Why not me? – Job Searching Tips
Job searching is a transitory circumstance, like broken bones or the flu; the objective is certainly not to prolong the situation. Whether you made the decision to take the plunge for a new job or someone made it on your behalf, the process and the rejection can be brutal. There are many useful job searching tips out there – but what if I told you that rejection can actually be your best friend? (Cue the eyerolls).
I’m serious – my advice is unusual, but if followed you will navigate your job search and interview process without anxiety and rather, with grace and style. Rejection is like your in-laws, if you learn to accept it and have a relationship with it, there will be harmony in your life – because they’re not going anywhere.
Here are five steps to get started:
1. Begin job searching with meaning
Give your job search a higher meaning – a job search symbolizes your pursuit of happiness, a personal renaissance; it’s a chance for a new work-version of you!
Figure out what that new you looks like. Take time out of your schedule and write down exactly what you would like for your next job, and most importantly, why. Few people do this and they should because having a meaningful reason behind an objective increases the chances of achieving a goal.
Best-selling author and behavioral guru, Tony Robbins, teaches “a clear sense of purpose will compel you into action and fuel your bravery to overcome any size obstacle. If it’s not meaningful enough, you won’t stay the course when the going gets tough.”
2. Persevere – by staying in a good mood!
We’re human and it’s easy to feel defeated interview, after interview, after interview, but if you want to succeed, persevere. Those who succeeded at something did so only after failing several times. If you need to amp yourself up, then do so! Whether it’s watching Working Girl again or playing with your kids – do something to keep you motivated. It doesn’t matter if you are a genius; if you are not motivated then nothing is going to happen and the way to stay motivated is to control your emotional state.
Have an honest conversation with yourself and make a list of what you could improve. Consider reaching out to the recruiter or hiring manager for feedback even if you did not get the job; most will give you concrete advice.
It’s always difficult to catch our own blind spots; consider asking a mentor or a colleague to sit down with you to review job hunt toolkit: resume, digital intro, interview skills and job search strategy.
3. Be cool!
There will be awkward moments during your job interviews – it’s the nature of the beast. You must prepare to handle awkward moments with style.
Allow me to illustrate common interview scenarios and how to best approach them:
· The Klutzy Move. You spill coffee on the hiring manager or call him by the wrong name. How to fix it: Use light humor, apologize but don’t lose it. It’s good to show that you can keep your cool.
· The Ill Disposed Interviewer. The interviewer seems to hate you; they’re rushing or extremely stand-offish. How to fix it: Do not take it personally and keep a positive attitude. Most of the time, this means the person on the other side is extremely shy. Some recruiters do this on purpose for C-level positions; it is called a “stress interview.”
· The Overheard Convo. Ah, my favorite right after “The Wrong E-mail Recipient,” or “The Accidental Reply All.” You overhear the hiring managers talking about you in a negative light, then realize you can hear them. How to fix it: Pretend you didn’t hear a thing! Continue having a positive attitude.
You are interviewing the company, too! It’s easy to forget that sometimes, we are so focused on being the perfect candidate.
4. Acknowledge that everyone has a different career path
Nowadays, nothing trends faster than a career success story from an A-lister. While some stories may be inspiring, others are intoxicating because they make us feel like we’re one job away from being a mansion owner at a certain age, and if we are not, we are a failure.
A perfect example is Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg’s best selling book – Lean In. Sandberg had good intentions when she wrote the book; she wanted to encourage women to be more assertive in the workplace. It was a “you really can have it all” movement. Many criticized the author because it was unrealistic, she came from an affluent upbringing, counted on expensive childcare and a hands-on husband. Sandberg later suffered a hardship when her husband died unexpectedly, and she had a change of heart, amended her book and went on record saying “They were right. I didn’t get it. I didn’t get how hard it is to succeed at work when you are overwhelmed at home.”
For some, Lean In was useful, but for others in different circumstances, it was not. We are all capable of success but it is important we do not compare our lives to others and work towards our individual objectives.
5. Go with your gut and ask a lot of questions before you accept a job
Don’t accept a job unless you ask the right questions addressing your concerns. Unfortunately, the interview protocol does not include the candidate probing the company with a million questions and doing a background check on your colleagues, as employers do to the job seeker.
Luckily for us, the Internet we know today is but a magnet of over-sharing, where people air out their laundry, dirty or clean, as if humanity depended on it. This is a good thing – the Internet can give you insight on the company and former employees. Gather as much information as possible, and then ask the employer questions to ensure the job is the right fit for your objectives.
Job hunting tips are plentiful, but we often forget the most important resource, our attitude – that needs to be on point during the journey. In this day and age could easily be regarded as the “Cubicle Olympics.” Much like athletes before a competition, a candidate’s faculties must be perfected: resume, references, network, focus, persuasion and self-promotion abilities, impeccable online and offline presence. Just as is the case in the Olympics, failure is a sure thing at some point in the game.
This difficult process is an opportunity to change our lives for the better. I hope you find my advice useful and establish a clear objective to work towards, rather than operating merely out of fear of job search rejection.