Many of our clients and friends are looking for jobs right now, so this topic is front and center for my team. It can take up to six months for a mid to senior level professional in the current market to find a position that is on par with his or her last job, so it’s important to understand what works and what doesn’t so you don’t spin your wheels.
Sometimes after you’ve taken care of the essentials—articulated 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. (Read more
about embracing the unknown.)
We wanted to share the 6 top mistakes we see professionals make who are job seeking—whether they’ve been at it for a month or two years—so you can avoid these common pitfalls:
- Mistake #1: A lack of focus and being the slave to—rather than 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?” Did you meet your weekly goals by Friday? Reward yourself: a movie, a walk around the lake or a lunch out with a friend.
- 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. Not through Monster! 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.
- Mistake #4: A lack of understanding that you’re the product! Human Resources 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 areas 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 more here). Often it’s necessary to hit the pause button and get clear on what you really want. Sometimes, just acknowledging the “job” you’re seeking now is only a temporary step toward where you ultimately want to land and 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.”
- 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 must 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 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.
How can we help? Need support on your resume, salary negotiation, interviewing, creating a strategic job search plan, networking, marketing yourself or information on how and why to set up informational interviews (the #1 job search tool)? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 512-459-6700. Angela, one of our top-notch senior career coaches and an author/former recruiter, specializes in helping our clients with strategic job searches and would love to set up an appointment with you today
Career Strategists coaches have been trained on our award-winning model and are known for artfully blending inspirational, empowering counsel with high-impact, strategic coaching tactics. Their business and professional backgrounds include training in leadership, emotional intelligence, human resources/recruiting, career planning/management, job search, personal branding and life balance coaching. They are incredibly gifted at blending the inner and outer work necessary to support you in creating the job, career and life you desire (gift certificates are available for all services and we now take credit cards; career coaching is also a tax-deductible expense!).
You can also research coaches in your area by visiting www.coachfederation.org or asking your friends who have worked successfully with a career, business or life coach for recommendations. The most important thing is to get support! (If you live in Austin, a great free resource we recommend is Kathy Lansford’s Launch Pad Job Club
Remember, your next job is literally a phone call, a conversation or a handshake away—get out there! And know when the discomfort gets unbearable—this too shall pass.
Best, Renee, Angela and the Career Strategists Team
P.S. If you’re a do-it-yourself type of person, consider purchasing a $99 DIY Job Search Toolkit
for samples of our award-winning job search materials and strategies, created specifically for mid to senior level professionals.
Upcoming career and work/life balance events:
- October 1-31~ RTA-Certified Facilitator Training: Are you self-employed and interested in expanding your business beyond individual client work? Join an international community and receive training on how to facilitate self-renewal groups/retreats/teleclasses for women based on the award-winning The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal. Learn more. Or, click here to find a Personal Renewal Group in your area.
- September 11-October 9, 2014 ~ Permission Granted: The Art of Extreme Self-Care A new, *live* telecourse with Renee, Thursdays at noon September 11,18, Oct. 2, 9 (recordings available). Are you tired of living status quo and ready to create a life that nourishes you inside and out? Are you craving high-level mentoring and authentic, meaningful connection with like-minded women? Learn the advanced art/science of self-renewal and receive support for naming and claiming the life you truly desire. Space is limited. Register here.
- October 24-26 ~ New Way of Being: Women's Self-Renewal Retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, MA. Learn more. Register here.
- January 23-25, 2015 ~ Awakening Feminine Power: Women's Self-Renewal Retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, MA. Learn more. Register here.
Transitioning to a new career requires courage and a willingness to take risks. The hardest—and most important—questions to answer when considering a change are “am I clear on what I really want?” and “am I willing to do the work to get there?” Lacking clarity and focus, not knowing how or where to locate resources to help you make the transition and not having a support system to help you on this journey, can create frustration and leave you feeling stuck.
Hectic schedule? Try phone or email coaching
Need quick help preparing for your next annual performance review, an interview, resources for starting a new business, assistance jump starting your job search or creating more balance in your life? Consider setting up a phone or email coaching session. Convenient, personalized and affordable. Clients say phone/email coaching is highly effective and a great way to get laser-feedback on very specific career, small business or work/life balance issues.
Email email@example.com to learn more. Or, call our office at 512-459-6700 to schedule an appointment.
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