We are heading into summer when most people here are the east coast are excited about sunny weather, doing fun things with more daylight hours, and just plain feeling good. But there are many people who do not feel so excited – job seekers. With summer coming, many of you may be nervous because hiring tends to slow down during this period and worries just multiply.
Many job seekers have been out of work for a long time. After a while, it is understandable that we start to question our worth and feel self-esteem going down. When we meet others, this low morale comes through. It may be subtle, but employers feel it. Among other things, they look for passion and confidence….that low energy may result in hesitation on the part of employers. .So how do we get our “mojo” back? How do we increase our confidence when we feel kind of low?
Well, the summer can actually be the perfect time to change course and refocus energy. With the usual summer slowdown, it affords the opportunity to take a step back and recharge. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Take a course to increase your knowledge or skills
- Learn something new – just for fun
- Read industry magazines to keep up in your field
- Read books that are in the “Top Ten”
- Get involved in more fitness activities
- Spend time concentrated on your family
- Attack something that you’ve been wanting to clean up at home
- Think of some ideas to add to this list!
Taking a step back and going forward full-speed ahead with some new activities and goals over the summer can make you feel better about yourself. That is the first step in gaining more confidence and increasing your overall self-esteem. Give yourself time to do this. I believe that once you do, you can then get back to your job search with some new energy that is sure to be felt by those employers. So, how do you plan to get your mojo back?
Some job seekers are not as committed to a job search as they are to a job. On a “real job”, people set goals, make “to do” lists, etc., which aid in achieving those goals and ensuring that one is accountable for getting the work done. One way to increase your success in a job search, is to focus on turning your job search into your “job.” Try setting some goals and maintaining a “to do” list. Keeping an organized system is critical for pushing you forward and for identifying next steps needed to succeed.
It will also help make it easier if you break the job search up into manageable components. Establish a 30-day and 60-day plan, including weekly goals that are posted where you can see them. Create a way to organize and track your contacts, companies you’ve interviewed with, and the status of anything to do with your search. (One FREE and excellent resource for tracking this info can be found with www.jibberjobber.com). So, get organized, establish goals, and get that search in motion again!!
What on earth is the “Hidden Job Market?!” Put simply, it is all the jobs “out there” that are not currently being advertised. There are ALWAYS jobs that are not yet advertised for many reasons – perhaps a manager is awaiting budget approval, or maybe a department is expanding but the manager is not 100% sure what to look for just yet, or maybe the company is using a recruiter to find people through their databases and networking, or maybe, maybe, maybe…Aside from all of these theories, the research “out there” does show that 75% of jobs occur through the hidden job market. So, what does this mean for you? It means that 75% of your job search time should be spent tapping into this area.
The next logical question, of course, is how to tap into the hidden job market if it’s “hidden”? There are several things you can do. Start by posting your resume on top job boards like monster, careerbuilders, and hotjobs. Many recruiters already pay for memberships to these sites, allowing them to view resumes that are posted. Therefore, they don’t need to pay extra to advertise the opening. Your resume gets a lot of exposure by being posted in such sites. Next, find reputable recruiters and employment firms who place candidates with your type of background. Develop relationships with them and be sure they have updated copies of your resume. Also, do you have a professional profile on LinkedIn? This is a business networking site that employers and recruiters sleuth all the time to find candidates – without advertising. Finally, be sure you are networking. This does not mean asking all of your friends for a job. It means keeping in touch with those you know and developing relationships with others. It is certainly appropriate to let them know you are “in transition” or “exploring new career options”, and to ask for suggestions such as good companies to check out, or good industries, etc. But you should also show interest in your contacts – ask what is going on for them and how you might be able to help them. By using effective strategies in the hidden job market, you create a lot more exposure and will be pleasantly surprised when the phone rings for a job you did not even know about!
You’ve had a great interview, met everyone in the department, and it all feels right. Your potential new manager indicates that a reference check is needed and says that you’ll be hearing back from her “soon.” You are left believing that an official offer for the job is right around the corner. And then…nothing. Could it be a bad reference check?…YES! Is it possible that a former boss is raising some concerns? Or is he just not saying much of anything which causes doubt to the listener?! Or is there is a discrepancy on your résumé that raises a question of truthfulness? There are many cases where a job offer is lost based on a poor or questionable reference check.
What can you do about this? You should do your homework! You have several choices – call each of your references and ask them point blank if they have any concerns about recommending you. Of course, you cannot always be sure they are being truthful with you. So, you could have a recruiter or a good friend contact these references stating that they are doing a reference check on you (which would be true!). Have them ask the usual questions about your past performance, reliability, general business ethics, and of course, ask if there would be any concerns about hiring you. There are also professional services that you can use to do this. Whichever method you choose, you’ll feel more confident about providing references when you have checked up on THEM!
Ruby Red Slippers … what do they have to do with career management? Well, those shoes sure get noticed don’t they? That is what it’s all about – standing out from the pack; identifying the messages that convey your brand; uncovering your unique magic to showcase the value you bring to the table.
A targeted Job search has many components for success – having the ideal skills and experience, a high impact resume, a strong network, keeping up in your industry, and more. What are you doing to get stand out? Have you identified the power you have within (like Dorothy!) to achieve success? How are you conveying your ability…your magic…to impact the bottom line?
I look forward to sharing great ideas that will help you achieve success in your current search and that position you for opportunities in the future.
* Credits – Ruby Red Slippers – http://www.flickr.com/photos/marriahh/5735364008/in/set-72157626296249069