“Every success is built on the ability to do better than good enough.” – Author Unknown

Interviews are demanding enough to begin with, which makes trying to remember a list of things NOT to do extra stressful. I’ve tried to make this list as foolproof and simple to remember as possible.

 So, Vanna, if you please . . .

1. Don’t pull out any gimmicks or stunts. I recently read where one interviewee intentionally showed up late, with advance notice to the company, to see how they would react to his/her “sincere apology.” The whole point was to see if the apology was acknowledged in the interview and how understanding the hiring manager was. Not okay. Which leads into . . .

2. Don’t be late. I know this is as broken record statement. By the by, how much longer is it going to be before young people aren’t going to understand what “sounding like a broken record” means? Anyway, don’t disrespect the interviewers time by being late OR too early. Remember: 5-7 minutes early.

3. Don’t be rude to the receptionist. This type of behavior always gets back to the hiring manager. Even if you end up getting hired, people have loooooong memories when it comes to being treated poorly.

4. Don’t play/talk/text on your cell phone if you end up waiting. It shows a lack of focus and patience. It may also cause an awkward situation if the hiring manager has to wait while you wrap up your phone call. Take this time to review your interview notes and clear your mind.

5. Don’t answer your phone during the interview. In fact, your phone should be off or, at the very least, on silent.

6. Don’t be afraid to take a moment to collect your thoughts before answering any tricky questions. We often feel, especially when we’re nervous, that silence is as bad thing in an interview. A few seconds of silence is better than an ill-suited, rambling answer.

7. Don’t make any off-color jokes or comments. Everyone has a Jiminy Cricket inside. If you feel like you have to preface your statement with, “I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but . . .”, then don’t.

Same goes for any examples that aren’t related to your work history. It’s great if you made 54 pies for your church bake sale, but unless you’re interviewing at a bakery, there are probably better examples of your multitasking abilities.

8. Don’t bring up salary expectations during initial interviews. There are different schools of thought of how you should respond if the hiring manager broaches the subject, but let him or her be the one to initiate that conversation.

My advice if you are asked about salary expectations, give the interviewer a salary range you would be comfortable with. Make sure you do your market research before giving a range. Also, keep in mind the level of position you are interviewing for. A human resources administrative assistant is probably going to be making less than a human resources generalist or manager.

9. Don’t bring up any other benefits, either. Don’t ask how soon insurance kicks in or how quickly you can utilize the employee discount. This is an instant red flag you’re only in it for reaping the benefits as quickly as possible and not interested in landing a great job. A sense of entitlement in an applicant is not appealing.

10. Don’t forget to ask questions. Remember interviews are a two-way street. You’re trying to figure out if a position and company are right for you. Just make sure your questions are thoughtful and will help you gain some insight. Never ask such things as, “So, what does this company do?”

If this all seems a little overwhelming, I have an insider’s tip for ya: Human resources and hiring managers are a lot more forgiving than you think when it comes to nervousness. We appreciate sincerity and understand how awful interviews can be. When we’re all-too-eager to shuffle an interviewee out the door, it’s usually because of a lack of effort, enthusiasm, or there is a high level of cockiness. It’s okay to be a little bit nervous. A lack of nervousness usually indicates a lack of caring.

You can do this!

Positive Thought of the Day:

“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.” – John Maxwell

“When you go in for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever press charges.” – Jack Handy

Happy Valetine’s Day, Friends! Here’s to jobs we love . . . whether it’s a job we’re in or hope to have in the near future!

What’s one thing that will ALWAYS make my heart go a-flutter?? A job interview. It’s not roses, jewelry, or romantic dinners that make my knees go weak. It’s prepping for, sitting through, and rehashing every detail of a job interview. Here is a quick list of do’s to hopefully guide you through the heartache. We’ll cover the don’ts in the not-too-distant future.

Vanna, if you please . . .

