Take a look at this photo…It’s a sculpture from the de Young art museum in San Francisco. You can’t really tell, but these apples and pears are huge…You couldn’t even jump over them — there’s no real perspective here.
Are you approaching your job hunt withoutÂ perspective? If you haven’t looked for work for a while — or, you’ve been looking for work for a long while, but with no success, my guess is you are probably missing some key perspective that could help you succeed. If you look carefully, you can almost tell that there is a barrier all around this fruit…Is there a barrier preventing you from getting the job you want?
Consider these potential speed bumps:
Are you sending a dated or boring resume? Does it come from a Word template? Are you saying “Responsible for….” in every line? Do you have paragraph after paragraph listing stuff you did, and it has nothing to do with what you want to do next? Is it full of useless jargon and buzz words that don’t come with actionable details to prove you are what you say you are? Did you pay any attention to the job description before you applied — does your resume reasonably indicate why and how you are a good match?
Have you Googled your name? What comes up? Do you have a digital doppelganger – someone else with your name who ranks higher than you online? (Unless you are active online or have a very unique name, this is likely.) What are you doing to create content about you online so people will learn about your professional qualifications? Did you consider the fact that you may share a name with a criminal or otherwise be suffering from mistaken identity online? It’s your job to look. And to take action if necessary.
Have you been tagged or labeled in photos or associated with information that will deter your job search plans? Someone I know recently told me the story of a person his company was trying to hire, until a Google search found unflattering (illegal drug related) photos on Facebook. The candidate claimed not to even know about those photos. It’s your job to find out if there is information out there preventing you from landing a job.
Are you doing everything you can to demonstrate you’re up-to-date with modern technology, especially if you are an experienced job seeker? Having a LinkedIn profile is required, at the least. If you are truly savvy, you’ll maintain other appropriate networks (Twitter, Facebook, Google+) and demonstrate your expertise online. Having your own professional website (a social resume) could really help you own your name online and create a portfolio of your work.
Are you getting out and meeting people? Are you making an effort to extend your network, in person and online? Have you been meeting people, even if you don’t think they can help you? Are you taking the attitude that anyone — even your son’s soccer coach — may be the key to your next job?
What about your attitude? Are you posting negative status updates every day on Facebook or knocking your last interviewer on Twitter. (Because, “who reads that stuff, anyway?”) If you are, you’re probably making people hesitate to try to recommend you. No one wants to stake his or her reputation on a loose cannon. Don’t be a loose cannon.
When you land an interview, are you ready? Do you know the answer to the question, “Why should we hire you?” If not, you are not likely to get the job. How about, “Tell me about yourself?” (Please, do not start, “Well, I was born in…”) I don’t think you need to memorize answers, but you should be prepared to address key topics, and these are two biggies. If you lose the interviewer with a boring intro, you may blow your chance to advance in the process.
Have you been remembering thank you notes? Do they have typos? Yes, you can stand out from a crowd (positively and negatively) via your follow up. No one is saying someone will hire you only because of your nice thank you note, but in a field of similar candidates, if you are the one who can follow up well, it will probably help.
These are only a few of the items that may be affecting your ability to land a job…If you’ve been looking without luck, maybe it’s time for some perspective. If you are planning a search soon, why wait until you are frustrated and annoyed with the process before you reevaluate? Sometimes, having a little expert advice makes all the difference. At the very least, take a few steps back and really survey what you’re dealing with. If you are looking at a plate of over-sized fruit, be sure you know it!