Have you wondered why you didn’t get called in for an interview when the job was a perfect fit? Maybe it was because when they contacted your references, something went wrong. Good references are one of your biggest assets in a job search because they are independent witnesses who testify that your skills and work habits are suitable — that you will be a good fit for that job. But since references are real people, things change.
Choose Your References Carefully
The buddy that you party with every weekend is probably not going to be a good reference about your professionalism, right? Think about who will be an authority in your career search; someone who understands the work involved and who has seen how you work. This means supervisors, professors, and those you have served with as a volunteer.
Look at the reference the way an employer would and think about the type of questions that will be asked:
We are still masters of our fate.
We are still captains of our souls.
- Winston Churchill
A job search can be a scary time. There's uncertainty, rejection, and lots of situations that can be uncomfortable. But I want you to remember that you are the master of your fate. You control what happens to you, and you can control the outcome of this job search.
The best way to control it is to be aggressive. Contact hundreds of hiring managers. Tell the ones who answer back why you'd be a catch for them. Get multiple interviews. In each one, find out what they specifically need and sell yourself for that job with a 30-60-90-day plan. If you go all out like that, bringing your A game every time, chances are very good that you'll have multiple job offers. Then you have the power. You're the captain who directs what happens to your life.
If any of these actions are holding you back because you're not sure how to do them, get help:
I love this note from Tony (in sales) who began his job search doing what a lot of folks do--checking out job boards (such as Monster, SimplyHired, etc.). After months of frustration, he realized it wasn't working and found another approach that ended with him getting a call after only 3 days.
This is definitely a case of "work smarter, not harder," and it's a big, hopeful lesson for all those who are frustrated in your job search. It may very well be that you only need a new approach. See how Tony did it:
A quick note to thank you for the terrific service that your company provides for those people who are actively seeking new employment opportunities.
In my case my job was made redundant back in Dec 20XX and resulted in me spending many months doing the usual job board search and becoming more and more frustrated to the point where I realized that this approach was simply not working for me. Can’t remember how I came across your site but sure glad I did, as once I became a member and worked through the videos and training material I realized how much I still had to learn about how I could be much more effective in my job search!
In my case, I got stuck into increasing my networking hit rate by leveraging Linked In and reaching out to prospective employers and hiring managers across a broad range of industries. I invested around three days of my time contacting around 80 people. In short, after my first Linked In networking campaign I received a call out of the blue from a Software company director and have now landed a very interesting job which I am very much looking forward to and starting next week.
What really blew me away was the look on the faces of the CEO and Sales Manager that hired me at the end of my first round interview especially after I presented my 30/60/90 day plan for success. I knew at that moment that the job was mine and as an added bonus I also knew I was the only one in the running for the role – how good is that! Needless to say that I wish I had come across your site much earlier in my job search.
My summation of my experience with Career Confidential:
Excellent communication, follow up advice and coaching.
Very effective webinars, allowing two way communication.
Highly recommend - It worked for me!!
Please also pass on my thanks to your team.
Tony, thank you for your kind words. (I love getting this kind of feedback!) I am so happy we could help you.
Some industries tolerate a lot more colorful language than others. But even in fields known for cursing, having a foul mouth can cost you big time. Pro football’s Rex Ryan, coach of the Jets, was recently “stunned” that the NFL fined him $100,000 for profanity toward an official. He says he didn’t expect what he thought was a private conversation to result in such a big penalty.
The Things You Say Have An Effect
Probably the language Rex Ryan used was to emphasize what he wanted to say. Then again, maybe he talks like that all the time because he hears it all the time. That old saying, “garbage in, garbage out” definitely comes into play when it comes to our words. So how do we discern when the cost of letting it fly is too high?
If you are a job seeker who wants to get interviews, your best bet is to skip HR (Human Resources) and their online applications. Most job seekers spend hours filling out those endless forms, and they never hear anything back. That is not what you want. You want an interview. How do you get it? You contact the hiring manager (your future boss, who is also the person who would interview you).
Most job seekers, when they hear this, stop me right there and say, "What if they say, 'Don't call the company'? What if I annoy them by not following the rules?"
The key to success is
to focus our conscious minds
on things we desire,
not things we fear.
- Brian Tracy
When you're in a job search, it's all too easy to focus on things you fear: making a mistake and getting rejected. It makes sense...job searching is naturally filled with rejection. Not every job you go after is going to be "The One."
The problem is that focusing on the rejection only holds you back. You're not as confident and you're not as enthusiastic, which means that you don't go after opportunities that you should--because you're afraid. And not going after an opportunity is a guarantee that you won't get it.
I once had my office in a very busy part of town. Most businesses on my street (including mine) had a sign on the door that said "No Soliciting." However, every week I bought something from someone who walked past the sign and went for a sale anyway. Not everyone who walked past the sign made a sale--but some did. And the people who never walked past it never did.
So...focus on what you want, not on what you fear. This positive focus will push you past obstacles in your way and get you the success you deserve.
If you're having trouble maintaining your positive focus, get help:
Attend a Career Confidential free job search webinar. These trainings will motivate you as well as build your skills.
