Many of our clients are in the midst of a job search (if you’re in Austin, you know we’re in one of the hottest job growth markets in the U.S. right now). If you’re not, perhaps you should be? Now is an ideal time to get support for planning what career adjustments you want to make in 2014.
Even in a robust market it can often take up to six months to find a position that is an ideal fit, so it’s important to understand what works and what doesn’t so you don’t waste your time and energy.
Sometimes after you’ve taken care of the essentials—clearly defined what job you’re going for, created a killer resume, crafted a strategic cover letter that truly sells you, lined up top-notch references that are articulate and can rave about you and created a hit list of “people and companies that can help you on your job search”
—it can be easy to fall into a slump, to hit the wall, and, frankly, to feel a bit overwhelmed and lost.
Here are the top mistakes we see professionals make who are job seeking—whether they’ve been at it for a month or two years. Take note, so you can avoid these common pitfalls:
Mistake #1: A lack of focus and being the slave to—rather the master of—your inbox.
The job search is not about “plowing through a to-do list,” or emptying your in-box, it’s about generating results and staying on-track with high-payoff activities. Every Sunday evening, write out your job search goals for the week. Then, each morning before you sit down at the computer—ask, “What must be accomplished by 5:00 p.m. to move me closer to my goal TODAY?” Meet your weekly goals by Friday? Reward yourself: a movie, a walk around the lake, a lunch out with a friend or a day off dedicated to relaxation.
Mistake 2: Not asking for or allowing yourself to receive support.
90% of people get a job through one of their connections—directly or indirectly. Let everyone you know—personally and professionally—know you’re looking, what you’re looking for, what companies are on your hit list and follow-up with your network every two to four weeks to stay on their radar. People want to help you, but if you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind! Read more.
Mistake 3: Being an introvert rather than an extrovert.
When we meet with clients who have been unsuccessful at gaining traction around their job search, invariably they have been hiding behind their computer for months, hoping they’ll hit the jackpot through endless online searching. You won’t. Your day should be filled with phone calls, lunch meetings, networking events, coffees, informational interviews, more phone calls and attending professional development programs and trainings. Here are some great tips for effective networking
Mistake #4: A lack of understanding that you’re the product!
Human Resource professionals tell us all the time, it’s not necessarily the smartest person that gets the job, it’s the one that did the best job of selling themselves. Dress professionally and appropriately for the job you’re interviewing for, look extra sharp at networking events, be able to articulate clearly and succinctly who you are and what you do in 30 seconds and have professional business cards you can hand out that list your area of expertise. Every contact you have with a potential employer is sending a message about who you are and how you perform on the job. Are you representing yourself in the best light possible?
Mistake #5: A resistance to doing the “inner work.”
Sometimes we can sabotage our job search because we’re desiring a career change, we don’t like the field or industry we’re in or we’re feeling paralyzed by financial concerns (read Money Friend or Foe? here
). Often it’s necessary to hit the pause button and get clear on what you really want. Sometimes, just acknowledging that the “job” you’re seeking now is only a temporary step towards where you ultimately want to land, can bring you the peace you need to stay motivated on your job search. As the saying goes, “You have to feed the kids before you can send them to college.” Find some guidance for doing inner work here
Mistake #6: Not setting yourself up to succeed.
Looking for a job is a full-time job. This doesn’t mean you have to spend eight hours a day doing this, but you have got to have structure to your day. Set yourself up to succeed and make your self-care a priority: physically, emotionally and mentally. Have you identified a nice area in your home or at the local library or an office that is “job search central” for you? Is it organized and stocked with what you need? Are you waking up early each morning, taking a shower each day and exercising/eating well so that you’re at your best? Are you breaking for meals and snacks? Maybe go for a walk each evening with family/friends to share your “mini successes” and how things are going on your job search. Regularly communicating how your job search is going to your partner is especially key if you’re married.
Let our coaching team
know how we can support you on your career/life path and in integrating who you are with what you do. As always, we offer free initial consults and would love to help you put together a career plan so you can experience greater clarity, focus and joy in your work in the New Year. Drop us a line at info (at) careerstrategists (dot) net or 512-459-6700.
Warmly, Renee and the Career Strategists Coaching Team
P.S. Here are the answers to questions new CS clients ask us the most:
Do you work with men and women at all life stages? YES, our youngest client is 21, our oldest, 75.
Do you take credit cards? YES!
Is coaching tax deductible? YES!
Do you offer a free initial consult? YES!
Do you work with clients via phone, Skype and in-person? YES!