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Monday Rx: Change Your Job Search Strategy If…

You have often heard the saying, “If you always do what you have always done, you will continue getting what you have always gotten”, or something close. If that sounds like you and your job search or your career, then you may want to reconsider your strategy, regardless of your status or what stage of the job search game you are at.

Consider this story:

A Mom wrote me on September 8, and said, “My daughter has taken a year off before going to college and she desperately needs a job.  She has been job hunting, but her lack of experience is a real hindrance.  She is now very discouraged.  Could you spare some time to talk to her on the phone in the next few days?”

On September 10, I contacted the young lady – all of 17 years old – and asked her to explain to me what she had been doing. After our initial conversation, I suggested she did things differently. Since she had never worked before, I gave her a research assignment to visit several locations in her area – Tim Hortons, McDonalds, Starbucks, Canadian Tire, among others. She was to observe the surroundings, how the employees behaved, how they treated customers and generally be alert for other things that were taking place. She was also to make notes of her observations. In addition, she should write down comments that people frequently made about her – her punctuality, reliability, leadership skills, etc. Lastly, she should create a list of some of her own qualities.

With the information from her research, we created a one page hybrid of a cover letter and résumé and I asked her to customize each to fit the companies she was targeting. She was to write what she observed on her visits, what was going well and how she could add value as their next employee. Remember, she had little to go on in the first place.

On September 15, she responded by saying: This is incredibly helpful! I’ve been applying to places all week so tomorrow I will follow up with all the companies to which I applied. I will keep you updated on how that goes.”

What a difference in her mood in five days! On September 23, she wrote: “Hi Mrs. Wright, I just want to say thank you for all your advice and help. I really appreciate it. I received my first job yesterday – full time hostess at Red Lobster. I’m ecstatic!”

Entry-level students are not my usual clientele, but I deviated from the norm with this young lady. What I found is that a change of strategy works, whether one is an entry-level job seeker or a more seasoned professional, but it requires commitment and perseverance. Who would’ve imagined that in a such a tough job market, a 17 year-old who had never previously worked could change her job search strategy and find success within 13 days?

How about you? Is your job search strategy working for you, or is it time to go back to the drawing board and tweak it a bit? Contact me if you need some assistance!

 

Image source: Google

Monday Morning Rx: Conviction & Commitment Come First

How many times have you started something, then dropped it mid-way? It could be a hobby that you are passionate about, or a coaching program that fell by the wayside. It could even be a course you wanted to pursue to make you more marketable. But…you just didn’t have the zeal, the courage or the perseverance to see it through. You cannot succeed if you lack the conviction – the ‘belief in self’ – and you cannot succeed without commitment.

Today’s message is from Zig Ziglar’s little book, Success for Dummies.

“Success begins with the desire to be successful and the conviction that you can be successful. Then and only then, do you make plans to reach that specific objective of achieving success. After you make plans, you must be willing to commit to them. But no responsible person makes a commitment until he or she has a reasonable plan of action to fulfill that commitment.” ~ Zig Ziglar

Today, ponder on this math equation:

Conviction + Commitment = SUCCESS!

Have a successful week!

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Do You Have the Courage to….?

 

After my Mother passed away recently, I took a respite from everything for several weeks, including my business. I just couldn’t motivate myself to do anything and so I needed something to pull me through. I decided to use the time to ask and answer my own questions:

  • What did it take for me to make the decision to move to Canada?
  • What did it take to apply for and get a job at the UN while I was enroute to Canada?
  • What did it take to negotiate my salary with my first Canadian employer when the initial offer was not what I expected?
  • What did it take to get a teaching position at Sheridan College?
  • What did it take to start my business?
  • What did it take to write my book?

As I reflected on each question, one word kept revolving in my mind and it was COURAGE! I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be in any of those decisions, but each time I felt this burning feeling in my stomach to do something, I took a leap of faith.

How about you? What giant (or small) leap have you taken after just seeing the first step? Or, are you someone who has to see all the steps before making a move?  It doesn’t matter if it’s a small or giant step, if you are to move from where you are to where you want to be, it will take courage. You have to be prepared to:

C Commit and persevere. This is sometimes the most difficult part, as many people give up soon after they start. Remember, “there’s always a dip in the middle of working toward a goal. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just brush yourself off and re-commit!” (Shawn Driscoll)
O Open your eyes, ears and mind for new opportunities and offers. They come in various forms, but you have to be prepared to seize the moment.
U Uncover your talents. You may have latent talents just waiting to be uncovered. Take an assessment if you are unsure about your gifts, or enlist the help of a career coach.
R Reach out and request help from others. Many people are willing to offer you assistance, but you must ask. I couldn’t have done it on my own. Family, friends and professional colleagues played a huge role.
A
Accept the fact that failure is a part of success. My colleague @LydiaFernandes tweeted recently, “Everytime you fall, it’s an opportunity to get back up & rock it out even harder!” and Author Tim Harford in his new book: Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure, says we should “fight failure with courage.”
G Get Ready, Get Set and Go! Let go of whatever is holding you back and take the first step. Linda Mastandrea said “Go after your dream, no matter how unattainable others think it is.”
E Engage people face-to-face and through social media to build relationships. Up to 85% of opportunities are found through networking. Keep in mind, however, that it’s a two-way-give-and-get street.

It is as easy as that. Everything begins with a first step. That first step is commitment. It might take you some time to get there, just don’t ever dare to give up. As you do some reflections of your own, let me leave you with these words from Dale Carnegie & Ralph Marston:

“Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed.” ~ Dale Carnegie

“Your biggest limitation is your reluctance to move forward. Get over that, and you can get over anything .Time, money, knowledge, and resources are minor considerations when compared to one vital factor. That factor is your willingness to get it done.” ~ Ralph Marston

I hope you will take your leap of faith, and Just Do It!

Feel free to share your comments below about COURAGE.

A Career Coaching Moment: Make 2010 Your Best Year Yet!

Usually at the start of a new year, many people make resolutions, and with all good intentions, but sadly, 97% of those who do so, never follow through. The reason for this is a lack of commitment and determination. It’s sounds great when they say it aloud “I am going to lose weight this year”, or “This is the year I will get the promotion I’ve always wanted”,  or  “This is the year I will write my book”, but that’s as far as it goes. Not a lot of thought goes into how’s it’s going to happen; what steps come first; who will hold them accountable, or what do they have to give up?

What side of the equation are you on? The 97% who don’t or the 3% who do? If you are one of the 97%, now is a good time to reflect on what may have prevented you from following through in the past, and commit to doing things differently this year.

As you move forward to making 2010 your best year yet, remind yourself each step of the way that “successful people always do what unsuccessful people do not. Be the change you want to see!

Keep coming back to this blog for information on our Road Map to Career Success – 2010 Challenge.