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Cut the Mental Clutter: Believe in Your Executive Career Success

Cut the Mental Clutter: Believe in Your Executive Career Success

We all get bogged down by the daily demands of our jobs–so when busy executives need to add job search to their list of things to do, no wonder they can get frustrated or overwhelmed. I wanted to take a moment to remind you to celebrate the things that you do succeed in, knowing that your faith in yourself might be all it takes to actualize success.

Visualize Your Success

Even if on the face of it this sounds a bit corny, visualizing your own success can change your mindset. I’m not a believer in the idea that if you simply will something to happen, then you control the outcome. But I am a great believer in de-cluttering your mental cache of musts and have-tos, so that you have the bandwidth to create your success. From an executive job search perspective, this might take the form of identifying ways to delegate to free up a few minutes at the beginning or end of your day, so you can make that phone call to a connection who just might be the right one to help you. For others, going for a run or taking the dog on a long walk to nowhere, just to clear your head and give yourself a bit of a mental vacation, might be just the thing to recharge your mind.

Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative

One of the hardest mental hurdles to overcome is not letting the one rotten thing that happened in a day or week crowd out the dozens of other situations in which you saved the day, made someone else’s job easier, brightened someone’s morning with a kind word, and so on. We all seem to have a terrible tendency to let the one mishap of the week destroy our self-confidence, if not our self-image. Don’t let the ever-present devil perched on your shoulder tell you how to think about yourself. Remember the good that you do and the successes you create personally and professionally–make a written list and post it on your monitor if you have to.

Recognize Where You Fall Short–But Create Action Plans to Build Yourself Up

Nobody’s perfect, and sometimes you will fall short of your goals. Maybe you feel like you didn’t quite get through to a networking contact. Perhaps you didn’t apply for a choice position before the deadline. Maybe you let your executive job search go for a week or two while you handled some pressing issues that simply couldn’t wait. These things happen, but do not beat yourself up over them. Instead, try to do a 10-second gap analysis between what you did do and what you, with 20/20 hindsight, wish you had done. Maybe you need to refine your marketing message or elevator pitch, so that you come across with more power and precision when you next reach out to a connection about your executive job search. Perhaps you need to put all of your job search deadlines in a private calendar on your phone, complete with 24-hour reminders to keep you on task. It could be that you have to put some “give” in your schedule, because your career is demanding, and you can’t possibly be in two places at once every day of your week.

Conclusion: Allow Yourself Some Breathing Room

If you’ve read this far, you probably could use some time and space to regroup, get your calendar in order, and create a plan that you feel good about. The first item on your list should always be permission to forgive yourself if you’re not speeding through an executive job search. The remainder of your list should focus on the ways you can build yourself up by creating achievable, short-term action items. In this way, you’ll find that a number of small, achievable tasks that push you through your executive job search ultimately will propel you into the executive career satisfaction you need. Always know that you have a job search partner if you need one. Call me at 801-810-5627; I’m happy to be your sounding board.

Your Online Strategy to Finding a Job–No Matter What the Economy

Today’s Yahoo! Homepage highlighted an article entitled “Disappearing Jobs: High-Paying Careers With No Future.” I read this article with interest, as I’m always working to get my clients into positions that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to achieve. A variety of sources suggest that as many as 80% of jobs are found through networking—you’ll be the wise and strategic job candidate if you take advantage of online networking resources to improve your professional presence.

Professional Sectors on the Outs as the Economy Shrinks

This article pointed out that so many positions are disappearing due to specific factors, namely offshoring of positions, budget cuts, and the distributed approach to work.

Of note:

  • Domestic production facilities are losing market presence, so much of our factory work is going to cheaper international sites.
  • The value of true journalism (and writing in general) is slowly waning due to the instantaneous availability of online news and blogs.
  • Travel agencies are disappearing, as online sources enable individuals to plan their own travels and trips easily and cheaply—without the middle man.

Narrow the Distance Between You and Job Search Success—No Matter What the Economy

The question that remains, then, is this: What if you happen to be a travel agent, or a production manager, or (gasp!) a writer? What can you do if you need to get a new job in this failing economy in sectors that are slowly drying up?

The answer is this: Be the best you can be at what you do. The likelihood that every position in these and other industries is going to disappear is slender. But that means that in your job search, you have to be tactical and strategic in your job search technique.

You can up your ante in the job search process by engaging in several steps that will put you head and shoulders above the other candidates who are also seeking choice jobs.

