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Feeling ‘Disabled’ In Your Job Hunt?

I saw something that made me want to continue on from the last post. Random surfing on cnn.com turned up Aimee Mullins. I hadn’t heard of Ms. Mullins before. Her story is fascinating.

Thanks to a birth defect, she had, from the shin down, both her legs and feet amputated. She was told the usual thing: that she would never walk, run, bike, swim etc. like other kids. Her determination, however, opened up so many doors for her that she learned how to become an athlete on prosthetic legs. Now on carbon-fiber feet modeled on a cheetah’s, she’s also an inspiring speaker.

Here’s the article and video. If you’re interested in seeing an example of someone turning adversity into a very valuable life–to the point of saying, if she could magically be given normal legs and feet, she’s not too sure she’d say yes at this point–take the ten minutes and check it out.

What do we take away from this to the job search?

The first thing that leaps to mind is this: keep knocking on doors, getting involved in conversations, being very clear about what you want help with. Ms. Mullins didn’t invent those prosthetic cheetah-like legs & feet…but she was banging on the door to ask the right people to invent them. And look what use of them she’s made!

Seeking killer job hunting tips for a really low investment? Check out my ebook, “Get Hired FAST!


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How Well Are You Combating Fear In Your Job Search?

I was talking to a young woman a couple of days ago who was looking for work as a horn player in an orchestra. She complained to me of her lack of experience, and how the orchestral industry was too traditional, stuck in its ways and wouldn’t give her a chance.

My suggestion was that she try something different: figure out a new arrangement on an old piece, or a new (or at least rare) way to show off her skill with the instrument, and youtube it. In other words, create something different, of value, and get it out there for people to see.

Her response was full of fear: oh no, the industry wouldn’t care, nobody would listen, it would make her look weird. We had a bit of back-and-forth about this, but there was no changing her mind…at least for now.

I hope she reconsiders someday soon. Seeing the lack of hope in someone so youthful was depressing. When you’re looking for work, you are not hoping to appeal to everyone. You simply cannot. You are trying to appeal to the 10 or 20% of the market that will not be prejudiced against you (for your age, your skill level, or what have you–too little or too much in their opinion), and will be interested in the unique (or rare) attributes you have to offer. If you look and sound like everyone else, you’re going to be treated like everyone else: a commodity.

To get the good job, or the promotion, or the key spot ahead of everyone else, you must have some special attribute that makes you stand out. Experience, skill, personal qualities…could be anything, really, but it has to be what that 10 or 20% of potential employers in your market are searching for. And believe me, they are desperately searching for it.

If you develop a rare or unique talent, get the word out there: show it, let people see. Sure, they’ll judge. I hope you won’t be too afraid of that judgment. Most of their judgments will be off-the-cuff, by people who aren’t qualified to say anything, who would never be brave enough to do something so unique themselves–and they aren’t your target audience anyway. Remember, you’re speaking to the focused minority that is out there, just waiting to stumble onto someone like you.

If you find you need some help defining what is rare or unique about what you do, drop me a line.

Seeking killer job hunting tips for a really low investment? Check out my ebook, “Get Hired FAST!


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For You or Them?

When I see long, in-depth resumes (and this means three pages or more), I get worried. Why?–because at this length, the resume is more about who you are than what you can do for the employer.

To clarify: The employer, at the time of screening resumes to decide who to interview, does not care who you are.
 

All the employer cares about when they’re sifting through a pile of resumes is finding out, quickly and concisely, what you can do for them.

Juxtaposed with this is the fact that you need to stand out. You want to show them you’re different. I understand. But is telling them about your kids’ interests truly helpful at this point?

Save that stuff for the interview. That is the time to show them what a warm and wonderful individual you are. On your resume, stick to what you can do for them that makes you different.

Example:

1. I have both sales & marketing and production management experience. This makes me stand out to employers, because it means I’ll ‘get’ why and how things happen in different departments within their organization–and how to grease the wheels to ensure they happen more effectively. (If you’ll forgive a gross generalization, in all honesty my perception is this: most people think that they, in their department, work their butt off, and everyone else and especially in every other department is a lazy idiot.) That goes way up top on my resume.

2. I have an interest and training in tarot card reading. This nugget of information has, in fact (I was told so by the person who became my boss for the next four years), helped push the curiosity factor over the edge for the employer to want to meet me. Yet it does nothing to actually help my employer, so it goes at the very end of my resume–if at all.

 

Your resume is not for you.

It is for employers, to assist them in determining that you are a suitable candidate for them to meet. Employers, like everyone else, are self-interested, and want only to know what you can do for them.

