5 Ways to Develop a Job Search Frame-of-Mind

Looking for a job can be frustrating and anxiety-producing even in the best of times.  Knowing what employers are exactly looking for can stump the best detective.  Determining how to present yourself in a way that will get you noticed takes skill; there seems to be alot of varying information that is out-of-sync and can leave you confused and dazed.  Should you brand yourself, should you call after you send a resume, how many resumes do you send and in what format….the list can go on and on.  To add to the frustration is not getting any interest in what you do send out.  This can lead to a variety of emotions, such as frustration, anger, anxiety, or depression.  Soon, you may feel apathetic, where it doesn’t matter any more.

It is important to develop a job search frame-of-mind, which helps you to keep calm and focused on carrying out the goals and strategies you (hopefully) have in place and that you carry out on a daily basis.  Having a good mind-sense enables you to get up refreshed and motivated every morning and to face the day of seeking employment.  If you need some help to improve your mood and outlook, here are some tips to help you reframe and refresh:

1. Self-assess – you need to tap into your thoughts and emotions to see what it is leading to your out-of-control emotions; once you have you need to acknowledge and validate them

2. Develop good coping skills – tap into your inner strengths and interests to find activities that help to calm and deal with adversities, such as prayer, mediatation, exercise, gardening, etc.

3. Journal – writing down your thoughts and feelings will help you to safely release your emotions and can help you to develop awareness and keep you focused on your goals

4. Use thought-stopping techniques – the use of the rubber band on your wrist works to stop and banish negative self-talk and habits

5. Use the power of affirmations and visualizations – these can reframe negative thoughts into positive ones and helps to motivate and keep you focused on the end result

It is important during job-search mode to be fresh and open to new experiences and possibilities that may arise. If you are only focused on the negatives, or if you are not in a good frame of mind, you may miss these opportunities.  You will not be prepared for the people or opportunities that may be in your future.  Develop your job search frame-of-mind now so it can pay off in the end.  How do you keep focused and motivated in your job search??

How do You Find a Job with Limited Skills?

Most career-related articles are directed towards higher level, or white-collar workers.  These are displaced workers who held professional-level jobs and who have the education, skills and experience that will take them forward to employment; it is easier for them to find a job.  But what about those individuals who may have limited skills or lack the education or experience.  What can they do to find a job?

Some of these individuals may only have a high school diploma, or may not have finished high school.  Others may have a language barrier or have never worked.  For these individuals, it will be more difficult to find employment but it is not impossible.

1. Just as those with more education and experience, it starts with knowing exactly what skills and experience you possess.  A job search plan is necessary to focus your efforts so you are not expending time and energy on wasted effort.

2.  Getting job-search help is a necessity, such as through the One Stop Workforce or similar programs.  Look where you might be able to get some training or schooling – there are opportunities through the stimulus program.

3. Attend job fairs or networking events – these are great opportunities to find numerous employers in one location

4. Have a resume that highlights your skills and talents.  Show any volunteering or classes taken.  Highlight outcomes or benefits you possess.

5.  Look the part – make sure you dress appropriatly at all times.  If you are going to an interview, are out networking or applying for jobs, make sure you wear dress pants and shirt.  Look like you are at work; it will help set you apart from the competition and show a potential employer that you are serious about working.

There’s no doubt about it, it’s tough out there.  There are jobs available but with a flooded market of job seekers, it is more difficult to find the ways to stand out.  It’s not impossible but it does take persistance and dilligence.  Find ways for relaxation to relieve stress and seek out supports to help you through.  Above all, never quit.

Is Networking a Part of Your Job Search Strategy?

Are you aware that 80% of available jobs are not posted on any job boards?  It is a fact that businesses are not posting over half of their jobs due to the amount of interest they receive on a daily basis. They are already overwhelmed so they keep the majority of their positions covert.  These are the jobs that they want great candidates for.  They are banking on hearing about these candidates through people they know and trust, such as family or friends.  That is why the best way to find a job is through networking – talking to the people you know, who know people, who know people, and so on.  It is about gettin yourself out there and networking your personal brand – you – to get that next position.  It is about using the social networking sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, or others, to let people know who you are, what you are looking for, and then to ask if they know anyone hiring for your services or field.

