Become a “Rock Star” While Job Hunting

On Friday, I had written a post that talked about building up your confidence through the grueling process of job hunting. It’s tough- trust me, I know. There are plenty of days that I want to throw my laptop out the window from pure frustration. However, I’ve learned to pull it together during a time that really wanted to test me. Perhaps it’s my defiant nature, but I’ve vowed that I will beat this. Having this “can-do” attitude is helping me tremendously and I would love to help you get to this point, as well. Therefore, I’ll be happy to share some tips and suggestions on how to make yourself become a rock star while searching for your next employer.

First, I would like to mention that there are many beneficial reasons for harnessing this sense of self-worth. To name a few:

• You’ll display yourself in a confident demeanor during interviews.
• You’ll keep your sanity if you’re unemployed and bored sitting home.
• You won’t let rejection defeat you.
• You’ll keep your priorities in check and won’t accept a job just because it’s the first thing to come up.
• You could discover something interesting and useful about yourself.

As you see above, there are plenty of reasons why you should take a break from the job boards and take some time to work on yourself. Rejection after rejection can kill confidence which will end up hurting your job hunting progress. If you’re currently reading this post, then it is apparent to me that you care about finding a good job. Since I understand your current state, I would love to do anything I can to help you. Therefore, below are a few suggestions on how to build up your self-assurance and potentially get employers interested:

Break out of your comfort zone: Go to local meet-and-mingle events for professionals with the sole intention of learning more about the businesses in your surrounding area. Don’t come off as desperate by starting it off with a “please hire me” campaign. This tactic could potentially put up the “gatekeepers’” defenses. Instead, spend time asking questions about them and their company. Conversations like this could help you figure out which companies you’d want to target. Additionally, this can allow you to create a networking relationship with them. These gatekeepers are the ones who determine if your resume gets through or not, so get on their good side.

Be a socialite: Talk to anyone about anything. You may be pleasantly surprised at the new insight you gain. I’ve spent time reaching out to people all over the business spectrum and ended up learning a lot. These individuals have taught me: life lessons that changed my perspective; introduced me to businesses that fit what I’m looking for; gave me new tips on how get employers’ attention; and directed me to new resources that helped me learn about specific topics. I was also surprised by how willing people were to help and how supportive they were.

Get virtual: Join professional networking sites and contribute to discussion boards in various groups. You can learn more about business and expand knowledge by talking to professionals throughout the world. I have been utilizing sites like LinkedIn and Twitter to get exposure. I have found that using these websites and really taking the time to communicate ideas thoughtfully have taken me further in my job search than simply submitting resumes to job postings. Even if the individuals I’ve spoken to couldn’t help me directly, they have been kind enough to connect me with someone who could.

Take time to do something you love: Only focusing on the job search can create stress that hinders your productivity. Take a breather and do something you love to break up the search stress. Taking this break could put you in better spirits and in a better mind-set when attacking the job boards again.

Reward yourself: Most job seekers beat themselves up over their unemployment or underemployment. However, you’re making an effort in the right direction and deserve to reward yourself for working hard. Trust me- you’ve earned it.

Try something that interests you: Too often we focus on what we have done previously rather than what we’ve always wanted to do. Give it a shot- take a class; watch an instructional video; or read a “how-to” blog/book. You could discover you’re better at something new rather than something you’ve been doing for years. Learning this about yourself could open yourself up to opportunities you’ve never considered before. Opening your mind can help you break out of the box you may have trapped yourself in.

Realize it’s never too late to switch gears: The world is full of options. It’s also full of resources to obtain the experience and education you need to pursue those options. It is never too late to switch career paths. Like my father always said to me, “I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.” He’s been a loyal employee of the electric union for over 25 years. It’s nice to know he still has the mentality that opportunities are always there, no matter what you’re doing in life. I always appreciated the fact that my dad encouraged me to find what feels best for me instead of pushing me into a specific major or career. That inspiration is helping me more than ever right now.

Put yourself out there and take chances: If playing it safe isn’t getting you the response you need (or any response at all), then you need to try a new tactic. Take a chance, try something new, get exposure, and put your all into it. People respect others who show courage. You may be able to catch the attention of the right people because of it. My blog is my example of putting myself out there. I was happy to know that this approach could be successful, as I read in this article.

Life sometimes has a way of making the steady ground you stand on become unstable. Unfortunately, we can’t control when or why this situation occurs. However, you can control how you handle the circumstances. Job seeking isn’t easy but these suggestions can help you get back on your feet.