Make sure the prime real estate–the top 1/3 of the first page–of your resume isn’t wasted. Keep it clear. How do you benefit them? Keep the warm and fuzzies for the bottom, or the interview.

If you want expertise to help you get started on a winning resume right now, click here.

Seeking killer job hunting tips for a really low investment? Check out my ebook, “Get Hired FAST!


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Are You Black Angus?

Hey, I’ve spent the past four days driving through and hanging out in Montana, Idaho and now Utah. And I can tell you one thing: I’ve seen a lot of black bulls.

A Lot.

Fields and fields of black bovines, standing, sitting, chowing, milling. And here’s the observation I’ve made: you can’t tell one from the other.


Sure, they’re all destined to become great steaks, like the one I had in Salt Lake tonight. I’m certain they’re all tasty meat on the hoof. Yet, just like the resumes of most people, there’s nothing to distiguish one from the other. One black bull looks just like another black bull…especially from the highway.


The employers you’re blasting your resume to are seeing it at highway speed. Odds are you look just like another bull: probably a steak that’s as good as any other, but why should they pick you?

Now I don’t want to sound like I’m ripping off Seth Godin, but what do you think would happen if you were driving down the I-15 and saw a neon red bull?


I’ll bet you’d turn to your passenger(s) and point it out. I’ll bet you’d talk about it.

Let’s get a reaction like this happening for you and your resume. If you want expertise to help you get started right now, click here.

Seeking killer job hunting tips for a really low investment? Check out my ebook, “Get Hired FAST!


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Take What You Can Get?

If you’ve been following these posts, you know that for the last little while I’ve been harping on “not settling” and “being very clear about what you want” when it comes to work. Just in case you think I’m the only one who thinks this way, here’s Seth Godin’s take on it.

It’s not just me. The exact work you do, the people you surround yourself with, end up permanently slanting how people–potential clients, potential employers–view you. So here are two key ideas about why it’s so important to choose precisely the kind of work you want to do:

1) You’ll be much happier

2) People will see you as you want them to see you.

Few things are more frustrating than knowing this is the kind of work you want to do, yet having your work history football-block suitable employers from seriously considering you for such positions. People don’t make mental leaps. They don’t make connections. You have to spoon-feed them the evidence that you are what you say you are.

If this means you have to suffer and wait for awhile for the right job to come along (and recall an earlier post where I mentioned that the jobs you do tend to suck you into their worlds and concerns making you forget your original goal), I think it is better for you to do that and keep searching for the right fit.


So…what if you’re plain unsure of what it is you want to do?

Take your best guess. Do some research and figure out your personality type and what tasks you would be well-suited for. For example, I’m best at meeting others and beginning relationships, and organizing chaotic situations. I get incredibly bored doing same-old-same-old maintenance duties. And although working with my hands is a pleasant tertiary skill I do enjoy employing on occasion, particularly with crafting artwork, I would feel trapped, underutilized and miserable within a few weeks if I were stuck doing such tasks.

What do you find you like to talk about all day? Mechanics? Contract terms? Plant growth?

If you can determine just these two things, you will be well on your way to focusing on a job that will make you happy, and reflect to the world the kind of person you want to be known as. Need help? Drop me a line If you want expertise to help you get started right now, click here.

Finally, I highly recommend Seth Godin’s blog and his books–he’s on my Cool People page for that very reason.

Seeking killer job hunting tips for a really low investment? Check out my ebook, “Get Hired FAST!


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Job Hunting: The Wrong Approach

There’s something I don’t understand. Maybe it’s a product of sloppy thinking, of nobody ever taking people by the hand and explaining it. The issue is this: when the vast majority of people look for work, they get all scared, rushed, and want to take the first thing that comes along. They fall into jobs without any thought as to whether it’s a good fit for them, or if it will make them miserable, or even if in the long run this is helpful to their progression.

Why do you do this?

I don’t. I have made a long study of job hunting, the whats and whys, how things really work. I don’t understand why most people have this weak-kneed reaction and find it very frustrating to witness. Is your sole concern the money? There are plenty of jobs paying about the same amount. Do you really want to get into a situation that, a few months into, you say to yourself about: Well, I really don’t like it here, but I’m staying ‘cause I need the money…

Why do you do this?

Do you feel compelled to repeat the same bland things everyone else has listed on their resumes? How is this helpful? The only way you get an interview call is by standing out. As someone who has been a hiring manager, I simply don’t believe you when you list that you’ve got “exceptional problem solving and communication skills”. I just don’t buy it. Everyone says they have those abilities, but few actually do—and I’ll make you prove it or fail in the interview.

