The ideal car drive for two introverts

Teenage driver

This is a post I wrote about six months ago, but I think the message is important to introverts who may feel that the way they prefer to converse is perfectly fine. I can’t remember every word my daughter and I spoke during this memorable conversation, but the dialog is accurate. 

Recently I was teaching my daughter to drive. She was doing quite well but was extremely nervous. I knew she was nervous because she was talking nonstop; whereas I was speaking only to tell her to: watch for cars pulling out and entering our lane, be alert to errant balls followed by children, and make sure she comes to a complete stop at stop signs.

As I was saying, she was constantly talking. “Am I far enough away from the car in front, Dad?” she would ask. “How’s my distance from the side of the road. Oh my god, there are so many cars on this street. Why are there so many cars? Do you think I’m ready for the highway, yet?”

You might think I was annoyed with this barrage of chatter. Well I wasn’t. You see, my daughter doesn’t talk a lot; she’s sort of like me. So when I get to hear her talkative side I grab it like a greedy child grabbing candy. I will say that I often asked her to cut down the excessive talking so she could focus more on the road. But suddenly she became calm and started talking about substantial stuff.

“I talk a lot when I’m nervous, Dad.” I knew this about my daughter. “But I don’t talk a lot around my friends. And sometimes I feel stupid. I’m not like Sidney who can talk about anything. I’m not good at making small talk. And this makes me feel stupid. But I don’t want to talk about just anything; I like to talk about things that interest me. I think I’m a ‘big’ introvert.”

Whoa, where did this come from? Doesn’t like small talk? Prefers to talk about things of interest? Thinks she’s an extreme introvert? So I played along because anyone who knows me knows that one of my favorite topics is introversion.

Introverts prefer depth over breadth when conversing. 

“You know, honey,” I begin. “There’s nothing wrong with preferring to have deeper conversations—like what we’re having now. This is how introverts prefer to converse; they like that one-on-one dialog. Is that how you feel?”

“Yeah, that’s like totally it. I like deep conversations. I’m not interested in some of the topics my friends talk about. Sometimes I feel stupid because I don’t jump in on the conversation. It’s like a competition with my friends. That’s why I think I have more friends who are boys.”

I had to jump in. “Girls can be catty right? Are you saying boys don’t talk as much?”

“Totally. With my guy friends it’s not like a competition to see who can talk the most or say the coolest things. I don’t know how they do it, the ones who can talk forever. Like Steph. Everyone loves her because she makes everyone feel special. Britt too.” Moment of silence, which I didn’t want to lose. “Do you think I’m a freak, Dad?” Oh no my dear, I thought, you’re an introvert, a very special person.

I didn’t want to go into that small talk is sometimes difficult for introverts because our time to process our thoughts is more delayed.

“I like to listen,” she continued. Sometimes I just listen to some of the stupid things they talk about. And I think, ‘how stupid that is.’ I don’t want to judge, but…like really? I’m a real ‘big’ introvert, right? If I think what my friends are saying is stupid, is it wrong not to join the conversation?”

I told my daughter, “You see, how you’re describing your friends makes me think that they are more extraverted than you. Extraverts are energized by being with people and talking to them in order to re-charge their batteries.”

“That’s right,” she said. “I get tired sometimes when I’m with a group of people. It’s like I need a break. It all seems like a competition. Who can say the most. With guys it’s not like that. Sure there are some that talk more than others. But for the most part, they listen to what each other says.”

I wondered if the willingness to give and take is a gender thing.

“You, on the other hand,” I interrupted, “like deeper conversations that mean more to you. They don’t happen often, maybe rarely for some, but when they do, they’re great. Like the one we’re having now, right?”

“Yeah,” she continued, “This is good. This talk we’re having. It’s like we can drive in the car and not say much but at other times we talk a real lot. I like our conversations…..So, do you think I’m ready for the highway?”

Before I knew it we were approaching the highway. I had never taken her on the highway, but she seemed lucid and was driving like a pro. So we took the highway home and survived. Why would I have thought differently.

When we got home, I administered an MBTI assessment to her. It turns out that my daughter is a moderate introvert, slight sensor and thinker, and clear perceiver.

“Congratulations, honey, you’re an introvert like your ole man,” I told her. I’m afraid she’s worried about being an introvert, but she’ll realize how special she is.

Note: this post was enjoyable to write. I wrote one on an introverts idea of a great vacation. Check it out.

Photo: Flickr, Michael Jimmy Ellas

Posted in Introverts | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

4 components of job-search networking emails

And why they are a secret to your success.

