The Power of Persistence

A few weeks ago one of my clients called me in frustration.  He just couldn’t find a way to move forward with his career in his current company. He decided to take my advice and expand his network to find a job that would better use his skills.  He decided to become a member of  a working committee of his professional association to build strong connections.   He was frustrated with that too.  He applied to be a member of the committee and never got a call back.    I asked him how many times he tried.  His reply:  once. 

Once?  How many times do we get something we really want on the first try?  He forgot the power of persistence – that unrelenting pursuit to get what you want.   I suggested he just try again and again and again using different approaches.  And, I suggested he talk to members on committees to find out what they did to get their committee roles.

The first time I remember using the power of persistence was when I decided early in my career that I wanted to be a consultant.  A friend of mine Mary worked at a consulting firm and said I constantly asked her about openings at her company.  (I don’t remember that.)  But, when a job opened up in her unit, she forwarded my resume directly to the hiring manager and helped me prep for the interview.  I got that job and it launched my career in a completely different direction.  I’ll never forget that when I really want something, the power of persistence will help me achieve it.

Heather

Increasing Your Odds Of Getting The Interview

You’ve submitted a resume for an advertised position.  You are fully qualified for it and it’s a job you really want.  But, here you are again waiting, waiting and growing more and more concerned that you aren’t going to get a call for an interview.  You know that there are many qualified candidates in the marketplace.   So, what can you do differently to land an interview this time?  

Try the Send a Solution approach – sending a letter or e-mail directly to the hiring manager telling them exactly how you can help them solve their problems with your expertise.  The closer you are to addressing ways you can help them make or save money will increase your odds of getting an interview.

Heather

Opening Yourself Up To Better Job Search & Job Interview Results

Over the last month, I’ve watched a business person who’s really great at selling.  However, this week her selling techniques shifted  for the worse … and as a consequence, her sales are way down.  Suddenly, when she’s talking to customers, it’s like she doesn’t care whether she’s sold something or not.  What’s interesting is what she’s saying to herself … and to anyone in listening distance.   She’s repeating over and over and over:   “No one is buying.”  “My business is just drying up.”  

So, if you are in the midst of a job search and job interviews, check what you are saying over and over to yourself and hear what you are saying to others.  You could also be shifting yourself into a mental space that limits your possible job opportunities because it’s shifting your attitude and affecting your actions.   

Here’s a simple and effective way to help you shift into a more positive mindset.  I heard it from Hale Dwoskin at Sedona Training Associates.  Simply write down all your obstacles, problems, blocks and issues in the past tense.  For example: “I used to believe that I’m never going to find another high paying  job. ”  And, accept at least the possibility that those obstacles are just memories.    Then watch.  See how you start to do things differently and watch how that changes your job search and your job interviews results.

Heather

Understanding The World of Job Search Professionals

There are two types of search professionals: contingency and retainer.

  • Contingency consultants are paid only if the candidate they put forward is hired by the organization.
  • Retainer consultants, on-the-other-hand, are paid upfront for conducting the search itself.

It’s pretty easy to get to know contingency recruiters: you are their bread and butter. However, retainer consultants are usually more difficult to find. They’re focused on winning their next search assignment – that’s how they make money. And, they have lots and lots of qualified candidates in their pockets. And because they are the key brokers in the unadvertised job market it’s important to build lasting links to them.

Your first step in building these relationships is to identify search consultants and firms that specialize in your industry or field of expertise. Include large generalist search firms as well; they typically handle most of the job search requirements for their clients. If you don’t know where to find these specialist consultants, the business librarian at your local or regional public library can help.
 
Find out whether the firms on your list work on a contingency or retained search basis or both. Then, send them your resumé. Retained search consultants probably won’t call you, unless they’re currently working on a search assignment for someone with your qualifications. However, what they will do is add your resumé in their database, which they use as a starting point for their searches. That way, you’ll make the first cut when they begin a search assignment for someone with your expertise, industry background and job level.

Heather

Using LinkedIn to Follow Potential Employers

The article below was tweeted recently and finally got me interested enough to check out the Follow Company feature on LinkedIn.  It’s quite a useful feature for job search.  The article is by Jessica Holbrook Hernandez – expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, speaker and President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast. 

“Many people think of LinkedIn as a tool to network with individuals.  While LinkedIn is certainly useful for this purpose, it can also provide invaluable information about which companies you should target during your job search.

Did you know that LinkedIn now allows you to follow all the activity related to a particular company?  You do this by searching for the company on the site and clicking “Follow Company”.  This step adds the company’s activity to your news stream on LinkedIn in the same way that adding a connection adds their individual activity.  This is an absolutely invaluable tool for seeing the “comings and goings” at a company you’re targeting.  In addition to giving you a sense of whether the company is hiring at all, it allows you to see the backgrounds of the candidates who are landing jobs there.  Although it may be frustrating—or even painful—to see who’s beating you out for particular positions, having that information is also priceless for knowing how to position yourself as a stronger candidate going forward.  One more bonus: you can tell when someone was hired for a position even if the company doesn’t directly contact or notify you.

