Posted on April 28, 2017
You get a phone call or an email from someone who urgently needs your resume to submit for a great but time-limited job opportunity. Fantastic! Except for one problem–you haven’t updated your resume in at least 10 years. So you quickly throw together an “updated resume” that you figure will do for the time being and send it off.
First, you tried to take the easy way out and just dash something off without checking to make sure it was done right. You might have made mistakes (typos, etc.) or incorrect statements because you didn’t take time to check. Or maybe you left out potentially valuable information that could have advanced your candidacy for the position.
Second, you didn’t stop to think about whether you knew enough about the job possibility to really want it and see it as a potentially good fit for you. That might have influenced how you put together the revised resume and even whether you sent it at all.
What you’ve successfully done, in all probability, is to “shoot yourself in the foot”!
Posted on April 4, 2017
Wouldn’t it be great if job searching were a “piece of cake,” with no real challenges or speed-bumps to get past? Theoretically, that would mean you wouldn’t face any serious tests of your self-respect and integrity during the job search.
Is that likely to happen in practice? Maybe not. Even the best-planned and -executed job search campaign can encounter obstacles. The list of possible obstructions is too long to include here!
If you start out with healthy self-respect, you have better odds of managing your job search to a successful conclusion. For example, you know that you probably won’t land every job you interview for–your competitors will undoubtedly succeed at least part of the time. Consequently, you won’t consider each job that gets away as a personal blow to your sense of value (self-worth). In other words, you consider yourself a top contender because you know what you’re capable of.
With that thought in mind, you might also consider steps you can take to present yourself more compellingly to employers, making sure they can easily see how you can make them successful–or more successful than they already are. You will approach this challenge with confidence because you know you can contribute essential value to their organization.
Does this mean you approach employers with an “I am the greatest, and you’d be stupid not to hire me” attitude? Hardly! Self-respect and self-confidence go hand-in-hand but don’t “play well” with arrogance and conceit.
Which brings us to the next point.
Posted on April 1, 2017
If you’ve been out of work for even a few months, you could already be experiencing some of the emotions of someone who’s been unemployed for several months or longer. It’s a situation that intensifies as your job search lengthens without an end in sight.
This post is not intended as a panacea for the major challenges of long-term unemployment. It’s just meant to direct attention to something that too often gets ignored–and, hopefully, give you a few thoughts to strengthen your job search.
Apparently, 27 weeks or more constitutes long-term unemployment. That’s just over 6 months. Even if you qualify for unemployment compensation, that’s not a real solution to your problem. It doesn’t last indefinitely, and it’s undoubtedly well below the salary you were earning in your last position. If you don’t qualify for unemployment compensation, that’s obviously worse.
At this point in your job search, you might see success as a goal that’s rapidly receding into the distance, while the thought of failure looms over you and pushes you into crisis mode. Not a good place to be!
Posted on March 25, 2017
Have you ever conducted a job search that produced ZERO results–no interview opportunities, no phone calls, not even a template email saying, “Thanks for your submission. We’ll keep it on file”? This is the extreme scenario that keeps many job seekers awake at night.
It’s the job search black hole that sucks in all your efforts to attract employer attention and doesn’t shoot anything back out to you.
In other words, what if you gave a job search party and nobody came?
If your confidence remains high, even in a difficult job search, you might not feel vulnerable because you still believe there’s good reason to remain optimistic. However, if you’re in a tight spot (financially, emotionally or otherwise), lack of a positive response from targeted employers can gradually erode your self-confidence.
Among other things, you might begin to question your professional value, your competence in your area of expertise, and so on. You could start asking yourself questions such as:
And here’s one more that can really hammer your job search self-confidence, especially when you’ve passed the “mid-career” stage: Am I just too old?
What’s the magic answer? You guessed it–there might not be one!
Posted on March 15, 2017
Nostalgia can be fine to indulge in–if kept in its proper place. When you’re engaged in planning a job search or trying to do smart career management, nostalgia might be a costly indulgence!
Why is that? Because the core ingredient of nostalgia is looking backward, rather than forward. The word is defined as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.”
Although your resume does deal with what you’ve done in the past as well as what you’re doing now, if it’s essentially a career obituary, it’s not going to be as effective as it needs to be. For the same reason we no longer depend on a now-antique steam engine to pull the train we ride to work, your resume needs to adopt a forward-looking, forward-thinking approach.
