A job change can be painful. And ambiguous world events don’t make it any easier.
But the last thing you want to do is make the situation any worse. Especially when it has never been a better time for women and BIPOC to land more meaningful work.
So it’s time for a little tough love. Here are eight harsh truths that will make you up your job search game.
- You whine, complain or beg. It’s not attractive when you announce publicly that you’re desperate, giving up, or moan about your employment circumstances. I’m not saying don’t be authentic, just don’t overshare.
Just this week, I’ve seen LinkedIn profiles that read:
Job Title: Unemployed, VP Commercial Real Estate
Some of you know, I am no longer with [NAME] Please Help!!! Director of Operations
I’m ready to go back to work and out of money!!! If you’re hiring please reach out!!!! VP Business Development
Experience (sic) Manager Looking for Work, Sr IT Project Manager
What am I doing wrong? What did I do to deserve this? Marketing Director
For my skill set…please pass along. Director Business Solutions
While it may work for some early job seekers or college grads to broadcast their feelings about #opentowork, most of your network will be turned off if you do this as an experienced professional.
Let people know you’re looking, yes. But best to share your news one-on-one in an optimistic message or better yet, a conversation.
Process your grief, yes. Best to do this privately with a qualified coach or counselor or supportive loved ones.
Stop focusing on your feelings of desperation and start focusing on the future. The best way to get unstuck is to get into action.
2. You spend weeks working on your resume. Spending your time writing and rewriting your resume, researching, and applying to jobs online is not how to get the most bang for your buck.
A few hours and a few hundred dollars on a professional resume, and 15 minutes to customize each submission is more than enough time spent on your CV and hiring materials.
Anything more is just busy work to keep you from facing the more challenging steps of landing your dream job—your grief, the interview, and negotiating offers.
Most candidates I come across spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on resume writing and finding job leads, and they work on them for months. But they spend little or no time or money on interviewing preparation. Then when their dream job comes along, they blow the interview.
Top candidates have practiced their answers to interview questions 40 times. Yes, 40.
They practice by writing out their answers to typical interview questions. Then they talk out loud as they drive, role play behavioral interviewing with a coach or mentor, and they go over their answers in their head while they’re showering or waiting for an appointment. Most importantly, they practice delivering their responses out loud, in front of a mirror, on camera, or in an interview preparation session.
Stop focusing on writing your resume. Start preparing for your interviews.
3. Your network isn’t energized—you have either a closed network or a stagnant one.
A closed network means your contacts are all from the same group—people you’ve worked with for the last five or ten years, or friends from college.
A deep network comes from people in a variety of industries and from all levels in organizations.
A stagnant network means you don’t keep in touch with your contacts on a regular basis and when you do, there is no engagement on your posts. The best way to stay in touch without a lot of work is to Comment on posts of high-visibility connections in a way that curates industry information and events, positioning you as an expert.
77% of employers report they will stop considering a top candidate who doesn’t have a developed LinkedIn profile.
A “developed profile” in this instance means:
- An active user who regularly posts in groups and in their feed
- Developed, consistent, error-free descriptions under their headline, summary, and employment history
- A current professional headshot and a unique background photo
- More than 500 connections
- At least one Recommendation for each year of employment in their current field.
Stop saying you don’t have time for social media.
Start leveraging the power of strong online connections and an attractive profile.
4, You’re not doing anything to improve your skills. Many people want to change fields or get a management position. But, they’re reluctant to invest time or money to get the skills and experience they need to land their dream job.
Hone your skills by regularly attending industry events, getting certifications, taking courses in programming, finance, and communication.
Get experience by volunteering, practicing with a coach or mentor, presenting at events, and joining special project teams. Yes, it takes time. But no matter what job you’re in, it will benefit you to be relevant and competitive.
Google is disrupting higher education with new certification programs. Managers, Directors, VPs, CXOs, Board Members from almost every industry can benefit.
5. You can’t bounce back. Job transitions are tough. The longer you’ve been in your field, the more your identity is built around your career. And, if you can’t adjust to the highs and lows of a job search, you will lose momentum and may even become depressed.
Time to take recharge and accept that everyone experiences success and failure. The best way through it is to get aggressive about exercising and manage your stress with self care.
Self-care is essential to your job transition. It fuels your efforts to recreate your career, giving you energy and strength. The goal of self-care is to cultivate internal resourcefulness—no matter what’s happening in the world around you.
Start by taking stock of your situation and your energy levels with my free Self-Care Checklist.
Stop isolating. Start changing your endorphins with exercise.
6. You hunt for jobs on job boards like Monster and Indeed instead of attracting hiring managers, recruiters, and decision makers to you. You target jobs instead of targeting organizations.
Efforts like this keep you in the mode of searching for a job instead of landing one, as Lisa Rangel of Chameleon Resumes likes to say.
Stop focusing on submitting resumes for jobs, and start researching and connecting to people in organizations where you want to work.
7. You say “yes” to the first offer you get. After weeks with no activity, you panic and say “yes” to the first offer that comes along because you’re scared it’s the only option and the financial pressure is high.
Yet fully 54% of people turn down job offers.
When you take a job just for the paycheck, you often end up right back out on the streets in a few months or years because the job was not the right fit for you.
Finding a job, especially one you really want that pays well, takes time, patience, and a support team. Stick to what you want. Turn down what doesn’t match your goals. The short term discomfort will be offset by the long-term benefits of a career path that impresses instead of confuses people, and more importantly, takes you where you want to go instead of just getting by.
Good things come to those who wait.
8. You get confused by all the free advice. Ask nine different people for their opinion about your resume and you’ll likely get eight different answers. Advice, in this instance, is most likely to confuse you and fragment your efforts.
People are eager to help. But no one knows your situation as well as you do. No one understands your passions and what motivates you as well as you do. Focus on skills building instead of soliciting opinions.
For example, learning how to write a resume with key phrase alignment that gets you past ATS (Applicant Tracking Software) and attracts decision makers who are searching for you, is a skill that may help you for years to come.
If you want an expert opinion, find one person who sees hundreds of resumes a week and is in touch with the latest hiring trends. Stick with what they recommend.
Job changes are rarely easy. But they do pay off if you have the patience and optimism to stick with your search. Keep going! I’m rooting for you.