My approach is to define you clearly to employers so that they can quickly determine whether you’re a potential fit or not for them. Let’s say there are 30 jobs available right now in your industry and town. Using my methods, it’s true that maybe 25 employers would screen you out as not a fit. You panic when you read this. But why? You would be unhappy there. Is the lure of some money so great for you? It’s available everywhere. Now look at the flipside. The remaining 5 employers have determined that you, yes you, are most likely a really good fit for them. Because of your specific description of interests and how you will benefit them, you stand above all the other candidates. In other words, your chances of getting one of these 5 jobs is far, far greater than any other candidate’s.

So which situation would you rather have:

30 slow-moving, very diluted chances of randomly ending up on employers’ call lists, probably just to round out a pre-selected number of interviews someone said they’d do (“OK boss, I’ll interview four people, but only one is really any good for us”)?

5 fast-moving, excellent, clearly understandable chances of definitely ending up on employers’ short lists, because they want to talk to you specifically?

Me, I’ll take the 5 sniper-accurate opportunities every time—my job search will be much shorter and I’ll be a lot happier.


What have you been doing to this point with your job search? Diluting yourself down in the frightened hope of generically appealing to everything in sight—and getting left on the bench—or being super clear about who you are and what you bring to the game, and getting good chance after good chance to prove you should be on the team?

If you want expertise to help you get started right now, click here.

Seeking killer job hunting tips for a really low investment? Check out my ebook, “Get Hired FAST!


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How To Turn That Panic Volume Down!

So you’re looking for work, been doing so for awhile now, running out of money and things are getting scary aren’t they? You’re in “I’ll Take Anything” mode. Your heart goes up every time someone calls you for an interview, and plummets when you never hear from them again or are told No.

It is my duty to let you know: You’re in baaaaad shape.

The signals you are giving off to potential employers, not to mention the world around you, are clearly and loudly expressing your inner turmoil. Only a desperate, sleazy or unpleasant employer will hire you in this state, and that spells trouble.

We need to turn this around right now.


When you’re looking for work, the frame of mind you’re in directly affects how employers see you. If you are scrambling and needy, they’ll feel it. And they will back away. How do you feel when you go into a store and a (bad) salesperson comes rushing over crying “Can I help you?” You immediately perceive them as grasping, shut down, and move away. “No thanks, just looking.” This is precisely what happens when you, in your panic state, are interviewed by employers.

Where you need to be is the opposite: calm, unruffled, cautious, secure, with many options. Employers will move towards you. They will be attracted. The right kind of employers, too.

“I’m financially independent, and I don’t need the job.”

Say this to yourself. Get it into your head. Imagine what it would be like to have a bank account positively bursting with money. This is the foundation of taking that feeling of calm into the interview with you. An effective attitude will ensure you get hired more quickly.

If you’ve read my ebook, Get Hired!, you know that you produce more value than the employer pays you for. Your work is more valuable than you thought! And if you are clear about what it is that you want to do, you can better express that desire and how you will benefit the employer. That’s one of the key reasons why we don’t stay in “I’ll Take Anything” mode. Otherwise, you look slushy, unsure, without value.

A good resume will create curiosity in employers’ minds. With a sharp metal image of what you do and how you will benefit them, your effective resume will enable you to stand out. They will want to talk to you.

During the interview, you determine whether you are a fit. Maybe this boss would be a bad one for you. Perhaps you like to do things a little different every time, but they’re a by-the-book procedure freak. An interview is merely a conversation to determine fit. It is not the Great Event people seem to want to make it out to be. Don’t get sucked into the idea that the next interview you get will lead to your next job. Who knows, it might be an awful fit and you’d be miserable!

Are you in “I’ll Take Anything” mode? Are you panicking? Follow the instructions I’ve lain out here. They might sound like the exact opposite of what you should do…but how well have you done with your current way of looking for work? In the sales training that I pay for, I am constantly given techniques that appear to be completely the wrong way around; yet they work. I’ve seen it time and time again, enough that I do not question anymore–I just start doing. Don’t be too enthusiastic. Don’t be ready to fall over backwards to get hired. Those things, just like the poorly-trained salesperson, cause employers to move away from you. You are financially independent, and don’t need the job. Be scarce. Be sure of what you want, and how you create value. This will turn your panic volume down to zero, and the quiet confidence you exude in the interview will easily lead towards employers offering you the position.


Final advice: Make sure it’s a good fit. Taking a job just because it’s offered to you could be the worst mistake you’ll ever make.

