The 4 Mistakes I See Job-Seekers Make
It’s amazing how consistently I see job-seekers make these mistakes. It’s not that they aren’t talented or smart — it’s that (please listen up!) job search and career management are a separate job from the job you do. It’s frustrating but true. Doing a job without learning the tools of career management means you are being complacent about your next job — you may do fine, but are unlikely to hit it out of the park. Here are four blind spots many of us have:
• Have no target — Most of us begin the job search by putting together our resume and looking on line for open job listings. There are two problems here: First, a resume is a selling tool, not a diagnostic tool. You craft your resume once you know what you want to do, so that you can highlight the experiences that are most relevant for that job. This is also true for internal promotion – if your resume is a list of mini-stories, then make sure you are sharing the ones that would position you well for the role you want. Second, on-line jobs: forget that most of them are listed for legal reasons and get filled internally. The bigger problem is that when we look at them, we subconsciously start to fit ourselves into them — most of us completely abandon our hopes and dreams, all for a kitchen soup job description that was written under pressure.
• Network without a message — The logical impulse is to think that networking is about getting to key people. It is indeed important to know the key decision makers who can make your next job happen. However, people can’t help you if they don’t know A) What you want and B) What you can contribute in that job.
• By-pass friends and family — When I hung my shingle nine years ago, I bought a book on selling by Zig Ziglar (his real name!). In it he said that if you have a really great vacuum cleaner, why do you feel uncomfortable selling it to your friends and family? If it’s so great, wouldn’t you WANT them to have it? The same applies here. If you know you could do a job, define what it is and tell everyone you know. Positive messages are like batons in a relay race — people love to pass them along.
• Think it’s a done deal — This is the most heartbreaking of all. A month or two into a job search, someone will get a hot lead. Internal referral, great interview, enthusiastic follow up from the hiring team. In their excitement, the person ignores other leads, which makes them focus too much and get anxious about the hot lead. Then a few days of radio silence from the hiring team. The candidate begins to follow up too often and sound needy. They may even get resentful and feel betrayed because the connection had been so great. Eventually the candidate hears nothing or hears that the job went to an internal candidate. And a month is lost.
Here is a better recipe for avoiding these mistakes:
• Take the time to assess your strengths (Strengths Finder 2.0 is a good start), write down how those strengths contribute to the team, and really believe it. Even if you are just starting out, think about high-school and college examples. Use this knowledge to develop one or two job targets.
• Craft a message that tells people what you want and what contribution you could make to their organization. This is true at your current organization for a different or more senior job.
• Share this message with key people when you can get to them, but start with people who know and respect your work, and ask them who else you should be speaking to.
• Consider all leads as just one option. For job search, have 6-10 active leads. Yes, 6-10! For promotion, make sure you have a couple of options. Your boss may leave or get transferred, or someone else with more pull than your boss might get their candidate into the job you wanted.
If you would like to have a conversation about mistakes you may be making in your job search, simply click here to schedule a complimentary session with me.
Ask anyone what gives them a sense of purpose and the answer is almost universal — help others. That first question is easy — it seems the desire to give back to humanity is part of our instinct. It’s the next question that gets people stumped: How?
A few years ago I heard a leadership professor say to his class, “Think of Ghandi. Think of Martin Luther King. Now think of you – what is your purpose?” Wow. That’s just too much pressure. I wonder if those leaders even imagined as young people how big their impact would be.
There is an easier way to get in touch with what motivates us. I came across it working with people who’d been laid off in the financial crisis. After a grueling few years, clients were telling me that they wanted to regain a sense of meaning at work. They asked me to help them find a job in the non-profit sector. That is not a good idea, I thought. First, I knew that the culture of non-profits is very different from the culture of for-profit companies. As a famous business strategist* said, “Culture eats strategy for lunch,” meaning that wanting it and achieving it are two different things. The second thing I knew is that, if these clients didn’t know what role or function they wanted to fill, they could set themselves up for quick failure. Imagine someone detail-oriented, good at analysis, numbers and operations, and the non-profit whose mission they love puts them in a development job where they wine and dine wealthy donors to raise funds. They will not be happy. They will quickly lose motivation. What working with those clients taught me is that purpose can’t just come from a higher purpose. It comes from what I call it Skill-based Purpose. And guess what, it’s not new. Skill-based Purpose is our strengths, the unique abilities that make us good at one thing more than another.
