Job Application Rejection


There was a time in my life when I was fortunate enough to get an interview for every job I applied to. Okay, being entirely honest, I actually got selected and hired for all those jobs I applied to and was interviewed for. Hey, I thought applying for work was pretty straight forward. In retrospect, it’s a good thing that pattern didn’t last very long, because had things continued that way, I’d have made a very poor Employment Counsellor.

Over the course of my working life, I’ve applied to many jobs and not been successful. I’ve applied and heard nothing, received letters telling me the organizations have moved in different directions, been told in person and over the phone that I didn’t get jobs too. In my experience, the more I wanted a job I didn’t eventually get, the more it stung. The loss of an opportunity I was only somewhat motivated to get didn’t hurt near as much. Perhaps you’ve noticed something similar yourself?

Being rejected by an employer does damage to your self-image. It’s called your psyche; your self-perception. It’s not surprising that we should feel badly after being passed over for jobs we really want. Seeing a job ad for a position we could see ourselves doing is one thing, but once we get down to actually applying, we go from casual observer to active applicant. The more we invest in the application by conducting research, targeting our resume, writing a cover letter, having conversations with people – all in an effort to obtain the position, the more it stings when all that effort doesn’t produce the results we’d hoped for.

The solution is not what some would think; to only put in minimal effort when applying in order to minimize your losses. This is the logic I’ve heard some people use over the years. To avoid getting their hopes up and being extremely disappointed, they jus don’t get too excited or invest too much of themselves in any potential job application. Ironically, when these people do get rejected, while you think they’d be less affected than the person who goes all in on applying, they actually feel a similar level of frustration. Not only is this frustration similar in it’s impact, they are often left wondering if they’d have had a different result with some more effort on their part.

Now there’s been times in my life when I’ve been unemployed and had to go through the process of finding jobs to apply to, submitting my application, not getting hired and continuing my search with other opportunities. I have to say, I’ve never lost touch with that feeling of joyful relief that comes when you have an employer select you from the many applicants they’ve had. The degree of relief experienced seems very much related to the length of time away from employment. I have also felt immense gratitude for the jobs I’ve been hired to do after going without one for longer than I’d have liked. It’s the memory of these success following roller coaster periods of hopes and frustrations which now help me immensely in my role as an empathetic Employment Counsellor.

This is the way life goes for many people though isn’t it? The Employment Counsellor is better for having experienced the personal ups and downs of job searching, experiencing the blues personally often helps a songwriter make a connection with their music, etc.

Now, I wouldn’t want anyone to experience a prolonged job search, fraught with it’s financial, psychological and emotional hardships just so they could get a better understanding and appreciation for the process. Besides, there’s no guarantee that just going through a lengthy period of unemployment makes one more appreciative of the job they eventually land in. I’ve seen some extremely bitter people; changed negatively and intensely so because of their unemployment. Let me assure you I’ve no wish to see anyone come close to that experience.

Having this personal appreciation for being unemployed and through the course of my daily work seeing the potentially spirit crushing affect of the job search process on others, I urge you to get support. Believe me, there’s no sign of weakness in reaching out to a Job Coach, Mental Health Counsellor, Employment Specialist or Employment Counsellor. It’s not an exaggeration to say that partnering up with one or more of the above as you navigate your career exploration and job search might just save yourself. Unemployment has destroyed marriages, destroyed families, financially ruined people of their livelihoods, and broken many people’s spirits of optimism. Some have lost jobs and ended their lives too. Job loss is a serious business.

You see being isolated at a time when you’re experiencing the emotional ups and downs of being hopeful and then rejected, time and time again can stretch a person’s patience and is a genuine test of fortitude, character and emotional well-being. This isn’t a time to draw further into yourself as your normally sound judgement may become skewed. In short, you might not make good decisions when your under prolonged stress and desperate.

It doesn’t have to be me, but get yourself some support. This is a running theme of mine because I know first-hand just how important being supported is when you’re job searching. There’s so much at stake; and you my reader; yes you – the one reading this – you’re so worth it!

What Don’t You Like About Your Job?


The majority of people, I believe, would say there are pros and cons to the job they hold. While we all want jobs that bring us fulfillment, happiness and positives, here today, I want to explore the not-so-good things about the work we do.

First off, I think it’s fair to say that when the negatives in a job build up to the point where they outnumber the good, it’s definitely time to strongly consider looking for a change. Well, honestly, if it were me, I’d have started to look for a change long before I let the negatives grow to such a point where they outweighed the negative. But that’s me.

Now the negatives in a job generally fall into two categories; things we can change and things over which we have no control. Take a job where you’re working outside in all weather conditions and you have no control over the rise or drop in temperatures, you can’t control hail, rain, sleet or blazing sun, but you can of course control what you wear in such conditions to mitigate the impact of the weather on you., Then there’s the length of time you may be exposed to such conditions, and in some situations and depending on the importance of the work or whether there are deadlines to be met or not, you might not even be compelled to work until conditions improve.

