With the newest job reports exceeding expectations, news about unemployment has taken a backseat to other areas of focus, such as the Middle East Crisis, ISIS, the danger of Ebola becoming a pandemic… and so much more.
And yet unemployment is still a major issue. Yes, on paper the unemployment numbers are down, due in large part to some long-term job seekers dropping out of the job market and many more taking a part-time job that doesn’t meet their needs.
The job numbers also don’t take into account that the 248,000 jobs that were created are primarily low-paying, entry level and part-time positions or that the “labor force participation rate” is at it’s lowest since 2004.
Yes, the reality is (and if you are a job seeker then you know this) that it is still extremely difficult to get a job.
Here are some ways you can – despite everything else – take back control of the most critical aspects of your job search:
First Things First: It’s All About Attitude
At least during the Great Recession, there was sympathy. Today, job seekers no longer get much of that. How does that make you feel? Left out? Insignificant? Without value? How much pain are you in—right now? Don’t you find it easy to become angry, even bitter?
Stop it! Stop it now… and never go back!
Your emotions set the stage for your attitude. A poor attitude will destroy any chance that you will get a job. I’ve asked over 50 hiring professionals, “What is the number one reason that you don’t hire someone with the right skills and experience?”
Their answer, “Attitude! If a candidate is bitter, frustrated, desperate, angry, depressed…any of those — then they aren’t ready to come back to work.”
To conduct a successful job search, you will have to deal with these emotions in a positive manner. Get help where needed; talk to your mentors, coaches, friends and colleagues. may even be needed. Don’t wait. Get back into a positive mindset!
Because our attitude permeates our cover letter and résumé – every time. And hiring experts read people extremely well. They have this remarkable “people sense” when they read a résumé – and they are right about 99% of the time. They are constantly asking:
“How will this candidate’s approach to work make a positive impact here?”
In today’s job market, you simply do not have the luxury of negative thinking.
Take Your Job Search Past “Personal Branding”
Every person is unique. This is not new news. In fact, this concept has become so important in the job search that it has given birth to a whole new industry: personal branding. That concept, however, falls short – because everyone starts to sound and act the same; the very tool that was intended to make us seem unique makes us all sound the same.
I suggest taking the concept of personal branding to a higher level. Creating and articulating your personal brand is not enough for the job search. Each job seeker has to be able to clearly state how his or her uniqueness translates into value for a potential employer.
For each of your target employers, can you differentiate yourself from the competition by answering this question?
“How does your uniqueness translate into value for the employer’s business?”
For many job seekers, this proves to be a difficult question. Why? Because many confuse differentiation with their brand.
Your brand includes your skills and may also include your experience. The essence of differentiation, however, is about your personal attributes – the “who you are” rather that “what you’ve done.” When applied to the specific problem that you will solve when you are hired, it is your unique personal attributes that will make you stand out above many other applicants.
Differentiation is the one concept, when expressed clearly and succinctly on your résumé and in your personal branding, is key to a successful job search.
Job Seekers: Don’t Try This by Yourself!
Attempting to objectively assess your attitude? Trying to understanding your unique value by yourself? That is a mistake. A big, big mistake! Most of us see ourselves from the perspective of someone else… how could we?
For example, I have a client who comes up with unique solutions that are practical and applicable. And she also has a winsome way that gets buy-in from those who are involved. People easily adopt her ideas and promote them (and her!). The problem is that she doesn’t see this positive attribute as unusual. She’s always been who she is; for her, these attributes are just her usual, everyday self.
You are likely in the same position. You simply can’t self-identify what might be making you angry or bitter; you can’t pin down your own points of differentiation. You need input from others or some kind of outside source to help with this!
- Get others – mentors, former bosses and colleagues, networking contacts, etc. – to help you identify your attitude shortcomings and unique attributes
- Think carefully about how to communicate a positive approach and your unique value on your cover letter and résumé – focus on demonstrating your attributes using quantified examples and storytelling
- Create a clear, air-tight communication plan for your interview strategy: beginning with the phone interview, and including the face-to-face with HR, and the hiring manager – determine well in advance how you will demonstrate a positive outlook and bring those numbers and stories to life
Remember, your goal is to be able to clearly answer this question:
“How does my approach to work and uniqueness translate into real value for this organization?”
Once you can do that, with a sincerely positive attitude, you are now back in control. And your job search will take on an entirely different strategy. You will get job interviews. You will get that job offer!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Forward Motion Careers!
About the Author: Marcia LaReau, Ph.D. is a career strategist and motivational speaker, and founder and President of Forward Motions Careers. Connect with Marcia on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter!
Image courtesy of funniestmemes.com. Thank you!