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.

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"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

“You can fall, but you can rise also.” – Angelique Kidjo

Happy Monday, Friends . . .

How to Format a Resume is coming. In the meantime, if you’re a little discouraged because it feels as if that dream job isn’t ever going to call you back, just remember:

That is your positive thought for the day!

"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

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here…

That’s what it feels like when entering the realm of job searching. Job hunting can wrench the gut of even the most experienced job seekers. Do not despair, friends. We can work (no pun intended) through the process together!

My two main goals of this blog are to be informative and encouraging. Looking for a new job; let alone finding a career, can be confusing, isolating and disheartening. I have waded through the drudgery of crafting resumes, trying on suits, and smiling through interviews. I feel your pain . . .

However, being in human resources, I have also sat through interviewees’ stories of cut up underwear (yep!), received applications completed with glitter pens, and Xeroxed notebook pages submitted as cover letters. My posts will hopefully offer some insight into the minds of those working through the hiring process as human resources (HR; I have been surprised at how many people do not what HR stands for) representatives. Maybe this insight will help smooth out some of the bumps in the road along the way to reaching your dream job.