For many, it’s the people that we come into contact with each day that either make or break our jobs. Work for a supportive and encouraging supervisor and you might express your thanks by willingly putting in extra effort as you go about things. On the other hand, when there’s friction between you and the boss, that heightened negative stress may be so severe you get to the point where you realize your mental and physical health aren’t worth risking any further, and you walk away.

Here’s something to think about which you may or may not have already realized; the things that you find frustrating as you go about your day may actually be the things that keep you growing, improving and keep you stimulated. Huh? How can that be? And if this is how you grow and improve yourself, maybe you’d rather not!

Ah but it’s true. Sometimes we can coast along in our jobs, doing what we’ve always done and doing them well. We don’t stretch ourselves, we’re stable and reliable. What we do is what we’ve always done and others around us have come to see us as trustworthy, capable, competent and someone they can rely on. That sounds good right? Yes, of course it does.

But then adversity hits. Something or rather some things, come along and cause a wrinkle in how we go about our job. New technology, a new policy, some additional training we’re required to undergo, some personal health concern that impacts on our stamina, or anything which puts our performance in jeopardy. Yes, it could also be a change in your supervisor, new expectations, a shake up to the team, relocation or a move by your competition that changes how you’ll go about things moving forward if you’re to survive and thrive.

It is these things with which we can become frustrated. It begins to feel like we have to invest energy coping with whatever this new annoyance is; energy that we’d rather pour into the work we’ve done, doing it the way it’s been successful for us in the past. If and when whatever is causing this frustration is confined to us alone, we might also start to worry what others might think of us; will they question our abilities to adapt and succeed? It’s different for sure when frustrations are shared by others; as in an entire organization having to overhaul and redefine their place in the market.

The key is to identify correctly what your source of frustration is and secondly identify what you might do as options to work through things and get past these frustrating days. When you’ve identified possible solutions to implement, you move to action; actually putting into place one or more of the ideas you’ve brainstormed. If your actions reduce or eliminate what you find frustrating, you carry on. If on the other hand, the frustration remains or has escalated, you go back to the ideas you brainstormed and implement another. And don’t underestimate the value of sharing what your source of frustration is with others. You might find your solution is one that has worked for others and they are only too happy to share it with you.

You may end up stronger and have added a new skill to your repertoire as you look back on the frustration of the past when it’s behind you. And if there’s truly nothing you can do to eliminate this frustration that’s affecting your health and happiness, walking away is often not a sign of your failure, but rather your intelligence in preserving your dignity, self-respect, future happiness and good health. The wisdom in knowing how much to invest as you combat your work frustrations, and when it’s time to remove yourself from the situation altogether is what it’s all about.

Go ahead then. It’s good to share! What are you finding frustrating at the moment? Or if you’d rather, what did you use to find frustrating and how did you move past it?

 

 

Job Advice: Less Computer Time


Sitting in front of a computer screen for days or weeks on end, searching job postings and applying for the occasional one with your standard resume is not the best way to go about looking for work. It’s not that looking for jobs online and applying for the odd one here and there isn’t a good activity, it’s just there’s so much more you could and should be doing to find work.

I’ve come to believe from the many conversations I’ve had with job seekers, that many do sit for hours each day, scanning their favourite job posting websites. There’s a certain irony that while they wonder why their job search isn’t successful, they keep returning to this daily routine, repeating the same behaviour that isn’t generating results. Not only is this hard to understand therefore, there are real dangers to be aware of if you’ve fallen into this pattern of behaviour.

One key danger is the solitary nature of the online job search. When it’s you and a computer screen for hours, day after day, week after week, your human interaction is restricted. About the best you can expect is a computer-generated, auto-reply from employers confirming receipt of your resume. Well, and there’s the also the computer-generated pop ups that suggest you upload your resume to the job search website so you can be notified of jobs matching your recent searches.

This lack of human interaction can prohibit the development of your people skills; and it’s these interpersonal skills that are so vitally important when you find yourself taking a phone call or being granted an interview. A prolonged job search when you only go about it 2 feet away from a computer monitor also means you have to be fairly sedentary. In other words, you’re not as physically active as is healthy. This is even more the case if, when you do set aside the computer, you pick up the remote and sit for a few more hours watching television,  troll the internet or playing a video game etc.

Eroding your people skills through lack of use can and often does increase your anxiety when you do get into situations requiring social skills. Your lack of practice might even develop quickly into panic attacks, and you’re left thinking, “When and how did I suddenly find just talking to people so nerve-wracking?”

