Overcoming Job Search Challenges
Changing jobs, like marriage and moving, is one of the most stressful times in an adult’s life. Suddenly you have a number of job search challenges to overcome. The stress is further magnified if you’re over 45 or 50 and were laid off from the job you thought you were going to retire from. In addition to looking at a loss of income you're probably looking at a significant drop in your retirement fund. If that isn’t enough of a compound blow, just wait for a few weeks until you find out what the “new job market” really means and the shock wears off. What are you going to do for
It’s Time To Get Your Head On Straight.
If you’re lingering in self-pity, depression, anger or fear, recognize that to some degree this is normal. But, the faster you get over it, the sooner you will see that there may be a silver lining in your need to strike out in a new direction. You may well have been stuck in a job or industry that has declining opportunities for you. When you take stock of who you really are and what you have accomplished to this point, you may well develop a brand new outlook on life and your future. This new attitude will go a long way toward helping you overcome most of your job search challenges.
The World of Business is Evolving at a Record Pace.
Keeping up is Your Responsibility.
Something you may not have considered before are the ramifications to you of our ever-changing demographics and the evolving world of geopolitical economics. There is no question that the world is changing . . . and rapidly. When Social Security was instituted, for example, new cars typically cost less than $1,500 and people’s life expectancy wasn’t much beyond 65 years of age. Today, the price of a new car starts at ten times that amount and the average life expectancy is approaching the high ‘80s. Is it any wonder that Social Security, health care and retirement issues are major financial and political issues for companies and government as well as individuals?
Think in Systematic Terms.
But, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Companies that are used to running (and being managed)on an ad hoc basis are simply going the way of the dinosaurs! Without a “system” to replicate success and minimize the need to reinvent the wheel on a daily basis, the cost to compete on anything close to a regional (much less global) scale is prohibitive. (If you’re thinking about starting your own business, you will want to understand what this means.) And, whether or not you are considering starting your own business, you need to adapt to this new world.
Overcoming job search challenges requires thinking like an entrepreneur.
On some level at least in this new world of work, you ARE in business for yourself. Overcoming your job search challenges means you need to start operating from new ground rules. Given the rapid changes in industry and company fortunes, anything over two years at one employer is both a luxury and potentially damaging to your future growth. The time to start thinking about your next move and updating your resume is the second week on a new job! Ignore this advice at your peril.
Are you a real entrepreneur or simply a “technician” who wants to be his/her own boss? If you are under 40 years of age, you want to leverage your energy. If you are over 40, it’s time to begin leveraging your experience and knowledge. Our objective here is to help you “discover” how much knowledge and experience you really have . . . and what it might be worth in the marketplace. And, we would like to help you to get at least somewhat comfortable with the new world of working.
Use Your Accomplishments to Rebuild Your Self-Confidence!
Meanwhile, as you rebuild your self confidence, learning a whole new set of job search skills and realigning your financial world, you may still be dealing with family pressures and other job search challenges that detract from your new mission.
Regardless of your previous professional discipline, you now have a new title: Chief Marketing & Sales Manager.
Your product is you . . . your skills, experience and potential value to a new employer.
You Are The Product . . . And You Are The Sales Manager For That Product.
While you may feel you’re lacking in sales skills, a more basic issue is that you are probably greatly lacking in product knowledge. That’s right, you don’t know the full scope of your skills and how to value them . . . much less how to negotiate with a prospective employer to pay for them. So one of your job search challenges is to understand your value!
If you’re down in the dumps, demoralized, resentful or not 100% enthusiastic about yourself, it’s going to show. This "defeatist attitude" will be the biggest of all your job search challenges! While it’s natural to experience some level of depression, especially if you’ve been fired, it’s critical to realize that these negative emotions are working against you and the clock is running.
When you’re ready to embark on a new adventure, we’re ready to help with some proven techniques that will give you an exciting and useful new perspective on yourself. It might even be a revelation.
Start at Ground Zero.
What are the factors that are most contributing to your job search challenges? People at the management level who find themselves unexpectedly out of work will usually admit that they focused too much on the tasks at hand in their job, took a too-narrow view of the developments in their immediate and allied fields of endeavor and, perhaps most important of all, neglected their "network" and professional contacts.
Officers and Non-Coms transitioning out of the military services may be intimidated by the "language of business" (vs. the military jargon they are used to) . . . but, in reality, former military officers may actually have a distinct advantage over other management applicants. If they can bridge the psychological gap and realize that they have more "active management" experience than most of their civilian counterparts they can stand out in the competition for the job. Learning how to document and exploit this advantage is part of the process of building the Accomplishments Library.
In most cases, when asked to recite a few accomplishments in their career, even the most experienced executives have trouble getting past a handful of examples because they took their own efforts and daily successes for granted! And this becomes “ground zero” for a new beginning.
Begin by Relentlessly Documenting the Successes You’ve Had . . . One By One.
Step one in rebuilding or taking your career to a new level requires a thorough exploration, documentation and understanding of your accomplishments to date. The first real result will be a new-found confidence.
But, feeling good about yourself isn’t all there is to it. You may have financial and family/home environment issues to deal with. (These will be dealt with elsewhere.) Working at home will present new challenges. Developing the discipline to work at home and prioritizing your activities are very real job search challenges that must be overcome.
Leverage Your Experience, Your Knowledge and Your Judgment.
Embarking on a management-level job search is serious business that requires knowledge beyond your customary sphere of activities, self-discipline and support. At the risk of oversimplifying the process, here are the stages an out-of-work executive is likely to go through in conducting a successful job search:
- Review professional and pertinent lifelong accomplishments, document them according to a business format and build a library of at least 25 for strategic use. In reality, once you hit your stride in doing this you will likely end up with a list of 50 – 100 or more. We’ll teach you how to pull them from your memory banks.
- Identify and classify your core competencies and formalize your “Qualification Statement/s” that will become the focal point for your resume/s.
- Build templates for the various forms, versions and target audiences for your resume. Then fill in the blanks to complete the resume-building process. And remember, you’re an accomplished, management-level candidate who seeks an Interview. The resume won’t get you the job. It is only designed to get you the interview.
- Identify the industry or field of endeavor you are pursuing and research the companies or organizations that you wish to pursue . . . your “target market.”
- Construct your personal network matrix of people you know and those you don’t know yet but who you need to meet. This should include a team of peers who are in the same situation as you and with whom you can trade leads and mutual support. Being part of a "team" can be a major factor in overcoming job search challenges.
- Develop your Personal Marketing Plan and all the components, from stationery & business cards to Cover Letters and an Action Plan.
- Practice your interview skills, answers to “stress questions” and negotiating skills. Begin implementing your Personal Marketing Plan.
If this sounds too simple, we apologize. Steps 1. & 2. can easily take a week, even with professional guidance or coaching. They are by far the most important building blocks in your process. There are many subtleties in between subsequent steps and, once you start on the implementation of your Personal Marketing Plan, you will quickly find that conducting a professional-level job search is a full-time job in itself. If you don’t treat it like one, you will be out of work longer or end up taking a lesser position just to get an income or health insurance or to fulfill a personal need.
We deal with overcoming specific Job Search Challenges in other sections of the site...
Overcoming Financial Challenges
Overcoming Age Challenges
Working At Home . . . Will It Work For You?
How Supportive is your Family?
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