to capitalize on those opportunities and turn them into job offers. My article, “7 Steps to Powerful Introductions” details how to do this.

 

The ultimate leverage and the dangers of improper etiquette:

Imagine your job leads have materialized into several competing job offers. This is what I refer to as the ultimate leverage. You have the ability to choose which job interests you the most. Before deciding to accept any job offers, you must narrow down the number of companies based on a list of your personal criteria. This allows you to focus on the potential employers you really want to work for and to prequalify them as good fits. A good rule-of-thumb to remember is that when a job meets 80% of your criteria, it’s a good indication that the opportunity is a strong fit. Our Criteria Identifier and Target Company Evaluator is a tool that can help you research a company. Having these lists help you narrow down what you really want from a potential employer and will even pair down the list of competing offers.

Every person uses logic, their intuition, and their heart to different degrees when weighing these decisions, so while these tools and processes will provide you with logical input, you may still want to go with your intuition or heart. If you are drawn to a particular company or opportunity, use the same process to evaluate what you want for your life that a company might offer you that would actually make you seriously consider their offer. If the answer is nothing, gently let that company down as soon as you discover this. Thank them for the offer and express an interest in keeping in touch for the future.

If following your list of criteria still leaves you with several competing offers, you can use that as leverage to help decide which company to choose. What you don’t want to do with your potential employer is be pushy. It’s okay to let them know you have received other job offers. You don’t want to demand that they make you a better offer, or to imply that you won’t consider their current offer. The employer may just decide to go with another equally-qualified-less-demanding candidate.

Don’t try to bluff a company into hiring you sooner at a salary you want. Bluffing could consist of creating a fictitious salary, benefits, or even a fictitious offer. They may ultimately call your bluff. And you’d be surprised how many competitors consort. The companies may be competing for customers, but the employees have frequently been co-workers and friends.

You also don’t want to make unrealistic demands. For example, if you’re really interested in Company A, but Company B pays a higher salary, expecting Company A to match that salary may be unrealistic. Company A may not have the budget to match that salary and may instead offer you other benefits, such as a flexible start time, or the ability to work remotely. Be open to what a company can offer, and make the effort to determine if what they are offering has a value beyond salary. Potential employers want candidates in high demand, but they also don’t want to be manipulated or played against other employers.

 

Properly leverage competing offers:

When you have competing job offers, narrow down the list of offers to a favorite company and a follow-up company. As for the contenders, go into negotiations with a very clear idea about what a company would have to offer you in terms of salary and lifestyle to entice you to accept. Be transparent and respectful of their time and efforts. Hiring is costly, and companies will appreciate knowing where they stand.

Let your potential employers know that other companies are also considering you. Think about it this way: an employer doesn’t want to make an offer and prepare to hire you, only to discover you’ve suddenly turned down their offer without knowing why. You don’t have to go deep into detail with companies about competing offers, but give them a timeline of where you are in the process. Be careful with the question “Who are the other companies?” If you’ve been upfront up to now, they may believe you when you say that you’d rather not disclose that information. However, if you have been at all shifty, they will assume you are bluffing and manipulating and you’ll find yourself like Katie. Some companies, however, are conducting a confidential search, and you don’t want to look loose-lipped by divulging that, either. If it is not a confidential search, let them know with whom they are competing. If it is a confidential search, however, state so. They will appreciate your discretion.

If a company really wants to hire you, they may move the hiring process along faster or offer you incentives to help you decide. Or you could be upfront (without being pushy) and ask if the company can provide additional incentives such as extra vacation time, transportation credits, a nicer office, or even a flexible work schedule. Do not ask for these things if you wouldn’t accept the offer. Making an offer work is time consuming and requires the effort of multiple people. Don’t put them through that if in the end, there’s nothing they could offer you that would make you accept.

Once you’ve decided to accept a job offer, break the news to the competing company. Let them know you appreciate the offer and why you accepted another offer. Be kind and authentic in expressing how hard of a decision it was, and how interested you were in their company and opportunity. You don’t want to come across as rude or arrogant. It’s best to leave the door open for future opportunities or the chance to expand your network.

 

Having multiple companies compete over you seems like an enviable position, and it is. Once our clients are there, however, they are surprised at how much pressure they feel to make the right decision. By using our tools and processes, and by playing the game with integrity, they ensure that they are not closing doors and limiting growth. Instead they are using the ultimate leverage to win now and in the long-term.

 

Turn that attitude into gratitude: A momentum-generating motto

Photo courtesy of ram reddy - "Celebrate the New Begining | 2009" (http://bit.ly/1AZ2Rtz).

Photo courtesy of ram reddy – “Celebrate the New Begining | 2009” (http://bit.ly/1AZ2Rtz).

The title of this article is among the many maxims that I have begun to recite to my daughters in the quest to set them up for success. While I’ll take full credit for making this a “thing” in our household, the concept is not really original. You can find this advice among ancient Hindu scriptures, woven into Iroquois culture, in the bible, and at any personal and professional transformation seminar.

I often speak to real estate investors at REIAs, or Real Estate Investment Associations. At these meetings I discovered a few investors with an extremely positive mindset. They believed in the phrase, “Celebrate All Wins.” The phrase comes directly from Than Merrill, the CEO of FortuneBuilders, one of North America’s largest real estate education companies. “Celebrate All Wins” recognizes building a business isn’t easy, and it is important to always take a moment to celebrate victories and positive achievements. Every time those achievements are reflected upon it creates a positive reinforcement loop that helps build momentum. The beauty of this mindset is that it can be applied to every aspect of life, including your quest to elevate your career.

