The quest for a new position can seem to be a very lonely mission. We stare at unsympathetic screens. We call people and get voice mail greetings, some of which never go beyond the leaving of a message. We apply online and instantly get pre-written replies pulled off the cybershelf. It is like we are flying solo at a time of anxiety and vulnerability. Is there anyone out there who needs ME?
You are not alone.
· You have the Career Resource Center community with you, all the way. Advisors, Specialists, Program Presenters and fellow members are a part of your CRC family. When the pandemic ebbs, that community will be easier to sense, but it is there right now.
· Friends and former colleagues know who you are and what you can do. Chances are, they have a lot of respect for you and your abilities. They are with you; all they need is for you to open the door to restore contact.
· You probably have family members who are pulling for you. They just don’t know how they can be helpful.
When we leave former jobs, we want to prove we can solve this problem ourselves. We polish our resumes, find online lists of openings, and surf the internet day in and day out. By ourselves. We apply. We go through screening telephone calls and, if lucky, some in-person or Zoom-type interviews.
Unless we are fortunate enough to make a productive connection with a potential employer, this quickly gets old. That is often the time that people turn to CRC for help.
One of our very first pieces of advice is to get other people engaged. When that happens, you are no longer alone.
“Networking” doesn’t describe this approach well: People attach different meanings to the word. Many think that it means going to “networking” events. Many think it means “reaching out” to friends and sending them your resume. But none of those activities get people engaged. It’s when they are engaged that they can find ways to be helpful and then your loneliness disappears.
Make sure your acquaintances know you are not asking them to help you find a job. The obligatory nature of that assumption interferes with the “getting engaged” process. Tell them that all you are asking for is their advice. Prepare advice-seeking questions. Don’t send your resume in advance, unless they ask for it. Try to meet face-to-face, preferably in person, but Zooming is better than telephone in building engagement. Get them to brainstorm with you on possible career and/or job directions. You will be amazed at the ideas that come up. And you will see that they are engaged.
But even more important, you will suddenly realize that your feelings of loneliness have disappeared and you have a group of allies in this jungle safari with you.
- Jack Bigelow, Communications Consultant, CRC Advisor