Email sending

The other day during a résumé critique one of my customers told me how he had been networking. Something was in the works with a company as a result of him being proactive and knocking on the company’s door.

Not literally knocking on the company’s door; although, that’s a viable option. He had sent a networking email (formally called “approach letter”) to one of the directors at the company asking for an networking meeting, which then lead to further discussions.

Hint: don’t refer to is as an informational interview. The word “interview” turns potential contacts off. You want to meet for a potential contact to get some advice on the position you’re seeking, whether a new career or similar work.

Of course a cold call might have been quicker for my customer than sending a networking email, but he felt sending it was right for him. (By the way, using LinkedIn’s Search Companies feature is a great way to find people at companies.)

For you job seekers who lean more toward introversion, a networking email may also feel more comfortable than calling a director, VP, or a hiring manager. There’s more to a networking email, though, than simply telling the person that you’d like to meet with her.

1. Research the company

With the networking email, first you’ll research the company so you can write intelligently about why you’d like to meet your potential connection. You’ll write highly of the company, selling the company to the recipient of your email. This will show your enthusiasm.

It will also show you took the time to visit the company’s website; read articles online, including business journals; and used other methods to research the company. This is the first step you’ll take to impress the recipient of your networking email.

Hint: you will only send approach emails to companies for which you’d like to work, not companies you’re not to sure of. You are taking your job search into your own hands, and a key to your success will be being proactive.

2. Share your accomplishments

Next you’ll throw in some kudos of yourself. What makes it worthwhile for the marketing manager to meet with you? For example, you gained some valuable skills when you worked at the medical device company in their marketing department.

You authored press releases that drew the attention of many of the media, spearheaded a direct mail campaign that garnered new business beyond what the company had achieved. You contributed to your past company’s past success and will do the same for your future employers.

3. Have a call to action

Don’t forget to indicate in your networking email that you’ll call the recipient. Set a date and exact time. Maybe it’s not your style to indicate exactly when you’ll follow up, but consider that when you put something in writing, you’re more likely to follow through. If, however, you have willpower, you don’t have to indicate a time.

Hint: Also, don’t send approach emails to HR; rather send it to the hiring manager or above. HR’s purpose is to screen candidates applying for an advertised position. Because no position has been advertised, your approach email will most likely be deleted.

4. Follow up

The only thing left to do is picking up the phone and asking the recipient if she received your email. If the person picks up the phone or you have to leave a voice-mail, be ready to explain why you’d like to meet with her.

Following up is the last component of sending a marketing email. I tell job seekers that two or three follow-up calls or emails is all they need to send. They shouldn’t stalk their potential contacts.

Hint: tell your potential contact that you can meet at her convenience. Your discussion doesn’t need to happen over coffee or dinner; you could meet in her office, or merely talk over the phone.

Your reward

What follows could be a networking meeting or maybe good timing on your part—there may actually be a job the company’s trying to fill, unbeknownst to other job seekers searching the Internet for advertised positions.

The approach email is a great networking tool which worked like magic for my job seeker. Be sure to follow these four steps when sending your approach email to the companies for which you want to work. You will experience success.

Photo: Flickr, Miguel Garces

 

Posted in Career Search | 2 Comments

Leaving “I” out of your interview answers is NOT noble. Use a 4-step process to answer interview questions

interview with woman

When I ask my workshop attendees to answer an interview question, some of them refuse to talk about their role in a past assignment. An article on Recruiting Blogs details this problem job seekers have, the unwillingness, or inability to describe their role in a situation.

For example, I ask my workshop attendees a question like, “Tell me about a time when your diligence paid off in completing a project on time.” An incorrect answer sounds like this: “We were responsible for putting out the quarterly report that described the success of our training program. We worked diligently gathering the information, writing the report, and sending it to the Department of Labor. We met our deadline and were commended for our efforts.”

Here’s the problem: there’s nothing about the job seeker’s role in the situation. I don’t want to hear about what the team accomplished, nor will employers. I want to hear about a candidate’s contribution to the overall effort.

Note: when appropriate, job candidates need to mention the contributions of those who helped in the process. It is not only about the candidate.

This answer, using the STAR formula, is more satisfying, as it describes the candidate’s specific contribution.

The Situation

As part of a five-member team, we were charged with writing a report necessary to continue funding for an outside program.

My task

I was given the task of gathering information pertaining to participant placement in jobs and then writing a synopsis of their training and jobs they secured.

