Here, from my email in-box, are two job search success stories from people who found great new jobs this past week. Read each story and ask yourself, “How could I apply this to my job hunt?”
1) Job-search goal cards work
Here’s a story sent in by Fred, from Chanhassen, Minn. He got hired, in part, by using my “job-search goal card” technique in his search.
“On Tuesday, May 24th, I attended the Star Tribune job fair at the Minneapolis Convention Center and heard you speak. You said to write down our ideal new job on a 3×5 card and read it every day until we found a job.
“I just started working today (July 26) as a consultant, at $65 per hour, on a 3-6 month contract that could go as long as 18 months. I am working at a major Fortune 500 company not far from my house. Conclusion: Mission accomplished. Thanks!”
Here’s what Fred wrote on his job search goal card — you can see how close he came to hitting the mark:
“I am a project manager / business analyst / CIO / controller who knows how to use technology to build new products and systems. I am making $85,000 per year, and I enjoy meeting new people and problems.”
Your Takeaway Lesson: When you write down a specific description of your ideal job and read it out loud at least twice a day, you will almost always get hired faster. Why? For the same reason you can start a fire with the sun’s rays using a magnifying glass — focus.
I recommend you write the following statement on a 3×5 card and say it 10 times out loud, three times a day — when you wake up, during lunch, and before going to bed each night. This will imprint your job-search goal on your brain. And focus your efforts. And help you get hired faster:
“It’s August 30 (INSERT DATE YOU WANT TO BE WORKING BY). I’m an effective INSERT JOB TITLE who adds value to the company lucky enough to have me. I’m making $XX,XXX in a stimulating environment, doing work I love, surrounded by co-workers I enjoy.”
To make this work for you, all you need is a clear idea of the job you want, a 3×5 card and a pen. This is not high-tech or low-tech — this is no-tech. So you have no excuse for not trying it.
2) Keep an open mind and say “Thank you.”
Anna C. from Michigan is newly employed and writes: “I have the most wonderful job — every day I feel like I’m playing.”
Not bad, eh? When work is play, work is good.
But, Anna was first turned down by the employer who eventually hired her. Her story shows the importance of keeping an open mind … and of always sending thank-you letters.
Anna writes: “I received many interview offers, none of which I was interested in. Many were sales-based. I finally responded to an email for a job as an agent for XYZ Company. I had never, ever thought of being a salesperson. As a matter of fact, I HATED sales people. Well, I didn’t get the job, so I sent a thank-you note to the interviewer.”
That doesn’t sound very promising, does it? Keep reading …
Anna got a call for a second interview, but she had no intention of taking the job, partly because it was too far from home. “But then I received a second email from XYZ, this time for a job out of St. Joseph, Michigan, which is closer to my home. I thought, ‘Someone must be trying to tell me something,’ so I applied. I was hired,” she says.
Your Job Search Takeaway Lesson: Keep an open mind and don’t be too quick to rule out positions that aren’t exactly what you’re looking for. As Anna’s case illustrates, you might get hired for a job you weren’t even looking for.
And, even if you don’t get an offer after your first interview, send a thank-you letter to the employer. They may ask you back for another job that’s even better, as in Anna’s case.
Now, go out and make your own luck guerrilla!
I’m at the hospital waiting for my wife and business partner Anita’s surgery to wrap up.
I don’t like hospitals much. I don’t think most people do.
For me it’s the memory of spending 8 months on C-Block at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Denver with 50 other terminal patients. Most were casualties from the Vietnam War, sent to Denver for a last chance look see if anything could be done for them. The memories are still quite vivid.
What I remember most, was the atmosphere.
I was 11 at the time and classified as terminal. Every man on the floor was. It’s frightening what Man’s weapons of mass destruction can do to a man and still leave enough of him to avoid a toe tag. It was utterly depressing the first few days — until I met George.
He had a funny laugh. Worse than mine. And it was contagious.
I don’t remember George’s last name. What I do remember is that he was the ward clown, the main event, and ringmaster all wrapped up into one. And he lived large. From his wheelchair he daily cajoled and entertained everyone on C-Block.
He once confessed to me that knowing he was terminal had given his life new meaning. And that his mission in life – however long that might be – was to make everyone he came in contact with smile.
He said he had a choice:
- to either accept his lot in life and go out depressed and bitter or
- smile and laugh all the way to Heaven’s Gate.
I had the same choice he said. Everyone does. And then of course he demanded that I chose now.
Now obviously, I chose the high road – life. Anyone that knows me knows I see “silver linings” on every cloud – pots of gold and platinum pucks (it’s a Canadian thing).
After 6 months in hospital I finally had the heart surgery that saved my life. I was lucky. My surgery was delayed several times because I was too sick to operate on and the boy who passed in front of me in the ques died. My surgery was still novel and had never been performed successfully in North America back in 1971.
While I was waiting for my surgery George taught me how to play poker. How to market myself. And make money. (I set up a courier company inside the hospital called “Anything for a Nickel Incorporated” to run errands for the staff and earn a little spending money.) And George taught me how to laugh really big hearty laughs.
