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Stand Out With Style

The new year is fast approaching and I have continued to encourage you to not take a vacation from your job search quest during this time. This is the final weekend to work on your resume and starting your search before the new year. Starting now will give you a jump start on the new years activities.

EVERYONE is waiting till the new year to start so get ready for some competition. How are you going to differentiate yourself? How are you going to stand out from the crowd? The answers to these questions will give you a clue into how long it will take you to find the new gig. If you put a generic resume together, post it on Monster and CareerBuilder and wait for the calls, you may be really sorry.

Job searching is still and will always be a marketing game. You have to locate opportunities that others don’t find. Once you do, then getting your foot in the door will take some creativity. How creative are you? Let’s not think about being weird with your creativity but think about how you can stand out with style.

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Tough day….week?

Do you ever have really TOUGH days or weeks? I am sure you do. Well I am just getting over both a tough day and week or make that weeks. Lots of new and different things going on in my personal and business lives that have thrown me for a loop. Not just one loop but a bunch of them.

So what do you do when you have these tough times? Do you have any secrets or things you do to keep you grounded? Well I do and thought I would share them here. First of all, when things are just tough and I am not sure what to do, I try to remember the time when things were going good. I try and “transport” myself back there mentally. No I am not much of a metaphysical guy. What I am talking about is trying to “pull myself up by my own bootstraps”. You know the old saying about pulling yourself up by your own boot straps, right? Well this is the time to do it. You do it by dusting yourself off and reminding yourself where you came from; especially the good stuff.

Many times we forget about the good stuff when we are in a funk. The good stuff seems so far away. But really it is not. It is right where we left it, in our minds. So when times get tough, I try to remember the good stuff.

Secondly, I repeat a saying in my mind to keep myself out of the funk. This go around I have been repeating the phrase: “Just go to work.” This has helped me tremendously when the life pressures are so great they make me want to run and escape. Sometimes it is good to escape (in a healthy way) but other times it is not. Right now it is not because my new and old clients are depending on me. I am putting in the extra time right now because after tomorrow, I get to escape as I am taking off about a week for a Christmas break. So right now it is “Just go to work” time.

Mind you I am a bit O C (obsessive compulsive) but have always known it. The repeating of my phrase is good to get me out of the funk I am in but can be bad if I cannot stop. This is the gray area I work in as you probably have your gray area.

The last thing I try and do is I try extra hard to put myself in the “other” person’s shoes. When I get frustrated and beaten down, I tend to lash out at my family. This is not good for anyone as it just makes more problems. This time I am not lashing out as much (even though I am not perfect yet) but I am trying to catch my impulse to do it before I do it. Now I try and temporarily leave the situation until I cool down. Then I can talk with a level head and the other person doesn’t feel my frustration quite as much.

So the moral of this post is the when times are challenging remember they will pass and blue skies will present themselves again. When you have hit the bottom, remember there is only one way to go…..UP!

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Holiday Job Searching – YES

Christmas is right around the corner and many people are thinking about waiting until the new year before starting a job search. Well, DON’T. Start now. There are many reasons for not putting it off one more second. Here are a few:

1. Everyone is putting it off until the new year. Therefore, you may have a better chance in catching someone looking.

2. Not everyone takes vacation time during Christmas. Some people do not celebrate Christmas or have used up all their vacation time already and only “get off” Christmas day.

3. Many companies want to be fully staffed by the new year. If they are having trouble finding the right person and you walk in the door, you may be selected.

4. Starting now allows you to start doing the administrative tasks associated with the job search. This includes designing your resume, cover letters, company research, locating HR people or hiring managers, and many other things.

5. This is a good time to practice your pitch to potential hiring managers or others.

6. Christmas parties and get-togethers are great times to begin letting EVERYONE around you know you are starting to look for something new.

7. Talking about your search will provide you the start to the emotional exercise of starting something new.

8. Starting now will not allow you to make any more excuses on doing it. You don’t want the new year to start to rev up and drive you too fast to start searching.

Good intentions are only that, intentions. Start now and turn those good intentions into progress.

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Second Look

Job searching is all about one thing…getting someone to take a second look at you in consideration of a job opportunity at their company. There are many factors involved in someone having the desire to vouch for you. There is an incredible amount of pieces and moving parts associated with the above statements. I don’t plan to get into all of them in this post. What I will do is remind you of one thing. The words “second look” above are what you are trying to accomplish.

Think about a time when someone came to you and asked you to buy something. Maybe it was at your front door, maybe it was on the street or maybe at a store. What is your first reaction? Some people give that “salesperson” respect and their full attention. Others don’t. I am talking to you who are reading this who don’t. Right off the bat you and I are circling the wagons when someone comes up to us in defense. We are ready to protect and defend our being even before the first words are spoken.

This happens routinely with job searching. When you start exploring the intent to be hired a any company, they begin circling the wagons on you. This idea is a protective mechanism not quite specifically understood but what it entails is keeping you out. So how do you open up their minds? This is the million dollar question. If I had the answer (and I plan someday finding it) I will let you know and utilize it in my working life.

One way to do it is to don’t take no for an answer. How many times have you said no but thought about it later? I know I have. My no response was because I was circling the wagons. If it was easy, someone might get me to think about something and mull it over. This mulling is what you want from someone. Get them to think of you as different and mull over if they might work with you and assist you in getting into their company or group.

Remember, the no is good and so is the mulling over. This is normal and be ready for it.

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Street Fighter

I sometimes refer job searching to fighting. Not because you actually get physical with someone; but because at the end of the day or week it feels like you have. It feels this way because job searching is emotionally draining. The main reason it is so is because it is new and there are many highs and lows during each minute you are in it.

As a professional job searcher, it can be a “street fight” for me too. I feel the ups and downs just as anyone else does. The difference is that I am not a emotionally “attached” as you are. It is my work and my work is not my life. I take a lot of pride in my work but as with any job, I have learned to distance myself from the major failures and mistakes. Now mind you, this is not the case always, but more times than not.

What I would recommend to you based on my perspective is to treat your job search like a work project. Pour yourself into it and conduct your activities in the most efficient and effective manner and let the chips fall as they may. When you get a lead, manager your expectations on its outcome. When you get a down day or week or even month, remind yourself that this is just a phase. Within this “down” phase, try and determine if you can learn anything about yourself that will assist you to be better at it. This introspection during the tough time, may help you find a the silver lining in the clouds of any job search.

Know ahead of time that a job search will drain you of everything you got. Prepare yourself for it the best you can. One idea…write down weekly goals and paste them to your mirror so you can be reminded of your progress. Don’t take down previous week’s goals but keep them up and see how far you go. If you don’t complete a week’s goal, put the same goal up for next week. Keep putting up the same goal every week until you complete it. This activity will keep you focused on making short term goals you can accomplish during a job search that may take some time to complete.

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