My actions

I started with noting how I recruited 20 participants for the training program, a number I’m happy to say exceeded previous expectations of 10 participants. This required outreach to junior colleges, vocational schools, and career centers where people desiring training were engaged.

Step two involved writing detailed descriptions of their computer training, which included Lean Six Sigma and Project Management. Then explaining how this training would help them secure employment in their targeted careers. I collaborated with the trainers to get accurate descriptions of the two training programs.

Next, I interviewed each participant to determine their learning level and satisfaction with the program. All but one was extremely satisfied. The person who was not satisfied felt the training was too difficult but wanted to repeat the training. She noted she was very happy with the expertise of our trainer.

As well, I tracked each participant over a period of four months to determine their job placement. Jobs were hard to come by, so at times I approached hiring managers at various manufacturing companies in the area in order to speed up the process. I was responsible for directly finding jobs for four of the twelve people, even though it wasn’t my responsibility.

Finally I took the lead on writing a five-page report on what the members of the team and I had accomplished in the course of  three months. Other members of the team were of great help in making sure all the “is” were dotted and “ts” were crossed and that the report was delivered on time to Boston.

The result

The result was that we delivered the report with time to spare and were able to keep funding for the project for another year. I worked hard and was integral to proving to the DOL that the project was successful, but it took a lot of collaboration to bring project all together.

Certainly there are times when employees don’t work alone and require the assistance of others, but they always have a specific role in the situation.  Prospective employers want to hear about the candidates’ role in the situation, not the teams’ overall role. It is best to answer the question using the STAR formula, which demonstrates the situation, task (your), action, and result.

Allow me to quote directly from the article:  “…after an hour I still don’t quite understand what this person’s involvement was on any of their most recent projects even though they were all delivered successfully, on time and under budget.”   What I did understand involved a whole lot of we, us, and the team, which leaves me to wonder whether they’re a good team player or just a player on a good team.  I don’t have a spot on my team for the latter…”

Photo: Flickr, Renee Bertrand

Posted in Career Search, Interviewing | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

7 reasons why you need personal business cards, and 7 facts to include on them

businesscardA funny story I tell my workshop attendees is about how I ordered 250 personal business cards on www.vistaprint.com, only to find when I opened them that I’d spelled my occupation wrong: “worksop facilitator.”

There went 250 personal business cards into the trash.

I’m ashamed to put this in print, but I’m making a point; make sure you spell-check your order before submitting it. This is hardly the point of this blog post, though.

The overlying message is that, as a job seeker, there are seven reasons why you need  personal business cards and seven facts you must include on them.

Why you need personal business cards.

  1. Networking events. Perhaps the most obvious reason why you need personal business cards is at events where everyone will have them. Not having personal business cards will separated you from the other attendees…in a bad way.
  2. Job fairs. A great way to introduce yourself to companies for which you’d like to work is by going to job fairs. Impress company reps with your personal business cards attached to your résumés.
  3. Social gatherings. Even at family gatherings you’ll want to carry business cards. Help your family and friends remember you’re in the job search, but don’t go from person to person shoving your cards in their hands.
  4. You come across as professional. Remember when you were employed and had company business cards? The company required you to have them to represent it. Now you’re representing a company called Me. Inc. (This is a phrase that one of my valued connections and famed author, Martin Yate, uses to explain taking control of your own business.)
  5. They’re a calling card and smaller than your résumé. You don’t want to carry around your résumés because they’re bulky and hard to keep flat. Think about other networkers and how they’d feel carrying your document around.
  6. They may create opportunities. Related to #’s 1 and 2, people may not recall someone with whom you can speak or of an opening at a company; but when they get home or are at their office, one of your personal business cards may cause light bulbs to go off, leading to phone calls.
  7. They’re a call to action. When someone has one of your personal business cards, they’re more likely to call you back than if they have a piece of paper with your name and number on it. Similarly, when you have someone’s personal business card, you’re more likely to follow-up on your encounter.

What to include on your personal business cards.

