Friday, September 16, 2011

Moving the Energy (by guest contributor Jamie Craw)

Today's topic is MOVING THE ENERGY, brought to you by guest contributor Jamie Craw.
As someone whose profession it is to find the match between candidate and opportunity on behalf of others, I believe I am the different side of the same coin as a job seeker. As someone who has spent the better part of her career speaking with job seekers, candidates, and persons in transition, I feel we are a kindred spirit and I identify wholeheartedly with the plight, the frustration, and pure joy of the rollercoaster of job searching and finally finding the perfect fit. So what advice can I impart to you that will get you a job? The answer may surprise you.
There is very little we can control when we are looking for a job, and same as in life, the only thing we have any power over is ourselves. You may think this is not the time to pursue your creative side, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Now is the time to do all the things you said you had to wait for, the things you have put off because you don’t have enough time, or you should be looking for a job. NOW! Now is the time to move your energy around, block out the naysayers, and sign up for a painting class or take a road trip or strike a yoga pose.
The thing is, we are all a ball of energy, and sometimes our energy gets stuck. It may be so deep inside of us, a passion we have been putting off for so long, that it has made an impasse in the very depths of our psyche. And somehow, it is manifesting itself as being stuck in your job search and you don’t know where to go.
The biggest disservice we do to ourselves is to deny our creativity. It is only when the energy starts to flow and when you try something new that the paths of your career and life start to open up infinitely. If you’ve been feeling a big move or change is needed, now is the time to make it. If you are tired of the view outside your window, now is the time to change it. Change is good, it is healthy and it is imperative for growth.
You may find that taking a class opens the door to meeting your future boss  or the contemplation during yoga opens your mind to new possibilities and a road trip might unveil your dream home and the perfect job around the corner. You don’t know until you try and you will answer all of your questions if you stop thinking about all that you can’t do, or are limited by, and start pursuing your dreams, one by one. I believe your career is holistic and a reflection of your whole being. When you are fulfilling your personal goals, your professional ones are sure to follow.
-Jamie Craw (guest contributor)

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Art of the Job Search (What's your process?)

What’s your job search process?
As an HR leader, I occasionally get the opportunity to review corporate recruiting processes to ensure that we are being as efficient as possible while also being compliant with employment laws, etc.  As I’m currently going through this again in my position, I thought to myself “What about the process for job seekers?”.  So many people go blindly looking for a job that they forget to put together a map and a process for finding a job. 

There’s an art to finding a job, and having a process mapped out will help you immensely!  Here are a few suggestions to get you started...
Take a Personal Inventory
You’ve got to take some time to reflect on your skills and your career ambitions so you will be able to align them with your job search.  For me, I would have to take into account that I want a position that allows me to work with people.  I would also make note that I would want to work in an organization that offers me unlimited room for career growth.  When you are taking inventory, you should consider your values, your interests and your skills.  Then be ready to discuss these with potential employers.  You should also put together interview questions that you are able and ready to ask employers that will help you determine if the organization and the position you are interviewing for is a good fit for you. 

Involve Others
Next, you MUST have a support network.  The people in your life are invaluable to you when it comes to career search and networking.  Talk to your friends, your family, coworkers, coworkers from previous jobs, the teller at your bank, the ladies in your bridge club, etc..  Never underestimate the power of networking and letting your network know what you’re up to!  I personally have kept in touch with most people I’ve worked with over the years.  You never know when they may be able to help you out. 

Organize Yourself
 If you’re not organized, you need to be.  Looking for a job can be overwhelming.  It can be disastrous and futile if you don’t keep track of what you’re doing.  Get a binder, make an Excel spreadsheet, whatever it takes.  Keep track of who is in your network, where they work, who they know, what your activity with them has been to date, etc.. Follow up with them regularly.  Things change all the time.  Make sure you’re keeping up with your network.
Make a commitment to yourself early on (or better yet, do it right now!) that you will stay true to yourself in the process and ALWAYS stay positive.  If you get turned down for a position, don’t take it personally.  Learn something from it.  Thank them anyway!  I can’t tell you how many times a candidate I’ve interviewed didn’t get the job initially.  But they were thoughtful enough to thank me for my time.  When things didn’t work out with the candidate we were going to hire, you better believe I knew exactly who I was going to bring back in for consideration!  Be yourself, and do whatever it takes to stay positive!

Until next time, keep on keeping on!  Your dream job might be right around the corner!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Whiny Job Seekers and Shy Networkers--WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND HERE?

Have you ever heard “It’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know.” or “It’s all about networking.”?  I recently overheard an acquaintance of mine (well, more like I saw them broadcasting the news across Facebook…Gotta love that!) whining about not being able to find a job.  He was frustrated because he felt that he just didn’t know the right people to get a foot in the door somewhere…anywhere.  He had been applying for jobs online for months, scouring Monster and Careerbuilder and other job sites looking for a job to no avail.
I know I’ve told you all before, but I have never been hired for any position by applying to it online or sending in my resume.  And yet, I seem to always have a job…and they’ve always been pretty darn good jobs!  “How is that possible?” you might be thinking.   The truth is… (drum roll please) I just love to connect with people, and I do my best to make sure they remember me, and I try to stay in touch with my contacts over the years, and I try my best to be a positive person, and…the list goes on and on.
What about those of you who aren’t so eager to meet others?  How can you become a better networker if you’re a little intimidated or shy?  Here are a few things to keep in mind.
1.       Get over yourself!   Yes, I said it.  Lots of us are introverts naturally, but we know that in order to get ahead we have to wear our “extrovert” hat occasionally.  Pretend like you’re not shy…like you’re an actor playing a part.  Don’t be fake, and don’t try to be the life of the party when you’re not.  But ACT like an outgoing person would act.  You’ll be surprised at how far this will get you.  AND it will ease your nerves in the meantime.
2.       Introverts make the best networkers (TRUST ME) because they are excellent listeners.  Cherish your listening skills and listen to others genuinely.  While the “type A” folks are busy jacking their jaws about themselves, you will be getting ahead of the curve by learning invaluable information about those you’re networking with.  Listening is powerful.
3.       Be prepared.  Bring your business cards, a pen, something to write on.  Make sure your teeth are flossed, that your breath isn’t atrocious and that you’re presentable.  Wear clothes that are appropriate for the situation but also COMFORTABLE.  I can’t tell you how annoying it is to be in a professional or networking situation and be in clothes that don’t feel right.  UGH! 
4.       Know why you’re there.  Have a goal, whether it’s to meet 3 new people or to find someone there who works at one of your target companies or to find out more details about the latest development in your industry.  Don’t leave until you’ve met the goal.
5.       Lastly, KEEP IT UPBEAT!  This means SMILE big and often.  In no circumstances should you complain or come across whiny.    NO MATTER HOW DESPERATE YOU ARE, don’t let ‘em see you sweat!  Networking events usually don’t last too long.  Get in, accomplish your goals (your reasons for being there) and get out.
Until next time, I challenge you to meet someone new who has the connections to improve your world this week…be it professionally, personally, spiritually, whatever.  Make it your mission to connect with someone new who may be the missing link to your network.  You’ll be amazed how easy it is, and you’ll be thrilled with the results that come your way once you start networking like a PRO!