Too often people look for a career based on industry or company, not on what function would let them contribute the best of themselves. But aligning with roles we are good at is key. And… the things we are naturally good at are tricky. Here’s why: Because they don’t feel like work. What we are best at is often hiding in plain sight. These are the things that lead us to say, “But doesn’t everyone do that?” What’s more is that our Skill-based Purpose is where we have our greatest impact. That means it’s where we contribute the most. Which means that in addition to giving us a sense of purpose, knowing how our strengths contribute to a team or organization provide tremendous confidence and can be leveraged to help us progress as leaders. And most important, Skill-based purpose is like a well that keeps on giving. No matter how much someone uses them, they will always energize and motivate them. The implication is profound. It means that we can find more meaning and success at work, simply by spending more time using our strengths. I wonder if Ghandi and MLK didn’t start out just doing what they were good at. And whether the impact that had opened them to the possibility of their higher purpose.
Where do you begin to discover your own Skill-based Purpose? When I work with individuals and with teams, we always start in the same place — with awareness of their strengths. Any of the well-known tools will help, Myers-Briggs, Strengths Finder 2.0, Social Style. Start there and then ask yourself, or your team, how those strengths show up at work. It’s the connection to our contribution that makes our strengths come alive with purpose.
If you are interested in having a conversation about discovering your purpose, simply click here to schedule a complimentary session with me.
Are You Leveraging Your Network?
If you are like most people, when you think about networking, your first thought is about that big fish mover and shaker who can offer you a great opportunity on the spot. Which is also why, like most people, you probably stop before you even start.
Getting to the “right” people is not about a key moment. It takes slow and steady work, and it begins with the people who know and like you. As far as the big fish, it’s easier when someone they trust trusts you. And when you do get to speak to them, you are more confident when someone has put in a good word.
- Figure out what you want and what you can do for an organization in your target position. And eliminate the phrase “I am open to anything.” Check out Through the Brick Wall for more.
- Make a list of 10-30 people in your immediate network, close friends included.
- Set up coffees or lunches and share your “what I want, what I can do, and which organizations (industry, big/small, etc)” pitch. Then ask them who they think you should talk to.
- If you haven’t talked to people in a while, don’t worry. Just acknowledge it and move on. People love helping others, as long as you make it easy for them.
If you would like to have a conversation about how leveraging your network can help propel you to the next level in your career, simply click here to schedule a complimentary session with me.
Welcome to the Clarity Conversations! Stephani Roy McCallum of Courageous Leadership Project
You avoid conflict. You don’t know how to protect your boundaries without seeming petulant. What if you had the skills to do better? You could enjoy healthy boundaries and engage in productive conflict, the kind that deepens relationships instead of breaking them. Then, you could feel so much more in control of your destiny. Today I speak with Stephani Roy McCallum, Chief Storm Rider at Courageous Leadership Project, where she steps into the storm of high emotion and conflict and rides it to clear skies.
With 25 years of experience in high conflict, high emotion, high stakes situations, Stephani has worked on five continents facilitating tough conversation on important issues. Her work ranges from protests over energy projects to deep conversations about community rebuilding after natural disasters – and every topic in between. She has been the recipient of numerous international awards for her work.
Steph sees a world where a new kind of leader is needed, willing to have brave, honest conversations about the things that matter. When leaders show up with fierce courage, open hearts and a deep commitment to integrity, people can move from stuck to possible. Stephani believes that brave, honest conversations are how we solve the challenges in our world, together.
See our Clarity Conversation by clicking Stephani’s photo.
If you are interested in how Stephani’s work can help you, go to her website: https://www.bravelylead.com Here you can sign up to talk to Stephani and read her blog.
As always, you can learn more about how to manage conflict as part of you and your team’s leadership development by scheduling a 30-minute Free Agent Solution session with me. Simply click here.
Edith takes on very complicated work and life situations and finds herself distracted by emotional drama…a lot. Jonathan, despite consistent success with impressive work challenges, burns himself out thinking he won’t prevail. Ava wants control and won’t move forward without full information, which means she misses out on some great opportunities. Tom shows up hesitant, which makes people question his confidence…and his job search is taking longer than it should.
