This post first appeared on the Firebrand Talent Blog.
In my line of work, I see a lot of job seekers who’ve become frustrated with the job search process. I tend to see them when they’re at breaking point after sending out 100 résumés with nothing to show for it.
What they often don’t realise is that by using just one strategy to find a job (i.e. the advertised market) they’re seriously limiting themselves. For many of us, this simply isn’t the most effective way to find work.
When you want a new job and you’re coming up blank, you’ve got to be willing to throw everything at it and try a different approach.
Here are my top tips for job seekers who want to find their ideal job without the struggle:
1) Be willing to do what other job seekers are not
This isn’t as scary as it sounds. It’s actually one of my favourite strategies because it’s the easiest way to get a job. Pitching to a hiring manager or picking up the phone to invite someone for coffee, are things that most people simply don’t do. Why? These strategies bring up a lot of resistance for people because they’re anticipating how uncomfortable they will feel.
I see job seekers spend hours on a job application but they won’t take five minutes to call an employer about a job. If you can get past the discomfort, which only lasts a few seconds, you will be one of the few who do this.
You also get to find out if the job is actually right for you before applying. Plus you’ll have an opportunity to build rapport with the hiring manager to see if this is someone you want to work for.
True story: I once called an employer about a job ad that had closed. I was kicking myself that I’d missed it. The job had already gone to another candidate but the manager told me about another role that had not yet been advertised (I got the job).
Always, always pick up the phone.
2) Become a serial coffee dater
I highly recommend you start asking strangers out for coffee. It may feel slightly awkward the first couple of times, but when you’re looking for a new role, you need insights from people in the industry. I also believe that way more job offers are made over cups of frothy latte than at interviews — and for good reason.
If I was going to hire someone, I would much prefer a casual coffee meeting than a formal interview, where it’s sometimes hard to get a sense of what people are really like. If you reach out to a hiring manager, many will take the time to meet with you, if you approach them the right way.
Reaching out to others for advice and insights on their experience is a sure sign that you’re a highly motivated individual, and that’s attractive to employers.
3) Believe in what you can’t see
One trap that’s easy to fall into when you apply for jobs through the advertised market is the belief that your job search is a zero-sum game. It’s easy to have a scarcity mindset when you’re seeing so few jobs being advertised and you know you’re up against hundreds of applicants.
The competition is real when you’re answering a job ad, but you’re not seeing the full picture. Advertised roles represent only a fraction of the opportunities that are out there.
When you believe in what you can’t see, it’s easier to put yourself in situations where you’re the only candidate under consideration.
4) Make it into a game
I know job hunting is a long way from being fun. But there are ways to make it more enjoyable and when you loosen up, things seem to flow a little more easily.
I learned a trick from a mentor to help you think more creatively. You come up with three ways you could tackle a goal or challenge. For example: What are three ways I could approach this employer? Prepare for my interview? Or design my résumé? What are three ways I could get this person to say yes to my request? I always come up with a lot of new ideas whenever I do this exercise.
If you do it every day, even practising with mundane things like what to cook for dinner, it helps to build your creative muscle.
Try it and see how you go!
What’s been your most successful job search strategy?
Here are some of the questions I hear all the time: Do you think I should apply for this job? Should I go back to study or get some experience first? Should I call them? What should I say if they call me? Please tell me what to do!
No judgement because I’ve been there too. You don’t need me to tell you that you’re the expert on your life. But fear and insecurity can play tricks on you, making you believe that just because you’ve made mistakes in the past, you can’t be trusted to be in charge.
You’ll be glad to know there is a way to bypass all of that drama. Start paying attention to how you feel. Daily. Hourly. As often as humanly possible. Your feelings hold the key to the decision you’re struggling with.
Yet how often have you neglected to take them seriously? Pushed them aside or blamed yourself for having them in the first place? You were just being too sensitive/angry/impatient/weird right?
A little while ago I had an epiphany. After years of trying to follow my inner guidance I realised that my feelings are the guidance. How else is divine spirit supposed to talk to you?
It’s strange how when it comes to situations that could put us or a family member in harm’s way we trust our gut without question, yet when it comes to other areas of our lives like our careers or our love lives we often dismiss or ignore our feelings entirely and then wonder why things went so pear-shaped.
Is it any wonder we doubt our own judgement when we’ve spent so long ignoring the very thing we can count on? It’s not easy to break the habit of a lifetime but you can start small and make this a habit.
How do you feel when you get home after a long day at work? When you pick up the phone to make the call? When you think about how you’re spending the holiday season?
How do you want to feel as you close out the year?
Start making small changes based on that feeling and see what happens.
Imagine what could happen if you started trusting yourself.
PS: If you know anyone who could do with reading this today, please forward this post:-)
PPS: If you are looking to work with a coach next year, this is a friendly reminder that it’s your last chance to save $400 on my 90 Day Starting Over Coaching Package. From this Friday 15th December the price goes back up to $2500. You can book here, or sign up for a Discovery Call to chat first.
