Job hunt

Take your Job Search to the Next Level with Gumption

I’ve been chatting with some pretty amazing (and successful!) professionals recently and I’m finding a common thread in their stories: Gumption.

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GUMPTION [/ˈɡəmpSH(ə)n/]: A spirited initiative or resourcefulness.

I love that phrase - ‘spirited initiative.’ When applied to the job search it could take on many forms particularly in how you present yourself, in-person and within your career documents.

If you or your search is feeling lackluster, seek to:

+ Engage people. Proactively connect with people and I don’t just mean in the typical ask-someone-to-a-coffee-meeting sort of way. Really show interest in people with your body language and eye contact. Smile. Notice the admin to the CEO on the daily.

+ Address pain points. Connect your professional accomplishments with a target company’s challenges through story via cover letter, resume and at the interview.

+ Take risks. Apply for jobs where you don’t meet every qualification. Connect with people that seem out of your league. Try that freelance gig on the side. People who take risks aren’t afraid to fail (ahem, learn;)

+ Write notes by hand. After an interview genuinely thank the interviewer for having you. Restate your interest in the position and recall a memorable moment of discussion.

How has gumption taken you to the next level? Where can you apply it in your job search?

Who to Reference?

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Including references on your resume will date you as an older job seeker (even if you aren’t one). This common practice from thirty years ago has dissipated today.

However, according to Jobvite’s 2018 Recruiter Nation Survey, 59% of recruiters speak to professional references during the hiring process.

So how do you cultivate professional references and submit them in today’s job market?

Ask for them! Request references from previous colleagues or bosses. New graduates with little work experience, ask college professors who know you well and can vouch for your skills and work ethic.

Submit references when asked. Follow a job posting’s directions on this. Typically, you will submit 3-5 names with contact information on a separate document from your resume. I recommend using the same contact information header as your resume so it is obvious the document belongs with your application materials.

Notify references. Ensure your references are prepared to speak knowledgeably about you. Arm them with information about the opportunity, your resume and specific stories that will speak to your accomplishments. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been contacted by a company to give a reference when I had NO IDEA I was listed as a reference. Avoid this faux pas. Make yourself and your reference look good!

Now is a good time to start building your reference list for your job search in 2019. Ask colleagues you trust!

There's Still Time to Job Search in 2018

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It’s not too late to job search in quarter four!

Most companies that have job openings now want to fill them before the new year. Grab that leftover turkey, make a sandwich and get to work showcasing your value on your career documents:

📌 Know your unique value proposition (UVP) and capitalize on it. Articulate what makes you unique compared to other applicants.

📌 Don’t just say it; prove it! Avoid copy and pasting your job description and instead state and quantify your accomplishments in each role.

📌 Use the job posting as a keyword map. Focus on the repeated themes and qualifications found in the posting as a way to organize your resume.

Don't want to go at it alone? Download our resume branding mini-workbook for guidance here.

Make the best of the rest of 2018. Go for it!

Job Search Strategy: Halloween Style

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The job search is like trick-or-treating. Indulge me. It’s Halloween after all.

My kids’ aim today is CANDY…and lots of it. Rain or shine.

My six-year old’s “plan” is to use the entirety of the trick-or-treating hours to amass a large amount of candy.

We do this in the job search too. We want to fill our time with activity rather than strategy.

Instead of knocking on every neighborhood (ahem.. company) door. Do your research. Talk to people.

🎃 Learn if the company fits your values. Halloween translation: Are you looking for the house that passes out full-size Snickers bars or the one that gives out apples?

🎃 Know who you are. Halloween translation: Know your costume. Be able to describe who you are among the mass of trick-or-treaters.

🎃 Search in community. Halloween translation: It’s more fun to trick-or-treat with others than going solo. And when you spill your candy bucket all over the sidewalk or trip on your costume, you’ve got someone there to help you up.

What other Halloween parallels can you come up with for the job search?

An Exceptional Secret for the Job Search

“There’s nothing particularly special about me, I just do my job.”

I hear that a lot from my clients when we are discussing their current or past roles, but I want to bring YOU in on a secret.

Yes, lean in. Get really close. Hear this:

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You are unique! ONE OF A KIND! There isn’t anyone else like you on the planet.

No one does your job, just like you. Own it!

Still unsure? Use these questions as you reflect on your exceptionality.

✪ What strengths do others continue to acknowledge in you?

✪ What are you known for?

✪ What makes you come alive?

Don’t venture into the discovery process alone. Grab our mini-workbook to discover your unique value proposition.

Hope is Not a Job Search Strategy

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In the job search feeling hopeful is important, but it isn’t a strategy.

Choose five things to do each day that will get you to your new gig. Write this short to-do list on a notecard.

Small habits create big results over time.

What activities could be on your notecard?

➜ Create/share industry-related content on your LinkedIn profile.

➜ Tailor your resume and cover letter for a job posting of interest.

➜ Grow your LinkedIn network with intentional connections.

➜ Set up an informational interview with a new connection to be a student of their career path and what they do!

➜ Add one company to your target company list and follow the company on socialmedia.

Get to it! You got this!

Horse on Roller Skates: A Skill Set Mismatch

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Do you ever feel like a horse on roller skates?

Err..let me rephrase that.

Do you ever feel like your job doesn’t match your skill set? You have more or different to offer that isn’t being met in your current role.

If you are unsure how to explore this mismatch start with LinkedIn! Use your skills as search terms and see what jobs and/or people come up. Peruse the postings and study the career direction of those that come up in your search.

Need more tips on how to hone a new career direction? Download our free tip sheet and put your professional disparities out to pasture (yep, I couldn’t help myself!).

A Bear Hunt of an Opportunity

We're going on a bear hunt. We're going to catch a big one. What a beautiful day! We’re not scared.

[obstacles ensue]

We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh no! We’ve got to go through it!

A big, dark forest: stumble, trip * stumble, trip; winds blow: hoooo woooo * hoooo woooo

Oh-oh! A cave! A narrow, gloomy cave. WHAT’S THAT? It's a BEAR! 🐻

[back through the obstacles]

Into bed. Under the covers. We’re not going on a bear hunt again.

⇪ ⇪ ⇪

As I read “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen + Helen Oxenbury [adapted above], for the forty-third time this week because it is my 2-year old’s recent obsession – it dawned on me.

scary job hunt; job search; career; job

This is “me”...US! When we step out of our comfort zone – it is scary! Our sought-after opportunity is the bear that we’ve hunted and when we find it – we run (or want to!) back through all the obstacles it has taken us to get there…to cozy under our soft, warm duvet of a comfort zone. DON’T DO IT!

I heard a saying today that “nothing new grows in a comfort zone.” Isn’t that so true? Do you want something new? Want a new job? Develop a new skill?

Be brave and scared! Step into the hunt and cultivate your something new.