Archive for April 2011

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

 

“ A little praise . . . Goes a great ways  . . .” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Job searching can be hard, and it can have a negative impact on your self esteem from time to time.  If you find this happening to you, it’s okay.  Don’t worry too much about it, but don’t stay there, either.

 

Here’s a trick that often helps: pull out old annual evaluations from past jobs. Not only will rereading the recognition for a job well done from a former boss reaffirm that you are, in fact, talented and valuable, but this excavation may pull out old projects or skills you’d forgotten about, and this rediscovered information could come in handy during an interview!

 

Also, remember you are surrounded by people who love you—I urge you to form a support system of positive and encouraging friends, family, former colleagues, and fellow job searchers.  Call on them for a pep talk or a fun evening out when you need a mood or confidence boost.  Ask them what they think your strengths are.  Odds are, you’ll hear many more wonderful things than you would have guessed, and you’ll end up feeling good about yourself and thus reenergized in your job search.

 

And remember this – you are not alone.

 

First, there are lots of job seekers out there, which may feel like competition, but, then again, partnering with a fellow job seeker who is experiencing similar frustration, maybe feeling down, or sharing anxiety about all the unknowns about the future can be VERY helpful.  Other job seekers also are a great source of search tips – websites to try, techniques for follow up & research, and just overall support that really gets what it’s like for you right now.  If you are interested in forming such a group, let me know!  It’s an idea I toss around from time to time but haven’t yet pursued.

 

Staying Active

 

Staying Active

A job search client was telling me about all the professional networking groups he attends, about an interviewing workshop he was going to, and was quite interested when I mentioned he might like to join Toastmasters.  I commended him for his diligent activities, but, immediately encouraged him, as is my tendency, to make sure he relaxed, enjoyed some of his free time while he had it, and basically not to overdo things.

I do this to balance out the messages I believe we usually get from our culture, our own ideas of ‘what people will think’, and guilt coming from ‘not working hard enough’ to find a job.

To my suggestion he replied, “Yeah, but I need to stay active or I get too down and unmotivated to do anything.” In thinking more in depth about his strategy, I definitely see wisdom in his approach.  I realize that even for myself, having a schedule of regular activities each week helps me organize my own flexible working style, and having some of my time committed to different pursuits does provide more structure and efficiency to the work I do during the rest of my unstructured time.

There are other obvious benefits to keeping busy as well:  you meet new people and have more opportunities to network and make business contacts and friends; you might learn new skills that could be added to your resume, or simply add to your quality of life; an activity such as weekly volunteer work or consulting jobs you do independently can also be added to your resume to fill the job gap created during your work search.

So while you are relaxing on the beach, in your hammock out back, or casually watching sitcom reruns, flip through a community college continuing education brochure for interesting classes; look through your local newspapers and free magazines for information on local networking groups and events; find somewhere to volunteer in your community a few hours a week, whether or not the work is related to your professional field.  If you can use your professional skills to benefit a local non-profit as a volunteer, that’s excellent, but not necessary.  Consider joining a local group that does activities in an area of interest to you, such as the Sierra Club or the PTA, or join Toastmasters to improve not only your public speaking skills but your overall conversational skills and confidence.  Presentation skills are always helpful, whether you’re addressing the School Board, training future co-workers on a new system, or giving a ‘roast’ for your father’s 50th birthday party.

Stay active and engaged in your life and community and the energy you put out there will fuel you for the job search activities you now need to fit into your newly busy schedule.