Monthly Archives: May 2020

JUST TURN UP: Job search advice from the unemployed

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Blogging about Recruitment and job hunting is tough when you’re unemployed. There is a heap of “information” or tips and tricks out there, you can’t get onto LinkedIn without tripping over some thought leaders advice, or some silver bullet to secure your next job.

Reading all these and doing all the points and still not being successful in landing that dream job could be (and is) demoralising. I thought I’d add to the noise. I mean it’s what I’ve been doing since before the turn of the century, I’d like to think I have some idea. 

Saying that, I’m writing this from my desk at home, not as an employee working from home but as someone who has been looking for work for the last couple of months. This Co-vid market is harsh.

Here’s what I’ve done.

My game plan has evolved around a multi pronged approach.

a) Low hanging fruit.

  • Daily check in on job boards, alerts etc. Devise and supply resume’s accordingly. Keeping records to ensure follow up if possible, or making the phone calls first. But that’s not as easy as it used to be. Doesn’t seem like lots of Recruiters want to get calls.

b) Networking.

  • Working through my network as consistently as possible, connecting, and asking for any leads. I have a daily list I build.

c) Build my own role – Target companies. Part I

  • Looked at the market, devised a plan of attack and a value proposition of myself and approached companies. I also have a daily list for this.

d) Build my own role – Offer services idea. Part II

  • I’ve had an idea I’ve been brewing for many years, but have never acted on it. I’ve decided, “what’s the worst thing that could happen if I give it a try?” So I’m working on a side hustle. This is a new prong, we’ll see how it goes as I refine and sharpen the message.

I’ve redrafted my resume, I’ve prepped for interviews, I’ve pimped my LinkedIn profile. I’ve done my research and followed up. And yet, that right opportunity hasn’t quite materialised as yet.

So, here’s my number one tip for a job search. JUST TURN UP

I’m learning I need to put my ego aside and just turn up. Do the hard yards every day. I’m learning not to dwell on the past, why things happened the way they have. I’ve accepted it’s a tough market, especially for Recruiters. Have you seen the numbers of applications for advertised roles? I’ve reset my expectations of my submitted applications, it’s a tough gig for those sitting in the reviewing chair. Mentally and emotionally understand that it is a tough market and it’s not just you, getting both of those in check is super important (and to be honest not something that happens every day)

I’m accepting the rejections or the “not just now” responses as a statement on the market not on myself and I’m working on the next thing. But showing up, going to work for myself and my family, doing the hard yards that is my job at the moment.  I know it will pay off, but only if I put my ego in check and keep turning up.

Brew more coffee, let’s go!

Wayne Gretski “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”

Thanks for the 25

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My son was doing a coaching session the other day and the concept of asking questions.

I’ve always been a big fan of asking questions, I suppose it’s why Recruiting has worked so well for me over the years. But for some, there has always been a fear. “I’ll look stupid” “They’re too busy to answer that” all ideas that stop questions being asked. The coach said something really profound, and I don’t think I will forget it, it resonated with my son and with me.

It went a little something like this… (not direct quotes of course)

“Have you ever been asked for help?”

“yes”

“when you were asked for help and you were able to assist, how did it make you feel?”

“really good. It made me happy that I was able the help someone”

“So it felt good right? You weren’t annoyed that they asked you? You didn’t think they were dumb?”

“yeah, I mean no.”

“OK then, by not asking for help, your robbing someone of that feeling. Why would you want to rob someone of that feeling?” “Most people like to help. Why not allow them that happy feeling?”

I seriously think I heard a penny drop. Only time will tell of course.

It reminded me of one of the early day sales training courses I went on. It was a Brian Tracey course. It’s burned into my memory, and this would have been late 1990s. One memory I have is that he spent the majority of the time trying to sell his motivational/sales training cassette tapes (google them kids). That made me frustrated, because although I did have the day off to do this training, I felt like it was wasting my employers money, trying to get more out of us. “all that time in your car or in transit going to sales meetings is dead time! Use that time, slip these tapes into your walkman (again google it kids) and you’ll be learning at the same time” I can still feel the cringe.

However, I did get one other thing out of that training session which has stuck with me. That alone was worth the price of admission. I have been to many other courses over the years, which I can’t even remember, so maybe, despite the cringe, it was worth it.

Brian was talking about cold calling. That horrific, terrifying, soul destroying activity which is the bane of a lot of sales people’s lives. Brian mentioned he loved it. He was an over the top American type, very rah rah ish, so that was no surprise. However, he then explained why.

He’d figured out it took him 4 phone calls to make a dollar. Therefore every phone call was worth 25 cents. Good, bad or indifferent. So, if on one of those calls he got his ass handed to him he mentally just hung up and said “Thanks for the 25 cents”. At the end of a long day calling with little success, he knew still that each call made him 25 cents. It drove him on. Put away his fear and kept moving him forward.

I was talking with someone the other day about this very thing. I’ve decided to try to be a little proactive in my job search. I’m connecting with people and asking questions, throwing out ideas to find somewhere that needs the value I can add. I know the timing is tough, I know I’ll get a lot of rejections or “not right now” responses. But you know, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Someone says no? Someone says not right now? “Thanks for the 25!.”

But what if I get a “let’s talk more” or even better a “yes”?

Temper your positivity

I was thinking about this today. So many posts on LinkedIn, on blogs I read even on Facebook on being positive, learning something new, keeping active etc during lockdown. 

The concept I get, it’s awesome, but let’s put a little proviso on this. I think it’s OK to take some time to wallow a bit. I’m no psychologist, just a guy with a lot of Recruitment, a  smattering of HR and a fair amount of life experience, so take this with a grain of salt.

Allow yourself some time to grieve. It’s pretty tough. Staying positive is pretty easy to say, but it’s really hard work. Trying to quash those inner voices is tiring. I think as a Talent Acquisition Professional it’s a little bit harder. You’re supposed to know how to get a job, you coach people in this, you write resumes and give advice on such things. How is it that you’re still not employed? Imposter syndrome kicks in. Some days it’s a huge step to get up and get dressed. 

It’s important to have goals, a plan even, a target for when the light is on the horizon, but not every day needs to be in search of these goals. It’s going to be a long road, don’t be afraid to sit down and take a rest. I struggle in the house at the moment, where 3 kids are doing their schooling and my wife is working away. It’s not fair for me to take a bit of time away from the job search, household chores etc for just me and some me time out is it?

I think it’s OK to be a little bit selfish, and look after yourself. But the important thing is to temper this too, movement is required, not specifically physically, but momentum to keep putting one foot in front of the other is really important. It doesn’t have to be fast just consistent.

I’m not going to give job search advice as this platform is flooded with it, and maybe it’s weird to get job search advice from an unemployed person, so I’ll finish with this. Be kind to yourself, be a little bit selfish, believe in yourself and keep moving. Ignore Gandalf and his “you shall not pass!” bullshit. Believe me, I’m old enough to realise, this too shall pass. Be ready!