  1. Contact information. This is the most obvious information: your home address (optional), e-mail address (make it professional), and telephone number (home or cell). No surprises here.
  2. Include your social media accounts. Along with your public LinkedIn profile URL, you can also list your Twitter handle, Facebook account, and website or blog. This will lead people to more information about you and your social media savviness.
  3. Major areas of strength. This is one of  the most important bits of information. I’ve seen personal business cards with only contact information on them. As a potential networker, I’d need more information. Let’s say you’re in Marketing. Four areas of strength might include, Social Media, Public Relations, Web Content, Trade Shows. Keep it short and sweet.
  4. A logo. I’m not a big fan, but if you have a professionally designed logo that truly represents what you do, brands you; go for it. No cheap logos from Google Images or ones from templates from personal business card providers.
  5. A photo. Again, not a big fan unless you’re in the proper occupation, like real estate, modeling, acting, and others where your appearance is your calling card. IT or finance or medical tech? I think not.
  6. A branding statementThis may work well if it is short and descriptive enough to show value. Something like, “I fix things that break” is not descriptive because many job seekers do this. However, “Creating marketing literature that generate sales and increases visibility,” is clearer in terms of what the person does.
  7. Extra hint: leave the back bare. That’s right. You might be tempted to provide more information on the back, but this is valuable real estate for networkers who’d like to take notes about what you discussed. Make sure to carry a pen with you so your new-found networker can write on your card.

My faux pas with my order of business cards is only superseded by a dear networker I know who misspelled his last name on this business card. It goes without saying that you must carefully edit your business card template before having it produced by a brick and mortar company or online. Most importantly, don’t be caught without a business card.

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Posted in Career Networking, Career Search | Tagged , , , , | 25 Comments

3 areas of your career when effective communications is essential

communicationOne story I tell in my workshops is about how a former customer of mine improved communications between two warring departments. He told me that these groups were literally at war with each other and just couldn’t play well together.

He further explained that he would call members of the groups together and make them “talk” to each other. “I also made note of their body language and facial expressions. If I noticed hostility, I’d mention it and tell them I could see their hostility. Did I make them kiss and make up? No. But it almost got to that point.

If you haven’t given thought to your communications, you should. You should think about how it affects the aspects of your education, job search, and job. You should also think about the ways you communicate.

In College

Networking2College is the beginning of the rest of your life, as the cliché goes. Therefore, it’s important that you strengthen your verbal and written communication skills. And you don’t have to major in Communications in order to strengthen your communications skills.

Your verbal communications. Take advantage of any opportunities you have to present in front of a group. As scary as it may seem, you will be better prepared for the workforce. Try to ignore your fear and think that this is part of your education.

You’re not only communicating with your mouth; you’re also communicating with your body language, facial expressions, and voice intonation. The more animated you are (within reason) the better your message will come across. Some believe that effective verbal communications is 80% presentation.

Your written communications. When you write expository papers for your classes, put your best effort forth. Be concise, yet informative. The working world prefers ideas presented in writing that are as short as possible.

This includes emails, proposals, marketing literature, whitepapers, etc. I remember a marketing manager saying to me, “Brevity is the key to success.” She was right.

You’ll learn that when you leave college and enter your job search that your success will depend on your marketing campaign. This will include your written and verbal communications. Don’t focus on only one form of communications, though.

In your job search

Commission having a Job interview.Networking will be a valuable activity in your job search and require excellent communication skills. It’s by networking that you will penetrate the Hidden Job Market, which is a topic in itself. Your goal is to be known by people who matter.

Important forms of communications include your ability to articulate your talents and goals. It’s also important to listen to the people with whom you’re networking. Listening is a key component of communications. I’ve been to networking events where I felt like a sounding board. Don’t do that to others.

Once your networking has led you to the decision makers of organizations, it’s time to put your written communication skills to use. Write resumes (plural) that speak to the needs of employers. Create a strong online presence with your LinkedIn profile.

The interview will arrive after you’ve put your efforts into networking and writing strong marketing documents. It’s at the interview that you’ll have to shine with answers to the tough questions. Where you’ll have to come across as confident and affable. Where ultimately you’ll have to demonstrate your communication skills.

At work

BrainstormingFortuneLiveMediaCongratulations, you landed a job. Now is the time when your communication skills will help you in performing well and progress among the ranks. Your colleagues and supervisors will expect you to be articulate and clear when presenting ideas.

Company meetings are a great example of how important it is to present clear ideas. Let’s say you have to report on the social marketing campaign you’re working on. The group of twenty people, including the director of the organization, want to know the specifics of the project.

To your credit you’ve come prepared. You walk to the center of the room (don’t sit) to deliver your PowerPoint presentation. You flick through each slide, talking about how you’ll employ Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to promote the organization.

Your body language demonstrates confidence, the tone of your voice is upbeat, you smile and communicate effectively with your hands. You notice that the director is smiling and nodding while you’re talking.

Bringing it together

Communications constantly ranks high on employers’ lists of essential skills. There’s no secret why. How you’re graded in school relies on how well you present your projects, how well you write your papers.

