5 Top Accelerants to Your Effective Search

By Clyde Lowstuter

Wind-up CarPower and patience are the yin/yang of the job search. You need power to feel confident in your skills and patience to help you step back – so you can deeply reflect and choose the right next step. The future might seem uncertain, but ultimately you are in charge. You determine your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Only you control how you present yourself, what you say, and where you focus. If you tell yourself, “It’s a tough job market out there,” you will find it exceedingly difficult to network and land the perfect job. If every day, you remind yourself of the value you have contributed to an organization, you will be more confident and self-assured, while seeing a multitude of possibilities in the market. It is easy to get derailed and frustrated during your search. Take heart, we have all been there. Here are some strategies to help you regain your footing.

1. Manage Your Emotional Roller Coaster:

It’s not the lack of technical competency that will derail your search; it’s those strong negative emotions that dominate your thoughts and rob you of a positive, motivating frame of mind. Focus on what you are thankful for. Let your gratitude influence your attitude. See R|L Blog Article: Gratefulness Buoys and Motivates

2. Strive for Networking Mastery:

Networking is a process that is both an art and a science. It’s interwoven with heighten common sense and driven by courageous resourcefulness. Bottom line: if you are not receiving at least 2 additional names from each of your networking sources, something is amiss. If you find that your contacts are hesitant to open up their contact list, your approach might be experienced as presumptuous or overly demanding. Alternatively – you might not be positive or confident enough to generate interest or enthusiasm for your search. R|L Blog Article: I’ve Heard There’s a Recession: I’ve Decided not to Participate

3. Entitlement Mentality:

If you find yourself outraged that you were terminated, welcome to the world of entitlement. When I got zapped a number of years ago, I was the poster boy for a victim operating with a high level of entitlement. “It’s not fair!” was my sole mantra. Until I had my epiphany in which I realized that it was absolutely proper for my boss to terminate me, I was zigging and zagging in our relationship. Once I took complete responsibility for how my life and career looked, only then did my search efforts take off. I invite you to look deeply into your life and identify those dimensions in which you feel that you entitled to a “Get Out of Trouble” pass.  See R|L Blog Article: Martyr No More

4. Interviewing Savviness

There are myriad nuances to interviewing. If you are not prepared – You. Will. Fail.
Minimally, you should know the details of your credentials backwards and forwards. You also absolutely need to confidently and positively articulate why you left, the results you achieved, and how you can contribute to this other organization. Put yourself in the interviewer’s’ shoes – ask yourself the questions, he/she would ask.

Do your research on the company, its competitor, and major trends that might influence the company you are interviewing. Do ask open-ended questions that demonstrate your interest and the depth of your business acumen. Don’t talk more than 40%; the impression you make by waxing ad nauseum is never positive. See R|L Blog Article: Interview Impression.

5. References and Reason for Leaving:

References are worth more than your weight in gold. They provide a glimpse of who you are, what you can do, and your core values. Faint praise from a reference is damaging praise because it raises red flags that might knock you out of consideration. If you feel that your relationship with your former boss is rocky, fix it. Take a minute to get your head on straight and, if possible, pay him/her a visit. Take complete ownership for your exit. Express your gratitude for the opportunity to work there. Be specific about the things you learned and the skills you gained. Elaborate a bit on your vision for the future and your career trajectory. Share your goals in a confident and enthusiastic manner. Get them excited about your future endeavors. Then, discuss the references process. It is critical that you and your boss be aligned with a reasonable explanation of your exit. Anticipate, prepare, and practice discussing this in a positive manner with zero defensiveness and a rational explanation. Chapter 10 – Your References are Like Gold – Worksheets 33-37

Don’t rush; take some time to think about what you want and where you want to go in the next five years, ten years, fifteen years. Passion is contagious. If you can envision your future you will become enthused. Layer this enthusiasm with the ROI of your past successes and you will have the ideal presence for your search.

You’ve got this.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Gandhi.

Let’s Get Hyper!

By Clyde Lowstuter

If you’ve followed our approach to resume writing, you know that we repeatedly ask my favorite, yet most obnoxious question, “So, What?” While, perhaps, unsettling at first, it’s a proven process by which you can quantify your accomplishments and highlight your unique background. Additionally, we recommend that our career transition clients insert ResumeLinks™ that highlight significant accomplishments or events that showcase their talent, skills, and abilities.

