Job Searches suck. There is no ifs, ands or buts about it. The average job search is 3-6 months in Canada, 6-9 months in the States, already that seems like a long period of time but sometimes we fall outside of those averages. And when we do, when we enter into the 1 year mark (or longer) in an active job search, we can reach a low we never thought possible.
It leaves us feeling lost, frustrated and confused. We question every decision we make, and feel pretty horrible about ourselves. We think we are doing the right things, but we are hearing nothing from companies (either after an application or an interview). Negativity is taking over and it is hard to feel like we will ever get a job, the light at the end of the tunnel is just getting dimmer and dimmer.
But we can’t give up, that isn’t an option right? So what do we do?
First read this article on Staying Inspired During a Job Search and consider taking a day or two (or seven!) off to give you time to recharge.
Next, we need to do a review, we need to see where there is potential, room for improvement and to know whether we should reach out for help.
Let’s look at your applications. Examine, look at your applications to jobs that are a good fit, meaning you should probably have gotten an interview.
Let’s look at your ratio – how many of those did you get an interview for those, how many?
The standard ratio is 1 interview out of 5-10 applications depending, some industries and some circumstances can change it.
For the ones that garnered you the interview, let’s take a closer look. What was it about that application that led to the interview – what was the application process (email direct, networking, ATS), what did your resume and cover letter look like, industry, company size. This information may allow you to further focus your work.
If your ratio is not in line with the average ratio. Then we need to re-examine your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Is your resume telling YOUR story, are you sending in a cover letter, is it engaging? Is your resume and LinkedIn profile optimized for an Applicant Tracking System?
Have someone else read through all of your documents, I would have someone who is familiar with what you do (to mimic the Hiring Manager) and someone who isn’t (to mimic a recruiter). Sometimes, we get so stuck in our head when it comes to our marketing documents that it is helpful to get someone else’s feedback. Plus, it is common to constantly tweak it to align with all of the conflicting information out there which leaves you with a resume that isn’t cohesive.
Obviously, if you are really struggling then getting a resume writer to take a look or write you a new one may be the best option for you.
Do you have a networking strategy, is networking a part of your job search? 70-80% of jobs are found through some form of networking so it is important to get a strategy going. Plus it will get you out of the house and out of your head!
Each week you should devote most of your time to some form of networking activity, so next week look at your current network, who can you take out for coffee?
Confused and have no idea where to start? I've written alot about Networking and talk about it a lot on my weekly Q&A on Facebook Live (on my page and in the Find Career Happiness Group).
Stay tuned, I have an amazing freebie coming next week plus an announcement that will make networking so much easier!
When I ask people about their job search, their successes equate to two things – resumes submitted and interviews secured. And while, securing interviews is a goal as you need them to get the offer, tying your feeling of success to something outside of your control is a sure-fire way to destroy your self-confidence and allow a negative attitude to flourish. So my first recommendation for interviews is to be cognizant of them (how many you are getting, how they are going, etc) but instead of using that as a major goal, use networking instead.
Now let’s assume your resume to interview average is good. Let’s look at your interview to offer numbers. On average, it takes interviewing with 4-5 different companies to receive 1 offer. I’m guessing since you are reading this, that that isn’t the case. So let’s examine the interview.
How have the interviews been going? Where have you excelled and where have you struggled? What kind of questions have they asked, and what kind of answers have you given? Are you telling your story or just answering in bullet points? Are you asking insightful questions?
If you are struggling, consider having a friend give you a mock interview or better yet hire a coach, the investment will be worth it. Self-awareness is great, but we are biased, so it is helpful to have someone objective listen in.
At the end of the day, you need to start talking to people. Get some advise from a previous Manager (great start for networking) on your job search, resume and interview skills. Talk with a close friend or family member. Right now, a clear, objective and unbiased look at your job search is exactly what you need.
As always, you can set up a complimentary 30 minute Strategy Call with me and I would be happy to discuss.