1. Do be on time. Being on time encompasses many things. Obviously, it means don’t be late. If something unforeseen happens and tardiness is unavoidable, make sure to have the company’s phone number handy so you can give call of warning. When you arrive, express a sincere apology for the delay.

Being on time also includes not being TOO EARLY! I have had people show up as early as 45 minutes because they misgauged how quickly they could get to the office. If you arrive too early, take a walk, sit in your car, find a coffee shop or someplace to go until it’s time for your interview. Showing up excessively early shows a lack of respect for the interviewer’s time and could cause a very awkward scheduling situation. Interviewers should always be respectful of the job seeker’s time, as well, but they are not obligated to rearrange their day because of your eagerness/timing.

Plan to be at your interview 5-7 minutes early.

2. Do double-check your information. I had this happen to me recently, and, luckily, I avoided a potentially embarrassing situation. I had a quick phone interview with the manager of a position I had applied to and was moved on to the next round. Right before I went in to meet the manager face-to-face my gut told me to recheck my voicemail to make sure I had her name right. At first I thought, “Naw! You’re just being paranoid!” But, self-doubt won and, sure as shootin’, I was wrong.

Make sure you have the manager’s name and the title of the position in your brain. When you’re applying for multiple positions, it’s easy to blur together the names of various jobs you’ve applied to. Also, having the correct names of who you interviewed with is of the utmost importance when sending out thank yous.

3. Do your research. In this day-and-age of technology, information is literally at your fingertips. Comb through the company’s website to see how its mission and values align with what you could bring to the position.

Then go outside the company to find out about its reputation. You might even school a company on how they’re doing! I recently had a hiring manager state she wasn’t aware that her company had received an A+ rating through the Better Business Bureau.

Also remember that interviews are a two-way street. If you’re interviewing for a company that has a less than stellar reputation for customer service, company culture, etc., this is your opportunity to have them address that. Just make sure you’re tactful in approaching the subject. “In doing research of Company X, I found concerns regarding (insert issue). How is the company moving towards addressing such concerns?” How they handle that question is a great indicator of their overall culture and ability to problem solve.

Show your interest and initiative by doing your homework before stepping into an interview.

4. Do make eye contact. I spent an entire semester in college focusing on nonverbal communication. It was one of the most fascinating classes I have ever taken. When we get nervous we tend to look anywhere but into people’s eyes. This sends the subliminal messages that you lack confidence or participate in shifty behavior.

Good eye contact should last between three to five seconds. If you just can’t bring yourself to look into someone’s eyes then look at their eyebrows. They won’t know the difference. Don’t stare too long, though. You want to portray confidence; not steal their soul.

5. Do remember to smile. A hiring manager can get a decent picture of your skills by reading your resume. An interview is meant to see how you, the overall package, would fit into the company’s culture. Even if a business isn’t having weekly Twister games on Friday, no one wants to hire a grump.

6. Do bring extra copies of your resumes. Nine times out of ten they will have a copy, but there is always that tenth time. Offering an extra copy also shows you are thoughtful and prepared.

7. Do have an arsenal of answers ready. I’d be very surprised if a hiring manager didn’t ask such things as:

*Tell me about yourself.

*What are your strengths/weaknesses.

*Can you give an example of an accomplishment/challenging situation?

Have a basic understanding of how you want to answer the most frequently asked interview questions. While you want to tailor your answers to each position you’re interviewing for, the backbone of each answer will remain the same. Know what you want to say. It’ll keep you from rambling.

8. Do a practice run. Either enlist a friend to do a mock interview or give answers to common interview questions in the mirror. I have to admit that it took me a long time to get on the bandwagon for the latter. I fooled myself into thinking that looking at myself while running through my information while looking in a mirror would make me more nervous. I was right. It did make me nervous, but it also forced me to work through those nerves. I was able to work through my nervousness and polish my answers to potential questions.

Will practicing in front of a mirror completely eliminate the interview jangles?? No. Hopefully it will lessen them enough for you to really shine through.