ResumeLinks™ – whether they are text or video will:

  • Direct the reader to a few substantive “events” or statements in news headlines, press releases, websites, or video presentations, illustrating your specific impact.
  • ResumeLinks™ should be used exclusively to demonstrate your performance, not link to your companies or universities. The reason being, you don’t want to divert readers away from your resume content or brand persona.
  • Cut through the clutter of competing resumes by grabbing the attention of resume screeners.
  • Buoy your boldness and confidence, while reigniting your passion for your role.
  • Enhance your visibility in the marketplace.

Businessman giving presentation to his ColleaguesExamples:  One client created ResumeLinks™ to highlight her significant leadership capabilities in the highly profitable sale of her company which netted $1.2 billion.  Another executive linked his role to a press release quantifying his successful growth strategy.  A litigator linked a video clip of his compelling closing statements from a highly publicized trial. A high-tech executive linked his new product launch campaign to a social media advertising video.

ResumeLinks™ provide interest, intrigue, and ensure the integrity of your credentials. They are limited only to your imagination. However, finesse is key. You only need 2-3 carefully placed links to anchor your resume. Get greedy and over-indulge – you risk being seen as trying too hard to impress others, or worse, people may think you are insecure.

Start with your quantified resume. Answer the tough, “So, What?” questions. Look over your list of impactful accomplishments. Are you portraying yourself as powerfully as you’d like? What do you want to showcase to a potential employer? What roles do you want to particularly highlight? Be mindful when selecting your links; if you have worked for a privately held company, make sure that you find quantifications that are public knowledge and can be shared.

Identify your successes.  Deepen your credibility through ResumeLinks™.  Solidify your reputation.

Let’s get Hyper!!

Avoiding Flame Outs

By Clyde C. Lowstuter

Fighter JetA flame out is when the engine of an airplane stops in mid-flight. The pilot’s job (and life) depend on his ability to restart the plane. Being zapped is a lot like this.  Everything is fine with your career one moment until – BAM! – you are unexpectedly falling.  Like a skilled pilot you need to restart you engines quickly and efficiently or you will not be nearly as effective in career transition as you’d like and need to be.

What’s the difference between a career transition that’s red hot and one that has flamed out? It’s usually not about capabilities or experience; rather, it’s about the meaning you have attached to the career transition process that generates a quick or slow land into your next role.

Reluctant job seekers are often paralyzed by the belief that they are somehow flawed and the idea of networking (or asking for help) is tantamount to begging or imposing on others.  No wonder they feel ashamed and embarrassed; they are not in their most powerful and confident state.  The reality of the shame factor is that it is an illusion. It is of your own making. You might feel real shame, but if you look below the surface of your job search, you will find its source is something else.  You are human and vulnerable; you’re not invincible and all-knowing, contrary to what you might like others to think.  Being embarrassed is real, but it is a waste of time and a major derailer to forward momentum. Plus, there is zero power in feeling victimized.  So, what to do?

CHECKLIST:  HOW TO PULL OUT OF YOUR DIVE AND AVOID CRASHING

Similar to pilots who go through a checklist to restart their stalled planes, here are some ideas to restart a stalled search campaign.

Get Grounded In Your Powerful Self:

Revisit a number of your notable successes and identify the things that you did and how you operated to achieve what you did.  Competent people that show up – boldly, authentically, and passionately – pay for themselves within an organization tenfold. You are an incredibly valuable commodity for your next company. It is easy to forget that fact when faced with crushing uncertainty.

Update Your Credentials:  

The most powerful exercise for reminding yourself of what you have to offer is to update your resume. Yes, the resume is a tool to give a company an idea of your skills, but it is also a tool to help boost your confidence and self-worth by forcing you to quantify your past work and experience.  Don’t just slap your activities together; rather think deeply about your achievements from multiple perspectives, so you might portray the breadth and depth of your towering strengths, capabilities, and accomplishments.  By doing so, you will reclaim your personal power, focus, and courageousness.

Dig Deeper:   

Before looking at what roles you have held, look more broadly and think deeper. Ask yourself:

  • What do I want my future to look like?  Now?  In 10 years?  In 20 years?
  • What kind of role or organization will bring out my best self?
  • Who do I know that could help me network into this role?
  • How well are my current job search strategies generating viable leads?
  • What fear-induced roadblocks might I be erecting in my career transition that I need to obliterate to achieve what I need and want?