One odd reality I’ve noticed is that today more people carry a cell phone with them than ever before. Yet, the functionality of the phone feature is not one they often use. The device is used far more for texting, using apps to interact with others by tapping on ‘like’ buttons or using handy pop up auto-generated prompts so you don’t even have to think about what to say anymore, just tap one of the word bites offered up.

Ask a job seeker to make a call to a potential employer, a reference, a contact in their network and often the reply is, “I don’t really like talking on the phone.” Unless pushed, many will do their best to put off phoning anyone but a friend. An email is far preferable than potentially talking to the same person live on the phone.

This skill of communicating effectively in a dialogue was originally thought of as being enhanced when our world shrunk with the wide-spread use of personal computers, cell phones. Some of the most prolific communicators on the web are in fact largely one-way communicators when you stop and realize much of their presence is in sending out blogs, posts and carefully edited articles. Their thousands of followers may comment and reply to comments by other followers, but real dialogue between the follower and the originator of the post is scant at best, and often non-existent.

Now to you. When did you last get out and go talk in person with someone in an effort to gather more information that would help you eventually land an interview or job? You know, dropping by a potential employer to pick up a full job description, a quarterly or annual report? When was the last time you introduced yourself to a stranger and initiated your pitch? If it’s been a while, does the prospect intimidate you? How then are you going to fare when you do land the interview you’ve been hoping for? My guess is that those dormant people skills are going to be rusty at best and you’ll wish (too late unfortunately), things went better than they did.

Pick up the phone and make some calls. What’s the worse that can happen? Cold calling is more than just phoning to see if someone is hiring. Talk with the people who have agreed to be your references. Tell them how you’re faring, and how you genuinely appreciate their support. Maybe ask if they have any leads, offer to buy them a beverage and catch up for 15 minutes during their work day.

Call someone who does what you want to do and ask for a 20 minute chat to better understand their role from the inside. Get advice on how to get in, ask them about their job and what they find interesting and rewarding. Get into a few workshops or networking events to mingle and practice conversing.

A lot of jobs are never even posted on the web – anywhere on the web. They have fewer applicants too because of it.

When It’s A Crazy Day, Roll With It!


Yesterday was one of those days, and not just for me, but for other members of my team at work.

I left home at the usual time; planning to get to work at 7:30a.m. even though I officially start at 8:00a.m. As I live 95 kilometres from work, that extra half hour is my safety buffer. In other words, anticipating any unexpected delays, I’ll still get to work on time and never put myself in the position of using distance (my choice) as an excuse for arriving late.

I opted on this one day to travel south down highway 115 all the way to Highway 401 and then drive east into Oshawa Ontario. That trip along the 401 is the route taken by commuters heading into the Greater Toronto Area, and it typically slows down just after I exit in Oshawa. Funny thing is, I don’t often go this way; and as it turns out I really shouldn’t have gone this way yesterday. I arrived 10 minutes late; 40 minutes later than my typical arrival time mind you, but only the 10 minutes because of my pattern of arriving 30 minutes early every day just in case.

Then the fun really started. On my team of 13 (including a Supervisor and Team Clerk), 4 of my Employment Counsellor colleagues were not reporting in. That’s a first; about 1/3 of the team. So you guessed it; what I thought I was doing on a Monday morning was out the window and I was called upon to facilitate a workshop with a group of young adults. I’d never done this particular workshop before, but years of facilitating upon which to fall back on had me feeling confident.

It wasn’t always this way though; not by a long shot. Many years ago when I was fairly fresh on the scene, a big change first thing in the day would have been something I’d have balked at. Becoming more flexible and having a ‘team-first’ attitude is something I developed like any other skill. Yesterday that growth and development eased any anxiety with the change in plans. After all, I realized quickly it wouldn’t just be me that was being affected but others on my team as well.

Just as I’m getting ready to begin, a colleague needed my help getting a presentation to launch using an overhead projector. Late last week our IT department was downloading an update of Office 365; could that be the reason for the situation? Anyhow it took 10 minutes to help out there and back I went.

Now really, I’ve got little to complain about. In the grand scheme of things many people have far worse days than I. And there lies the lesson; see the big picture.  It’s not always easy to do mind; in the moment when you first hear news that’s going to change your schedule, it’s easy to immediately think about your own situation and be trapped in the moment at hand. The real key to successfully transitioning from what you had planned to what you’re going to now do is to think macro; see the big picture.

I mean, I’m still getting paid, the minutes and hours will pass, everyone will survive and the missing staff will return the following day (hopefully) and life will go on. Big deal. Adapt. Stretch yourself Kelly. It’ll be good for your growth.

Here’s the thing when you get thrown curveballs; you know in the end you’ll be doing whatever it is your being asked or told to do by your Supervisor. The quicker you get on board with the news, the more time you have to prepare; and time to prepare is precisely what you’re anxious about. So accepting quickly and turning to the job at hand is the best way to succeed. It’s also being a good team member and colleague. But we don’t all deal with change – change that upsets our plans that is – well.