I will tell you a quick story about how this can work. I attended a career meeting and met someone who was looking for a job.  I sent him some links but never heard from him after.  Recently, he contacted me to inquire about a networking group that I had mentioned to him several months ago.  He came to the meeting and told the group what he was looking for. He had at least five people who said they would refer him to people they know in his field.  If he had followed up several months ago, he could be working right now! The moral of the story is how the networking process works in a job search and how powerful if can be.  So, is networking a part of your job search strategy?

Make Your Alumni Association Part of Your Job Search Strategy

When you are looking for a job, whether you are unemployed, want to change fields, or move to a new position, you need to put your alumni association on your list job search strategies.  Alumni associations are a great resource, as they have assessment tools you can use, directories of employers, hold job fairs, and they help you network with other alums who could help you get a job.  It is also possible to find internship and mentorship opportunities that can help you to gain work experience that will help you to stand out from other job seekers.

One such university that is helping their alums is the University of South Florida, in Tampa.  They have implemented a program called, Career Quest, that is linking their alumni association and their career center to offer classes, online resources and an opportunity to meet with an alumni career coach.  University alumni and career centers also have connections in the community and networks with local businesses that can provide information about jobs available and to link with you the people who hire.

I myself belong to an alumni association and reconnected with a classmate from 10 years ago.  As we were catching up on our career paths since we graduated, he learned that I am a university professor, of which he had aspirations of becoming. Through my networks and contacts, he is teaching at a university.  This is the power of your alumni assocation; they make you a member when you graduate so take advantage of this powerful resource!

How Clear Are You On Your Job Search?

If you are in a job transition, I am sure that there are times when you feel discouraged or frustrated.  When you don’t hear any feedback from employers, i.e. interview or rejection letter, it leaves a void of the unknown.  You don’t know if your resume was reviewed, or is sitting in a stack of call-backs, or if it is in the shredder.  There may be a glimmer of hope that “someday” they may call.  But this hope inevitably leads to rejection and feelings of despair.  You throw your hands in the air and lose yourself in some mundane task to ease the “pain”.  But, the next day you get up and go to your computer to look at the job boards and send out fify more resumes to jobs you may or may not be interested in.  You just feel compelled to apply for jobs in the hopes that someone will call.

If this sounds like you, then it’s time to refine you search and become more clear on focusing on positions that match your skills and experience.  Spending your time on focused job activities will help you feel more in control of your efforts and can lead to better results.  It can also give you time for rest and relaxation, which are vital to your emotional health; it can give you new perspectives and keep you going when you may not have the drive or motivation.

If you are in career management mode, you would be clear.  If you have done a self-assessment of your skills and talents, then you would know which jobs to go after.  If you have assessed your preferred work environment, you would know which organizations to call.  If you have done the research on specific job positions that interest you, you would know if it is a “fit” for you.  Doing those assessments, and having very clear, definitive answers, will get you more focused – you will be clear on what type of job you want and will know who hires.  When someone asks you what type of job you are looking for, you will be able to answer quickly and definitively; you will come to the minds of others when they are looking to hire or know someone who is. 

It is not too late to become clear on how you want your job search to proceed.  You can start from “scratch” in refining your job search strategy by going back and clearly assesing your skills, talents and experience. Once you have a clearer picture, match them with the job(s) that interest you and that you are a match for.  When you have those identified, you can now do a little research on which organizations hire for your identified jobs and can learn more about the hiring personnel and of the organization.  Now, it is time to map out a plan for the days of the week and the activities you will do on a daily basis. 

It may look something like this:

Monday:   9-11am  Search job boards for open positions

                   12           Lunch

                   1-3pm    Write cover letters, apply for targeted positions

Tuesday    9-10      Search job boards for new positions

                   10-11    Call 5 people to network

                   11:30 – 1pm – Attend XYZ networking group

                   2-4pm  Read industry magazines to research companies, trends

 Being very specific with how your spend your time and on what activities will streamline your efforts and help keep you motivated.  You will be able to stay the course.  What activities help, or have helped, you to become clear in your job search? Would love to hear your comments!