9. Do send thank you notes after the interview. If you interviewed with multiple people, send a thank you to each individual. Send them 24 to 48 hours after the interview. Now is not the time for funny cards. A simple blank thank you card will do.

10. Do have a short-term memory. Whether you nailed it or crashed and burned, the time to move on to the next possibility starts as soon as you walk out the door. Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing is so terrible you can’t move on from it. Keep the wheels moving!

Valentine’s Day isn’t about relationships. It’s about love! Tell someone in your life you love them. Gratitude and happiness are two great weapons to keep in your back pocket while searching for that great match!

Positive Thought of the Day:

“So many people out there have no idea what they want to do for a living, but they think that by going on job interviews they’ll magically figure it out. If you’re not sure, that message comes out loud and clear in the interview.” – Todd Bermont

Dating is pressure and tension. What is a date, really, but a job interview that lasts all night?" – Jerry Seinfeld

(Editor’s Note:  This is a post I put up awhile ago, but I am resubmitting for two reasons.  One, I was able to utilize WordPress’s reblog feature.  And, as unhumble as it sounds, it’s my favorite post so far!  Thank you for indulging me!  We’ll get back to job interviewing later this week.)

Dating is a lot like landing that great job interview. You spend countless hours looking for the “right one.” You wear outfits that you would normally never wear. You rack your brain for the best possible answers to questions they might ask. You are constantly worrying if they might reject you. Most importantly: You spend the whole time trying to portray who you think they want you to be. At least with job hunting there’s always a chance you’ll end up with a really great dental plan.

I have to make an admission. As I was trying to tear down yet another writer’s block, aka procrastinating on my next cover letter, I was sorting through old online articles I had saved to my favorites. I came across an article on the 11 Dating Mantras to Live By I had found through MSN.com. As I was reading through each point to remember while dating I couldn’t help but notice how many related to job searching.

So, I can’t take credit for today’s list. Authorship rights go to Erin Meanley of Glamour.com. Vanna, if you please, the list . . . (Editor’s Second Note: The numbered list was written by Ms. Meanley. The clarifications below each one were written by me. I know you’re a smart bunch, but just in case there’s any ambiguity . . .)

1. I can’t control his behavior; I can only control my reaction to it.
To steal another dating cliché: “He’s just not that into you.” Calling repeatedly after sending a resume or an interview isn’t going to help your chances of getting the job. Follow up one week after and leave it at that. Being too eager can actually hurt your chances. Plus, HR is super-busy with HR-y stuff. There’s a fine line between showing interest and being a job stalker.

2. I am a human being worthy of love.
Just because they aren’t calling you back doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be a great employee. The hiring process always takes longer than everyone thinks. If a job isn’t calling you back, put your hook back into the water. There are plenty more fish in the sea who would love to hire you.

3. Everyone is responsible for guarding their own heart.
This is the age-old trap that gets even the most cynical of daters. “I had a great time tonight. Can I call you sometime?” We spend the rest of the night looking at our phones to make sure it isn’t on silent. You may have nailed the interview. They may even tell you nailed the interview. Yet, that is no guarantee you’re the one they’re going to hire. Why? Who knows? The point is to pat yourself on the back, but stay diligent in your search. We all know what happens when we assume.

4. Big picture, big picture.
Every resume that doesn’t get read or interview you don’t land is just practice for the getting the right job. Don’t dwell on the things you don’t get. A job may look perfect on paper and you really, really want it, but who knows? It may have a toxic work environment. The boss may smell like tabasco sauce. Everything we go through is a lesson to be learned to help us see the big picture.

5. Life never ceases to surprise me.
There have been jobs I never thought I had a chance at that have called me for an interview. There have been jobs where I thought I would be a shoe-in for at least an interview that didn’t call me at all. Throw your hat into the ring. If you don’t even try your chances still stay at zero.

