When you need a job, or a new job, you are in a tender place. I will treat that place with honor. You have gifts, experience, and workplace wisdom that are needed somewhere…so please don’t despair. Any bitterness that could be taking root in your heart will only get in your way. You have choices, more than you think. You have probably had more advice than you can even follow, so I don’t want to burden you with another load of it. Just 4 ideas.
- Read an encouraging and practical book. For me, that book is Jon Acuff’s Do Over. Acuff gives sound counsel, mixed with fun stories, about how to get on with your life in the marketplace. In fact, I wrote 5 blogs on his book (see links below). I leave out the stories, but his “next steps” are extremely helpful and sometimes surprisingly counter-intuitive. He boosts the reader’s confidence in a genuine way and doing the exercises in his book can make a huge difference in job hunting. So much affirmation…real affirmation.
- Network with lots of people. It’s not just about “who you know”. It’s also about “who knows you”. Sometimes we don’t even recognize our own strengths (OR weaknesses). Trusted friends or even respected acquaintances can give you much-needed food for thought and action. Maybe you don’t even know what to do, job-wise – your future is wide open but looks (to you) very dark. Input from others who care about you or who are caring, in general, can help you focus. You may not have even considered what they may be telling you – either about your own hireability or the job market itself. Listen and learn. P.S. Don’t go to them for a job; go to them for wisdom about getting a job.
- Try something completely new. The film The Intern with Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway speaks to this something new. A 70-year-old takes an internship in a cool successful company. Funny and winsome and could be one of us, right? Then I have also been hearing a lot lately about advanced manufacturing and the need for apprentices in this field. You may have a “white collar” education that could be more finely tuned with some “blue collar” experience. Those terms may be antiquated with the blurring of boundaries in our more technology-rich manufacturing companies. You could be that intern or apprentice.
4. Consider working with a head-hunter or job placement agency. In a conference recently, I heard Michael Thompson, founder and CEO of Turas Group, speak to a group of job-seekers. His approach was warm and positive. In that half-hour session, he gave strong individualized counsel to each person, based on what information they had already sent them. Counsel that helped everyone in the room really, but also individualized to each person’s needs. He also asks really good questions which is incredibly helpful for clarification – when you really don’t know what to do next.
One thing Thompson expressed was the importance of doing lots of interviews. His counsel included: a) prepare and do research to know your interviewers; b) arrive early; c) have your 60 second pitch down; d) – smile a lot, have energy, be excited and maintain eye contact; e) answer directly and concisely; and finally f) if you don’t know the answer to a question, share that, but then offer what you would do (especially if you’ve never done that something needed). Thompson also encouraged the participants to join LinkedIn (a global online professional network).
Whether you’re just out of college or you find yourself in the throes of a company downsizing, you know something of what you offer any employer. Allow these 4 ideas to fill in some of the holes you can’t see that would make job hunting a less painful and more productive endeavor.
As to dealing with the disappointment of not finding a job right out of school, or the loss of satisfying work you loved, please don’t let that define you. You have choices…maybe very different that you first imagined, but you have them. Make those lists of strengths and people of influence in your life as Jon Acuff advises; talk (well, listen more) to friends and advocates; and stay open to a real positive turn in your career. Finally, I personally would add “Pray” to all this. Prayer will help you to not panic or grow bitter when your emotional energy would better serve your pursuit of that job – the one you can’t imagine right now. Remember who you are and Whose you are.
Any comments on what has helped you or what is sustaining you in your job hunt? Please share below.