And stay tuned for the big announcement next week!
Commuting to work is the worst. And then you get there and the day is full of meetings, interruptions and distractions. Meaning that you have to work extra late or take your work home to get it all done. That means you are devoting a good 10-12 hours per day to your work. At least.
But what if you love your job? And love the team, company and all that goes with it? You don’t want to leave. You just want to try and find some semblance of work/life balance.
The flexibility to work a day or two from home per week is the answer.
And luckily there are many companies and organizations that have jumped on board and are fully supportive. Unfortunately though, there are just as many that are nervous, suspicious and fearful of this trend.
If you are working with one of the companies, it may feel like all hope is lost, but there is a way to build your case and present a plan to convince them, all in 5 easy steps:
1. Tell them what you want.
Broach the subject with your boss. This can be done during an annual review, a weekly meeting or casually over lunch. If your commute was double then normal, the weather was horrible, or you have a lot of focused worked that needs to get done, these are all great icebreakers to start the conversation. Otherwise, just bring it up as something that is important to you.
The point is, they need to know that you want this. You never know, maybe they are open to it but never suggested it (I’ve seen this happen before!). More than likely though, you’ll hear a lot of the reasons why it just doesn’t work. This is GREAT! This gives you the information you need to build your “sales” pitch.
2. Overcome the Objections
What are their objections, list them all out and research ways that these just don’t fit in for you and arm yourself with information.
If productivity is a concern, then track your time. Especially look at time when you need to be focused on a task making sure you track your interruptions and distractions.
If trust in an issue, try to find out why that is an issue by asking some probing questions and inquiring about what you could do to prove your reliability.
If presence is an assumed necessity, think practically about that. Is it really? There are obviously some professions where you do need to be present and accounted for. But there are many roles where management just assumes you need to be there. Think about how if you are needed and you are at home, how would you address this?
If optics is an objection, how are you going to ensure everyone sees your work week as a full week instead of just a few days?
3. Create Your Proposal
First off, what is your work from home plan? How many days a week were you thinking? I would suggest to begin with 1 day/week or even every other week to start. I also recommend steering clear from Mondays and Fridays to address those optics objections.
What kind of research can you use to back up your claim, there are some great benefits listed in this article. Just a few key pieces that really hone in on their concerns.
Lastly, think of their objections. The best way to deal with objections is to validate them, reframe them and then justify the reframe. Be well prepared for a lengthy discussion about them.
4. Deliver The Pitch
Go in with a clear and concise proposal – essentially telling your manager what you want, why you want it, and how it benefits the company. Bring your answers to those objections and showcase your willingness to be flexible. It is okay to arm yourself with some quantifiable evidence about increased productivity with a work from home schedule but don’t overwhelm them, this isn’t a debate!
When you are having the discussion, be open to proposing a trial run, a probationary period if you will. This will give them an out clause which they may feel more comfortable with.
Ask your boss if they would like you to provide a written proposal in case they need to present it to the Executive Team. And then give them time.
5. Become a Work From Home Superstar
Once you are approved, talk with our boss to figure out the communication plan. Did they want you to touch base with them the day before to go over your plan, cc’d on all emails and/or to receive an email at the end of the day outlining what you accomplished? It may be annoying at first, but once you prove yourself I’m sure these things will go away.
Make sure you spend the first few months practically chained to your desk at home so that they can reach you at any time. It only takes once during this crucial time for them to change their minds.
I also recommend saving any focused work you can to be completed that day, so that it is in fact a super productive day.
Soon, you will be well on your way. And you could even ask for a 2nd day to add.
It is scary to ask for something so big, but lean into that discomfort but the result is working in a job you love, with a team you adore and a company you respect all while having work/life balance.
You hate your job. But you don’t know what to do about it. You are so overwhelmed, stressed out and anxious. You are well on your way to getting burnt out.
Thinking about a new career used to be that light at the end of the tunnel but now it just feels like another weight being added to your shoulders, weight that you just can’t handle right now.