6. I am lucky to be alive.
Remember this when you’re counting all the things you don’t have or the jobs you’re not getting.

7. It’s okay to be sad.
You’re going hear ‘no’, and you’re going to be disheartened. It’s okay to be bummed out.

8. I’m taking it one day at a time.
This is a good reminder to not wish away your life until the job posting date closes on your dream job. Take time to step away from polishing your resume and combing through Monster.com. Go to the movies. Read a chapter in your favorite book. Take a shower. Your psyche and your family will thank you.

9. This too shall pass.
You will land that great job you’ve been pining after and the heartache you went through to find it will be a distant memory. If what you really wanted was easily attained, how fulfilling is it really?

10. Everything will work out fine in the end.
It’s easy to fall into the pit of despair when job hunting. You tell yourself awful things that destroy yourself confidence. When you hit that point tell yourself everything will work itself out. Yes, Pollyanna, it will. One thing that has helped me to keep my chin up is I take a dry erase marker and write nice things about myself on my bathroom mirror. What I write ranges from my ability to engage people to my shiny hair. It doesn’t really matter what it is, and I don’t really read it once it’s up there. The important thing is when I see the list grow I remember I will be okay because of all the great qualities I possess.

11. Serenity now!
Whenever I say this line, I scream it like George’s dad on Seinfeld. It doesn’t always calm me down, but it makes me laugh.

Positive Thought of the Day:
“Employees make the best dates. You don’t have to pick them up and they’re tax deductible.” – Andy Warhol

Single-ish Sex, Love & Life: glamour.com.

"There can be economy only where there is efficiency." – Benjamin Disraeli

Dagnabit! I have been a total deadbeat poster in the month of November. You have my sincere apologies. My early New Year’s resolution is to rectify my lack of posting!

To try to make amends for my disappearance I want to link my faithful readers to a very useful item to help make the job application process easier. Some company sites/job boards only provide a PDF version of their application, which can be a bit of a pain/chore to fill out; not to mention the fact that some (I) have terrible handwriting.

I came across this website about year ago that still brings joy to my job-hunting heart. It’s called Nitro Pro, and it’s a program that allows you to download PDF files so you can edit them on your computer. It has a two-week demo where you can see how it works (and, shameless plug, how much easier it is to fill out online applications). It has a bunch of different functions where you can convert PDF files to Microsoft Word, Excel, etc. Nitro Pro has been a lifesaver! One word of “warning”: The Nitro Pro logo does show up on the lower righthand corner of any documents you edit. I’ve never had a company come back to me and complain that it’s there so no harm/no foul in their advertising.

http://www.nitropdf.com/pro/

So, I hope this helps make your day a little bit easier . . .

Positive Thought of the Day:
“We don’t have a lot of time on this earth. We weren’t meant to spend it this way. Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms, and listening to eight bosses drone on about mission statements.” – Peter Gibbons, Office Space

"It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, ‘Always do what you are afraid to do.’" – Ralph Waldo Emerson

When job hunting one tends to run into quite a bit of rejection, which can lead to the notion of, “I’m such a loser. Why do I even try to do ANYTHING?” Listen, Eeyore. You can do lots of great things. I have so much faith in the great things you can accomplish that I’m going to issue you a challenge. During your job search I challenge you to do one thing you think cannot do or absolutely hate. If you can triumph over something that has kicked your self-confidence into the corner then you can land that dream job.

What started this notion for me was when I was facing some difficult challenges at work last summer. I just wasn’t thriving with the company I was working for due to reasons I won’t go into on this blog, so, unfortunately, I was dealing with a lot of tough emotions. I was pretty down in the dumps and needed a way to gain some confidence back into my life.

