Ah yes… it is all that and more.
And yet there are success stories out there. There are job seekers doing well! And almost every one of them does four things better than almost anyone else.
Here are four habits successful young careerists apply to their job search every day, and how they can benefit you:
1. They Don’t Focus Their Search Entirely Online
Way too many of my clients spend a bunch of time online. I’d say, “You think you’re just going to apply to a bunch of stuff online and get an offer, don’t you?”
Referrals make up between 30% and 50% of hires, much more than get hired through job boards. Yet many people make the mistake of spending the majority of their job search time online.
Your takeaway: Spend 20% online, and 80% offline. Block time on your calendar each day to spend time on each. Use your offline energy to find organizations and hiring managers that are a good match for you, and use your networking magic to go after them, build relationships, and be in the talent funnel when positions become available.
2. They Know How to Translate “Experience” Into “Employable Skills”
Hiring managers don’t do the math.
What I mean is: when you’re just starting your career – you have to do more work to make your case. In one interview for a finance position that required a pre-test, a client tested out higher – and had a better understanding of the concepts – than nearly everyone they tested.
But the fact that he didn’t have “financial analysis” experience freaked them out. So they went with another candidate who had financial analysis experience. TWICE.
The reality is, managers are more comfortable hiring experience, than talent.
That’s a handicap when you’re making a career pivot, and want to do something different.
So good job seekers must learn how to translate the experience they do have, into a concrete skillset the next employer will feel good about hiring.
Your takeaway: Inventory your experience and determine how what you have done, prepares you for what you can do. My ETHOS method for doing so will help you get from here to there. Then, practice how you’ll talk about your experience, re-framing it so you have a convincing case for the next manager to give you due consideration.
3. They Leverage Relationships to Find Opportunities
As an introvert, I know first hand how hard it can be to reach out and ask other people for, well, pretty much anything.
One way to overcome the fear of reaching out is to not think of it as networking, but to think of it as relationship building. After all, you’ve been doing that your entire life.
When up to half of people being hired are referred, relationship building must be a cornerstone in your job search strategy.
Take it one step at a time, and when you get a couple of small wins, you’ll feel much less daunted by the idea.
Your takeaway: In your job search, identify at least 2 new people each day that you can reach out to and ask for advice from. Remember, you’re not asking people to help you find a job (no one really wants that kind of pressure). You’ll start by asking them to share their advice and insight about their workplace, career, and expertise. You’ll ask them who else they know that you should talk to. And then you follow up appropriately.
4. They Don’t Take Things Personally
Part of the job search being ‘brutal’ is that it involves so much rejection. So much trying and then ultimately failing – when an offer doesn’t come through, when someone doesn’t connect with you on LinkedIn, when someone doesn’t return your phone call.
It is SO EASY to question your competence, your ability, and your greatness.
But I urge you not to.
Just remember this is a process where so much is simply not within your control, that it makes it even more important to control what is. Manage your thoughts, responses and actions in way that is in service of your end goal, your integrity, and your mindset.
Managers are trying to make good hiring decisions with incomplete information in an imperfect system. And just because they don’t choose you, try to avoid taking it personally.
Instead, acknowledge that the job search can indeed by a hard thing to do. Give yourself credit for making that call to follow up after an interview (which he did constantly, but don’t even get me started on managers who bring you in for an interview, and then never tell you of their decision!). Pat yourself on the back for reminding that contact about the information they committed to sending and didn’t.
And when you come to a rejection bump in the road, give yourself a couple minutes to grieve about it, and then have a plan to move on.
Your takeaway: You may not get the job, and there are many reasons for that – which you may never know. But don’t take it personally. Treat all these decisions professionally and with a positive attitude. The world is small and you never know when you may cross paths with someone again – and the opportunity could be perfect. It’s one of the reasons I encourage job seekers to work in small groups – so you have a support committee when you get those disappointing calls.
Make your job search more productive by leveraging these four tips (or might I say painful learning opportunities). In my work with job seekers – of all ages and experience levels – it does seem to me that people tend to make the same mistakes across the board. This is your opportunity to learn from someone else’s mistakes!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friend, Lea McLeod!
About the Author: Lea McLeod is author of the Resume Coloring Book. Check it out if you are struggling with writing your resume in today’s job market. She’s also founder of the Job Success Lab so that you can GO PRO in any job! Follow her onTwitter and her blog: DegreesofTransition.com.