Friday, February 13, 2009

Job Searaching Out of the Box, by Gary Lea

"Job Searching Out of the Box" , by Gary Lea

What does it take to find the right job in this economy? Well the answer is certainly not one dimensional nor is it easy. The good news is that there a lot of great techniques to use if you know where to look. If you are reading this, well that is a great start. So what is the first step in adjusting to the new job market? Put succinctly it is approaching the job search effort with an “Out of the Box” mindset.
What exactly is “Out of the Box”? If you are like me you often wonder who coins these interesting phrases. In thinking about this article I began to wonder what the exact definition was and how it might apply to the job searcher. This is what I found.
1. Out-of-the-box thinking - thinking that moves away in diverging directions so as to involve a variety of aspects and which sometimes lead to novel ideas and solutions; associated with creativity
Oddly enough that happens to be the same definition for Divergent Thinking
1. Divergent thinking - thinking that moves away in diverging directions so as to involve a variety of aspects and which sometimes lead to novel ideas and solutions; associated with creativity

Any way you slice it, it simply means abandoning comfortable and familiar ways of thinking through solutions to problems. So in this economy of 2009 when so many are losing their jobs and many find themselves on the job search how does this particular phrase find importance with us that are hunting. There are a few ways that I believe this can truly help our mindset in the job search efforts. It’s time to begin moving in diverging directions leading to novel ideas!
First of all job hunting can be a dreaded activity if you let it be. The reasons are pretty simple and varied. As just one example, financial uncertainty is chief among them. Many are faced with dwindling retirement funds if they were lucky enough to have them in the first place to lean on. Many face losing homes as a very real and tangible prospect in a job market like we have today. But I feel that the biggest obstacle that we face is being mired in the old ways of doing things. This is a very real threat to the job seeker who finds they are applying for jobs through the old methods and getting absolutely zero results. This ultimately leads to depression and further being mired in the same old way of doing things and the cycle goes on.
In this day and age the secrets to successful job hunting lie in being much more proactive and mounting a personal branding campaign. What does that really mean? Well it means that the days of the standard old resume’ and blasé cover letter will get you nowhere in a very quick fashion. There are just too many people vying for jobs and if what you are doing does not stand out as unique and different in the crowd you will find yourself in a very dire situation. How do I accomplish this Gary? Unfortunately that is not something that can be answered in a simple blog. The great things I can offer though are some resources and ideas to get you started on the right track to shaking off the old ways of job hunting. Let’s take a look at some of the most significant paradigm shifts and how you can utilize them. Let me make a disclaimer of sorts before I go any further. For most people reading this blog I would like to suggest that you will probably do better in your search if you invest in a company who specializes in helping the job seeker mount a job marketing campaign. There are many services out there but they are not all created equal.
1. Resumes’. Resumes’ are still viable if they are done correctly. The problem with most of them is that they are poorly done. As an Executive who has had to look through thousands of resume’s in my life I find that most are too long, focus on the wrong things and ultimately bore the reader into setting your resume’ in the pile of rejects. Today’s resume should not focus on the old bullet point format of this is what I did when and for how long. The better approach is to highlight the skills that you can provide at the very beginning of the resume’ and then get to the job history. By placing what you can do for a company at the very beginning you will have a far better chance of grabbing the attention of the reader. Don’t be shy about seeking professional help with your resume’. There are plenty of sources available to get the proper help.

2. Cover letters. Again boring cover letters that basically tell the reader about your past and how much you want to work for their company will get lost in the masses of other less than eye catching cover letters. The better approach is to tailor the letter to the company by matching what the company stands for, their mission and their expectations of a particular set of job requirements to the your cover letter matching point by point the company needs with how you can satisfy them.

3. Internet resources. Let’s face it this is the age of the internet and it is just as important of a resource if not more so to the job seeker as it is to anyone. Hey you are reading this aren’t you? There are a number of resources out there for the job seeker that cost little or nothing to use. One of the most powerful of these tools is the Video Introduction. This is a brief 2-3 minute video explaining your qualifications and what you do best. While this can be one of the most powerful and positive tools you can use it can also be the most damaging if it is done poorly. There are many examples floating around YOUTUBE of poorly done videos. Again it is best to seek support from a professional outfit that can provide you with the proper and professional video. There are a number of other venues to utilize most notably LinkedIn. If you have not created an account do so immediately. You might be surprised how many of your friends are already on it and using it to make contact with people in various industries and networking for the purpose of job searching.

4. Read. Yes read. Any good career coach will tell you to read the latest books on successful job hunting. At the top of my list is “Guerilla Marketing for Job Hunters” by Levinson and Perry. This is probably the most useful book out there for helping to create paradigm shift in your thinking about job searching.

5. Attitude. Maybe the most important part of the job search. There is a saying that the level of your altitude is determined by the level of your attitude. Don’t confuse that with the line “Changes in attitudes and changes in latitudes “from Jimmy Buffet. That has more to do with drinking tequila in the Florida Keys. Your attitude determines your altitude. Nothing could be more correct. If your attitude is poor you will not fly very far or very high. Maintaining a positive mental attitude is perhaps one the most important job search tools you can possess. Sometimes that seems impossible but in the face of a lot of rejection, and there will be a lot of rejection you can take some solace in the words of my old Pastor “Sometimes you have to fake it till you make it.” Truer words were never spoken. Keep the faith and dig in. Realize that it is a game of numbers. Some experts say that for every 40 contacts you make you will probably only get one to two responses. Keep that in mind. Stay true to the job at hand and keep a positive attitude. Remember to attack your job search like any "job". It is a full time job and deserves your full effort and a great attitude. No one wants to consider an applicant with a low energy level, poor attitude or a disinterested and detached presentation.

Those are the tidbits of wisdom that can get you moving in the right direction if you find yourself struggling to find a new employment opportunity. I have stated numerous times to seek professional assistance if you can. If you find yourself in Las Vegas and in need of a good career coaching firm there is only one that I feel really does the job right and they have been at the leading edge of job searching techniques and that is Harrington and Reed. Just make sure that your career coach provides the level of service that Harrington and Reed do. CEO Chris Jenkins is a regular columnist for the Las Vegas Review Journal newspaper and is featured every Sunday. If you can get a hold of a copy of the Sunday RJ do so and get some great free tips from Chris. Visit their website and use it as a benchmark when searching for a career coach in other areas of the country.
Look for more on this subject coming your way.