Monthly Archives: November 2013

Confidence and energy

I said here that I specialize in helping  you rebuild your confidence that you can find great work, and your energy level to do that. So… how does that work?

In my coaching career, I’ve found the most frequently expressed views regarding a job search or a career change are that it’s frustrating and discouraging. Probably this is no surprise—how could the idea of sending out hundreds of resumes and hearing nothing back be anything but discouraging, and worse? How could finally getting a chance at an interview only to hear you were good but not the best, be anything but bad? The process of searching for openings, customizing and sending out resumes and cover letters, practicing answers to likely interview questions, lends itself to discouragement because the most likely result is repeated failure, failure to hear back good news, or often any news. Some say it’s a numbers game: send enough resumes out and you’ll hear back, hear back enough and you’ll get an interview, interview enough and you’ll get a second interview, enough follow-up interviews and you’ll get a job. But the more numbers pass you by, the more it feels like a lottery. One in a million, or many millions.

My approach is not to counter this downward spiral with a pep talk, or promises that if you just tune your resume this way or that way, you’ll see better results.  A pep talk may work for a day or an hour, but it doesn’t change the external reality that your resumes are not getting good responses. Certainly there are good resumes and not so good resumes, good cover letters and not so good ones, and it’s important to construct them carefully and well. But there is no magic, perfect resume or cover letter that will significantly boost your chance of success.

My approach is easily and simplistically stated: choose the job you really want and take the steps necessary to get it. I will ask you to focus on one job (or two or even three, but not hundreds), and then plan your route as you’d plan your ascent of a mountain.

Assume for a moment that you adopt this approach, and that I can show you the steps to begin and continue your climb.  Instead of repeated failure, each step you take brings you closer to your summit: tangible progress instead of (at best) unsure wandering. Each step familiarizes, acclimates and enables you to take the next step. You have your eye on the goal at all times instead of never knowing which job to apply to next, which resume tweaks to try next. I will show you how each step will prepare you to take the following one, each will make you more suitable and qualified for the next all the way to getting the job you truly want.

Each step you take towards your goal is energizing because you’re getting somewhere. It is the opposite of sending resumes to every possible opening you qualify for, and getting nowhere. You may move more quickly or more slowly along your path, but each step will be successful because it is within your control instead of the control of an anonymous recruiter. Each successful step you take brings confidence that you can take the next. Energy and confidence reinforce each other, and make you ever more able, willing and ready to take the next step.

That’s my service—to replace discouragement and frustration, with energy and confidence. If you would like to know more Ask a Question. If you would like a complimentary 30 minutes with me in person or over the phone Contact Me.


Energizing Your Search for Work

Search Google for “how to get a job” and you’ll see 127 million results (and over 3 billion without the double quotes!). If you’ve been laid off, and you’re over 50, or 60, or 40, or your skills are rusty, or you don’t have the right new certifications, or you haven’t updated your resume in forever, or you don’t know how to make the best use of LinkedIn, or what “networking” is all about, or you have no idea what next steps to take, you might think it’s good that there are 127 million ways to get a job because  you should certainly be able to win with one of them.

Polish that resume and send it off. Hear nothing and send it off again, and again. Set goals of how many resumes to send each week. Send dozens or hundreds and hear nothing of value back (recruiters find hundreds of resumes like yours on their desks, with only a handful of openings to fill). Now, hire someone to polish your resume, or build your LinkedIn Profile, or help you figure out how to align multiple resumes for openings in old and new careers with your single LinkedIn Profile. Set goals for how many informational interviews to hold each week. Find support groups and “success teams,” read What Color is Your Parachute? and Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters. Check and and Try to get your head around “personal branding.” Ask your friends and former colleagues and new job-seeking acquaintances for introductions. Take classes in areas where employment is growing and where you might dream of breaking in.

If you quickly get a great job, congratulations. Few people do. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issues many reports, such as Unemployed persons by duration of unemployment which shows as of September 2013 that the average time job seekers are unemployed is nearly 9 months. Region, industry, education level,  age, salary desired, all make a difference but somewhere along the job search process, most people start to feel discouraged and frustrated.

You may soldier on, hearing that it’s just a numbers game, and set more goals for resumes submitted, for informational interview requests sent, for networking meetings, for follow up calls. But meanwhile, other forces start to intrude and worsen: anxiety or depression, financial strain, family tensions, ever-increasing stress, poor sleep, ever-decreasing confidence and energy to continue. It seems like the streets are full of workers driving brand new cars. You start internal conversations that you’re a loser, you’ll never get any job you want or want any job you’ll get, that you’ll never get a great job even though you would thrive once you got it. You wonder if even Home Depot or Walmart would take you.

This is where I can help. I am not an “executive coach” looking for ways you can climb to the upper rungs of the career ladder even faster. If you just graduated from an Ivy League college with an engineering degree, or if your current job is just not quite perfect enough, you don’t need me. *

I can help with your resume (how to fill that “gap,” how long should it be, how to catch recruiters’ eyes), your cover letters, your LinkedIn Profile, your interviewing skills, your networking skills. I know and can recommend lots of good books and websites. I can show you how to build your personal brand. I can suggest where to take classes to refresh your skills or learn new ones. These are all important things. But what I do, above all else, is show you how to rebuild your confidence that you can find great work, and your energy level to do it. There are well-defined ways to do these things—no magic is needed.

My tools range from philosophical strategies to tactical details. Contact Me for a complimentary 30 minutes over the phone or face to face and I will give you everything I can in that time. Ask a Question if you would like to know a little more first. If you choose to hire me, please know that I will work on a sliding scale based on your need. I am always available for a limited number of pro bono clients.

* If you’re experiencing a real, urgent, mental health crisis, run don’t walk to a mental health professional. As you’d go free of stigma to the orthopedist for physical trauma, go the same way to a behavioral health pro for mental trauma. Work with me afterwards.