Candidates, Accept Help Like a Pro
A fellow career coach and I were recently comparing notes. Most of our conversation was about the joy and gratitude we feel with every conversation and every time we can assist someone. However, we also have some common challenges:
- Why do the most capable and process-driven professionals forget – or ignore – those great skills when they are orchestrating their own job search? From planning, time-management, multi-tasking, follow-up, and attention-to-detail – those are skills they use every day.
- Job search is a system, a step-by-step, rigorous process and so many candidates just don’t want to do the hard work needed to earn the job they aspire to.
- Networking and follow-up on job applications is woefully lacking. Just clicking “connect” on LinkedIn is not networking! And blaming hiring companies that don’t respond to applications is way easier than admitting, “Man, I need to learn how to do this!”
Here are three real situations I experienced. (The names have been changed for privacy.)
On LinkedIn, I saw that a recent connection noted in his summary that he was looking for a role in sales. I also noticed he was a Veteran. Since his LinkedIn profile was very weak, I wanted to help him out.
So I wrote, “Hello, Roger, and thank you for connecting. If you are job-seeking, I am a sales leader and Veteran job search coach. Can I help? Regards, Dana.”
His response, “I am always looking for new opportunities if the money’s right.”
At a job fair, where I was a volunteer, I met Joe, a 55+ year old who had been unemployed for more than a year. He learned I used to work for Microsoft, so he sought out my help. He said, “I want to get a job at Microsoft.”
Okay, Joe, tell me more.
“I worked for Microsoft 15 years ago, but my boss sucked.”
To hide my concern about his negativity, I changed gears and asked, “What kind of job are you looking for, Joe?”
“Something in credit and collections.”
Great! Have you been to Microsoft’s career website to see if there are any open positions that you want?
“No, I want to send you my résumé, so you can send it in for me.”
I said that it doesn’t work like that and that he needed to apply to specific positions. Again, I changed gears and asked if he had other companies he is targeting, too.
He reached his hand out to shake my hand and said, “Thank you, but this is not the kind of help I am looking for.”
At a recent hiring event, I set up a table offering to review résumés for free. Not only did I review their résumés, but I gave them new templates and a link to download the digital version of the template in Word.
At the end of every résumé review, I invited them to send me their new résumés for more feedback.
Out of 49 men and women I talked to that night, two connected with me on LinkedIn, and six downloaded the new template. The event was 30 days ago. No résumés yet…
Here are my wishes (and advice) for these candidates and anyone else starting or in the middle of their own job search:
1 – Be a learner: Consider this – in high school, college, and as an employee, the majority of us never learned the proper steps of a job search. And if we did, everything has changed. If you want to learn a new sport or skill, what would you do? Read a book, watch videos, take lessons, and practice, right? Take those same steps for a successful job search.
2 – Be a “poster child.” When offered help, take it and follow through with excellence. Nine out of 10 people who receive offers of help do nothing with it. Why? Is it too much work? Isn’t the follow through worth it to achieve your goal? Or is your goal really just not that important to you?
3 – Take accountability. Catch yourself when you say,“Companies are not getting back to me,” or “I’m waiting to hear back,” or “I’m doing all I can do, and nothing is happening.” How about saying instead, “Maybe I need to change my game,” or “I need to learn how to find people to connect with at the companies I’m applying to,” or “I need to learn how to conduct a job search much better”?
Then refer back to Rule #1.
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