Each of us makes decisions every day. In fact, we make hundreds, maybe thousands of decisions every day. Most of these decisions are made with the safe confines of knowledge, information, experience or belief. None of us wants to make a mistake, so we try and garner all the information in advance to be able to make the knowledgeable and correct decision. Well enough.
What we are challenged with in finding or creating a new employment opportunity for ourselves is just the opposite …. too little of the right information and way too much of the wrong. More often than not, we believe that we will live or die by our resume, but in reality, people hire or create opportunities and possibilities for people they know and like. People really don’t hire resumes. Pretty radical!!
Job transition is all about living with the question mark. We have more questions than answers …. and that’s the way it is. But there is hope! Take yourself and your unique gifts seriously and start talking to people. Talk about your transferable skills and areas of interest – not generic areas, but specific ones such as boats, sewing, animals, travel or running. These are all areas that others get paid to work in, so why not you?
I doubt that any of us really knows where our next job is going to come from. That being the case, the more people you talk to about what you want, the higher the probability will be that you will find the information you need that informed and safer decision. Nothing beats asking folks “How can I?” Until you do that, you will never know. Happy exploring!!
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CareerMakers clients often say that learning to tell success stories in job interviews is one of the most practical and powerful skills they have learned at CareerMakers. These stories have contributed to their success in becoming known to the interviewer (self-disclosure), and boosted their confidence because they now know how to prepare for interviews in targeted manner.
Telling success stories in a job interview means that you are responsive to an interviewing technique know as “behavioral interviewing.” Many companies use this technique, and many hiring manager have had this training.
You know you are in a behavioral interview when the interviewer asks repeatedly “Give me an example when you wrote a company newsletter.” This means that you must come up with an example from your past which illustrates your newsletter-writing skills. “Give me an example = success story.”
The interviewer want specific names, dates, skills and results. Why? Because if you’ve done it in the past, you can do it again. Events from your life (all of your life) will determine whether or not you have the skills to do the job.
Most of us think we are articulate when we use phrases like “I’m good with people,” or, “I’m a good researcher,” or, “I’m a hard worker.” Although these statements sound attractive when presented by the candidate, they do not provide concrete information that both illustrates the skill or trait and proves the claim. Why should the interviewers believe those abstract self-descriptions when they are not backed up with successes or achievements?
In order to become an articulate and masterful candidate, you must build a file of stories to illustrate your skills and traits. The, when you have a job interview coming up, simply go to your file and select the stories you know will best disclose your skills and traits clearly, powerfully and appropriately,
This is know as the Art of Self-Disclosure. At CareerMakers you get to write your stories and do practice interviews so that you will, without a doubt, knock the socks their socks off in interviewing or proposing situations.
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One of the most misunderstood concepts of the job search is “networking.” It has been my personal experience that what people believe they know about networking is just enough to make them dangerous. Most of us believe networking is all about finding a job (and yes, in the long run that is the goal), but networking is actually a process of creating relationships and doing targeted research, allowing you to make informed decisions rather than ones bases on assumptions.
An effective networker begins with a high level of personal “ownership” on how unique and special they are. Next they develop a very focused set of questions that will give them the information they need to make informed decisions on the issues important to them.
I call these How Can I? issues. How can I use my skills? How can I make money in my area of interest, and how much can I make? How can I work flex hours? How can I get paid for additional education? These are only example. Now you will want to determine what’s important to you, not what other people feel is important.
Next, begin researching or exploring answers to your specific questions. Start with people who know you. Family and friends are often overlooked, but they can often provide meaningful information if only asked. Continue to build your personal network by asking for referrals, keeping in mind that it’s always more productive to be creating and a using a warm or hot network rather than making cold calls. Just ask an y salesperson,
Filter the information you receive, making sure that you are getting the information needed to make an informed decision. It’s a challenge, because the world is full of all sorts of information, much of it negative, limiting and just plain wrong for you. The good news is the right information is also out there, and you can it too if you ask the right questions.
Remember, networking is a gracious art. Treat people like you would like to be treated yourself. When all is said and done, it is people who hire people, not their resumes or applications. So the more time you spend talking with people, the sooner you will find or create your next fantastic job.
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Today, as I do on most Monday mornings, I led our weekly Support/Networking Group. Attendees include very new clients as well as one going back to 1986 (yes, he has been working.) Each participant has the opportunity to share their challenges, both emotional and analytical, within the environs of a group of folks who all speak the same alnaguage, having had many of the same experiences. As I listen and participate ……not like me to sit quietly by ….. two “constants” struck me that I believe we should keep in mind.
First, we all need to remember to be kind to ourselves. People dealing with tough times can find it all too easy to be isolated and therefore lose objectivity or the perspective of others. Acting as our own CEO and Laborer its so easy to get down on ourselves, particularly when most of our information comes as a result of asking and answering our own questions. Consider the source!! Yes, to be sure, the world isn’t fair, but from what I hear from people in search of new jobs, we have the ability to be harder on ourselves than the real world will ever be.
My second concern come from job seekers not having a plan of action. Yes, I hear about goals, hopes and desires, but too many times these are rendered almost impossible to reach due to a faulty or non existent plan or action. A plan of action is not unlike a budget. It needs to be realistic and reachable. It should have check points and time for reflection and corrections using the most current information. Making informed decisions, not assumptive ones, is the key here.
So be kind to yourself. Take youself and your special gifts seriously!! Develop a realistic plan of action and have some fun along the way.
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Old Way – Based on Past Work Life
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- Write Resume
- Find Openings:
- Internet search
- Company websites
- Employment agencies
- Send a resume to openings
- Wait for response
- Have interview
- Receive offer …maybe
- Wonder, “Is this right for me?”
- Take a job like the one you left
New Way – Based on Unique You
- Extend Yourself:
- Build Relationships
- Research interests
- Generate job interviews:
- Write skills-aligned resume
- Prepare stories for job interview
- Weigh offers:
- Make informed decision
- Solid career decision making
- Show up to work that is enjoyable and fulfilling
THE NEW WAY
The New Way job/career transition involves learning new ways of thinking and new ways of operating. That means you must unlearn old habits of thought and behavior. This isnt easy and can cause anxiety as you replace the old with the new.
The anxiety begins with the understanding that finding work the New Way is not about job titles. It is not about resumes. It is not about the Human Resource Department. It is not about hours spent in from of you PC on the Internet. It is not about the safety and comfort of you home. Thats Old Way stuff.
The New Way job search is about you and what interests you. It is all about enthusiasm and excitement. It is about human beings helping other human beings. It is about getting out of your house and researching your interests. It is, finally, about creating your personal ownership/brand in your work-life: work that energizes your spirit and keeps you smiling.