Today is going to be interesting. You see I’m now in another city altogether – Kingston Ontario at an Employment Forum, along with some of my colleagues. The ones who were off yesterday can’t count on four of us today, so if they call in absent, either programs get cancelled or other staff on other teams would have to pitch in as possible. Now that would be very disrupting to their days!

It’s funny how a day later, the angst of yesterday pales with the rising sun of today. Not such a big deal. Even as I write about it, I think readers like you will think it wasn’t a big deal in the first place. In the moment though, for some it can be. Ever heard of the saying, ‘This too shall pass’? No matter what is happening at any one moment that has you worried, you’ll survive it; it will pass into yesterday, last week, last month etc. and diminish with each new experience you meet.

Well, the day ended beautifully; a nice dinner for the first time with colleagues, a good night sitting around a fire with an Orange Pekoe in hand, and good conversation to boot. After a sound sleep I’m ready for the day ahead and looking forward to learning whatever I can from our Employment Forum. Sure hope there’s new and tangible things to take back and implement.

Right now however, it’s time to suit up and hit the pool for an early morning dip before breakfast. Yippee!

For The Beast To Stay Alive It Has To Feed


Anger, bitterness, resentment; hatred.

You might have cause to feel these emotions from time-to-time, but I hope you come to realize that in choosing to feel these emotions on a regular, daily basis, you choose to allow whatever, or whoever, stirred those emotions in you initially, to win. The sooner you release those feelings, you purge yourself of their power over you, and you regain your control, take back the power and live a better life.

Now that’s it in a nutshell. If you stop reading now, you’ll have the point.

Here’s the thing about anger, bitterness, resentment and downright hatred; sometimes they come into our lives and change us without us being aware we’ve changed. Of course the people around us, especially the ones closest to us, see the change, know it’s not change for the better and are sometimes powerless to help us regain our former selves.

When you carry any of these four with you, the surprising thing is how they change our body language and facial expressions, alerting those with whom we interact that we’re in a bad mood. This often causes us to look unapproachable, best left alone and then it follows that this can build even more resentment as we fail to win employment competitions, find ourselves passed over for promotions or yes, find ourselves removed from employment altogether.

How we then experience the world changes, because of how we interact with the world. One of the healthiest things an angry, resentful, bitter person can do is let go of the hatred; releasing the negativity; healthy yes but hard for many. Change as you know is hard for some people, and change for the better is no different.

Now on the outside; from the objective point-of-view of another person, it might seem easy to let it go. “Stop being so negative!” It’s not that simple though, and does telling someone to stop being negative ever really have the effect of having that other person just say, “Oh alright. Thanks”, and then immediately change happens in a snap? No.

Change; real, lasting change in this case, only occurs when the person holding the anger, bitterness, resentment and hatred let’s it go. In order to let it go, there has to be some motivation to release it, something they realize they want more than they want the negativity. Again, it sounds obvious. Choose not to be so negative and you attract the positive to your everyday life. Yet, not easily done.

Much of the time there’s an element of forgiveness that immediately precedes the release of these four emotions above. The last thing however that an angry person who holds resentment and bitterness towards a hated individual wants to do is turn around and forgive them. No, often these are the very things that feed the feelings. It’s true you know; for the beast to stay alive it has to feed.

So you’ll find looking from the outside in that angry people carry that anger to new situations. They have short fuses and little tolerance for others who they have no reason not to like. At the same time they can want to have fresh beginnings and new starts in new environments yet bring all the anger, bitterness, resentment and hatred with them and when what they experience is the same as earlier poor situations, they mistakenly believe the world has changed for the worse. It hasn’t of course, it’s just how they interact with and experience it.

If this were an easy thing to change, these periods would be short-lived. However, as letting go through forgiveness can be so very hard for some, these four traits can rob a person of a life of happiness. Should that anger, resentment and bitterness spread to others and stir the hatred in them, it can become infectious and linger to become generational.

But for our purpose, let’s keep the mirror with only us in it. Look at a yourself in a mirror – not figuratively but literally – and what strikes you? Do you see defiance, anger, hostility and resentment? How easy or hard is it for you to bring a smile to the face you see and when you do, does that face smiling back at you hold a genuine smile or a sneer of disgust?

While change is hard – even change for the better – it’s possible; possible always. If it’s you holding the grudges and the anger, there’s got to be something occur that becomes the catalyst for change. It’s highly unlikely you just wake up one day and say, “Huh, I think I’ll embrace positivity from now on.” If you’re lucky, you might have others who see the good in you stick by you long enough to be around when you make the change. However, often the catalyst I referred to earlier that precedes real change in the direction of positivity only happens when you lose the ones that mean the most to us. They tire of the anger, frustration, bitterness, resentment, universal hatred and though it hurts them to do it, they move on.

