How to Find a Job in 2018
This article is for anyone who would like to re-imagine their career or business in 2018. If you were recently laid off, or can see a potential layoff in the future or simply would like to discover your next step - this article is for you. I have been there and would love to share my 15 tips with you. Trust me - as hard as it is to hear this news, you will soon discover that they did you a favour! Let the re-imagination begin.
The first three tips are for before you get started.
Step Back. Take the time to figure out what you want, what you are good at, and what is important to you. Okay, do that now and write it down - these lists will evolve throughout your journey, so just get started writing what you want. You may be anxious to get out there immediately and find something similar to what you did before, but take some time to make sure you are making the best move. This will save you time and energy in the long run. Stepping back does not mean hiding under your bed or binge watching Netflix, although you may want to to that for a day or two. Get busy! You will look back on this time off and wish you had spent more time reflecting, discovering new experiences and investing in yourself. This a great time to learn new skills. Last year, I learned how to shoot the sunrise, speak at City Hall, build a website, manage a political campaign, and learned how to book a conversation with absolutely anyone. It’s so much easier to adapt to change when you have a few different skills in your wheelhouse and you will find lots of resources online and off. Build new neural pathways!
Stay Positive. This is crucial. You may have mornings where you wake up in a slight panic. If you are feeling low, get up, jump fields and do something you’ve never had time for. Write an article. Call an old friend. Watch the sun rise. Hit an art gallery. Serve at a soup kitchen. Whatever floats your boat. I promise you will return to your career search more productive, more creative and tomorrow is a new day. Staying positive will be your #1 secret weapon, so be relentless in taking care of your spirit. Surround yourself with positive people. Take care of your mind and your health. Do stuff that makes you feel good. My advice - go help someone. More on that later. Consider a work diary to keep track of your successes, contributions and goals.
Talk to Everyone. You never know where your next lead or insight will come from. I have found opportunities in the pool at the YMCA, at the beach, and from talking to my mailman. Don’t talk about the weather. Ask people why they do what they do. Tell them what you are looking for and what you want to do. These days everyone can relate to the challenge of looking for a job or a change. You may discover an opportunity you were not expecting or a new friend. Talk to strangers and see what comes up. Listen to all the advice you hear from all sources and then trust your own instincts. As my father used to say, follow your heart and your soul will always catch up. I’m not sure what that means, but it always makes me smile. Do whatever keeps you smiling.
Okay. Okay. But what about finding a job?! I thought you’d never ask. Let’s get started.
Be Authentic. Yes, be true and be yourself. Everyone else really is taken. This sounds so obvious but it’s amazing how many people forget this one, especially in this era of social media. First, stop judging yourself against other people. Would you literally rather be them? Of course not. Other people have their own problems and I’m sure you wouldn’t want them. You have your own passions, talents, and a network of people who love you. So focus on that. Invest in yourself and don’t waste your time wishing things happened differently in the past. Focus on the present and what is important to you - get the help you need to figure out where you want to go and how to make it happen. It’s amazing what can arise when you are upfront about who you are, collaborate with others and ask for what you want.
Amplify Your Story. Not all of us are all sales pros, marketers, or social media strategists, but you still need to build a digital presence and get the word out, however you can. Facebook is not enough. It’s never been easier to show off your talents online, so find a way to build your profile online. Build your own site on Wix or Weebly, leverage LinkedIn or answer questions on Twitter or Quora. If you are not able, ask someone to help you, or pay someone to to do this. The investment will multiply your ability to build credibility and to get the meetings you want. Yes, your photo is important. Yes, you need a quick bio online and an elevator pitch for the real world. Yes, show your best work, wherever possible. Yes, it helps to write articles to show you have a POV. Yes, recommendations or testimonials will help. Celebrate your talents, your network, your volunteer work, and everything you’ve got. Explore your name on Google to make sure there’s nothing inappropriate and check your privacy settings on all networks. Ask someone you trust to review your digital profile and give you constructive feedback. It’s your front door for the world, so make sure you are inspiring people to come in and get to know you.
Build a One Page CV. Yes, you still need one of these, but keep it short. Five years ago, recruiters would spend an average of six seconds reviewing an individual resume. Who knows how many seconds recruiters spend today looking at a cv, but it’s not more than 6 seconds. You can put anything you like on page two or three, because it will not be read. Lead with your best shot and include links to any lesser details online. Google Docs has templates which make it easy. Pocket Resume allows you to build a PDF, which can be sent anytime on your phone.
