Are You Stuck in a Job Search Rut?

You have decided it is time to look for another job.  You may be unhappy or frustrated in your current situation or maybe you need a challenge and an opportunity to learn and grow.  Many would think that making the decision is the hard part but I see many people decide they need to change jobs and then they get stuck and make no progress.  Why does this happen?  What can they do about it?

Attitude – If you consider the process of looking for a job, yet another chore to add to your to do, it will be.  When perceived as one more thing to do, it is easy to procrastinate.  Instead, see this as an opportunity to invest in your future.  Take the time to research industries, companies and roles that may be a fit for you.  Do informational interviews with alumni and other contacts.  Use all this input to clarify your targets and build a list.  When you approach the task with an attitude of investing in yourself, each step of the journey feels like progress towards your goal.  Don’t just complain about your current situation or your inability to find a new job quickly.  Do something about it.  Set targets and hold yourself accountable.

Perfectionism –   Yes, you certainly want your resume and Linked In profile to have no errors but if you are waiting for it to be perfect you will never get your search started.  Each position may require edits to your resume to best tailor it to that specific role.  Don’t immobilize your search by waiting for your materials to be perfect.  Get feedback and a careful review and then get moving.  You can always tweak it as you go along based on the feedback you receive.  Don’t derail your search by waiting for perfection.

No Heavy Lifting – You want a new job but you don’t want to invest the time in research and networking.  What you get out of the search will be a direct correlation to what you put in.  Sitting behind the computer screen and submitting online applications will not a road to success.  Research shows that more than 75% of all jobs are filled through networking.  Get off the couch and start networking.  Build a target list to focus your networking efforts.  Know where you want to go and do something every week to move you closer to your goal.

Too Stressed – I often hear job seekers explain that they are too stressed in their current job to invest time and energy in a search.  Doing the same thing over and over is not going to change the result.  You will continue to be stressed if you stay in that job.  Set realistic goals and do something every week to move your search forward – build a target list, research top companies identify alums in your top companies, schedule a networking meeting each week.  Small steps on a consistent basis will move you forward and will change the situation you are in.  Once you feel you are doing something to begin the process of change, you feel more control which often helps reduce your stress even before you achieve your goal of a new job.

Get out of your rut and begin the journey to the next step in your career.

Tips for a Successful Interview #2

So much of the job search advice and preparation is to help the candidate get to the point of being invited to interview.  Networking to make connections and learn the company, developing a flawless professional resume, preparing compelling customized cover letters and utilizing your networking connections to get your resume in the hands of the hiring manager.  If all those things work and you are invited to interview, that’s great news but now the hard work begins.

Preparing for Interviews

  • Research the company, review their website, look at recent press coverage, review your networking notes to see what you have learned about the company.
  • Prepare questions in advance that you can ask your interviewers.
  • Review the job description carefully and think about how you will discuss your qualifications.  What have you done that demonstrates your ability to perform this job and do it well?
  • Anticipate the questions they are likely to ask and think about your responses.  Don’t memorize your answers but know what key points you want to cover.
  • Prepare your examples to behavioral questions.  Identify the likely skills they will ask about and identify your examples.  Think about how you can explain the situation what action you took and don’t forget to emphasize the results you achieved.  Know what examples you will want to share.
  • Be sure you know how to get there in advance.  Take a test run if necessary.

Photo Courtesy of Sales Force Search

Cardinal Sins when Interviewing

  • Arriving late.  Always know where you are going, allow plenty of time to get there and to park.  Always arrive a few minutes early.
  • Wimpy or tentative handshake.  Demonstrate your confidence with a professional handshake.  Don’t be a bone crusher either.
  • Lack of eye contact.  If you can’t look at the interviewer while you are answering they suspect you have something to hide and they perceive that you lack confidence.
  • Acting like you are not interested or even wishing you were somewhere else.  Demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the position.  Employers often report back that the candidate seemed well qualified but lacked a passion for the opportunity.  They want to hire someone who wants to be part of the team.

Send a Thank You Note

If you want to be remembered after an interview be sure to send a handwritten thank you note.  Remind them why you are so excited about the opportunity, thank them for their time, and reference something you discussed.  Employers remember who send handwritten thank you notes.  It makes a very positive impression.