Choosing what to feed – and it is a choice – determines how we shape ourselves and therefore how we experience the world in which we live. It’s therefore not so much what the world is doing to us but rather, what we bring to the world around us. Choose.

Getting Job Search Feedback


If you’ve looked for employment recently, I imagine you’ve found how challenging it has become. What with the introduction of Applicant Tracking Software (ATS), online applications, the trend of more organizations hiring through Recruiters and Temporary agencies exclusively; it’s just much more involved than it ever used to be.

Gone are the days where a labourer could show up at a job site and offer to work for a day and show what he could do. Gone are the days where you could walk into a place with a Help Wanted sign in the window and after a short talk be hired on the spot.

I’m not saying these are necessarily good or bad changes in the way people got hired, but things have definitely changed. Construction companies can’t hire those that just walk onto a site for insurance reasons, and most stores with help wanted signs in the windows will refuse to take resumes in person; most often directing potential applicants to leave and apply online.

Now the other situation the average job seeker has to deal with is an issue of volume. There’s a lot of people at the moment out of work and there’s a sizeable number of people holding down a job at present who are hungry for a new one. Add the two together and you’ve got a highly competitive job market. Oh and to add to the numbers, people who would normally be made to retire at 65 are now able (in Canada at any rate) to work well beyond that threshold with no mandatory retirement age.

Now of course much depends on the factors affecting your personal job search. Some include: the sector you’re trying to find a job in, the region or area in which you live, your mobility, your education and how dated it is, experience, attitude, your networking skills, use of social media, physical health and of course your job search skills. These are some of the factors but definitely not all of them.

As I’ve said many times before, job searching takes stamina. It is likely you’ll be passed over in favour of other applicants several times in your quest for employment, until you are ultimately successful. Mentally preparing yourself to be ready for this experience is good advice; but yes, even then, anyone can feel the pain of rejection.

One of the biggest frustrations for many is the lack of feedback they receive. In applying for a job you may not even get contacted whatsoever, or you may get an interview and no further; no second interview, no job offer and worse I suppose, no further contact. What went wrong? How can you be expected to note a problem and improve without feedback? You invested in the application and the interview, haven’t you got a right to the courtesy of contact and yes, some feedback on how to improve your odds at getting a better result next time?

In other situations we find ourselves in where there’s a test or an evaluation process we count on that feedback. The Driving Test Instructor will tell us why we failed to get our licence, teachers will point out which questions on a test we got wrong. Professors will illustrate where our essays were lacking, a Real Estate Agent will point out what we might do to improve our odds of marketing our homes. In these and other situations, we get valuable information from those who rate our efforts so we can take that information and use it however we see fit.

The job interview though, well, not so much. There was a time when organizations did give feedback. However these days, there are far more applicants for every job advertised. There’s no way they will take the time and money to offer each person personalized feedback. Nor by the way, do they want to expose themselves to potential problems by having that well-intended feedback come back on them in some form of legal action – and yes, some rejected job applicants have taken this route and sued over the feedback they did get in the past.

So, expect that you’ll have many jobs to apply to before you achieve the desired results you want, and don’t expect to get the feedback you’d appreciate along the way. This job search therefore, will need discipline and stamina. It’s going to be tempting to pack it in, get beyond frustrated and annoyed to the point where you become bitter and disillusioned. Well, you can quit and make it easier for your competition or you can stick with it and work harder.

I would strongly suggest however that if you are in this situation, you do one key thing for yourself; pay a professional to check your current job search skills and most importantly give you advice and suggestions on how to best market yourself both in the application and interview phases.

I know, it’s tough advice to hear – paying someone to help you when you’re already out of work and lacking an income. However, if you get the valuable feedback you’re not getting from the organizations who hire, your new awareness will allow you to change your approach and this could shorten the length of time you’re out of work considerably. So do at least consider the option.

A sincere wish for success in your personal job search, whatever you choose to do.

 

 

Job Hunting: DIY Or Use An Expert?


What would you call someone who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area? If you answered, ‘Expert’, you’re correct.

So you want a job. You can go about the job search process in several ways – and this is pretty much true of wanting anything actually. You can go about things yourself in a DIY (do it yourself) fashion, you can work with someone who isn’t an expert in job searching but is good at other things or yes, you can work with an expert in the particular area of looking for employment.

Now there are a lot of people who, no matter the job to be done, size up the situation and figure, “it can’t be that complicated, I’ll just do it myself. Why bring in an expert?” Think of that small bathroom or basement renovation you started two years ago last September. You plan on being finished one day but you’re either a perfectionist or a procrastinator. Or perhaps you did indeed finish the project, only to stand back and in taking things in, see the errors you made. Not bad for a do-it-yourself job, but by no means as good as someone who makes their livelihood out of doing renovations on a full-time basis. So are you the person who settles for, ‘not bad’ over ‘I love it!”?

