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Job Search Tips For Nervous Job Seekers

Here are five job search tips for the nervous job seeker:

1. Think about what actually makes you nervous and fix it – have you ever just sat down and thought through what makes you nervous in the first place.  I outlined in my profile page I used to be scared to death (literally) about giving a presentation.  Then one day I sat down and asked myself:  “What was the major reason I was so scared?”  The answer to that question made me change my ways. 

2. Tell yourself positive things when you start to get nervous – sometimes just telling yourself over and over you are ready for the interview or you are qualified for this job or that job helps your negative-brain catch up with reality.  Everyone has strengths.  Find yours and remind yourself about them…often.

3. Practice, practice and practice some more – don’t just practice the nervous things you have but practice how you approach people, what you say (or don’t say) and figure out how people perceive you.  Finding a friend or family member to help out is important with this one.

4. Be honest with yourself and others - sometimes you just need to let people know you are nervous when you are.  It’s not like they can’t tell.  Acknowledge a limitation like this and see how many people like the honest approach.  It takes a bigger man (or woman) to be honest than those who hide things thinking no one sees them.

5. Yell at yourself in the mirror – this one sounds crazy I know.  What yelling at yourself does is it helps you get out what you are scared or mad at about yourself.  I suggest you don’t do this when someone else is home unless you warn them.  They might think you are nuts.  Yelling at yourself brings your fears right out on the table.  And that is what you need.

Get over your nerves. 

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Eat Or Be Eaten

Similar to the phrase “survival of the fittest”, eat or be eaten takes things in a different direction.  It takes things in the direction of the stomach.  Are you providing what you and your family need on a daily basis?  What if you stop due to a job loss or disability?  Are you prepared?

In today’s post I want to focus on your finances a little.  Eating is a basic need of life.  You need money to eat, right?  So how do you make enough money so that you can continue to eat whether you have a job or not…that’s a tough one.  I went to a great seminar this past weekend on financial planning.  I didn’t go as an attendee but as a volunteer.  I volunteered to work the tables selling his program.  The presenter was Dave Ramsey.  He runs a radio show and get-out-of-debt program that is sweeping the nation.  The entire theme of the show is to get out of debt forever, get rid of your credit cards while only using cash and save for the tough times.  My wife and I drank the cool-aid in 1995 and haven’t looked back.

Here are a couple of things that are most important when starting down the road to financial freedom:

1. Save and emergency fund of $1000 first.

2. Cut up ALL your credit cards…you don’t need one for emergencies.

3. Live on 50% of your take home pay. 

4. Sell your cars (if you owe money on them) and drive a Junker until you can pay cash for a car…the is character building.

5. If you have a family you need term life insurance in case you die.  Don’t leave them struggling in case something happens.  Disability insurance is good too because more people become disabled than die during their working years.

These are just a few things to keep in mind.  The end game for this type of program is to build a nest egg so your career decisions are not always made because of money.  If you had all your bills paid and a healthy savings, your job and career options become more in lined with your heart.

I know we are weird for doing some of these things.  Be weird.  Be wise.  Be free.

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Quiet Time Confessions

What do you tell yourself in your quiet time; when no one else is around?  The times I am talking about are when you lie awake in bed, putting your shoes on, in the shower, in your car, etc.  Those quiet times when no one else is around or can hear what you are thinking.  Do you tell yourself you need to quit your job or stop putting off something you need to do?  Are you telling yourself all the bad or negative things that are or can happen to you?

STOP IT!  Those quiet time confessions might need to be whiped into shape otherwise they can undermine your job search.  If you hear yourself putting you down, make a conscious effort to change it.  Change it for the good.  In past presentations I have suggested you should fake things until you see a change in your behavior.  This is one of those times.  You need to set in motion a full force attack on the junk you tell yourself.  This is not a psycho-babble attempt to get you to adopt some new-age philosophies.  The goal is to help you stop undermining your job search and your life.

Every time you start thinking about what you are not good at or that nothing is going to go right for you, say and think the opposite.  You will slowly, over time start changing this bad habit or trap you have fallen into.  Sometimes in order to change a bad habit you have to manually force yourself to say or do something different; that’s the fake it part.  Change what goes into your brain first and your actions will reap the reward.

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Patience Sucks

Patience is one of my greatest problem areas.  This is something I struggle with in almost every part of my life.  I am not patient with my kids, with getting my work done or even with my coffee.  I always want things done sooner rather than later.  Now I know you are not reading this so you can better understand me.