Connie lost her Director-level job in the high-tech industry and is looking for another executive-level position. These positions are high-risk positions to fill for any company (lots of money and power involved--repercussions from decisions made by this person can last a long time). Check out Connie's story about how she used the promise of a 90 to 180-Day Plan to make a nervous, unsure hiring manager excited to interview her, and much more open to the idea of hiring her:
I've been using all of your tools since I lost my job 4 weeks ago. I found you by following a link on LinkedIn; your program looked like exactly what I needed to launch my search.
By way of context, I'm in the high tech industry, specifically in outsourcing. My last position was at the director level but the company was relatively small, an EMS company with about $60M USD in revenue. It was a mistake going there in the first place as I am much better suited to large global companies. I'm armed with an MBA in International business, several languages, and 20 years of experience in strategic sourcing.
One of my LinkedIn connections knows the hiring manager at a large global OEM struggling to rationalize outsourcing across 60 countries; they need someone with my exact skill set including fluency in German. Imagine that!
The hiring manager, VP Operations, called me today (bypassing HR:). Luckily he was already pre-sold on me and had obtained executive approval to create a position in Global Sourcing. We spoke for a few minutes but it was clear that he was not sure exactly what he is looking for. He was only able to outline the little he knows about the challenge. He's new to his position as well and sounded nervous about the high visibility "my" position would have (big risk). And he was unsure how to proceed. He said "I guess we should meet so you can take me through your resume, what do you think?"
SO...I said "How about this; sure I'll take you through my background so you can see how I've been successful in similar roles in the past. Then, why don't I show you a brief powerpoint presentation outlining how I will approach this position in the first 3-6 months so that you see my thought process and what you can expect?" His response was "Are you serious? Wow, that would be fantastic! Is it ok with you if I invite a few other executives?"
I will let you know how this works out! I'm so excited and very very glad I followed all aspects of your program.
Did you know you can set up your day to have a quick opportunity to improve yourself? One of the nicest things about the internet is the opportunity to learn, and improving your language is going to make a difference in your career.
Here’s why language is important: the things you write online stay there. The impression you make with your speech and writing doesn’t fade too fast, either. If you are consistently using language the way that “everybody” uses language online, then you are automatically closing the street to opportunity.
If I absolutely HAD to boil down to the bare essentials the best job search advice for anyone, it would be this:
Be a Squeaky Wheel
Why be a squeaky wheel? Have you ever heard, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease"? It means that if the wheel on your car or your bike or your shopping cart is rolling along making no noise, drawing no attention to itself, you won't think about it at all. If, however, there's a wheel that squeaks every time it rolls around, you'll pay attention to it. If you're handy, you'll give it some grease to smooth its circular path.
How does this apply to your job search? A squeaky wheel is noticed. It draws attention. It causes action. It causes a response. A silent wheel won't ever draw any attention to itself at all.
Failures do what is tension-relieving,
while winners do what is goal-achieving.
- Dennis Waitley
(as quoted in Brian Tracy's book, Eat That Frog)
I love Brian Tracy (if you've never read one of Brian Tracy's books, get one and read it today) and I love Dennis Waitley for this quote.
Job searching is hard--no one will argue with that. The problem is that it can be all too easy to relieve the tension of the job search by stepping away from it (watching TV, going out with your friends, or surfing the web all day--even if you are "looking for jobs").
To win in the job search, you have to do those things that will get you to your goal. Stop fiddling with an already great resume and send it. Stop surfing and anonymously applying for jobs and find a hiring manager (your potential future boss) to contact directly. Stop worrying about letting others know you're out of work and contact everyone you've ever met to let them know what job you're looking for. These things are goal-achieving.
If you have some stumbling block keeping you from goal achieving, or if you're already trying these things but not seeing results, get help.
A cursory look at the history of clothing shows a lot of change, and it is a fascinating way to spend some time. Who knew that both men and women wore makeup and high heels in some European courts? Clothing has always been an indicator of power, and that fact will probably never change. But when you are trying to figure out how to dress for the success of your career, there isn’t much help in the styles of the past. What matters today is the impression you make on those around you now.
There Is No Single Business Uniform
It’s a mistake to think that you can read up on business attire and get it right for a specific business environment, because every workplace is slightly different. There are some general guidelines, though, and I think the best one I’ve seen is Business Insider’s look at How To Dress Like A Leader In Any Work Environment. It identifies 5 levels of business attire, from “baseline casual” to “boardroom attire” and gives a complex subject some simplicity.
But the reality is that different regions in the world can vary on their idea of what to wear, and when. CEOs in the Silicon Valley are going to look different than a similar executive level in New York City, while the boardroom in Hong Kong has way more suits in it than the same company’s boardroom in Hawaii.
This is a great illustration of the power of a resume redo.
Tammy didn't change anything but her resume, and she got 4 interviews in a week--after looking for a job for over a year with no luck.
... I [had] been looking for a job for over a year. I completed your extreme resume makeover and within the first week was called to interview at a company for four different positions. My interviews are next week and I have completed my 30-60-90 day plan and will be watching your In Person Interview video before my interviews. Thank you for putting together such a valuable program...