Sometimes the easier things look, the more inclined we are to believe that anyone can do it. Take the résumé. It looks easy enough. I mean, it’s just words on paper, and with only a small bit of searching on the internet anyone can find resume templates and so it would seem a pretty simple matter to make one. As for the interview help, again, Bing and Google are logical places to look. I mean, doesn’t everybody turn to the internet for expert advice these days?

Of course the other place people turn for great advice and help is the people they know best and trust. The logic here is that your best friends wouldn’t steer you wrong and take advantage of you, and they are pretty good at their job as a Customer Service Agent. So it’s a pretty logical step in your opinion to imagine they must know a thing or two about looking for a job; after all they have one right?

For some reason however, few people tend to give the Employment Specialists their due. I suppose it does look easy. Dash off a résumé and send it in, sit back and see if you get an interview. Then go to the interview, do your best to answer the questions asked and then sit back and hope you get hired. Sooner or later you’ve got to get Lady Luck on your side; it’s just a question of probabilities; throw a lot out there and something has to work eventually.

Me? I’m an expert in my field. Sure go on and roll your eyes. I’m not an expert in everything; nor am I an expert in many things. When it comes to resume writing, cover and rejection letters, interview preparation, presentation skills etc.; yes, this is where I have an authoritative and comprehensive knowledge. It isn’t bragging; I can back it up with proof. Look, you’re the expert at what you do, so why doesn’t it stand to reason I can be an expert at something as well?

To we Employment Coaches, Employment Counsellors, Resume Experts etc., it’s interesting to see how many people approach us only after they’ve had a lengthy period of mixed results or downright failures. Then when learning some new ideas and reaching some small accomplishments turns into ultimately being successful and landing employment, we often hear, “I wish I’d come to you a long time ago! I could have saved myself a lot of frustration.” Maybe a person needs to tackle things themselves and see what they are capable of doing before turning to an expert – if only to appreciate the difference an expert can make.

Here’s something to consider though; if you’re going to use the services of an expert, you’d better be ready to get to work. Two weeks ago I met a woman who’s last job interview was in 1998. 1998! She applied for 3 jobs after some coaching and landed not one but two interviews. Of those two interviews, she got a job offer on one which she’s accepted and the other one has yet to short-list their candidates. While happy, she commented just yesterday to me, “I didn’t think it would happen this fast!”

Then there is another woman I worked with over the same two weeks. 64 years old, and she not only secured a job last Friday, she’s got another interview today plus she’s made the short-list for her dream job in two weeks time. Suddenly she’s going from desperation to interviewing with leverage; any new job offer has to beat what she’s already doing.

Yet, looking for a job appears so easy doesn’t it? Why call on an expert or consider paying someone to do what you could do for yourself or get your best friend to do for you? Hey if you do it yourself and it works, I applaud you. You’ve either got lucky or you’ve got the required skills.

However, if you want to get results with a higher probability of success, reach out to an Expert in the field near you.

 

No Job Interviews? Here’s Your Problem


So the assumption here is that you’re applying for jobs and you’re not getting anywhere; no interviews. Without being invited to the job interview, you’re not getting offers, and so you feel increasingly frustrated and discouraged. It would seem to make no sense at all to just keep on plugging away doing the same thing and expecting different results. To see a change in things – the result being you land interviews and do well enough to get offered a job – you’re going to need a change in how you go about things.

If you don’t like the idea of doing things differently from what you’re doing now, stop reading. So we’re clear here, a change in things means putting in the work to get the outcome you’re after. Hence, if you’re not ready to put in that effort, again, stop reading here.

To begin with, you need an independent and objective look at how you’re going about applying for jobs. If you’re mass producing a single resume and submitting it to all the jobs you apply to, the good news is we’ve quickly discovered one major thing you need to change. That was how you applied for jobs back in the 90’s when there were more jobs and fewer people to compete with for them. Today you need a résumé that differs each and every time you submit it. No more photocopying; no more mass printings.

As I’ve said time and time again, employers are generous enough to give away most if not all the job requirements in the job postings you’ll find these days. Any résumé they receive and check must therefore clearly communicate that the applicant has the qualifications, experience and soft skills they are looking for. It’s no mystery; a targeted resume (one that is made specifically for the single job you are applying to and never duplicated for another) will advance your chances.

Now are you writing a cover letter? This is something you’ll get differing perspectives on from Employment Coaches, Recruiters, Company Executives and Employment Counsellors. Some will say you should include them while others say the cover letter is dead. Unless the employer specifically asks you NOT to include one, my vote goes with including one. Why? The cover letter sets up the résumé, shows your ability to communicate effectively, tells the reader both why you are interested in the job with the organization, what you’ll bring, how enthusiastic you are about the opportunity and why you’re uniquely qualified.