If your outlook–and your resume–are mired in the past, you run the real danger of appearing old and tired to potential employers. They might even consider you irrelevant in today’s business environment. That’s a risk you don’t want to run and don’t need to.
Sure, it’s great if you’ve had many positive employment experiences and still have fond memories of the best ones. However, the only real reason for looking back at them is to dig out the gold nuggets that will help you demonstrate your potential to deliver high value to future employers.
Posted on March 8, 2017
You might be saying, “Learn from nature about my job search? That’s crazy!” While it might sound a little off-the-wall, it’s not as crazy as you might think. I’ll admit today’s post is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but sometimes we can use a little humor to lighten a task that often stirs up negative emotions in us. So bear with me, as we take a stroll through lessons you can learn about successful job searching from Mother Nature.
If preparing for a job search makes you feel as if you’re facing the kind of challenge represented by a crocodile eager to devour you, maybe it’s time for a decompression break, such as deep-sea divers need when it’s time to resurface after a long dive. In other words, look beyond the overall task, which might seem intimidating or overwhelming simply because it looks like such a huge challenge.
After all, experienced crocodile handlers have learned a number of useful tricks for dealing with these ferocious creatures and emerging undamaged. What points can you identify that will help you deal with the job search effectively?
How about listing the “pain points” you associate with doing a job search and analyzing them individually? That way you can see where you might be able to move past those obstacles safely and productively. Career success as a whole–and your job search as a key piece of it–depends on not letting a daunting obstacle stop you in your tracks or derail your progress.
Posted on February 28, 2017
Financial compensation (salary/wages) might not be the only measurement you use to determine whether you’re in a good place in terms of career success, but it’s often one of the top factors you look at. If you’re out of work and looking or considering a move from your current job for some reason, you’re probably including compensation as something to think about.
It’s a complex situation and one that’s compounded by trends in hiring and retaining employees. Whether you’re at or near the top of the management rung or much farther down the hierarchy, it’s an issue that can and likely will affect your choices and your future well-being in one way or another.
We’ve been hearing for a long time about a “skills gap.” (For a rebuttal on that, see Ask The Headhunter’s recent post.) However, what if you have strong skills but still can’t land a job–or at least not one that pays you a reasonable living wage?
I was interested in finding out more after I read the ATH post, so I checked out the Pew Charitable Trusts article it referenced and read the entire piece. Among other things, what you’re good at, know well, and maybe have substantial experience in doesn’t necessarily track with what you can achieve as far as compensation goes. And education is only part of it, so getting more education isn’t necessarily the answer.
The compensation that employers can’t afford to pay–or in many cases won’t pay–presents many job seekers with a conundrum: How can I get a job within reasonable distance of my home that pays enough to support me and my family?
According to one survey mentioned in the article, reasons for difficulty in finding workers were multi-faceted: “a lack of applicants with the right skills was one reason. But there were many others, including location, low wages and undesirable shifts.”
Another factor was that employers really wanted employees with work experience in a similar role. As the article said, “The focus on work experience suggested that employers were being too picky. They wanted to hire someone who could be fully productive on day one. But at the same time they weren’t willing or able to pay enough to attract that perfect candidate.”
Posted on February 21, 2017
Clients often ask me about using executive recruiters in their job search. My first response frequently addresses a key misconception about what recruiters do and don’t do, followed by a few cautionary pieces of advice. If you’re considering recruiters as part of your job search strategy, you might want to take note of this.
The most common mistaken idea is that recruiters will help you find a new job. Retained search consultants have a contract to fill a position for their client company. If you’re on their radar, they might contact you. Often, they’ll search for potential candidates–people who aren’t necessarily even actively looking for a new position.
Contingency recruiters are a different story. While there might be some good ones in this category, it’s important to note that they don’t look for jobs for you either. They’re hoping they can put someone into an open position and earn a hefty commission. In some cases, they might amass a database of job seekers and include you in it, but they don’t focus on producing a benefit for you.
Nick Corcodillos (Ask The Headhunter) recently published a blog post titled “Recruiters: Raise your standards or get out!” It merits careful reading. Briefly, though, here are his tests for the kind of recruiters you would want to work with: