It’s the end of the year, holiday is in the air. For many companies, job placement activities are slowing down. It’s a perfect time for job searchers to take a break, review the effectiveness of what you’ve been doing so you can make it really work for you in the new year.
In the last week, I’ve had many conversations with professionals and international MBA graduate students about their job searches. I’d like to share some observations:
1) Don’t Just Do It — Dare to Understand the Why’s for Effective Outcomes
It’s understandable to feel good to “do” — send another resume, make another linked in connection, go to another networking session. But if you’re not yielding results, it’s imperative that you review what you’re DOING, what you’re SAYING, how you’re FEELING and how you’re being PERCEIVED. It may be most helpful to have someone else, an encouraging but honest friend, a mentor, review your recent actvities and allow them to ask you questions about effectiveness.
2) Find, Feel and Convey Your PASSION to Others
If you’re not feeling it, it’s a sure thing others are not feeling it. Employers want to hire people who are excited about a job, particularly in this economy. Are you seeking work for which you have passion and interest? Yes, you may need to find work to make ends meet; nonetheless, try to find something in the job that makes you feel excited (if you don’t, the alarm should be going off). If you’re so worn out in your search that you feel numb and can’t get to any feeling of excitement, it’s a warning sign that you need to take a break. Time off, real time off, may be exactly what you need to find a positive emotional connection to your job search. “Hamster on the Wheel” is not an effective option.
If you’re feeling lost and can’t find an anchor, it may be time to revisit what excites you, in general. Review your past work history to see what you’ve always liked. Take career assessments that remind you of your gifts and interests. Speak to people who really know you (and want the best for you) to ask basic questions like, “what do you think I’m really good at doing”, what do you think I would love to do?”, and dare to listen. And if something connects with you, dare more, and follow that path.
3) Dare to Dream While You Manage the Tactical
Whether you’re a professional who’s been looking for awhile or a December MBA graduate embarking on the search, please remember to BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAM while you work the job search tactics. You’re in a time of transition, a time of emptiness. Difficult as it may feel, this is the perfect time to go within and imagine an ideal vision for your work. If you believe it can’t happen, I guarantee you it will not happen. You really do have a choice. Believing in your dream doesn’t mean you have to be there now, it means you are making a commitment to work towards it. It means owning your vision in your heart even if you have to pursue something else right now…and keeping an eye on your dream so you can work your way towards it in the future. I was talking to a client recently who kept on lamenting about the job search process. He focused on everything he should do but refused to even look at options to pursue his dreams. His dream was clear, right in front of him, but he just didn’t believe it was possible. I even provided steps he could take to get started. But it was clear he could not accept this possibility. Nobody else can make you believe in your dream. Only you can. Sometimes people are so scared to embrace what they truly want, for fear of disappointment if they don’t achieve it, that they’d rather walk away from their dream. But really, isn’t that a bit insane? “Because I’m afraid my dream may not come true, I will make sure it never comes true by not pursuing it at all”. The choice to follow your dream takes courage. It takes perseverance. But the choice is yours. Know that if you are passionate, you will stand out when you interview for a job and actually get the job you love.
Similarly, just dreaming isn’t enough. You must take action. Create and follow a strategy (don’t just do!). Then do it – Do research – Call people – Get informational interviews – Send your resume out – Reconnect with ex-coworkers.
DO with PURPOSE. ACT with PASSION. And when you’re just plain old tired, allow yourself to fully relax and do something you ENJOY. You’ll add so much energy back into your job search.
4) Breathe, Affirm, Act
It’s understandale to feel so much pressure to continue or initiate your job search. But stress and pressure just add more fear into your system, which makes your whole system feel like it’s running for survival. You’re thinking the last thing you should do is slow down and take a breath. But it’s exactly what you need to do. Do something you enjoy. Even more, dare to slow down to hear all your negative thoughts swirl around you and let them go (yes that takes practice). When you have space within you, you’ll have the energy to feel positive (which will be felt by others). Affirm all your goodness, your talents, your hopes and dreams. From that place of positiveness, is where you should act. If you follow this process with practice and perseverance, you’ll find yourself with greater stamina and greater commitment and thusly, better results.
In this economy, the job search requires the attitude and practice of a marathoner, not a sprinter. Be like a successful marathoner, who is clear and passionate about achieving her dream (dashing pass the finish line), who has planned her workouts, tracked her progress, who is responsive to what her body is telling her, adapts her practice, keeps her dream alive, and over 365 days of practice, achieves her dream of running pass that finish line. Choose to be that.