“Mary, we appreciate your 15 years of service, but the company is making some changes and going in a new direction. Your last day will be Friday. Human Resources will be in touch with you later today.” That was it.
Friday came. A box was packed. At 5pm Mary turned off the lights and closed the door. Done!
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday came and went except for a few calls from some of her coworkers who were in disbelief she was gone and wishing her well.
One former colleague, Vickie, who had recently conducted a successful job search did call to offer Mary guidance.
“Mary, of course, you’ll have to decide what it is you want to do. You will have to create a new resume and update your LinkedIn profile. You will have to learn to network and search online for positions. You’ll have to get better at interviewing.”
But Vickie also talked to Mary about FIVE psychological barriers that she encountered during her search and the steps she had taken to overcome them.
# 1. Failure to Ask for Help from the Start
DON’T try to take the job search on alone. You may not have looked for a job in years. You are not an expert in the various aspects of the job search.
DO seek out assistance from individuals and organizations (Career Resource Center) who have experience and expertise assisting in all aspects of your search.
#2. Failure to Manage Your Time Each Day
DON’T fall victim to distractions whether it is getting involved in home improvement projects, getting lost in mindless social media or getting hooked on 5 seasons of a Netflix series.
DO begin your week with a written plan. Make this a habit. Ask yourself, what key initiatives do I need to take to get me closer to my goal of getting a great job? Work in 45-minute blocks to start. It is better to spend 4 focused hours on the search than 8 hours filled with interruptions.
#3. Failure to “Sharpen the Saw” and Reevaluate Your Approach
DON’T continue taking the same approach over and over, week after week if it is not working. If your LinkedIn profile is not generating interest then revaluate. If you are not getting interviews after applying online to hundreds of jobs then reevaluate
DO block out time to assess what is and is not working with your search. Do you need to change the keywords in your LinkedIn headline to get recruiters’ attention? Do you need to prepare better answers to the most common interview questions? Do you feel you are not managing your time effectively? If you lack initiative, ask yourself why and put a plan in place.
#4. Failure to Believe in Yourself and the Value You Offer an Organization
DON’T let temporary setbacks create self-doubt. Too much self-analysis can lead to paralysis. Calls that are not returned, emails with no response, multiple interviews with a company but no job offer will happen.
DO recognize that you have a unique set of skills, strengths, and accomplishments and that there is an organization who desperately needs you but does not know you are out there. Spend time creating SAR stories (Situation/Action/Result) of your accomplishments. These will build your confidence, enhance your resume, and make you more effective during interviews.
#5. FAILURE to Keep a Positive Mindset
DON’T fall victim to irrational fears such as What if I never find a job? What if nobody wants to hire me? What if I get an offer that is not ideal? What if I get nervous during the interview? Do not fall victim to negative thoughts.
DO start every day with a plan. Make sure to keep reaching out and avoid isolation. When in doubt, ask yourself “what is the next right thing I should do that will increase my chances of securing a great job”. Remember to also reach out to others who may need your assistance. Set aside time for motivational videos and books. Take a course to improve or enhance your skills.
So, ask for help. Plan your schedule and manage your time. Change your approach if your efforts are continually failing to deliver results. Recognize you have much to offer and do not fall victim to self-doubt. Be resilient and persevere. Continue working hard even after experiencing difficulty or failure. Oh, and be sure to take time each day to celebrate even the small successes!
- Brent White, CRC Board Member and Advisor