Do you ever feel like no matter what you do, your results are like a tire with a slow leak? Seriously…it doesn’t have to be that way. Clients are often looking for tactical solutions, “Just tell me what to DO.” But what coaches know is that so much of how things unfold has to do with being. What you believe and how that makes you “show up.” If you believe you’ll never find a job, you won’t send out resumes or network. If, on the other hand, you believe that it will be a challenge but you will find a job, you will talk to people, create a strong message, and update your resume. Different beliefs drive different actions, and that drives different outcomes.
Here’s a question. When faced with something new, do you get scared, angry, excited, hopeful? How we do one thing is often how we do everything. Instead of resolutions around goals, let 2019 be about shifting one underlying attitude to one of greater abundance. What would be possible then?
If you would like to have a conversation about shifting the one underlying attitude that may be holding you back, simply click here to schedule a complimentary session with me.
What if you didn’t have to push so hard to get things done. What if work could feel more like riding the wave. Today I speak with Tifin Dillon, founder of Your Stellar Life. In addition to her studies in astrology, psychology, human development and metaphysics, Tifin worked for decades as a teacher and coach. I know this is different for me! — usually, I play in the world of clinical and academic models. What I love about Tifin’s perspective is that it is so good for those of us with workaholic tendencies. If I feel stuck or exhausted, I check in with Tifin and she says, “Yeah, forget that for now. The alignments are going a different way. Just let it be and come back to it next week.” And sure enough, the productivity returns as she predicted. I get to pause, and the work still gets done. Magic!
See our Clarity Conversation by clicking here.
If you are interested in how Tifin’s work can help your career, go to her website: https://www.tifindillon.com Here you can sign up to talk to Tifin, sign-up for her newsletter or download her 2019 Astrological Guide (with webinar).
- Resolving to eat and drink less, exercise more and sleep better keep body and mind healthy. That encourages positive thinking and reduces self-doubt.
- Meditation and spiritual practice keep you in the space of abundance, not scarcity, and that helps grow confidence.
- Tending to interpersonal dynamics with emotional intelligence increase trust and influence. That helps promote healthy boundaries, reduce defensiveness, and improve collaboration.
Can Confidence Make You a More Generous Person?
Several years ago, frustrated with the suffocating materialism of Christmas in New York City, I did a little research to understand where it all comes from. Here’s what I learned. In the northern hemisphere, the harvest was complete in October/November, providing an abundance of produce. Snow would be blanketing the fields until March or April, so there was only enough hay for a portion of the herd, and many animals were slaughtered. The days were short and cold. Lights and evergreens were used to represent hope. Gathering and sharing the excess food built community. Even caroling was a way to check on the elderly and those who are alone.
What does this have to do with your confidence? It’s like this. Gremlins have a way of getting us caught up in our own heads. And when we do that, we can feel less than, become frustrated by perceived injustice, become judgmental of others…the list goes on. What if you could feel good and strong, accomplished and at peace. Then, it’s easier to give others the benefit of the doubt, see beyond action to intention, and just have more time and energy for others. Confidence isn’t just about feeling good; it’s a gift to others.
This year, why not boost your confidence by looking back at your accomplishments, all that you learned, and the gift you give to others when you are at your best. Here is my year-end appreciative inquiry:
– What went well this year? What top 10 things energized you and gave you confidence?
– What was the impact of those accomplishments? On you, your team, other key stakeholders, on long-term plans?
– Why is it important? Which of your, or your team’s strengths, we’re leveraged?
– What did you overcome? What did you learn from the things that didn’t go well?
– What will next year look like if you build on what went well this year?
– What goals can you identify each quarter that would get you there?
Here’s wishing you peace and abundance this holiday season.
To set up a 30-minute Clear Strategy 2019 session, CLICK HERE
Clarity Conversations: Isabelle Steichen
Welcome to the Clarity Conversations! For this first show, I am thrilled to introduce you to my cousin Isabelle. She’s worked at the Bryant Park Corporation, Kitchen Surfing (I loved being a guinea pig) and Sawyer to name a few. All while growing her presence in the vegan world with her website, podcast and meal planner, ThePlantiful.com.
To watch our Clarity Conversation, click on the photo.
I hope Isabelle’s insights are helpful to you.
As always, you can learn more about how to make the Free Agent Solution work for you by scheduling a 30-minute Free Agent Solution session, simply click here.