So, I decided to take up running. In order to give you some understanding on how much I hate running, it ranks right behind racism and homophobia as things I despise most in this world. For years I told myself I couldn’t run. My body wasn’t built for it. I didn’t have the stamina. Why bother? There are plenty of other ways to get some exercise. One day I randomly told myself I could do it and maintain it is a way of life. None of this, “I ran for one day so cross that off my Bucket List.” stuff. Was I going to run every day in hopes of completing a marathon? No. There’s a better chance of me going back to school to become an astrophysicist than becoming a marathon runner. My goal was to run; for however long my body allowed, multiples a week.

And, I started. And, it was awful. I walked more than I ran, but I still ran. Every time I would go out I would run a little bit farther. I kept running through the fall right until the ground had frozen over at the start of winter. I did it. I had reached a goal I never thought I’d make. I also found a new job that got me out of the unhappy situation I was in. Maybe it was just a random coincidence, but I also feel that inner-confidence and contentment tends to lead to outward change.

I don’t know if my job happiness hinges on the coming of the Harvest Moon, but at my then current job over the summer I was running into similar issues and politics I had run into in the past. My confidence started to pack its bags and write its Dear John letter. I couldn’t let it leave again, so I decided to add-on to my challenge of running. While I had picked my running “regiment” again once the weather had thawed, I still didn’t have the best endurance.

My normal parade route went from my rented house, down a gravel road to the corner and back. I still was doing a lot of walking between running stints. On a motivated day I could run to the corner without stopping. That was such a feat in my mind that I allowed myself to walk the entire way back instead of my jogging/walking combo. My new goal was to run to the corner and back to my house without stopping. The next time I went running I made all the way around without stopping. The aftermath left my calves stiff for two days, but I can still say I did it. I have to say this was not a long-term goal. I’ve only run to the corner and back twice. However, still . . . an accomplishment is an accomplishment.

Whatever you choose doesn’t have to be monumental. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to make red velvet cake. Or, you want to organize all of your kitchen cabinets. Whatever you choose doesn’t have to be something you share with others. There is that old adage that if you say it out loud than you’re more apt to do it. I sometimes feel that if you say it out loud you’re more apt to feel foolish if it doesn’t work out. The point is this is YOUR goal, so it’s YOUR business. You can do it. Just remember: Even if you don’t believe you can get it done, there will always be one person who thinks you can. Me.

Positive Thought of the Day:

“If there is tomorrow when we’re not together there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Winnie the Pooh

"There seems to be a perverse human characterstic that likes to make easy things difficult." – Warren Buffett

Well, job hunting isn’t easy and Warren Buffett, you are a bazillionaire. How much is a bazillion dollars? Ten times more than a zillion.

Although, I have to give Mr. Buffett some credit. He did start working at the ripe old age of 11. As a child Buffett would go door to door selling chewing gum his grandfather sold to him. That’s a life lesson right there. When your grandpa won’t even give you free gum to help you turn an even larger profit you know you’re in for a lifetime of work. Earning a living is hard, and it starts one dollar at a time. Finding a way to earn a living is hard, and it starts one application at a time.

That’s not to say there aren’t ways to streamline the job application process. The other day I was working through the tedious process of filling out an online application and was reminded of how much longer it would be taking if I hadn’t found my own shortcuts. I still have to put in the leg work to fill out the application, but it helps to have my information handy in a word processing document since applications tend ask the same basic information.

Vanna, if you please . . . just don’t let our algebra teacher see my cheat sheet.

1. Work history. I have all of my previous jobs listed from current to oldest with the following information:

  • Company Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Employment dates listed with month and year; these will be listed on your resume but it’s just as easy to have your information in one spot
  • Salary information, especially if you received any pay increases during your time at a company. It’s a good way to signal an employer was happy with your work.

2. Job duties. For each job I have held I have one sentence that hits the highlights of what I did in that position. For example, “On a daily basis I handled the office’s customer service needs, as well as processed claims and various paperwork.” You can also go with a bulleted list on this one. The main thing is to hit the key components since most applications don’t give you a lot space.