Send me a tweet and let me know how these suggestions have successfully worked for you: @AshLaurenPerez

Links:
How to Blog Your Way Out of That Entry-Level Job
10 Tips for Job Seekers in the Digital Era
Intel’s Networking Tips Blog Post

Companies mentioned:
LinkedIn
Twitter

Basic requirements: A candidate’s search for a qualified employer

Since the fall of the economy, candidates have been fighting to find work. There have been endless days of restructuring resumes, checking job boards, dead-end interviews, and rejections. Rejections come in all forms: no response, a generic e-mail that gives no reason, a quick e-mail/phone call to let you know they went for a more “qualified candidate”– and that’s that. Another defeat.

After this sets in we start to try to find ways to portray ourselves to be the “best fit”– we update resumes and professional sites, we research interview tips to make sure we say all the right things, we try to obtain any experience we can just to fit those requirements the company looks for. And yet, even after we’ve exhausted ourselves with all of our efforts to be “perfect”, it didn’t make a difference. We are still jobless to the point where we consider taking anything just to keep ourselves financially afloat.

My question is: why are we trying so hard only to fit what a company is looking for?

I feel that employers should be considered partners. You do for them, and they do for you- that is a good relationship that will be beneficial to both parties and will allow both to progress. So why are we trying so hard to only fit their needs and completely push aside our own?

Ideally, before the workforce (or lack-there-of) had stomped on any inkling of individual dreams and expectations, we had once had a vision of what our perfect work situation would be. If you completely abandon those, how do you expect to find that one company that makes you want to be committed to them for years to come? Personally, I think that work should be more than just getting a check to pay the bills. It should ignite passion and inspiration. It should make you believe that you are there for a reason, that your effort is recognized, and make you feel like you are irreplaceable.

Perhaps that is a little too naïve and optimistic but if companies are setting the bar high for their future employees, why shouldn’t you do the same for your future employers? It’s a big world out there. There has to be somewhere that could respect your values and maybe even encourage them… so why would you stop until you find it? Don’t settle for less than you deserve. This is your life.

I’m sure you’re used to seeing the requirements on a job posting, why not create your own “employer posting” with your basic requirements and preferred requirements? These things could help you strive for something and potentially ensure your overall long-term happiness with an employer. This could also help you find ways to “interview” the employer rather than have them running the show. Your work is a good portion of your life so it’s important to consider what you’re willing to commit to.

So here’s a shout-out to future employers! Here is a list of my current requirements (basic and preferred) for my next employer:

Requirements:

• I am seeking a company that creates a workplace in which the employees feel like they have purpose and that each employee’s contribution makes the biggest difference, no matter what level or job function.
• I want a workplace that promotes unity and allows all levels and departments to network and function as one team towards its goals, rather than keep everyone siloed in their departments.
• I want leaders that ignite passion and inspire employees to strive to be the best version of themselves, both personally and professionally.
• I want a company that is full of open and curious minds and is willing to listen to suggestions from employees.
• Even more so, I want a company that encourages innovation and will take a chance on things that “can’t be done” because they’ve “never been done” to prove to the world that YES! IT CAN BE DONE! After all, how is business going to progress if no one is willing to take a chance?
• I want managers who are invested in their employees and will take the time to help them grow and help them move forward in their career paths.
• I want a company that tests traditional workplaces by trying alternative workplace styles.
• I want a company that promotes continuous learning and allows employees the opportunity to really find what they’re good at or find something they love to do.
• I want my employers to celebrate individualism and welcome different insights and approaches from these employees.
• I want an employer that let’s employees see a future rather than a dead-end.

These requirements are just to name a few things that I’m looking for. I want a company that actually has a good vision, culture, and mission and follows through with that. So many times I’ve been attracted to companies with wonderfully stated visions and missions only to be disappointed by the reality of it. I want a company that is REAL.

I know that if I find a company like this, I will commit and work hard for them. I will want to grow with them because they will allow me to grow. I would want to be the best employee I could be because they create a positive workplace and do not put a limit on what I can do. Unfortunately, this type of mentality and attitude cannot be reflected on a resume or application… so here are the things I wish I could say. I know what type of person I am and could be…. But those reviewing applications and resumes may not. I’m sure there are plenty others out there that are the same way and it’s a shame to think of all of the amazing employees a company has missed out on because of their rigid requirements and hiring practices.

Maybe I won’t find all the things I want out of an employer but I hope to find an employer that does have some of these things. Like I said, It’s a big world out there and there is bound to be somewhere that understands my values and views. And if I can never find it…. I guess I’ll just have to create it 🙂