Whether or not you go with the cover letter, please make sure you get your résumé and / or cover letter proofread by someone who has the skills to pick out improper spelling and poor grammar. Also, even if the grammar and spelling are correct, it might not be communicating what you really want to say. Unfortunately then, it could be doing you more harm than good; especially when applying for employment in positions where you’d be creating correspondence yourself, such as an Office Administrative professional.

Once you have applied for employment, what else – if anything – are you doing to stand out from the other applicants you’re up against? If your answer is nothing; that you wait by the phone for them to call if they are interested in you, well then you’ve just identified another area you need to up your game. Following through with employers indicates a sincere personal motivation to land that interview. After the interview, further follow-up is advised to again separate yourself from those who do nothing. In other words, how bad do you want it?

Recently, someone I know applied for a job and then took the steps of actually job shadowing someone in the role with a different organization so they could gain first-hand experience themselves. While this is a great idea, they failed to communicate this to the employer they were actually hoping to work for. So this initiative went unknown, as did their sincere interest in landing the job. In short, they just looked like every other applicant; applying and then sitting at home waiting.

Look, there are a lot of people who will claim to be resume experts, cover letter writers extraordinaire and so it’s difficult for the average person to know the real professionals from the pretenders. Just because someone works with a reputable organization doesn’t make them immediately credible. Some pros charge for their investment of time working on your behalf while others offer their services free of charge as their paid via the organizations they work for. You don’t always get what you pay for as I’ve seen some $500 resumes that had spelling errors and layout issues that won’t pass software designed to edit them out of the process.

Do your homework. More important than anyone you might enlist to help you out is the effort you yourself are ready to invest. If you’re happy to pay someone to do your résumé and you don’t have an interest in sitting down with them to give advice yourself and learn from the process, don’t be surprised if you still don’t get the results you want. Should you actually get an interview, with no time invested in learning how to best interview, you’ll likely fall short of actually getting the offer.

Applying for employment today takes time and effort, but the payoff is the job you want. Make the effort; put in the work.

Fed Up Being Unemployed


Okay let’s start with the premise that you’re fed up. I mean you’ve grown so frustrated with trying to get a meaningful job that pays well that it’s left you confused on how to succeed and bitter. It seems no matter what you tried in the past, no matter who you applied to for a job, in the end the result was the same; you’re not wanted.

Seems to me that hearing the message, “Just keep trying” rings kind of hollow. How many times can you be expected to keep at it hoping for a better result? So you give up. Then after having packed it in you start feeling that it’s worth it to try again. Why? Usually it’s because the life you’ve got at the moment isn’t the one you want for yourself; you deserve better and you’re motivated to try again until you ultimately succeed or you give up once more.

Maybe you’d be open to hearing a few words of encouragement? If so, I’d like to offer you some. I suppose the first thing I’d like to say is that it is a good sign that you aren’t content to keep living the way your are now. That feeling that you want more is the seed of Hope that’s buried deep in your core. ‘Hope’ my dear reader, is at the core of so many people’s thoughts who push off from some known shore for the great journey’s they embark on. Hope is what causes them to leave the safe and known for the uncertainty and yet-to-be discovered.

Now keeping with that image of some adventurer embarking on a journey; the early stages of a journey involve traveling through the norm. The sailor who sets to some unknown land far away first has to get beyond the waters that are well chartered. The hiker deviating from some known path had to first hike what they knew to get to the point where they chose something previously passed up on.

It’s the same with you and your job search. You rely on what you know when it comes to looking for a job until you come across some better way of going about it. This makes absolute sense. However, just like the hiker and the explorer decided at some point to do something they’d never before done, it also stands to reason that you should do something you’ve never done if you expect the results to be more satisfying than you’ve experienced. Going about looking for a meaningful job the way you’ve gone about it in the past is likely to end with similar results; results you don’t want to experience again.

It’s important to realize that you’re not at fault or to blame for going about things the way you are; even if you later realize a number of mistakes you are made. After all, until someone introduces a better way, a more effective way of getting you where you want to be, the only way you’d have succeeded entirely on your own is through trial and error, until you lucked out on whatever works. That seems pretty high risk and could take a long time.

So it seems like you have a choice to make; do things the way you’ve always done them assuming this is how everybody goes about looking for work or, open yourself up to getting help and direction from someone who knows a better way. That ‘better way’ by the way, is likely going to involve some effort on your part in two ways. One, you have to pause long enough to be open to learning the new way and two you have to be willing to give it a shot and carry out what you learn.