I want you to think about your patience.  Are you patient or not?  A job search can be difficult and take a lot of time with lots of ups and downs.  Resume creation and distribution can take some time to do it right.  Meeting and connecting with people can take some time to get started and keep going.  Most things in a job search require patience.  If you rush your resume just so you can send it to a posting your found, you are going to make a mistake.  Each resume you email or send needs special attention.  Resumes are not just documents you put together and throw the same one out for each posting.  You need to patiently tweak your resume for each posting. 

If you are trying to get together with others and expand your network, you need to be patient and take your time.  Time with people is what is needed to build the relationship in the right direction.  Do things right the first time.  Be patient with all aspects of your job search and you will make it through it with less stress and more success.

Sometimes slowing down a little lets you see if you are going in the wrong direction.  Move a few steps forward, evaluate your situation and then move again.  Jumping head strong into something might be a mistake.  Now being too patient might get you in trouble as well.  You are going to make it.  You are going to find what you are looking for.  Move forward every day.  Be patient.  Be prudent.  Be successful.

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You Have No Idea What You Look Like

It’s true you don’t.  Have you ever seen yourself when you are happy or really sad?  Have you been across the table from you during a meeting and watched your mannerisms?  Because you have no idea what you look like, you might be surprised what I think of you when I see you.  Now of course I probably have never seen you.  I have never spent a few hours with you to know who you are and how you think.  But what do other people think about you from what they see?

I say this to help you start thinking about how you present yourself.  I was giving a workshop yesterday morning before normal working hours.  The subject was interviewing.  We discussed the big picture regarding how the interview process works and how to keep yourself grounded through all the ups and downs.  At the end of the discussion one of the men in the room asked me a question about how to minimize a personality trait.  We were discussing arrogance and how some people don’t know how others view/see them.  I had only met the man a few times in the past and didn’t know him very well.  His first impression was of a person who is very confident; maybe overconfident in both his speech and mannerisms.  I proceeded to tell him that to his surprise.  Then I pointed to a man similar in age who presented himself as gentle and caring.

Lastly, we discussed how if both of these guys went into an interview they would be perceived differently based on their first impression.  One would be confident, borderline arrogant and less approachable; the other, more passive and very approachable.  Both men would have to know who they are and what was needed for the interview.  The first man would need to smile more and try to be more friendly while the other would need to portray himself as a little more confident. 

Now both men had both sets of qualities:  confidence and “approachableness”.  They were both great men with a lot of strength and wisdom.  But each of them portrayed themselves differently.  Because of this they would need to work hard to present a more balanced picture to whoever they were talking to.

You don’t always know what you portray to the outside world.  If you want to know, ask others what they think.  Ask them how they see you and what words would they use to describe you.  Ask them to be honest; brutally honest.  This will help you to grow as a person and portray the kind of person you want to be.

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What Are Hiring Managers Thinking?

There is a lot of discussion out there about what you should and should not say in an interview, what questions you should ask to look smart and how your first impression will make or break an interview.  Well some of this info is good and relevant; the rest is kind of filler to me. 

Interviewing is not just about how you prepare what you think is going to be discussed.  Instead, interviewing is a demonstration of you (the product) and how you think on your feet.  You are showing off your best features (or trying to) without messing up too much.  Your goal should be to uncover some more information about the position you are interviewing for as well as trying to find some common ground between you and the hiring manager.

So the question about what a hiring manager thinks is pretty relevant.  It’s relevant because this needs to be your number one priority; getting into their decision maker’s mental processes.  Each hiring manager comes at the interview in different ways.  Some are very formal in their approach.  Others are more casual.  But ALL of them are trying to uncover why they should or why they should not hire you.  They are giving you an opportunity to present your qualifications and experience to them with mostly open arms. 

Know who you are and what you can bring to the position you are interviewing.  Learn how to ask good questions towards the beginning of the interview so you can start uncovering what the hiring manager is thinking and what they will base their decision on.  Lastly, get ready for a ride you will never forget; and enjoy it.  Interviews will refine who you are and how you present yourself to the world.

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New Job or Entrepuneur?

So many people nowadays want to start a business.  I LOVE the idea of new businesses sprouting up everywhere.  The mind of the business owner is always exploring, always looking for what is next.  Well at least that is the romantic picture of starting on a shoestring and making a billion dollars, right? 

Starting and running a business is fantastic.  It is everything it is made out to be.  I have started and run two different businesses in different industries so far.  They were not successful in the billions of dollars but they were successful in their own right.