Don’t forget:  boldness, confidence, and enthusiasm are all contagious. If you allow your genuine, authentic self to emerge, people will naturally gravitate to you like bees to honey.

Don’t just look for a job. Look for the job that will unleash your capabilities and ignite your passion.

Howard Thurman said:

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.
Because what the world needs, is people who have come alive!”

So, I say to you – Best wishes for your continued success and  . . . Flame On!

Create Empowered Interviews

By Clyde C. Lowstuter

During a recent R|L staff meeting we were discussing some of the factors that lead to interview disintegration. You know the interviews—ones that are seemingly going well until Bombthey blow up.

Three highlights that we discussed were that the interviewee:

  • doesn’t answer questions in a succinct and credible manner;
  • talks incessantly about him- or herself;
  • doesn’t ask relevant questions.

The common thread among the three is that an interviewee needs to be other-focused. But before becoming other-focused, we all need to break the habit of being self-focused.

Yes, you are in an interview to “sell” yourself, but unless you manage the interview as a conversation, building the relationship, the interviewer will zone out. It is hard to have a conversation with someone who talks at you versus being engaged with you. It is impossible to be memorable if the interviewer has lost interest – and worse – finds you irrelevant.

Is the interviewer engaged with you or are they just going through the motions? If they don’t seem to be curious about you, this is an especially clear indicator that you need to turn the meeting around and become other-focused.

Instead of asking: What can Company X do for me? Ask: How can I contribute to the company’s growth and profitability? How well will my knowledge, skills, and experience directly contribute to a significant ROI? How have I seamlessly integrated into new organizations, previously, while developing widespread endorsement?

Listen more than you speak. Ask more than you tell. Observe not just what you say, but how you say it. Know the truth about your competencies, strengths, and achievements so you can be more planful in guiding the course of your career success. Be aware of your unintended impact on others. Remember: most derailing interviews can be turned around if you are interpersonally agile. Pay attention to any shifts that need to occur.

Consider:

  • What are your beliefs about interacting with others that lead you to not listen and to over-verbalize?
  • What are the pros and cons of solely being self-focused? Other-focused?
  • If you never change your behavior, what might your career and life look like: in 12 months? 24 months? 36 months?
  • If you do change your behavior, what might your career and life look like: in 12 months? 24 months? 36 months?
  • When was the last time that you felt powerful, confident, and self-assured in a role? What were your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors during that time? What was unique about that time? 
  • NOW – go out and let your bold, confident, and courageous self emerge!

Guidelines for Rejecting an Offer

By Clyde C. Lowstuter

Knowing when to accept or reject a job offer is often a heady experience – scary, confusing, exhilarating all at the same time.  You want the job, as you (emotionally, psychologically, or financially) need to go back to work – but it doesn’t feel right for any number of reasons.

What to do?

First, do you know what you are looking for in a job?  Make a list of the ideal job, duties, boss, and culture.

Next, make a list of what you like best/least about the role offered to you, as well as the company and culture.

Thumbs DownNow, evaluate the offer in light of your short-term and long-term career interests, needs, and promotional opportunities.  If after comparing your lists, this opportunity is way off the mark—STOP.  Before you reject the offer, I recommend that you have a conversation about your perceptions and concerns with your potential boss.  You may have misconceptions about the opportunity, company, and people.  If after this conversation you are still convinced that this role does not represent a good fit for you, then you may move forward to reject the offer.

Always, Always, Always reject an offer either in person or by phone – not just by email.  Communicate your appreciation and indicate that you feel it is not a good match.  Offer specific reasons why you are not accepting the role.  Be polite; graciousness is essential.  Why?  Factors that caused you to previously reject an offer might have changed.  Additionally, if handled well, this person could become a network partner.  You never know when you might need or want to call on him or her again.

Never reject a company’s offer with the hope that you can negotiate a better deal with them.  It’s a flawed strategy; if you want the job, say so, and negotiate.  Reject an offer only if you are fully prepared to walk away from the opportunity with no strings attached.

Congratulate yourself on the courage it took to decide to reject an offer. . . and move on.  Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up over this decision.  Second guessing creates more anxiety than it does wisdom.

Now go out and find the job and company that’s right for you.