Your Online Strategy to Improving Your Access to Choice Positions

  1. Network, network, network—the In-Person Strategy. Yes, we’re talking about online strategy. But all good networking starts with in-person contacts. This means putting yourself out there, even if you’re an introvert. Go to industry-related events, and bring your business cards. Ask your friends if they know someone at your targeted company. If you’re a recent graduate or new to the job market, enlist the help of your professors. And then ask those you’ve networked with for recommendations on additional contacts you should be making. And make them.
  2. Network, network, network—the Online Strategy. Build out your online profile, particularly with LinkedIn. If you’re not findable, you’re invisible, so make sure that your profile addresses the type of professional you are in the industry in which you want to work.
  3. Online Profile Development. Infuse your online presence not only with your expertise but with your personality. Additionally, take advantage of all the great options that LinkedIn has to offer. Use their apps. Move bits of your profile around. And absolutely create a vanity URL—it’s an option in your profile settings. By doing so, your profile will be associated with your name (mine’s amyladler), not a meaningless series of letters and numbers.
  4. Other Online Venues: Facebook and Twitter. Use them to your advantage. A jobseeker can post what he needs, what he’s doing, and with whom he wants to network. I’m always amazed by the great responses I get to my Twitter posts—all at 140 characters per microblog.
  5. MySpace. For kids. Not worth your time and effort relative to your job search.
  6. Google yourself. You’d be wise to Google yourself to see what turns up. If by some chance you’ve got the same name as a convicted felon (I’ve heard of this happening), you’re not going to get the offer, no matter how good your experience is or how well your interview went. Circumvent any trouble by ensuring that your online name is unique. For example, if your name happens to be John E. Smith, you might want to clarify your online presence with a new moniker: J. Ezra Smith, perhaps. Use this name online, on your resume, and in uploaded job applications, so you won’t be confused with others.
  7. Google others. You can be sure your prospective hiring manager is looking for you. When you have the name of the person with whom you’ll be interviewing, you’d be wise to research that person as well.

True, these strategies will work for you no matter what your industry. But if you’re trying to find a job in a flagging industry, you will be wise to work the online system in a stringent, strategic manner to ensure that you are beating out the hundreds of other candidates competing for the same jobs. But, if the Bureau of Labor Statistics data cited by the Yahoo! article rings true, even though the numbers of positions available in these industries might be shrinking, their salaries are still high. Be wise, and prepare now for ever-increasing competition with a clearly defined online job search strategy.

Amy L. Adler, Career Search Strategist, is the president and founder of Inscribe / Express, a career search strategy and resume writing company. She prepares resumes, cover letters, post-interview thank you letters, executive profiles, and other critical career documents that get interviews for savvy job seekers. Contact Amy at (801) 810-JOBS.

What Do You Need in a Job Search Emergency? How Not to Be a Discouraged Worker

I recently wrote a blog post about the the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s (BLS) reporting on discouraged workers. This article received a fair amount of traffic—I learned from my search statistics that jobseekers are feeling pretty discouraged. Read on: Don’t become just another “discouraged worker” statistic. Instead, start preparing today to searching actively for your next great position.

What Does This Stat Mean to the Job Seeker?

Data on displaced workers are collected from a special supplementary survey conducted every 2 years. Displaced workers are defined as persons 20 years of age and older who lost or left jobs because their plant or company closed or moved, there was insufficient work for them to do, or their position or shift was abolished.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reports of a variety of unemployment data, the number of discouraged workers has risen dramatically over the last 15 years, as the following chart represents (in thousands):

Discouraged Worker Statistics 1994-2009

Discouraged Worker Statistics 1994-2009

This year’s dramatic rise in average number of discouraged workers to about 600,000 greater than its next greatest value is a testament to exactly one thing, and it doesn’t have anything to do with being displaced. It means that you need to get your job search emergency equipment in gear, so that you can feel confident that you are ready, at a moment’s notice, to get your search started if or when your company lays you off.

Why Does This Stat Matter?

For you and me, that means that if you or I lose or left our jobs because of the downsizing that is a manifestation of our economic slowdown, we’re “discouraged workers.” If you’ve already been crushed in the economic avalanche, you are probably already feeling mighty discouraged. And whether you’re digging yourself out or watching the crumbling rocks bearing down on you, you need to have an emergency job search toolkit to minimize your lost work hours and lost salary.

Your job search toolkit should include:

  • Updated resume—with lots of references to your accomplishments.
  • Cover letter—and not the “Please accept this letter in application for” subtype.
  • LinkedIn profiled—up to 80% of hiring managers say they use social media.
  • Post-interview thank you letter—see my blog post on why you can’t forget the post-interview thank you letter.

Need some help assembling your jobsearch toolkit? Don’t get discouraged—just call me. I can help you get the materials you need, so you’re ready to start your job search.

Amy L. Adler is the president and founder of Inscribe / Express, a resume and career documentation company focusing on the health care and information technology industries. She prepares resumes, cover letters, post-interview thank you letters, executive profiles, and other critical career documents on behalf of clients at all levels of employment. Credentialed as a Certified Advanced Resume Writer, Amy has earned a Master of Business Administration in Information Technology and Strategic Management as well as a Master of Arts in Publishing. Contact Amy at (801) 810-JOBS or .