Archive for Motivation

Be Authentic

Networking By PhoneSocial Networking (Linked-In, Twitter, Facebook) can be very helpful in your job search.  Like any venue that allows you to connect with others, use it wisely.  When you want to reach out and talk with someone from a certain company or organization, try to find someone you know, who knows someone who works there.  Make your initial interaction with anyone you’re in contact with about them and not you.  Nothing is worse than having someone’s first interaction with you be a request.

When I was with NIKE, complete strangers frequently approached me in both work and social situations with two of my least favorite questions, “Can ya get me free stuff?” and “Can ya get me a job?”.  Wow, are you serious?  We just met and you want me to do you a huge favor?  Normally I am a fairly easy going, friendly person.  In these situations I would clam up and end the conversation as quickly as possible.

In contrast when new people would start off conversations by introducing themselves and then asking questions about what I did and where I worked, often I would end up sharing many stories.  Sometimes I ended up volunteering to help them out with contacts or job leads.

Asking a simple question can mean so much.  “I understand you currently work for XYZ company.  That must be fascinating.  What is it like?”  Most people love to talk about two things: 1) themselves and 2) what they do for a living.  When asking questions of interest, you are allowing them to share what they know the most about and it puts everyone at ease.  As trust is built, you can start asking advice from the person and will get an opportunity to share your situation and see if the connection can lead you ultimately to a job.

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Get started

Go Light“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Mark Twain

At the end of a career counseling session I usually ask the client a question, “What is the one next thing you need to do as part of your job search?”  As much as I don’t intend for it to be a trick question, the answer is more difficult for most clients to answer than I would have thought.  The tendency is for each of us to jump ahead three or four steps to the final outcome and forget the first steps (often easy) that will get us started.

One client, Jane felt stuck in her job search process.  She was not able to feel like she was making any progress.  Her intentions were good but her follow-through was minimal.  Toward the end of one of our sessions when I asked Jane the “first step” question and she responded with a fairly typical answer, “Do an informational interview with someone in the accounting field.”  Conducting an informational interview is an important aspect for most job seekers and Jane and I had talked about that being a good idea.  We had also talked about how her sister-in-law worked for a small CPA firm as a receptionist and might be a good resource for contacts.

In Jane’s situation the first step is NOT to engage in an informational interview especially since Jane reported the concept felt overwhelming to her.  The ONLY thing Jane had to do as a first step was to call her sister-in-law and ask if she would suggest anyone in her firm as a possible candidate for an informational interview.  I asked Jane how she felt about calling her sister-in-law.  Her response was, “Oh, easy, I can do that.  We talk all the time.”  My suggestion was that Jane only needed to call her sister-in-law to get started.  If she felt good about that first step, then she could move onto the intentionally small next steps we had talked about in the session.

At our next appointment Jane was excited because she had a meeting set up with an accountant to ask questions.  She said it happened because she took each easy step until suddenly the overwhelming larger task was completed before she realized it.

Break your job search into small steps and you will find yourself making steady progress.  Never getting started feels discouraging and hopeless while taking action, even if it is a small action, provides hope for the future.

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