The single key ingredient for a successful job search following redundancy
This article was originally published by author Paul Di Michiel on LinkedIn. NOVA Partners Career Management has been given permission to republish this article.
Many articles are published on LinkedIn and elsewhere about how to find a job. You can get the 15 top tips to ace the interview, the 5 things employers look for on resumes and any other tips/hints/secrets you care to mention. It is fair to say it is all a bit confusing, especially as a lot of the so-called advice is written by people with little life (or professional) experience and is often contradictory… But here’s the thing…If you boil it down, your job search success is principally predicated on the very thing that leaves the room when we lose our job…Confidence! Yup, it’s all about what’s going in your headspace and how you feel about yourself. Having experienced job loss myself three times in my career, I can certainly empathise and understand that our confidence takes a beating. We question ourselves by thinking things like, ‘Could I have done anything differently?’; ‘What if I had of done X instead of Y?’; ‘I should have seen it coming!’ and any other number of self-recriminations which give our confidence an uppercut. Objectively, we know this is rubbish, but given our state of mind – and time spent in job search – these thoughts and others (‘I’ll never get another job’; ‘No one wants someone who’s aged XX’) start to encroach on our psyche.
It’s important then to ensure that we re-build and maintain our confidence, during what can often be a long, arduous and frustrating process.
Yes, it’s easier said than done, but it is not impossible! Here’s a list of things I believe can make a difference to your confidence, and ultimately success during your job search process:
Think about your career and what you have done, particularly things you are proud of. Think about different jobs you’ve held, when you’ve been promoted, participated in project teams, being recognised and rewarded to name just a few. It’s about removing the isolated negative thoughts and crowding them out with the plethora of positive things that define who we are (and they don’t just have to be professionally-related issues).
2. Balance your time
Many people will say to you that ‘job search is a full-time job!’. To this, I respectively say, baloney! You simply cannot engage in job search 24/7, especially on the back end of what is often an emotional separation from your previous organisation. Your impacted emotional state and fatigue – which we try to hide when we put on our ‘game face’ – will be picked up by those you meet, and frankly, it’s not an attractive proposition for a potential employer. So, focus on quality job search where you balance job search with time with friends and family and time for yourself.
3. Build (and regularly read) your resume
Aligned with (1) above, when you put together your resume, one of the key elements to include are quantifiable achievements, or as I often say, specific examples of where you have added value in your different roles. These should be constructed in the ‘action and result’ framework, or more colloquially, ‘What did you do, and how did it turn out?’. The achievement should start with an action verb (e.g. ‘Led’, ‘Created’, Organised’) and ideally be quantified (e.g. Time, $, %). Your resume is your professional profile and outlines (among other things) how well you have performed in earlier roles which positively impacts how you view yourself.
4. Get out of the house and meet others (i.e. network)
Being stuck in front of a computer that seemingly takes pleasure in regularly advising us that we did not get a job we applied for and takes glee in ensuring there are no suitable jobs on a myriad of job boards is not a great way to build confidence. However, getting out and meeting good people who can share information and provide introductions to others is like gold. The mere act of getting ourselves out of our pyjamas and Ugg boots, getting dressed and going to meet somebody for a business meeting is a simple act but has a significant impact on our frame of mind. Not to mention that around 70% of jobs are filled this way, there’s simply no excuse not to network.
5. Being invited to an interview – ‘They like me! They want to see me!’
While we won’t get the job after every single interview, the fact that we have been asked for an interview is a win…A small win, but a win. It is a confidence builder and an opportunity to present ourselves to the market, learn more about organisations and build professional networks. If it results in an offer for the right job, that’s an even better outcome!
6. Get some help
As I often remark, if you want to play better tennis, you don’t think twice about forking out for a few lessons with a tennis pro. Why then, not invest in your career and/or job search and invest in a career coach? A good coach will give you the knowledge and skills required for job search. Just knowing what to do in the confounding world of job search, and to do it well, builds confidence. Once you implement the 6 items listed above, your confidence will show in the way you hold yourself, your demeanor, and your general bearing. Put more simply, your smile will reach your eyes, which means that it is a genuine smile of someone who feels good about themselves and is ready to face the challenges of job search. In summary, the most important ingredient you can have for an effective job search is without doubt self-confidence. Confidence in you and your abilities which allows you to engage effectively with, and to impress those you meet with during the search process. Confidence will allow you to progress in your search with a higher degree of resilience to endure what is often a frustrating and challenging process. Good luck!
Paul Di Michiel is an experienced global HR executive and more recently a career coach, working with NOVA Partners. See his profile here. Paul helps clients with career coaching, LinkedIn profiles, engaging resumes and also works as a facilitator, speaker, author and writer.