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January 26, 2012

How to Energize a Stalled Job Search

During difficult times, it’s hard to think differently. But those who do work to change their though process often will win the right opportunity in this work life.

Realize Values Are the Heart of the Matter – In order to think clearly and creatively about your career options you need to find out what matters to you in this work life. Ask yourself some very tough questions or have someone ask you tough questions. What can I accomplish through work? What impact on others will make the most difference? When have I been most happy? So what does matter? What matters is that you follow your passions, your heart. Find out what makes you unique, what gifts you possess, what energizes you and what actions add positive value to others. Where in your work life or your personal life have you been able to impact others and make a difference? What problems do you love to solve? To re-energize and rethink possible career options inventory your skills, knowledge, abilities and most of all values. Then use a relentless mindset of positivity, innovation and attitude to power your purpose.

Don’t Just Network But Contribute – How do most people in job search network? They contact friends, add names to Linked In, go to networking groups. They ask for referrals to decision-makers so they can make key contacts. They do the basics, the minimums. That’s important. But to really challenge yourself to do more and do the uncommon things in your networking. Don’t just visit a volunteer group, join it and get on committees with influence. Don’t just go to a networking event, ask to speak on a subject related to your field or volunteer to promote the event. Don’t attend an industry program; offer to serve as a host to one of the panel members or speakers. Don’t just read papers in your field to keep up but challenge yourself to interview and write your own editorials, articles or make contributions. Just getting out there can be helpful and that’s a first step. But you must do more to really energize your purpose focused job search.

Be Willing to Embrace Change – As hard as this is to face, many people are missing opportunities to interview or win positions because of what may be considered little things. Embracing change, learning from it and not running from it allows you to adapt. Technology changes in the workplace demand that we all adapt. To re-energize your career, make a lot of little changes. When you face unemployment one of the tendencies is to freeze up or hold on and that’s not healthy. Be will to update your wardrobe to market yourself toward what you want to do not what you have done. Make sure your resume is tailor-made to the opportunities you seek. Push yourself and invest time in improving all your communication skills: Online through Chats, Emails, Profiles on Social Networks and Offline  In Person Dress, At Formal Interviews, On the Phone, On Skype, Anywhere. Through the years I have seen those who are the most flexible and good natured about unemployment as an opportunity for positive change seem to “get lucky” or land a more mission focused job quicker.

Think Like An Entrepreneur – An entrepreneur organizes, manages and assumes the risk of a business or enterprise according to Merriam-Webster. In any new endeavor you assume risk. It’s risky to change careers. It’s risky to follow your passions into a new career or business. It’s scary. Even your friends and family sometimes don’t believe. But take calculated risks with your time and money and do not give up when you get a no. Most innovators and entrepreneurs faced major obstacles. But entrepreneurs and leaders follow their heart and they never give up. In job search the relentlessly improve their attitude, mindset, resumes and brand. They are willing to take small successes and turn them into bigger wins. That may mean getting a bridge job, a part-time or contract job that allows you some breathing space so you can follow your passion. Entrepreneurs are willing to prove themselves. Be willing to get a contract opportunity or even a position with an organization that seems a bit below you. You may be in a position to prove yourself and win that next, career building opportunity with that organization or another. Entrepreneurially minded jobseekers focus on solutions not status, the long-term win vs. the short-term gain.

Next up let’s energize by focusing on branding, calendar discipline and removing pride.

Power Up and Focus Your Online Brand  Think about creating accounts on Linked In, Twitter, Branch Out and other places that make sense and are aligned with your networking and search goals. Write, revise and edit your bios and performance based resume language to fit all online mediums. Many jobseekers are out there but they often are not advancing their personal brand or differentiating themselves. Being “super active” online may note be good enough. Productive activity on social media sites, through email, phone and other communication must be very exact, purposeful and pointed. Do you have a career advancing social media plan? You should. That means that you should focus on presenting yourself with consistent authority not just as someone who is “all over social media” or someone who is just active but someone who is building a professional, consistent image.

Discipline Yourself Through a Schedule and Calendar  Success can be a planned event if you discipline yourself. People who have spent a great deal of effort and time in unemployment may have just driven bad habits deeper. Man, I just can’t get going or I just don’t know if I will meet anyone at that meeting that can help me are self-defeating attitudes. To reinvent and re-energize your career you need to find a focus and a work life mission. But even if that is not clear, don’t just sit behind a computer endlessly sending out leads and feeling fruitless. Create a job search balance. Create a calendar that allows some balance: Family, Friends, Job Search, Creative Time, Networking Events, Education and Study, Exercise. In other words work your 40-50 hours a week at your job. Find those next career options but don’t burden yourself in some hyper-focus by doing one thing over and over again. Balance matters. Allow your calendar to balance you out not your up and down emotions.

Don’t Let Pride Get in Your Way – Sometimes jobseekers feel shame about a longer-term unemployment situation. Some higher end executive jobseekers won’t consider pay levels much below what they made before. Don’t compromise your values and what you want but don’t pass up an opportunity to take less and prove yourself again. Why worry about image or status or superficial things if you are moving toward your values based career? Don’t pass up on meetings and connections that seem below you because you never know who may direct you to your next great contact or positive career option. Many of my clients say the people they least expected would help them helped them. Expect the unexpected serendipities of an open-minded job search approach. It may get you into or closer to what matters and what is more in your work life mission.

 

Image Credit: instantshift.com

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