Tag Archives: Personal

6 additional ways to improve your job search for the New Year

The first of this series, 10 ways to improve your job search in the New Year, was written almost a year ago. After reading this post, please read the prequel.

As the New Year approaches, job seekers are anticipating employers to increase their payroll. This is an accurate assessment. However, until job seekers receive the acceptance letter, they have to continue to improve their job search.

job seekers in line

Described below are some of the softer job-search steps. They are what job seekers sometimes ignore or think are not important. They are very important and often the first steps you must take to conduct a successful job search.

1. Forgive yourself

If you haven’t already forgiven yourself for being laid off, let go, or forced to quit, it’s not too late. You may be experiencing guilt, self-doubt, anger, and despondency to name a few. When I was laid off from marketing, I remember going through all of the aforementioned feelings. Now I think it was all wasted energy.

On the other hand, own the past. If you were to blame for losing your job, learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them in your next job. One member of a job club I operate suggested this as a part of our mission statement. I think she was right on track.

If you are having a difficult time forgiving yourself, considering seeing a therapist, especially if these destructive feelings are hindering your job search. Most health insurance policies cover mental health. Look into the health insurance you or your spouse are purchasing.

2. Take a short break

I advise a week off after you’ve lost your job. You need time to get your head straight. Your emotions will be frazzled. And there’s also taking care of your finances, e.g., applying for unemployment.

However, if you’re newly unemployed, now is not the time to take the three-month vacation you’ve accumulated during the tenure of your previous job. This will put you behind the eight-ball in terms of getting into the job search and showing a gap on your resume.

3. Dive into your job search with gusto

Now that your break is over, it’s time to put a concerted effort into your job search. Determine how you’re going to conduct your job search. Make a plan or have someone help you create a sound plan for your search. Many job seekers make the mistake of searching for work online as their only means.

The methods of searching for work that are most successful from best to worst are: face-to-face networking, attending professional affiliations, utilizing a recruiter or staffing agency, combining LinkedIn with face-to-face networking, and using job boards. You don’t have to use all of these methods, as you don’t want to spread yourself thin.

4. Let others know you’re out of work

As simple as this sounds, plenty of job seekers are reluctant to tell their friends, neighbors, relative, former colleagues, etc., that they’re out of work. Not only should you not feel embarrassed, you are missing opportunities to network. (This is discussed in the prequel.)

Most people understand that people sometimes lose their job. It’s likely they have also lost their job. It’s a known fact that people want to help you, so let them.

5. Be good to yourself

You’ve heard of work/life balance. I believe there’s also job-search/life balance. In other words, don’t burn out during your job search. In a recent job club meeting, I asked the members what they did during the Christmas holiday. Many of them talked about making connections with valuable recruiters.

But the ones who also impressed me were the ones who said they took some time off to decompress, sprinkled in with some job searching activities. You must remember that your unemployment is temporary, and during this time there are other important aspects of your life.

6. Don’t play the numbers game

At times I have to remind job seekers of this destructive practice, where they will say, “In a month I’ll have been out of work for more than a year.” Obsessing over the time you’ve been out of work will hurt your morale and, therefore, your job search.

You may reach the point where you’ve been out of work longer than six months, so you’ll need the assistance of people more and more. Some people you’ve relied on for help may have fallen of the face of the earth. Reconnect with them in a casual way, while also reminding them you’re still looking for work.


Now read the the prequel to this post.

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7 posts that can help you interview better

Interviewing for a job is not easy, especially if you take them too lightly. But if you put all the pieces in place, you’ll be successful. In this compilation there are seven posts that provide advice to follow before interviewing for positions.

Group Interview 2

Part 1: be mentally prepared

Sometimes the most difficult part of the interview process is being mentally prepared. Often easier said than done, this post offers some suggestions on how to achieve this.

Part 2: know thyself 

It’s  important that you know yourself before you prepare for interviews. This posts suggest ways to do this. One key to knowing yourself is doing a SWOT analysis. This exercise is well worth doing.

Part 3: research, research, research

Many people fail to research a position, the company, and other important components. This post talks about what to research and how to go about doing it.

Part 4: practice, practice, practice

Would you play a sport, participate in an orchestra, or take a test without practicing? It only makes sense to practice answering questions before the big show.

Part 5: making a good first impression

Oh yes the first impression you make matters. Some interviewers will base their hiring decision on your first impression. Eye contact and a firm handshake are only part of the first impression you make in the interview.

Part 6: answer the difficult questions

Which questions will be asked and how do you successfully answer them. This post talks about the proper way to answer the types of questions you’ll be asked.

Part 7: following up

After all the hard work you’ve done, now you have to seal the deal. Come across as professional and grateful for the opportunity to be interviewed for positions. But there’s more to it.

 

12 P’s for productive networking

P Words

The reason why 12 laminated,  8.5″ x 11″ pieces of paper–all with one word beginning with the letter P–are hanging on a wall in a room in our career center is because I am a Procrastinator.

These 12 words are related to productive networking. Procrastinate isn’t one of them, by the way.

Had I been more diligent, I would have had a big ass poster with all these 12 P words designed and produced by a print shop. The poster I envision will hang where our networking group meets.

Tasked with the job of writing a code of conduct, I decided that simply listing words would be more effective than handing the participants a document that describes how one should act while attending the group.

A colleague and I decided that words beginning with the letter P cover a great deal of behaviors and attitudes expected from networkers. Here are the P words networkers should use while they’re networking at any networking event.

  1. Positive: How could this word not be included? Networkers, despite their feelings, should act positive, not negative. People would rather surround themselves with positive-acting folks. If you’re one who believes in self-fulfilling prophesies, this is one.
  2. Persevere: When you feel like it’s not working and are wavering between going or not going to a networking event, perseverance will urge you on. Keep attending the group until you’ve exhausted all opportunities, or landed a job!
  3. Professional: This one encompasses many other traits, but overall marks you as positive and respected by others, and speaks to how you dress and conduct yourself at an event. Great practice for the entire job search.
  4. Participate: What’s the sense of attending a networking event if you’re going to sit in a corner or leave as soon as the Leads and Needs session is over? Approach people who may be sitting by themselves, and make them feel welcome.
  5. Polite: Being polite means not interrupting others or dominating the conversations. Listen to others as good networkers would. Saying, “Thank you” and “You’re welcome” can go along well.
  6. Prepare: This word also applies to the entire job search. You must be prepared for the interview, and you must be prepared to contribute to the networking event. This means bringing your target company list and leads for others.
  7. Personal: Show your personality at a networking event but make sure it’s appropriate for the event. Be yourself, relaxed, easy to speak with, friendly. A smile goes a long way, so show your pearly whites–this shows your welcome to be approached.
  8. Present: This can include the way you dress and how you come across while delivering your elevator pitch, or simply talking to others. There are those who dress like they mean business, and others who might be in their household attire. Who’ll be taken more seriously?
  9. Punctual: Being late is rude and shows a lack of time management. Would you be late to a job interview? Then don’t show up late for the networking event.
  10. Promote: Not only should networkers promote themselves in a tactful manner; they should promote each other. When introducing a fellow networker to a member of the group, speak highly of that person.
  11. Progress: Strive for progress. This can mean setting goals to meet three new people at an event every time you go, or if you like to mingle, come away with 10 business cards.
  12. Productive: The result of all these P words. You must be productive in your networking, or, for lack of better words, it ain’t worth it.

The words that hang on the wall in our room are a great reminder of how one should conduct their organized networking. Eventually–nay, soon–I’ll get around to having them made into a stunning poster or two. I don’t want to wear the letter P on my chest for eternity; it standing for Procrastination.

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