A recent article posted in Quintessential Careers from Susan Jepson, Director of National Senior Networks, makes me think of how jobseekers of any age need to display a positive attitude. Susan writes about how mature workers need to address the interview, hone their technology skills, and seek help from career professionals.
In her article, Mature Job-Seekers: Are You Practicing Reverse Age Discrimination in Your Job Hunt?, Susan’s first assertion is that mature workers must not come across as having an attitude.
“Without intending to, or without knowing it, mature workers can come across as arrogant, condescending; that behavior can invite rejection,” she writes.
Susan’s article reminds me that a negative attitude isn’t inclusive of just older jobseekers. One’s negative attitude shows itself in many of one’s mannerisms. Demonstrations of your mannerisms precedes any opportunity to appear before an employer. Failing to control your mannerisms can prevent you from getting to the interview. Below are some signs of a negative attitude. These are things you should keep in mind when going out in public.
Arrogance impresses no one. You may have been outstanding at what you did, and you may be outstanding in the future, but keep in mind that dipomacy is your best card at this time. You will be relying on many people to help you in your job search, and most people don’t appreciate being looked down upon.
Apparel is one aspect of your attitude. During the summer it’s hot out there, but please refrain from wearing gym shorts and tee-shirts with Budweiser advertisements. At all times make sure you are well-groomed and presentable–you never know when a potential employer might be just around the corner.
Your countenance is more noticeable than you think. I’ve witnessed people who walk into the career center looking as if they’d like to strike anyone in their path. Their mouth looks like it was chiseled into a constant frown. There seems to be hatred in their eyes. This can be intimidating, let alone off-putting.
Be outgoing…or at least fake it. For you introverts (I can relate), try to use every opportunity to network. Your most vital job search technique must include networking. It’s not as hard as it appears. You don’t have to see networking as only going to arranged events. It’s a daily thing and that’s why you have to be on your game every day. One jobseeker I know told me he was meeting someone for lunch, and he was dreading it. Nonetheless, he met the person for lunch. He faked it.
Mind your manners. “Thank you,” “it was great seeing you,” “hope your day is wonderful,” etc., go a long way. These are things we learned in Kindergarten, yet not all of us practice the niceties as much as we should. I am often thanked by customers after a workshop or in an e-mail. They’re the ones who do the hard work, and their hard work will result in a job.
Offer advice. I personally appreciate it when people tell me what I’ve done wrong, or what would work better…as long as it’s constructive criticism. This is another part of our persona that people notice. Good, honest advice delivered in a polite manner is priceless.
Don’t appear desperate and despondent. Most people want to help you, but if you seem like you are giving up the battle, your peers, career advisors, and people employed in your industry, will doubt your ability to succeed at your next job. “Don’t let ‘em see you sweat.”
Why does this matter?
Simply, your job search is ongoing. You are being judged, regardless of your age, wherever you go. The man or woman who has the authority to hire you, may be standing behind you in the checkout line. Those who try to help you take into account the aforementioned aspects of your overall attitude. If given the choice to recommend someone for a position, anyone is likely to back the person who has their attitude in check.
As I’ve said, maintaining a pleasant demeanor and appearing positive is difficult under an extremely stressful situation like being unemployed; but I’ll guarantee you that a negative approach to conquering unemployment will not lead to quick employment. Be mindful at all times how you appear to others.