How you’re perceived during your job search has a great deal to do with your ability to express your value. And don’t forget the importance of listening. You must employ written communication skills to land the interview. And finally, it will be your ability to verbalize your value to employers that will land the job.

But it doesn’t end at the interview. You will demonstrate your communication skills at work in a variety of ways. Throughout your professional life communication skills will play a role in your success.

Posted in Career Management, Career Search | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

5 steps to take when networking your way to important people

Getting Help

I recently read a post Please Don’t Send Me Your Résumé, written by Lida Citroen, which resonated with me. It’s general message was, “Don’t rely on others to do everything for you. Take responsibility for your job search.” I agree completely with her message.

Far be it for me to tell job seekers to never ask for help, because asking for help is necessary in the job search. But it’s how you ask for help that makes the difference between getting it or not.

This post is not about sending your résumé to someone for perusal it’s about five steps to take when requesting contact information for the contacts on your company target list.

First step: making first contact

Making initial contact can happen at a job seekers’ networking group or anywhere you meet people—social and family gatherings, sporting events, in the grocery store, etc. Some of your best opportunities can happen out of the blue.

For argument’s sake, let’s say your first contact is at a networking event. Congratulations, you gathered your energy to attend the event, despite engaging in a heavy day of job hunting.

Your goal at networking events is to gather valuable information and advice, especially who and how you can contact people at the companies for which you’d like to work. You should have a healthy list of 15 or 20 companies on your target company list.

During the needs and leads sessions, don’t be shy about asking for leads at your target companies. You won’t get leads at all 20 companies on your list, but you should get two or three good ones.

If someone shouts out that they know influential people at some of your companies, be sure to catch that person before you leave. Ask for her business card and ask if you can follow up with them in a day or two. Always add that you are willing to be of assistance to that person.

Now that you’ve tastefully asked your new networking connection for assistance, your work has just begun.

Second step: follow up with email

When you took your new networking connections’s personal business card, you were sure to jot down professional, as well as personal, information on the back of the card. This is information you’ll include in your email the very next day (providing it’s a business day).

(Read why introverts prefer to write)

“How did Emily do in her soccer game over the weekend. Did she score another hat trick?” would be a great way to start your email. It’s always nice to be remembered for something other than your previous employment.

But you want to make your intentions clear. Remind your new contact that she said she knew people at your target companies, and you are writing for that information. Be concise and direct. No lengthy email is necessary.

“Susan, I enjoyed speaking with you at the networking event in Acton. I’m following up to obtain the contact information for people at companies, X, Y, and Z. Any help you can provide me would be greatly appreciated.”

At the end of your email, inform your contact that you’ll call her at a specific time within the next few days. Because you sent her a noncommittal email, the phone call will be easier to make. Your networking connection may get back to you before you make the call.

Third step: pick up the phone 

Your new contact will be expecting your call and hopefully be available to speak with you. (She may not be available, so make sure you have a well scripted message to leave her.) At the beginning of the call, ask her if this is a good time to speak. Don’t assume she will be available to talk, as she might have a legitimate commitment.

Assuming she has time to speak, start with some small talk. Tell her enjoyed that you sincerely enjoyed talking with her at the networking event, how you felt about the guest speaker, and ask her again about her daughter’s soccer game. Make the conversation light and personal at first.

When the time is right (there’s a lull in the conversation), tell her the reason for your call. At the networking event she said she knew a few contacts at your target companies. You’re wondering if she has had a chance to dig up the information you’re looking for.

Good luck, she is glad to help you, as she said she would at the networking event. Unfortunately she only could find the contact information for two out of the three people she said she would. That’s great, you tell her.

Don’t ask her to make a warm call for you; that would be asking for a lot, but do ask her if you can mention her name, with the full understanding that she can’t speak to your past performance. You and she simply met at a networking event. “Oh,” she says, “Bruce’s daughter plays soccer on Emily’s team. A decent player.”

Fourth step: contact the people at your target company

Now it’s time to request assistance from your target company contacts. You may feel more comfortable sending an e-approach note; although, jumping right in with a phone call is quicker. This is where introverts need to exercise their extraverted traits.

In the e-approach note, make sure to mention your connection. People are more accepting of a referral than receiving the email cold. Explain how you met your networking connection, who’s making the referral.

But the content of your email should be more about your interest in the contact’s company. You’ve researched the company before sending the email, so you know about the company’s products or services. You are boosting the contact’s ego.