Keep something in mind will you? When you’re learning something new you will likely feel the urge to just get going and apply, apply, apply! But throwing your résumé around everywhere hasn’t worked to this point has it? Pausing to learn, being taught something new isn’t  everybody’s idea of a good time. You might be the kind of person that finds sitting down and being taught how to go about looking for work in 2017 is really pushing your limits. Do it anyhow. Seriously; you want a different result don’t you? Sure you do. This is the price you pay for success.

Look you deserve a decent job. You probably aren’t going to end up running some major corporation or discovering the cure for Cancer. That you want to improve your lot in Life however, do something you find personally meaningful and make a future that’s better than the present is commendable. And if I may add, you’re worth it; we all are.

You should seriously think then about reaching out for help. Where to start though? Check in with just about any Social Services organization in your local community. If you’re not in the right place, a few phone calls will likely get you pointed in the right direction. Best news is that the help you need is likely free. Sit down with open ears and a good attitude and do something you haven’t done yet; give yourself over to their expertise. If it works, great. If the chemistry doesn’t work, try someone else.

When you decide to improve things and then act, you’re already becoming the successful person you envision.

 

 

A Key Mistake Frustrated Jobseekers Make


Your own experience with job searching could be that it doesn’t take you long to find the right kind of employment. I can recall times in my life when applying for work was rather easy and it seemed like every job I applied to I was granted an interview; but that was back in the 80’s.

These days, looking for work has changed dramatically. With more people unemployed, the emergence of technology (especially with the rise of online applications and applicant tracking software) and many more jobs with unique titles than at any time in history, I’d be greatly surprised if you didn’t find it increasingly frustrating.

No matter what job or career you are after, it’s understandable at some point that you start to wonder if the position you are chasing is the problem. The thoughts that nag at your consciousness are, “I just need a job; any job!”, “What other jobs can I do?” “Will I ever work again?” Pretty soon you find yourself questioning your qualifications, skills and experience as with the passing of time these are getting further and further outdated.

It’s around this time that some people make what is in my opinion – a poor decision. This decision is made at a time when they are vulnerable, not thinking clearly and their self-confidence is battered and bruised. The decision I’m talking about is going from a very streamlined and focused job search to a completely wide open buck shot job search.

Rather than gradually expanding on the jobs or career originally set out to obtain, the person widens their job search to include all manner of jobs. This dramatic change in approach is extremely dangerous even if in the immediate short-term it seems like a good move.

First of all you’ve probably got other people alerted to your job search and keeping their ears and eyes open. You don’t want to confuse those people and have them stop looking to help you by telling them you are now just looking for anything. They may be making inquiries on your behalf wit their own contacts and the companies they work for and feel less inclined to vouch for your abilities and interest if they find out you’re no longer committed to a specific career or field.

Next consider the possibility of landing some job you applied to out of sheer desperation. So now you’re working as a Barista for a large coffee company chain making minimum wage instead of being a Production Manager in the Food Service Industry. While it felt great to find jobs you could apply to and to have received a positive call offering you an interview, you wonder why it didn’t feel as wonderful when they actually offered you the job itself. And here, on your third day, you’re already starting to wonder, “Is this it? Is this my life now? What have I done?”

Of course there’s nothing wrong with a job as a Barista for those who seek it out as a desirable position. There’s nothing wrong too with expanding your job search when you either can’t find jobs to apply to that are an exact match for your qualifications and interests or you are having zero success in getting interviewed for. The real art of the thing is to expand the job search to include jobs which are similar or close to the job you ideally want, but not so much that you lose your focus.

Now you’ll get varying opinions on exactly how much time and effort you should put into looking for that ideal job. Some advice you hear may be to keep your focus 100% on your dream job and make no compromises. Others might suggest you set some arbitrary deadline such as three or six months; and if you’re unsuccessful, only then widen your job search.

For me personally, I would have to know you, the job you’re after, the market for that job in the community you live in, whether it’s entry, mid or a senior level job you’re after. I’d have to know you too and your attitude, financial health, stamina for a long job search, emotional and mental health needs in order to advise you personally on how long to commit to the job you’re ideally after.

Consider that when you are so ticked off you’re expanding on what you’ll look for, you may need to do so in order to pay your rent or mortgage, car insurance payments, gas or public transit money and of course eating well and staying healthy. Others out of work have significant savings set aside that they can utilize to offset the impact of a lengthy job search.

My general advice however is that before you go from a structured and focused job search to, “I’ll take anything”, just broaden your narrow job search goal a little. Can you for example consider taking a job in the same field, even if it’s not your dream job? If you did, you’d be getting somewhat relevant experience and would be able to apply for internal jobs.

If you can identify the company you want to work for long-term, can you apply for and accept an entry-level position (even part-time) doing something completely different but at least for the same employer? This could also give you the chance to become known, network and see internal jobs.

All the best with your decision-making to come.