PPPS: Finally I want to wish you the merriest of Christmases and a very joyful new year!! Much love to you xxx
Have you ever felt as though you were living the same day over and over again? It’s frustrating when the job you once loved starts to feel like Groundhog Day. It’s easy to blame yourself. Why can’t I stick with anything longer than 12 months? Why do I get bored so easily? Before you do anything rash it’s worth taking a closer look at the reason why you’re feeling this way.
In my experience, the number one reason people get bored is because the job is no longer a challenge. How often have you played it safe when it comes to taking on a job? If you’re bored it could be because you’re playing small and not doing all that you’re capable of.
This happened to one of my favourite characters in a recent episode of Million Dollar Listing New York. If you don’t watch the show, here’s the overview. Ryan had a career crisis because he was feeling bored with his business. He consulted a psychologist, took some time off and tried to reconnect with the work he was doing in the early days when everything was new and exciting. After a lot of soul searching he realised that he was bored because he’d stopped taking risks in his business (spoiler alert: he went out and bought a Brooklyn real estate agency!).
You know what I’m going to say next.
1) Figure out how you can take more risks
What can you do that would be a stretch for you now? What bold moves can you take to achieve your version of a Brooklyn real estate brokerage?
If leaving your current job is not an option, can you develop a side hustle? This could be giving talks at conferences and events, hosting your own event or taking on some consulting work. I have done this myself in the past. When I wanted to improve my public speaking skills (and get over my nerves), I spoke at events and took on additional projects like teaching workshops. All of these tasks pushed me outside of my comfort zone where I could grow and develop my skills.
If you want to take on more responsibility at work start with how you can make life easier for your manager. What could you offer to take off of her plate that would be make your role more challenging? This brings me to my next point.
2) Ask for what you want
You would be surprised by how many people I see unhappy at work but unwilling to ask for a change in their role. It’s funny how we resist taking the simplest action to change our careers. Go and ask for what you want. Most managers want to have happy staff so if you want to have more responsibility or reduce your hours to take a course or start a business, your manager may be more open to it than you think.
The key to doing this successfully is to make it clear what you want and then be willing to negotiate to make it happen. Don’t give up if he says no to your first request. It’s important to work together to come up with a solution that works for everyone.
But what if you’re not sure what you want?
3) Become an observer
Start by becoming an observer of what you do right now. You will find valuable clues about what could be next for you. When you don’t know who you’re becoming, you can begin by articulating the 5 per cent that you can see (a fabulous post by Tara Mohr on this here).
Here’s how to do this. Set an intention to observe your day to gain insight about your situation. Then switch into observer mode at work. Watch yourself as you perform your daily tasks, interact with people and go about your business. What do you notice about how you conduct yourself? The impact you have? How you feel? Notice where you feel the most joy, the most resentment and keep an eye out for situations that bring out the best in you and make you feel good at the same time. It’s as though you are sitting on your shoulder watching everything play out. You will naturally switch back and forth between observer and doer which is fine. I always discover something new when I do this.
4) Share your feelings with your colleagues
In Million Dollar Listing, Ryan consulted with a psychologist and his wife. But if you can, I believe talking things through with a colleague can be helpful. If you have a good relationship with your co-workers they can give you valuable insights into why you might be feeling less than enthused about your job. Maybe burnout is an issue in your industry and your colleagues have been through similar challenges. They can also give you helpful feedback about what they see as your strengths. Remember that the people you work with, including your manager, might have advice on how you could vary your role or switch to another job altogether. It’s ok to admit that you’re not fully enjoying your work and ask for help.
5) Clear the clutter
I’m talking about the mental clutter that often weighs us down when it comes to work. Whether it’s the thousand emails sitting in your inbox, the number of meetings you attend, or the colleague who consistently asks you for time-consuming favours. Whatever it is, ask yourself: What do I need to let go of here? What’s getting in the way of me doing my best work? Some of the issues that have come up for me in the past include: people pleasing, the desire to do everything perfectly and the need to do everything myself. Trust me, the world won’t fall apart if you don’t respond to every email or explain to a colleague that you can’t respond to every request. How can you help them in a way that’s less time consuming for you? Can you delegate this aspect of your job?
When you decide to let go of the things that are getting in the way you’ll open up more space for the work you need to focus on. Be warned, letting go can make you feel a bit wobbly at first because you’re breaking new ground. If this is bringing up a few objections for you, start with something small. Once you see results, it will give you the courage to tackle bigger issues.
6) Review your goals
What do you want to achieve in the next 12 months? Write down your top three goals and think about how your job will help you to achieve them, whether it’s continuously developing your skills, gaining experience or buying a new home. Reframe your current role as a positive addition to your life. Instead of constantly thinking: I don’t want to go to work today, a new affirmation might be: My job supports my personal and professional growth.
If it turns out that this job is not going to help you achieve that goal, then of course it’s time to look for a new opportunity. The advantage of doing these exercises is that you will gain so much clarity on whether your current role is still right for you, or whether you’ve outgrown it and it’s time to move on.
I would love to hear how these tips work out for you in the comments. In the meantime I wish you an amazing and inspiring day 🙂
“I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.” – Maya Angelou
How do you go when it comes to making decisions?
If you’re anything like me, not being able to make a decision on something important can drive you crazy.