The Follow Company feature on LinkedIn also allows you to see how many other people are following that company.  If thousands of people are keeping an eye on things, chances are good that you have a lot of competition for open positions there.  Additionally, LinkedIn includes very useful information such as the average tenure of employees at the company, the male/female ratio of the staff, and the median age of employees.  Larger companies sometimes even indicate which specific universities a high percentage of their staff attended.

The new Follow Company feature on LinkedIn is a fabulous tool for job seekers trying to appropriately direct their career search.  Check it out!”

Remember What Made You Great

This article is by Dave Anderson. Dave is president of Dave Anderson Corporation and LearntoLead. www.learntolead.com

Think for a moment about the most significant accomplishments you’ve attained professionally or personally, your own personal best. Perhaps it was a record month, the heroic turnaround of a failing business, winning a major contest, spearheading a successful fundraiser, coaching a winning team, climbing a mountain or running a marathon. Don’t go any farther until you’ve determined what you consider as your personal best accomplishment, or even your top two to three accomplishments.

I don’t know you or your circumstances, but my bet is that you did not attain your personal best while you kept things the same. My guess is you achieved your personal best when you changed something, challenged something; when you attacked the status quo, not when you nurtured it. The most significant accomplishments we rack up in our lives are when we step out and step up, not when we sit still.

Yet, oftentimes we forget what got us there: that it was the changes, the challenges, the walking into the unknown that brings our greatest accomplishments. And as a result we become more immersed in routine than risk, more comfortable with inertia than initiative. Before you know it, we’re in our ‘maintenance mode’, keeping things humming along, hoping nothing comes along to rock the boat or thaw out the frozen status quo. After some time in this mode we’re not as excited about what we’re doing any more, grow bored easily, lack passion and energy and we’re not even sure why. The status quo never holds its own; it’s just one step removed from sliding backward. Coasting is a dangerous state to be in since the only direction you can coast is downhill. You can tell you’re making progress and pushing hard enough when it feels like it’s a struggle, when it’s hard, when it’s an uphill climb because the next level is always higher than where you are.

Don’t forget what brought you your most significant moments of personal or organizational greatness. It wasn’t when you played it safe and tried to just ‘get by.’ It was when you stepped up and stepped out. Remember how alert and alive you felt when you were climbing, risking, changing and making an impact. You had a cause, not a job and it made all the difference. You’ll never recapture that feeling or have that impact while you’re watching what happens or wondering ‘what happened?’ You’ve got to make it happen and keep making it happen. And all the while you’re on the journey, if things ever seem too calm and under control then you’re just not going fast enough.

Thanks Dave!  Heather

Let Me Introduce Myself

What do you say when you introduce yourself?

 Consider the following:

  •  My name is Heather McNab.  I’m owner of the InterviewExpert.ca.  I provide one-on-one training to individuals on their job interview skills. 

 

  •  My name is Heather McNab. I’m owner of the InterviewExpert.ca.  I help people master their job interview skills so they can land their best job yet!

 

  •  My name is Heather McNab.  I’m owner of the InterviewExpert.ca.  You know how a lot of people could be great contributors to organizations, but now have a hard time landing a job?  Well, I give you a solid edge in the marketplace by helping you master your job interview skills so you can land your best job yet!

Which do you as the most compelling?  Which one could you use to start your introduction?  It may be time to rethink what you say.

Heather

To Dye Or Not To Dye

A friend sent me this article “To dye or not to dye” by Cheryl Howard.  I’ve put a copy below.  It’s about dying your hair in preparation for a job interview.  It’s a well written article but think about this.  My sister started her family at age 40 with twins.  She’s younger than me but her hair was grey even before the twins arrived.  She stopped dying it when she was pregnant and no longer colors it.  People often comment to her that it’s nice she can spend time with her grandkids.  Ouch!  And, this comment doesn’t come from younger people. 

So, think about the image you want to present in an interview.  Dye or no dye, an up-to-date haircut and glasses (if you wear them) can make a world of difference.  If you do decide to dye your hair, get expert help.  Here’s what Patricia, co-owner and hairstylist at Salon Eau told me about grey hair:  Your hair and your complexion go lighter as we age.  So dying your hair your natural hair color may not work anymore. Grey hair is actually hair without color.  To get a dye to take hold, the colorist must damage the hair shaft with harsh chemicals to get the color to stick.  Even when done professionally, your new dye job will only last 2 to 3 weeks if you have short hair.  Patricia recommends that you invest in a great, up-to-date hairstyle instead of an increasingly expensive dye job. Above all, I recommend that you do what makes you feel the most comfortable and confident.  

Here’s the article: 

I was discussing an upcoming job interview when a friend kindly suggested that I prepare for it by dying my hair.

I am nowhere near the age to qualify for Denny’s senior menu, but I do have some silver strands on my brunette head. I’ve brought the subject up to various job seekers. One and all bristled at the idea that we should be compelled to change our appearance to overcome some subtle bigotry.