If you want expertise to help you get started right now, click here.

Seeking killer job hunting tips for a really low investment? Check out my ebook, “Get Hired FAST!


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CNN Asks: Do Out-of-the-Box Job Seeking Tactics Really Work?

In this story, CNN looks at how job seekers have tried to stand out to employers.

My opinion is hey, it’s all in the execution. There’s doing something eye-catching with your resume, and then there’s showing up at the HR manager’s home Saturday morning with their dog’s favorite food. We’re talking the difference between an “Oh, cool!” and a “Woah, creepy!”

In the past I’ve used a bound booklet complete with reference letters to promote myself. While you might think this would be too long, employers read through it and liked it because it gave them all the information they needed to make a decision. For most people though, a simple alteration of their resume is enough to quickly change how employers react, and generate callbacks. Rarely is there the need for a youtube video to show off their skills.

Do you have any experiences with non-traditional methods of job hunting that you’d like to share? Comment below.

If you’d like to discuss some cost-effective and non-weird ways of getting employers’ attention, send me a note. If you want expertise to help you get started right now, click here.

Seeking killer job hunting tips for a really low investment? Check out my ebook, “Get Hired FAST!


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How To Get a Grip On Your Job Search

Here’s something I hear from people all over the world: “I hate my job. I want to leave. But I have responsibilities…I have payments to make, people to support. It’s just not easy to change when you’ve got these things to worry about.”

I agree. It’s really easy to get emotionally involved. Why wouldn’t you?

Because it’s a bad idea. Imagine yourself as some other person, with you as an outsider looking in on that life. What would your reaction to their situation be? How would you react? What would you say?

Probably something like: “Wow they’re miserable. They have to make a change. And they even know what would make them happier! Why don’t they go get it? I should let them know…” We’re talking Admiral ‘Obvious’ Ackbar screaming “It’s a trap!”

Stop. Imagine yourself at your most weak and vulnerable. No job, no money, nothing on the go. Well, at this point you’ve got two choices, don’t you?

1. Roll over and die.

2. Get up, dust yourself, off, fight and make it work.

Those are your only choices, aren’t they? Die or survive. And, I think you’ll agree, they’re both self-created.

Rationally, at this point, you agree then—we choose to do the things that need doing to either survive or die. Problem is, in real life, this doesn’t work. People are scared. They deny this. So tell me, how do you reconcile these facts?

Intellectually, you know it’s your choice whether to live or die. Yet why, when confronted with a lousy work situation, a loser boss, a destabilizing environment, why do you stay on? You’ve forgotten the basics.

Emotion is what messes you up. If you were another person looking at your life, you’d shout “Change it! Now!” without pause.

If you’re having trouble getting a grip on your job search, drop me a line. If you want expertise to help you get started right now, click here.

Seeking killer job hunting tips for a really low investment? Check out my ebook, “Get Hired FAST!


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The Importance of Clarity

I run into this kind of thing all the time when helping people with their job search (see if this sounds like anyone you know):


Me: “So, what do you do / did you do at work?”

The Other Guy: “I made sure stuff turned out. I understand business goals, and I worked with (programmers, engineers, accountants) to achieve the outcomes the client wanted.”

Me: “And that means?”

The Other Guy (TOG): “There was a (programmer, engineer, accountant) who was really good at the technical side of things, but they only had one speed: fast forward. Whatever the client asked for, this person would say sure, they could do it.”

Me: “So what did you do?”

TOG: “I was the contact between the clients and the technologists.”

Me: “So what was it that was special about what you did or how you did it?”

TOG: “I made sure the projects resulted in what the clients expected…”


As you can probably tell, this isn’t very helpful. For your job search, your resume and what you say to potential employers, you’ve got to get what it is you do clarified.

If you ever want to make above-average money, and get your job search over with quickly, you are going to have to stand out to employers. If you are unclear about what it is that you do that makes you special, you are going to be just another commodity. Commodities live and die by price. Cheapest supplier wins. Hello, low salary. You have to be unique. The key to being unique in an employer’s eyes is to be clear about what it is you have to offer.

The rest of the applicants are going to blubber and go on and on as in the above example. If you are able to communicate the key few things you do well so that the employer gets a ringingly clear picture of how you are going to benefit their organization, you’re going to stand out like crazy. And when it comes to salary discussion, you’ll have much more leverage at the negotiating table.

If you’re having trouble being able to clearly define what makes you special, get me involved today. If you want expertise to help you get started right now, click here.

Seeking killer job hunting tips for a really low investment? Check out my ebook, “Get Hired FAST!