3. Reasons for leaving. This one is unavoidable but also important.

  • Keep it classy. I have seen everything from, “They weren’t going to hire me full time fast enough.” to “I didn’t get along with my boss.” on applications. These types of statements won’t win you admiration for working in such horrid conditions.
  • Keep it honest. If you were fired there’s not point in saying otherwise. Sooner or later everyone’s bill comes to. Even if a future employer doesn’t call your boss to hear him or her sing your praises, they will at least call to confirm employment dates and rehire statuses. A simple, “I was let go.” or “I was downsized.” will fill the need on your application. You can explain in further detail when it comes time for the interview.
  • Keep it positive. This ties into Point A. Even if you hated your job and would’ve trampled your own mother to get out of there, leaving your job needs to be framed as a positive career move. Since there isn’t a lot of space to write flowing prose a simple statement such as, “I was looking for opportunities in the human resources field beyond the realm of retail.” will work.

4. School information. Do I remember where I went to high school? Yes. Do I know what street it’s located on? No. I know Google is a great and fast tool but when you’ve been filling out tons of applications looking up even basic information becomes tiresome.

5. Optional skills. Some applications will ask for any relevant coursework, certifications, or trainings you have had that will be an asset to the company. It’s not a bad idea to have this information handy. For example, “I have taken collegiate courses in human resources, marketing, and advertising.”

6. Reference information. Have the names, phone numbers, work addresses, and job titles of your references handy AND preapproved. Do not list someone as a reference before asking for their okay, even if you’re 100% sure they will say yes. Doing so shows a lack of respect to the people who will have your back. I have been called for a reference check on someone who didn’t warn me I was a reference. I still gave positive feedback, but I was also perturbed.

If you come across an application for a great job that’s due tomorrow and you don’t have references lined up, call the people to see if it’s okay to list them. If they won’t answer their phone, start looking for other professional contacts you can get ahold of.

Once you have a person’s approval, it is okay to list them repeatedly. However, as a courtesy, it would be a good idea to check in with them every few months to still see if it’s okay to list them, if their contact information is still correct, or to give them a heads up you’re looking again.

I hope your list will help make the application process a little easier. Isn’t it nice to be at a point in life where you can’t flunk out if you have a cheat sheet to help you with your work?

Positive Thought of the Day:
“Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.” – Lao Tzu

"Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant." – Mitchell Kapor

Now that you have your grocery list written it’s time to go shopping. Shopping for jobs is a lot like shopping at IKEA. There is a lot to look at and you have to put some work in to get a finished product, but if you can find the right colored track you can at least get started. And, with any luck, you’ll get to meet Ace of Bass.

Big Task; Little Steps. Vanna, if you please . . .

1. Human Resources would love to see your face . . . when you come in for your scheduled interview. While it is easier to remember a name when there is a face attached to it, dropping in unexpectedly and requesting an interview is not the way to get remembered. If you have the time to pick up an application or drop off a resume, that’s totally fine. Any more than that is presumptuous. I once had a co-worker say to me, “I wish I could work in HR so I could have a job where I do nothing.” HR may not look very busy since a lot of what is done is on the computer, but make no mistake: HR’s day is jam-packed just like everyone else’s. Dropping in unannounced for an interview is disrespectful to their time. Also, HR doesn’t want to hear a sad story about how you drove 7 hours to see if you could be interviewed. That just shows a lack of planning on your part. Don’t call us; we’ll call you. Literally. Don’t call on the phone and ask for an interview either.

2. EXTREE, EXTREE! READ ALL ABOUT IT! It helps if you’re wearing a newsie outfit while reading this point. While the classified ad of your local newspaper is not completely dead, it is on life support. More and more companies are opting for the more convenient, and sometimes more cost-effective, online ad. This is where your list comes into play. Some online job search engines can produce over 2,000 postings. Who has that kind of time and energy to sift through that many ads? Much like IKEA, once you can narrow your search down to either the green or yellow line, the easier it is to get to your dream job/futon.