Career advisors invoke an image reminiscent of an invasion, where hordes of youthful, vibrant workers are streaming from their universities to compete against us older folks for a dwindling number of jobs. They imply we would be on more even footing if we looked younger.

Putting that imagery aside for the moment, a friend of mine looked for a human resources role for six months with no results. Then she dyed her hair from silver to blonde, and she had an offer three weeks later. She doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence. Yes, I did say human resources, and I do see the irony.

The pressure isn’t just because I’m a woman, either. A colleague said he was advised to airbrush his image in Photoshop to look a bit less “worn,” shall we say.

But the tide may be changing. According to a survey by Watson Wyatt, workers ages 50–64 are postponing retirement. Although the average planned retirement age for all employees is 65 years old, half of those surveyed plan to retire at age 66 or later.

Their reasoning is sound: 76 percent cite a decline in 401(k) value, 63 percent the high cost of health care, and 62 percent higher prices for basic necessities. While the youthful horde might be lining up for interviews, the so-called silver generation is not marching quietly out the back door. 

I have no wish to be a young pup again. Those lines around my eyes are from years of laughter as I brought energy to a struggling office. I developed furrows on my forehead from successfully managing declining budgets and increasing workloads. My hands, not as smooth as they once were, have shaken thousands of hands, taken countless photos, designed hundreds of posters and pamphlets.

Most of all, companies need us older folks to teach the next generation. Technology has changed how we contact one another but not why we do so. We have the experience to establish communication with purpose, not just empty air. We also have the wisdom to value continuous learning.

If I dye my hair, it will be because I make a great redhead, and I find the silvery glint on my head distracting. However, if I’m supposed to dye my hair as an apology for actively living my life, then I refuse. 

Do Something Different This Week

Have you been job hunting for longer than 6 months? Are you doing all the same things you did at the beginning of your search? Well, you haven’t landed yet – be honest with yourself – are those techniques really working for you?  It’s so easy to get into a rut especially when we hide behind passive job hunting techniques and lots and lots of excuses. 

I suggest that you do one new thing in the next 7 days.  Just one new thing.

  • Maybe it’s call someone on your list of contacts you told yourself you should call or follow up with. 
  • Maybe it’s write a list of 100 things you can do to land your next job.  Make them funny, creative, practical, and out-of-the box.  That may be all the help you need break out of your rut.
  • Maybe it’s trying to turn that one special thing about you into one thing about them – the hiring organization.
  • Maybe it’s giving yourself written permission (yes, write it down!) to take time off from your job search to enjoy one of the last days of summer without guilt or regret.   
  • Maybe it’s writing a list of all those things you know you “should do” but aren’t doing.  Decide to do one of those things or decide that “may be you will do them or maybe you won’t do them” and burn the list to get rid of all the guilt that’s weighing you down.
  • Maybe it’s relieving yourself of all those unwanted feelings stopping you from moving forward.  Don’t ignore them.  Allow them.  Welcome them.  Feel them fully.  If you resist, they will persist!  Then use one of the Sedona Method techniques.  Welcome the feelings fully. Then ask yourself these 3 questions – Would I let it go? Could I let it go?  When?    Remember emotions are just energy.  They really aren’t you.  You need all the energy you wrapped up in your unwanted feelings for your job search.
  • Maybe it’s just being less hard on yourself.  Write down all the positive things you’ve done each day.  Our minds forget those things.  It keeps searching for problems so it can help us out!

It’s really critical to keep your energy and spirits up during your job search.  And, it really doesn’t matter how long you’ve been off work.  What matters is that today and tomorrow are new days and we can choose to start in a new direction.  So, try just one new thing in the next 7 days.  Then, in the weeks to follow try another new thing and another.  You were once a valuable contributor to an organization.  You will be again.

Heather

Changing Your Focus To Get The Promotion, Job, Career – You Really Want Faster!

Doing a job search, seeking a promotion, or changing careers means that you think a lot about you:

  •  what you want in terms of a company;
  •  what you want in terms of an income;
  •  what you want in terms of a job. 

It’s naturally a “me, me, me” process.  But if you continue to think from that “me” perspective when you start networking, ask for that promotion, or interview for the job that you really want – what you say won’t stick.  It creates a dead end not the opportunity you really want.  

So even before you start your job search, begin your networking or seek that promotion, you must make a radical shift in your perspective.  You need to turn everything about you into everything about them.  It’s changing from process-speak – what I do – into results-speak  – what a company gets from hiring you.  You need to talk the language of results, solutions and outcomes.  

Making the shift to results-speak sounds easy but it’s typically difficult to do yourself. We somehow can’t see out of that “me, me, me” perspective.  I do encourage you to try it yourself first.  But if you want an easier, more efficient way of doing it, get help from me or someone else who’s done it over and over and over.  If you want to just get there faster and with less pain, we can help. Check out our Make Me Memorable  package. We are totally focused on helping you land the job you really want!

Heather