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October 17, 2012

Embrace Relationships & Letdowns (As Part of the Job Search Game)

Regardless of your field, career path, career ambitions or income expectations every career decision comes with a risk, a price of some kind. Whenever you make a decision to change something in your work or your life that matters, it creates a ripple effect in other areas. Think of the decision or make a career shift or change. What implications does it have on you, your family, your friends and your immediate network of close relationships? It will change the dynamic of at least some of those relationships. Mental preparation makes the difference in most job search situations whether you are employed, underemployed or looking full time. In some cases the unexpected layoff or need to pursue new employment gets thrown on us.

In reality people’s lives can be ruled for a while by expected and unexpected circumstances. Look at the pressing issues people face each and every day that may impact careers and employment. A selection of issues our clients have faced in just the last month are: death of a spouse, divorce, children, sickness, elder adult care, impending and immediate layoffs, firing.

What are some of the tenets for you to prepare for the mental game of looking for your next job or career?

Be Open to Letdowns
Even the best candidates need to learn to take a no. A client recently said to me:

“John, I just had a recruiter say that I was not qualified and I met all the requirements!”

So I told him it may have nothing to do with your requirements and the recruiter may not even have the requirements for the job in front of him. In fact, I said “You don’t even know if the job is really going to be filled or not.” The bottom line is the company did not want to include him in the next round of interviews for some reason. If we could find out the right reason then okay, we could do something about it. But sometimes a no is a no and there is nothing to be done. Also in the letdown department, companies as well as individuals may let you down. A client complained to me that his “good friend” would not even return a call on a position he applied for in the same department at the company he worked for. Not even a return call. The bottom line is during job search even some of your friends may not help you or support you in the way you want them to do it.

But guess what?

Your job is to look that fact in the face and deal with it maturely. Maybe his “good friend” thought it the company and his advocacy of his friend would not be a good fit and so he quietly stopped helping. So what’s the takeaway? Maybe your friends, family and relatives cannot support you in the way you need at certain times during the search. Do not despair or abandon them. Don’t stop cheerfully asking them for support. But do look for new friends, new contacts and new ideas to energize your search.

Start Looking to Build Relationships
Stop looking for a job! Once people in transition learn about building rapport and relationships then the job puzzle seems to become clearer, the puzzle pieces seem to fit a better overall picture.

What is the picture?

The picture needs to be more about the vision of a search designed to find the right opportunity and environment not just a job. Clients who found ways to personally in some cases and professionally connect with key decision makers outside of the traditional interview process always seem to do well during the traditional interview process. Take Amy, a recent engineering client who was looking to bridge into a high level sales support role. She connected broadly to close friends, reconnected to alumni and then built about 35 new “friends” through lunches, cups of coffee, phone and social networking (Linked In and even Facebook). “All connections for me,” she said, “took on a personal and a professional tone. Instead of letting people know I was searching for a job, I connected with them in many cases because I just had one question for them. The one question turned into two then it became a conversation. When I built that rapport I had a lot of people ask me for my general resume and offer to connect me to others. Ultimately, that’s what helped me open more doors than anything I could find on the job search engines.”

What did she gain?

She build true networking contacts, friends and mini-friendships. She didn’t put any pressure or anyone to find her a job. She found ways to serve them and move conversations forward. That’s hard. There is an art to it. But it’s the foundation of the job search game.

The tumult that looking for a new opportunity or job puts on people cannot be underestimated. It casts some people into depression and creates a lot of anxiety but it is a part of this work life for almost everyone. Learning to embrace change and new relationships can be a healthy part of the journey. Knowing that letdowns by those who don’t seem to get you and even by those who seem like they should know you best is part of the game. Try not to let those letdowns get in the way of the opportunity to build new friendships and healthy relationships.

 

Image Credit: instantshift.com

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