The danger is complete and total burn out. Of remaining stagnant and things getting worse instead of better. Of being so afraid of the journey that we don’t do anything.
You just need to get started.
But on what? When you are so overwhelmed and your head is spinning it can be extremely hard to think about that first step because you can’t help thinking about ALL the steps you may need to take to achieve your goal of a new job or career.
You are over complicating things. Let’s bring it back to basics and make it super simple for you.
Let’s figure out your first step and not even worry about the rest. And it is easier than you think.
ACCEPT THAT YOU NEED TO CHANGE
Staying where you are is not the answer to the problem. Yes there are ways to love the job you hate that will put you in a better mindset for leaving your current job but you need to 100% accept that things need to change, you need to change.
Things are not going to magically get better, in fact they will more than likely get worse the longer you stay. Leaving your job is no longer optional.
PROPEL YOURSELF FORWARD
You are feeling all the crappy feelings right now. Good. Don’t try and ignore them or rationalize them or repress them. Feel them. And use those crappy feelings to push you forward towards your goal of leaving your job behind you.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
Grab your phone or a pen and paper. Just write. Write about all the problems, all the ways life is getting in your way of going after your career dreams.
HOW CAN I SOLVE IT?
Write down solutions, at least one for each problem. Don’t judge them, don’t try to action plan them. Just write all the ways to solve each of the problems.
TAKE THE FIRST STEP
Look at that list. Think about all the different options. Think about how they make you feel. If thinking about a particular solution makes you feel stressed, or overwhelmed or trapped then scratch them off for now. What can you do TODAY. Just one thing.
But maybe you are so lost and overwhelmed that that long list is too much for you to handle right now. So what are some of the things on that list that will give you the biggest bang for your buck? Here are some ideas:
1. Ask for Help
This is a great first step. At work you can ask your boss or a colleague to help with the workload. Or at home, you can ask for help around the house so that you can free up some time to find your new job. Set up a free call with me, maybe there are some free resources or a way that we can work together that will lighten your load.
If you are in the throes of a burn out then this could be tough. But trying to get your 7-9 hours of sleep will help get you in the mindset and give you the energy to take a career change or job search on!
3. Take Care of Yourself
This is an extension of sleep, but I wanted sleep to be its own. This is eating, relaxing and moving. Perhaps your first step is to eat 5 vegetable servings, or to take a walk or to meditate for 5 minutes. Little wins lead to big wins and taking care of yourself gives you that confidence boost while also setting you up for success.
4. Talk to People
If you have an idea of what you want to do or where you want to do it, seek out people to talk to. Ask for more information. This will give you the knowledge of whether or not it is worth investing your time into that particular path, plus it will get you excited to know you are doing something and give you the information and a networking connection that will help make your dreams a reality!
5. Create a Plan
Sunday morning, figure out how much time you can devote to a career change/job search for that upcoming week. Be realistic and easy on yourself. Any time is better than no time.
Then figure out when you are going to use that time. If it is 2.5 hours, are you going to do 30 minutes of work per day or a 2.5 hour chunk of time? Use my Dream Career Planner to help make it even easier!
6. Build a Support System
This goes hand in hand with asking for help. But this is thinking about who in your life can help you out – who can cheer you on, hold you accountable, or give you guidance? This can be one person or many people. It can be a mentor, a peer, a family member or a coach like myself. You don’t have to do this alone!
Life goes by so fast. Which means it is so easy to stand still, in a situation that we hate and have hated. The old classic quote of a journey of a thousand miles starts with just one step is one we all know but not one we live. Because we can’t stop thinking about the rest of those steps needed. But we must remember the alternative. Staying put.
Don’t let that be an option. Pick one thing. And do it. Take that first step.
And of course, if you need help or want to talk it through, never hesitate to set up a complimentary strategy call with me.
Sara Curto, Career Management Specialist. Working with you towards Career and Job Search Success.
Dream Career Planner
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