There is so much information available out there that speaks about what to do when you are in a job transition. Here is a compilation of the top tips I recommend incorporating into your approach.
- Don’t be shy: You want everyone in your world to know what you’re looking for so that you can enlist them to your advantage.
- Find a buddy: A support group or a job search buddy is the single most important tool you can have in a search. This is often overlooked because you have friends and family to rely on, but the fact is that those folks, especially spouses, are actually on the journey with you, except that they aren’t driving. Job searching is an activity where you can have a great day and a terrible day all before lunch. It’s an emotional roller-coaster, and it helps immensely to have someone to share with who doesn’t get motion sickness.
- Don’t stop looking just because you have a good interview: Getting hired takes a long time, even when it goes well. If you start counting on getting that offer too soon, your search loses momentum and the trail goes cold. Keep going right up until you start at your new job.
- Follow up: Your time scale in search is vastly different from that of your potential employers or your network contacts. In my experience, busy people actually appreciate you taking ownership of following up on the email, voice mail, or past-due promise. You will think you’re being a pest, but it’s almost never true. Don’t let more than two weeks pass without trying again.
- Network, network, network: Think of it this way—the person that will hire you next is out there somewhere. Your mission is to encounter that person in a way that reflects well on you—ideally a warm introduction from someone who has met you in person and not as a résumé in a stack. This means that it’s a numbers game and the more people you can meet and the more effective you can be at meeting people likely to be connected and influential, the better your odds and the shorter your search.
- You usually won’t get a job only by applying, but apply anyway: The odds are very low but sometimes you get lucky.
- Give to get: The best way to make yourself valuable as you network is to help other people network. Always ask people you meet how you can help them; sometimes you really can. It builds your karma bank account and makes folks much more likely to extend themselves in helping you. These favors may be repaid long in the future, but this is a lifetime thing.
- Make yourself findable and worth finding: Look at the best LinkedIn profiles and create your own version of their positioning.
- Don’t be needy: Needy people are off-putting and paradoxically almost never get what they are asking for. Instead, project confidence, energy, and a positive outlook. Always behave as if you are doing great and are more interested in helping than being helped. That will be much more appealing and you will get help. Corollary: ask for introductions or references, never ask for jobs. Asking directly for a job puts people on the spot and will trigger a negative reaction.
- Don’t be generic: The generic job searcher is not very interesting and is very difficult to assist. Think of it this way—you go into Nordstrom and say that you’re looking for a pair of shoes. The salesperson asks you what kind of shoes and you answer, “Oh, I can use any pair of shoes you may have.” Ridiculous? Yes, but that is exactly what happens when you meet a very well-connected person and tell them that you have lots of skills and can do lots of things. How can this person help you? What if, instead, you say that you have specific customer-facing project management experience in engineering product development involving wearable microelectronics with low power RF connectivity? If part of your detailed self-description makes a cognitive connection with your referrer, then you’ve got a connection of real value. Rule of thumb: be as deep and narrow as possible and avoid at all costs stressing only your generic qualifications. You will have fewer opportunities but a vastly better shot at winning the interview and the job.
If I can be of support to you with job search strategy, feel free to reply to this email or get on my calendar to see if there is a fit for us to work together: www.michelebrant.com/call. Here is some more information for you regarding how I support clients with job search: www.michelebrant.com/job-search/.
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