Whether you are utilizing Jobshq.com, Monster.com, or Idealist.org, utilize the categories and parameters to cast out your net. Remember: The wider the net, the more fish you’ll hopefully pull in. If you have very specific criteria in terms of type of job or company you do/don’t want to work for, salary, or location, that’s fine. However, just be forewarned that having very narrow specifications may lengthen how long it takes to find a job that meets your requirements.

Don’t always rely on online classified or search engines either. Sometimes companies will only post openings on their website. So, if there is a certain company you have your eye on, check their website frequently. Also, start to notice trends and patterns in the types of job openings you want so you’ll have an idea of the likelihood of finding a job. For example, teaching and admissions positions tend to open up in the Spring and are usually filled by the time school starts in the Fall. So, if you would really like to break into academia at good ol’ Alma Mater University, start looking when you dust off your capris and t-shirts.

3. ‘Cuz we still like seeing fossils at the museum. Even though we are in the Age of the Computers, some companies will still only post job openings in the newspaper. The Sunday paper is going to be your best bet in finding the most amount of listings.

4. Trees are overrated. Just because more and more companies are utilizing the Internet to find their applicants doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have resume paper handy. Some online postings will still request a hard copy of your resume and cover letter. Also, as mentioned in point three, if a company only posted their job opening in the paper, more than likely they’re going to want any application materials sent to them. A box of 24 lb resume paper will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 – $10. You won’t need to go with anything that’s much more expensive than that. You want your resume to say, “I’m professional.”; not, “I got duped into spending $30 on paper.” Use the full-sized catalog style envelopes. Trust me. Maybe I’m too picky but folded resumes and applications are the worst.

Best of luck in your shopping endeavors. Don’t forget to pick up milk!

Positive thought of the day:
“I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” – Oprah Winfrey

“The trouble with unemployment is that the minute you wake up in the morning you’re on the job.” – Slappy White

Whether or not you are employed while job searching the biggest step is getting started. I know. Just call me Captain Obvious.  One of the reasons why we put off finding a new job or tell ourselves the job we’re in isn’t so bad is because job hunting scares the bejeebers out of us. Yes, it is daunting. But, just like eating an elephant, all you need to do is take it one bite at a time.

Vanna, if you please, bring out the list . . .

1. Find your heart’s desire. Grab a notebook or Post-It and write down what types of jobs you would like to do or companies you would like to work for, even if they’re seemingly out of your reach. Saying you want to be a movie star or a world famous belly dancer may sound silly, but it may also be that tiny little voice you’ve been shushing urging to take a look at your inner entertainer. You need to be your own biggest cheerleader. If you don’t believe in your dreams, who else will?

2. Find a pattern. Take your list and group any job or company into as many relatable groups as possible. If you have a list of, say, ten items and the top three are the humane society, Red Cross, or youth director, maybe a shift towards the non-profit sector is in order. Or, if you are leaning towards such positions as development director, recruiting, or even accounting, take a look breaking into education. Ivy covered walls look pretty, but they don’t bring in money from donors, give tours to potential freshmen, or allot financial aid to thousands of students. Getting a handle on what career paths you want to travel down now will help your actual career search later.

3. Find jobs to apply to. That’s all for tonight, folks! You’ve been a wonderful audience . . . Okay. Seriously. Now it’s time to do the leg work. Times, they are a-changin’. Gone are the days when you would get spiffed up to pound the pavement in hopes to land an on-the-spot interview. As someone who has worked in human resources (HR), do not assume that just because you dropped off your resume you will get an instantaneous interview. Just because it looks like we’re just sitting at a computer playing Angry Birds doesn’t mean we are. Presumptuous interrupting of the workflow of HR is not the best way to get your foot in the door. It’s actually a great way to annoy the gatekeepers of the hiring process.

Next we will cover how actually take that focused energy and actually search for jobs . . . Onwards and upwards!

Positive Thought for the Day:

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” – Henry Ford