Do you take the time to celebrate the little victories in your life? Forming this habit means celebrating your victories all of the time. Start by celebrating victories at night, then at night and in the morning, then three times a day, and then whenever you think about it. It will lead to being in a grateful and successful mindset MOST of the time. Reflecting on positive outcomes is an important counter-balance to negative emotions. Studies reveal that people are often more likely to remember bad life experiences over good experiences.

I’m sure that in you own job search you can relate to this. You’re more likely to recall those days where it seemed like nothing went your way. You may have had a hard time gathering references, or perhaps you botched a crucial interview. Too much of a focus on negative outcomes can cause our attitudes to change for the worst, and impede our personal progress. Slowly the thought, “I’m having a hard time finding work,” can turn into “I’ll never find a job.” By celebrating the little victories, you can empower yourself in your job search. This empowerment leads to JoMo, or Job Momentum. It is going beyond simply looking for job opportunities. JoMo is having several viable opportunities in play at the same time. It is the benefit of having choice, once again feeling empowered, desirable, and having negotiation leverage. JoMo comes from capitalizing on the achievements you celebrated during your job search.

Let’s start with some common goals and tasks. Make a note of why they should be celebrated:

-You achieved your goal of gathering 200 meaningful professional connections on LinkedIn. Many users on LinkedIn only set up a few dozen connections, or barely visit the site at all. If you’re actively maintaining your profile, and are taking the time to add professional connections, you’re far ahead of the curve.

-You found ten contacts in various target companies, who you can research. You take it a step further by researching them, sending them an introduction, and invitation to speak about how you can help their company. Then, even having five conversations and identifying two job opportunities among these contacts would be huge. You used your skills to get in the door for two viable opportunities.

-You had a goal to send out four highly-targeted résumés and custom cover letters for the week and you did it. Researching a company and crafting a résumé suited to that company takes time. A lot of people blast out the same résumé to multiple employers without bothering to customize them. You stood above the competition by learning all about your potential employer sent them a personalized résumé. In my professional opinion, job seekers need one effectively branded résumé aimed at their ideal employer, and a custom written cover letter that follows our “secret recipe.”

-One of your network contacts came through with a job lead. In the past you simply put these leads on the “to-do list” and never got around to investigating them. This time you didn’t let that lead go by the wayside. The biggest network in the world won’t do you any good if you never act upon the information you’re given. Taking the time to investigate a lead is a big step forward.

-You took the time to reconnect with a few old professional friends via personal messages and added them to your network. Both professional and personal friendships can be neglected over the years. Reconnecting with old friends can be a euphoric experience. Getting those old connections into your job network? It is nothing short of awesome as your network grows a little larger. When you’ve let your network go stale you may feel like recharging it is daunting, but it doesn’t take long. Everyone understands the tendency to let life get in the way of friendships. Small gestures make big differences and you can see momentum grow very fast with your past personal network, which will give you good energy to tackle your future professional network.

 [Click to tweet this article: http://ctt.ec/bjG9t]

-If you had prior job rejections, you made it a point to get feedback, so you’ll know where to improve in the future. It can be a humbling experience to ask why you were rejected. The majority of job seekers will never inquire about their rejection and may make the same mistake again. Learning where you went wrong in the hiring process is a huge achievement. I hear many job seekers complain that they ask for feedback, but get something generic, something they believe is a lie, or feel as though the real feedback is being withheld. All of this could be true, but it could also be energy-sucking speculation. Congratulate yourself for making the effort—remember—it’s the small victories that we have to look for and celebrate.

You get to choose how you celebrate, but some ideas include dancing, treating yourself to YOU time, making a small celebratory purchase, getting to watch your favorite show, upgrading your plain coffee to a peppermint mocha, or taking a bubble bath. It really doesn’t matter, as long as you allow yourself to revel in your sense of accomplishment and FEEL the sensations associated with it.

Keeping track of the numerous little victories in your job search can have a positive and sustainable snowballing effect. Imagine this: All of the job search achievements you keep track of are a fist-sized snowball. Because it is so small it is very difficult to push. At the start you have to get down on your hands and knees to keep the snowball moving. Despite the difficulties, you refuse to give up.  When you discover another achievement you keep the ball rolling. As you keep going gradually the snowball grows larger and it is easier to push. Before long, that snowball is the size of a boulder. These are all of the achievements you’ve counted and celebrated. You can actually stand back and marvel at how well the task you’ve set out to do is progressing. Keeping that momentum going no longer means getting down on your hands and knees, now it only takes a gentle push.

Instead of looking at the future tasks with dread, you’ll remember your victories and vigorously tackle your next job opportunity. Keeping the achievements you’ve accomplished in mind, you’re ready to take your job search to the next level. You have a sense of purpose, you know your foundations are strong, and you know you’re going above and beyond the average job seeker. Where discouragement has stopped others, you see nothing but opportunity. Every day is a new day filled with numerous little victories. Adding grit, or sheer determination, to your outlook on life can also enhance your job search. In my article, “Want Job Search Glory? Got Grit?” I describe how having grit can help you overcome challenges and help land you a great job.

What are some of the little victories you celebrate to create momentum in your job search?

Whitney Houston – Greatest Love Of All

Whitney Houston’s official music video for ‘Greatest Love Of All’. Click to listen to Whitney Houston on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/WhitneyHSpotify?IQid=WhitneyHGLO As featured on Whitney: The Greatest Hits.