So many people are trying to figure out if they should break out on their own or keep working for someone.  This is a tough question to answer for anyone but yourself.  Making this decision is very personal and it should be.  I think everyone should give it a shot at least one time in their life to help solidify if it is right for them.  But when comparing it to finding a job the real question is:  “Can you make it?”  Starting and running a business will almost always take more time, energy, and  money than you thought it would.  So if you have an abundance of any of those or a plan to make sure you can ride out the wave, I say go for the business route. 

On the other hand, finding a job is actually easier than starting and running a successful business.  Businesses are easy to start but tough to finish.  Finish to me means you being able to generate enough revenue to pay yourself and your employees, pay your taxes and set some aside to grow your business.  This is the finish line and truly the starting line. 

It is much easier to find a job than it is to start a business in another way as well.  When you find a job you are finished when someone else starts paying you for your work.  When you run a business you are always trying to get a new job.  You are bidding, selling, marketing, creating, building, and working on finding and keeping business you almost don’t know which way is up.  The “job search” never stops when you are building a business. 

Finding a new job is much easier than starting a business.  So if you are not ready to tackle the small business giant, then go find a job and make some money so you can eventually do it.  Be patient.  Be persistent.  You will eventually be able to start that business you have been dreaming about.

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Trying Out An Idea

During your job search travels, how often do you read or hear about a new idea in job searching techniques?  Do you try them out or do you discount them pretty quickly?  I am kind of a know-it-all by nature and in the past have had a hard time taking people’s advice or suggestions.  I used to be good at finding holes in advice so I could ignore it.  Then I started seeing people be successful with things I thought were stupid.  Really, I thought so many things are stupid and used that word to categorize them in my head. 

Now I work really hard to  not do that.  In my daily work I try to think about suggestions people make to me.  I try to take what they say and find a way to apply it to what I am doing.  It is a huge relief to now know I don’t have to have all the answers.  Neither do you.  You don’t have to discount people’s suggestions for you or ideas on how to job search better.  You don’t need to hide behind your fear to try new things.  Trying new things is how you can expand your job search and your life.

Experimenting is what it is called.  Experimenting can really propel you.  Propel you in ways you never knew you needed.  When I suggest people try something new in their job search many times they think it might be a good idea because I am an “expert” in the field.  Then when they get in their quiet room they find reasons and even excuses on why they cannot do it in their situation.  Stop making excuses and try something new.  One new thing has the capacity to change your entire world.  Take a chance today.

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Winners Ask For Help

How many winners out there do you think ask for help?  I would say the chances are 100% of them ask for help.  Winners are typically people who know how to learn a system and work within that system to success.  They understand the politics that surround it along with the ups and downs.  They can spot other winners and losers who are in the same system.

So why do I say they ask for help?  The main reason I know winners ask for help is because they many times also know their limitations.  Everyone has limitations or things they are not good at or want to be good at.  No one can be good at everything.  No one has all the answers or can juggle all the balls.  Winners know what they should and should not do.

So how does this apply to job searching.  In order to make your job search go quicker you are going to need some help.  You are going to have to get comfortable asking for help or assistance.  You are going to have to put yourself out there and make the best of any situation you get in the middle of.  Those who work alone typically don’t get too far.  They get caught in the same ole routine.  When they start spinning their wheels, they don’t know what to do because they don’t have any help.

If you are spinning your wheels in your job search, go get some help.  Now!

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Can You Love Job Searching?

I love ice cream.  I love it so much I practically eat it every night before I go to bed (I actually do).  I have my favorite which is mint chocolate chip.  I like other kinds but typically go back to my favorite time and time again. 

Now some people don’t like ice cream.  Some people hate it.  Now that is weird to me because it is an integral part of my life.  What about job searching.  Do you know anyone who likes to job search?  Yes, there are people out there who love to job search.  Every few years their career clock starts to tick a little louder.  They have been at one place for a decent amount of time and need a change.  So what do they do…they start job searching; looking for a better career life.

They love it because they know they might be able to get better pay or a better situation or a different company.  They realized the last time they got hired they didn’t pick exactly what they thought they should.  This time will be different.  This time has lots of new possibilities.

You can love job searching.  The hunt for a new opportunity or a change can be thrilling.  It can even be a adrenaline rush.  Find a way to love job searching.  If you can love it you might not fear the pieces and parts of it so easily.  If you learn to love something you dread, you will actually fear one less thing in life and maybe live longer…with a bigger smile.

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