Craft a Killer Cover Letter. First, write a list of 10 companies and people you would like to work for. Your cover letter is more important than your CV and it should be personalized for each opportunity. Essentially, you need to communicate why you want to join the team and why recruiter or decision maker should meet you. Keep it short, get specific and intrigue their attention with an interesting subject heading. Do your research on the company and the person. Mention their recent accolades or their approach, or offer solutions to problems they are trying to solve. Don’t be afraid to show your insights, ideas, POV, or creativity. If your thoughts are not appreciated, it’s probably not the right place for you.
Breakthrough & Get Interviews. These days anyone can apply for a role online in a few clicks, which makes standing out from the crowd difficult. Follow up your online application with an outreach directly to a key influencer. Search the company name on Linkedin and, find someone who works there who is connected to someone you know. Write to that person and introduce yourself. Your goal at this point is to be considered for an interview, and most people are open to this, if you are a good match for the culture and role, and you have already applied online. Once you get the interview, make sure you do your research on the interviewer and company, and write down 5 of your success stories in Harvard STAR format - situation, task, achievement, and results. Simpaddico has a flash card ‘Interview Questions’ app to help you get ready and feel confident. Lastly, read tip #4 again - be yourself! Fit and culture is is as important as your experience and skills.
Build and Alert your Network. LinkedIn makes it easy to increase your contacts. Click on ‘My Network’ at the top and then click on the 'Connect' button on the left. This will pull up all of your contacts on whichever email you submitted to LinkedIn. You can send invites to all or click one-by-one. Writing a personal note to each will increase response, but you may decide it’s more efficient to send to all. Before you send invites, you can unclick anyone you don’t don’t know or wish to invite. Join groups that are relevant to your search. Consider putting the word out online in a quick post. When I started coaching, I put the word out on social media and by the time I got home from my morning bike ride, I had three new clients. Don’t be afraid to ask anyone for help - looking for a job is the grand equalizer and a grand connector. We have all been there. Most people want to help if they can and if they don’t, they won’t. End of story.
Practice the Fine Art of Empathy. Empathy is another secret weapon - second only to a positive attitude. Whether you are reaching out to someone through email, the phone or meeting them in person, take the time prior to figure out what makes them tick - what are their goals, challenges and what do they care about. This can be done easily online by checking out their LinkedIn profile and whatever comes up on Google. Do your homework and be respectful of their time - that’s the least you can do and it shows emotional intelligence, perseverance and grit.
FU. FU. FU. This does not mean what you think, although you may feel like saying it sometimes when you don’t hear back from someone. Don’t take anything personally. What I mean by FU is to FOLLOW UP! I can’t tell you how many interviews or opportunities or great discussions or new business wins, would NEVER have happened if I had not sent a quick email to say. “I am following up to see if there is any update or timing...” Just do it. It’s worth the 60 seconds it takes. Most people will respond. And if they don’t respond, follow up again. And if they still don’t respond, follow up one more time, and move on. You may wish to use a CRM program, such as Hubspot to schedule your communication and follow ups. You can always stay connected to future opportunities through alerts or LinkedIn. And your mother may have told you this, but be nice, no matter what. Stand tall.
Try some new Tools. Hubspot has a great email tracker, which will alert you when your email is read and forwarded. I have found this one tool to be invaluable in seeing what works and what does not. Clearbit or RocketReach are great tools for finding email addresses. Glassdoor will give you salary and culture details. Indeed will simplify job alerts. Google Alerts will keep you informed on any relevant topics, people and companies.
Give to Get. One of the best ways to build opportunities is to get out there and show off your talents. Volunteer. Join a Board. Help your Friends. Mentor someone who needs it. I stepped up my giving this Fall and what I have received in return has been immeasurable. Sarah Mac Coaching was born out of helping friends and community.
Aim High. Finding your next opportunity is one of the most important jobs there is. Give it all you’ve got. Find a way to transform all of your excuses into tenacity. A little creativity can go a long way to solving problems and getting noticed.
Consider a Mentor, Buddy or Coach. Get the help you need and share your own talents, ideas and insights. As the African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Stay tuned for my next article, “Mentors, Muses, and Magic.”
You may decide you want to design your own work or career. Find a problem or a need which your talents can solve, and get started. Whether you want to re-imagine your career, launch a business, or simply amplify your story and build your existing business, I am here to help, when the time is right. You can book a free intro test-drive or ideation demo here at www.sarah-mac.com. Where do you want to go?