POSTED BY: Don Oehlert
Managing Partner, eCareerCoaching.com
“Practical advice on your next career move.”
Introduction to Job Search – the first 8 topics
At eCareerCoaching.com, we have a formalized methodology concerning the job search process. We’ve also written an ebook about it, which is almost complete. We expect to be shipping sometime this summer (summer 2020). We are also working on assembling a video course, whereby you can review our offering at your own pace, and in your own time, at your own home.
There isn’t really a timetable for this yet, but know that we are working at a feverish pitch, writing the scripts for each segment right now.
All that said, any way you look at it, there are a number of issues to learn about when you are job hunting. One of the initial questions we repeatedly get from our clients now, and those we have worked with since 2004 is, “when are we going to work on my resume?” And we’ll agree – that’s the first thing that used to pop into our minds as well. Though that was before we learned that there are many steps to navigate before you get to the point where you can write an effective resume.
There are also many tools that need to be created to run a successful job hunt or career search. We’ll go over some of them over the next few weeks as we advance through our 8-part series on career progression.
Lesson 1: What should you learn about?
when you are job searching, you are selling
Firstly, you have to learn that, when you are in job search, you are in sales. Now, when you hear that question, what do you think? What are you selling during a job search?
My bet is (were I a betting person) that you said “myself.” I’d like to argue here that you are not selling yourself, you are selling your set of skills. Big difference if you hang with me here a bit.
Career progression is a very hard job. You have to manage your career like a sports star these days – you are a free agent and no one is looking out for your career advancement any more. More than likely, you don’t have a coach or agent on your side, giving you advice, and looking out for your best interests. In case you are not a football fan, you may (or may not) know that Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks is one of the NFL’s finest quarterbacks. In the following article, you’ll see that he has several coaches to help him be always be at his best. The subject of the article helps him especially in times of struggle:
Back to selling your skill set instead of yourself. Job search, as we mentioned above, is a very hard job. And it can be soul-crushing. If you are fortunate enough to receive feedback from a company at which you are interviewing, if your brain says that you are selling yourself, what do you think you’ll feel like if you are not hired? You would probably be human and have a chunk taken out of your armor. If it were a position you really wanted, you may even become somewhat depressed. But if you know in your heart that you are selling a set of skills, you can feel OK about yourself, and just say that the employer didn’t want your 3/4″ wrench. It may still hurt a bit, but not as much as you’d think.
The upshot is, when you’re struggling mentally, you’re not able to perform at your peak. A coach can help you get back up off the floor, dust yourself off, and get yourself ready for the next situation. If you are still “down” when another call comes in, you may not be ready for that next caller, and you may blow that one too. The snowball can build quickly. So can the other one – the positive one.
Not to mention that you have to move on to the next “opportunity in your pipeline” to see where you should focus next. If it’s just your tool-set that was at stake, you can feel like a real live salesperson and move on to the next opportunity awaiting you. Salespeople get rejected all the time – sometimes for a good reason, sometimes just because. They can’t afford to take rejection personally, or they’d find themselves in the wrong line of work in a big hurry.
Note that no coach can guarantee that you will get “that one job you really want” but one can help you cut down the odds to make sure you’re one of the top candidates for a job you’re well-suited for. A good coach will help you prepare yourself and your tool set very well.
Now, we’re not suggesting that you should be like Russell Wilson and have 5 or 6 coaches for your career, but you may want to consider at least 1 or maybe 2. Someone that doesn’t have a vested interest in any one side of the battle, as it were. Someone that will really have your best interests at heart. One that only cares about how you become a better candidate for a position you desire. Someone that can help you practice your interviewing. An eye outside the ring, that can see things you can’t.
Someone that can help you see the forest for the trees.
What may be more appropriately said is, we can help you see the right trees in the forest. Sometimes there are just plain too many opportunities to pursue. In this case, a coach can help you tell where you should focus.
Sometimes you believe that you need to leave yourself open to any and all opportunities, so you don’t limit yourself.
And we understand both of those points.
But think about it this way. Let’s say you’re an accountant. Would you:
- … like to work at one of the Big 4?
- … prefer the fast-moving environment of a startup?
- … comfortable in the seeming safety of a large corporate environment?
- … thrive in a public company?
- … prefer A/R or A/P?
- … rather than anything else, do due diligence on M&A activity?
- … love to be a forensic accountant?
Get the picture? There are a ton of alternatives to consider. During one of our presentations a few years back, we asked – how many of you in this room (of about 50 people) are accountants? Probably 12-15 people raised their hands. We asked the next question, “leave your hands up if you believe that all the other accountants with their hands raised right now are your competition for new roles you’re pursuing?”
All of the original hands stayed up. We started asking the above questions, and one or two at a time started going down. This was just one type of generic role (accountant) that we used here.
Our point is, you should network with other people in complementary areas of your field, so that if an assignment isn’t right for them, it may be right for you. You can watch each other’s backs in this brave new world of job search.
Doesn’t that feel better already? Knowing you’d have another set of eyes and ears looking for roles for you, too?
…you should know how to figure out what companies you should target, and why
Future posts in the series will include:
…you should know how to network effectively, and why you’re doing it
…you should become better at interviewing as well
…We’ll show you how to outline your success stories in such a manner as to be compelling
…you should know how, how often – and when – to follow up on things
…the difference between Positional and Informational Interviews
To get to know yourself better from a personal standpoint, please drop us an email for your free copy of our “Finding Your True North” instrument. In it are 36 questions that will help you understand what makes you tick, so that you can better prepare for a job search, or decide whether you should go for that promotion.