As I’ve discovered, what holds us back the most are our own fears and negative thoughts about the choices we have in front of us. I’ve come up with a couple of hacks to help you make decisions with confidence and reclaim your power.
First I review my options and ask:
1) Which one (or two) options feel right instinctively?
Hint: Your first thought is usually your best thought when it comes to accessing your intuition. What I’ve found after making some tough decisions in the past couple of years is that out of the many choices on offer, there is always at least one that provokes an inner YES. That doesn’t mean it’s always the one you should choose but it’s an important consideration.
If you can’t access your intuitive feelings about this choice, you need to slow down and stop ruminating on the problem. The more relaxed and accepting you can be about the process the more you can access your intuition.
After I do this I ask:
2) What would love do?
What’s the most loving choice you could make here? When I talk about love I don’t just mean what’s best for other people in the situation, although that’s important too. I mean what’s the most loving thing you could do for yourself right now? As women this is often the last place we go (if we go there at all!) when it should be one of our first considerations. I find this question cuts through all of the ‘shoulds’ rolling around in my brain and stops me from giving too much weight to what other people think.
Hopefully this has narrowed down the field. Now review your options and ask:
3) If I choose this, will it make me truly happy?
This question can be a real game-changer. If you’re forcing yourself to settle in some way it’s going to become obvious when you ask this. Which option available to you now is going to make you the happiest? When you get up in the morning, when you pick your kids up from school, when you look at your bank account. This can help you to cut through all the clutter and make more empowered decisions.
Another tip. When I’m making a decision I’m also guided by my Core Desired Feelings as well as meditation and Tarot. But it’s worth bearing in mind that sometimes patience is required when it comes to making the right decision. It may be true that you need to do more research, sit with your choices for a little longer or wait for better timing.
Let me know in the comments if these questions resonated with you.
Do you have any other tips for making empowered decisions?
1) I’m too old and no one will want to hire me:-(
2) I can’t earn decent money doing what I love.
3) I don’t have enough time to study/attend interviews/figure out what I really want to do.
4) My life is already too stressful. I haven’t got the energy to focus on changing my job.
5) The industry I want to work in is full of low-paid workers in casual employment.
6) The job market is too competitive.
7) If I started my own business I wouldn’t have a consistent income.
8) I’m not an expert in anything.
9) I can’t change my job because I have a mortgage and kids.
10) The field I’m interested in is too political/specialised/hard to break into.
11) My husband/wife/mother wouldn’t like it if I went back to study.
12) Someone else deserves the job/promotion more than I do.
13) I haven’t worked hard enough for it.
14) There are no opportunities for someone like me. You need experience/a higher degree/more confidence.
15) I wouldn’t want to work 60 hour weeks and all the social workers/lawyers/business owners I know work those hours
16) The economy is in a downturn so I should hang on to the job I have until things improve.
17) I want to be in a senior role but I don’t want to manage a team or take on more responsibility.
18) It would take too long to retrain, and then I would be too old (see pt 1 above).
19) You need to be really aggressive / cut-throat to make it in that industry.
20) I’d have to take a pay cut.
21) I don’t know if I would really like it.
22) I don’t know what to do.
23) I should probably wait until the kids go to college/my husband gets a better job/we move house/I win the lottery…
Do you recognise any excuses on this list?
The first step towards making any change in your life is getting honest and real about what’s stopping you (hint: it usually has a lot more to do with what’s going on between your ears than reality).
As Woody Allen has said, 80 per cent of success is showing up.
What will you show up for today?
PS: If you want to get over your objections and create a viable plan for your future I can help. You can book your Free Discovery Session here to chat with me first, or book your Single Shot Coaching Session here.
It’s hard to believe we’ve already passed the midway point of the year. Have you taken your nose off the grindstone long enough to notice?
If not I want you to take a breather for a minute and read on, because with the full moon in Capricorn this week the energy is perfect for a mid year review of your goals. It’s time to reflect, regroup and step back from what you’ve been doing to see what’s working and what’s not.
Here are 8 questions to help you renew your focus for the second half of the year.
1) What do you want to create more of in your life right now? What do you most want to feel, have or experience this year?
2) What do you want to preserve in your life or keep doing because it’s profitable, working for you or just plain fun?
3) What do you need to eliminate, stop doing or cut from your schedule?
4) What (or who) is making your life difficult or frustrating and why? Is it something you can easily resolve e.g. buy a new laptop, move house. Or is it something you need to work on accepting?
5) What is the best thing you’ve done all year? The thing you’re most proud of? How can you create more of this in your life?
6) What do you need to forgive or let go of?
7) What do you need to accept right now? About your circumstances? Your skills? Your place of work? Yourself?
8) What are you deeply grateful for in your life? Who do you need to thank?
Review your goals from earlier this year. What needs to change? Riff on your answers in your journal. Review and refine as you go. Remember you still have over 5 months left til the end of the year, plenty of time to bring your plans to fruition and create more of the life you want 🙂
PS: If you want to do a complete reevaluation of your goals, you should join us next month for the Goals with Soul Desire Map Workshop in Prahran. Go here for all the details, I’d love to see you there!