Part of your email should be about your value to employers. How you’ve increased revenue, decreased cost and time, solved problems, etc. Don’t overdue it though; you’re not applying for a job.

And then ask if you can have 15-20 minutes of the contact’s time. Make it convenient for the recipient of your approach email. At the end of your e-approach letter, indicate when you will call for a very brief chat.

(Read 10 ways to make your job-search networking meetings go smoothly.)

Fifth step: call the company contact

Don’t put off making the call to your company contact. You may lose your nerve. Wait no longer than two days. Mondays and Tuesdays are not great days, as they’re generally the busiest ones. Fridays are a crap shoot, as your company contact may be out that day. Wednesdays and Thursdays are generally better.

Note: Many people think that taking someone out for coffee is a nice gesture, but that might not be convenient for your company’s contact. It may be more convenient to talk on the phone. Give this person options. Tell him/her that you’ll be calling in a few days.

What are you asking for? You can say, based on your research, there may be positions available at the company, or you’d like to meet to gather information and get some advice. You’re hoping that either of these are true and would like to know what the appropriate action to take is.

Not all your company contacts will be amenable to speaking with you, so don’t be discouraged. People are busy or simply don’t care to help people who are out of work. You will receive rejection, but like sales people you must think that every rejection gets you closer to a yes.

Be prepared for your informational meeting with your company contact. Prepare a list of 10 questions—five about the position, five about the company—which are intelligent ones. Don’t ask insulting questions about dress code or lunch breaks. Remember, your goals is also to impress your company contact.

Circle back

Follow up with your networking connection by letting her know how your meeting/s went with your company contact. Call her. You are now familiar with other. Most likely you will see her at the next networking event. Be sure to thank her regardless of how you communicate.

Ping her as your search progresses, and encourage her to do the same. It’s important to stay on top of mind. Make every opportunity to help your networking connection. Help others in you networking group, as well. It’s not only about reciprocation; it’s also about paying it forward.

Photo: Flickr, GotCredit

 

 

 

 

Posted in Career Networking, Career Search, Introverts | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

10 ways we help job seekers find employment

Career Help

But there are many more ways.

I had a great experience recently and thought I’d share it with you. As I was leaving work and walking to the city garage, a customer of mine screeched his car to a halt and ran up to me to tell me he was offered a job. He had been out of work for eight months, so naturally he was happy and incredibly relieved.

What made this a WOW moment was the outpouring of gratitude he expressed about how I and others in our urban career center had made this dark moment in his life bearable, not only for the career advice and the moral support he received, but the overall excellent customer service afforded him by the whole organization.

So this got me to thinking about what all of us do for our job seekers, whether we’re general career advisors, expert résumé writers, unemployment insurance specialist, job coaches, training providers, college career advisors, disability program navigators, authors of career search books, Veterans reps, young adult advisors, senior training providers, and business services reps. Have I left anyone out? If I have, I apologize.

What we do doesn’t: save lives—although this is debatable—keep people safe from crime or fire, represent the victim of crime, teach quantum physics, save the environment, keep our cars on the road, transport people all over the world, manage an office, lead soldiers into battle….

So, I want to remind you that we serve a purpose greater than you might imagine. A lot is riding on our customers’ job search, so we’re there to make sure they do it right.

  • We help them to understand that it’s not enough to want any job; they must choose a job that will make them want to go to work every day.
  • We give them focus, for without focus they’d be lost.
  • We help them to learn how to market themselves through their written and verbal communication skills, thereby creating an effective job-search campaign.
  • We stress the importance of connecting with people on a regular basis, as well as at networking events. They resist networking, but we encourage them to get beyond their comfort zone.
  • We prepare them to meet the decision makers and hopefully get the job. If they don’t get the job, we try to lift them up, never dashing their hopes. We tell them to get back on the proverbial horse.
  • We represent them to employers when they can’t represent themselves.
  • We encourage them to enter training to better prepare them for the labor market.
  • We give them someone to talk to in a very low point in their life. And maybe that’s all they need.
  • We give a kick in the ass when necessary, not letting them blame others for their mistakes. We make them take responsibility for their job search because, after all, they own it.
  • We celebrate their successes, whether it’s landing a job or getting their first interview. The job search is a process, and we play a role in the process. They’re the ones who sit in the candidate chair, not us.

I don’t know if I’ll see my former customer again; I hope I never do. And I say this in a good way. Because another thing we do is send them on their way with the knowledge of how to conduct the job search the right way. So they’ll never have to return.

I’d like to know the ways you help job seekers find work.

Photo: Flickr, Margie Ireland

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