George also showed me how to live like everyday mattered and that the mountains in front of me where just speed bumps on the road to success. That I am in charge of Me Inc. and that by changing my outlook I change my results – remember – I’m 11 years old at the time and very impressionable. I likely would have believed i could fly. This was also pre-Tony Robins.
George encouraged me (forced is too hard a term – but he did withhold my ice cream at dinner if I failed to summarize the day’s reading.) I feasted on a steady diet of Napoleon Hill, Churchill’s memoirs and every reel of The Three Stooges he could find. (George believed in “balance”.)
We ran movie night – every night. We dragged everyone who wasn’t hardwired to their oxygen tank in to the cafeteria to laugh with us. We even “borrowed a copy of Barbarella” when it first came out and showed that too. No one called Jane Fonda Hanoi Jane – we were all just smitten.
Sometimes though it felt like everyone but your family had just given up on us. My dad lived 50 miles away at the United States Air Force Academy and visited me nearly every day after work, which was amazing in itself – not because of the drive – but because my mother had suffered a heart-attack followed by a stroke the first day he showed up on the base for duty in 1968. she needed constant supervision after she came home. We were the only Canadians on the base and we didn’t have our customary Canadian support network and friends. But my father will tell you that, “In fact, our neighbors and colleagues became the finest support group that anyone could ever have wished for“. My two little sisters were sent to Halifax to live with relatives. My father had/has an amazing ability to cope and roll on – and that’s in my blood, for which I am eternally grateful.
Me while back a the ranch… George and all of us lived large. We rolled with it everyday and made the most of our opportunities. Knowing we had nothing to lose emboldened us. I mean we realllllllllly lived!
So why don’t I like hospitals?
Because there seem to be fewer and fewer George’s when I have to visit. Hospitals all seem so staid to me. The staff are too serious. The doctors are sterile, and more apt to speak in terms of the “odds of this or that” – so as to avoid future litigation…. than see the terrified individual in front of them and try to comfort them, let alone give them hope.
But this morning was different.
The woman who runs the cash at the coffee shop in the basement of the hospital was full of life and laughter.
From my first interaction she made my spirits soar!
I instantly recognized my responsibility to my happiness and the need to help others around me soar too! Wrapped up in my own little world as I am today, I had forgotten that attitude is everything AND that attitude is contagious.
So let me stop now and ask you a serious question.
Are there any lessons here for job hunters? I think so – but that’s my nature.
Are the people around you helping you? Or hurting you? Do they see a positive outcome for you? Or do they remind you of how “bad” it is out there? Did they remind you, that “John or Mary or Sally or Marvin” are still looking too? Or tell you that 4,000,000 Americans were hired last month AND 2,900,000 jobs were on record as unfilled?
What do you think? Do you need a George in your life!
I left the hospital in May 1971, 2 months after the ground breaking heart surgery saved my life. Two months after surgery the nurse warned my father I wasn’t likely to survive (I actually heard her tell my father to kiss me good bye as they were putting me under. I can still make out the sound of a helicopter touching down on the roof above the operating theater, shepherding the surgeon who would save my life.)
When I was discharged I had $1100 in my pockets. (My mother confiscated my “ill gotten gains”) but (I got it all back a few weeks later.) That was a lot of money for a kid. Back then my father’s salary as a Navy Lt Commander was $15,000/year.
On the down side, I failed grade 5 and was told I would need to repeat it the following year. I didn’t care. The lessons I learned on C-Block would carry me through the rest of my life. I learned so much on C-Block, not the least of which is that your attitude determines you altitude.
George, well he went on to do great things because he had no legs to slow him down and no ears to hear distracting words.
Life is good. Anita will recover beautifully.
Live your best life ever! Start today/
PS. Or as Churchill might remind us, “kites rise against the wind“.
PPS. They certainly do.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network – Ottawa, Canada
We’ve all received bad career advice at some point. Mine came from an aunt who said: “You should be a chemical engineer. You’d be good at it.” Two years of advanced math and 627 headaches later, I decided she was wrong.
Here’s some bad career advice on resume writing that my clients have received from friends and co-workers. My suggested solutions follow. And feel free to share your own tidbits! You can email them to me at kevin at gresumes dot com.
Bad Resume Advice #1 — Don’t sell yourself too hard in your resume.
Nonsense. You should claim the highest levels of skill and achievement possible in your resume. This is not being pushy or aggressive. This is being competitive. You’re not the only one who wants that job, after all.
Corollary: Selling yourself strongly is not to be confused with making “factually inaccurate statements,” i.e., lies. Stick to the truth. It’s easier to remember.
Bad Resume Advice #2 — People don’t have time to read a two-page résumé.
“By saying less you are saying more,” is what one colleague told a client of mine. Rubbish.
People don’t have time to read a BORING resume or one that’s ILL-SUITED to the job opening. But 95 years of advertising research and five years of my own resume writing experience tell me that long, interesting copy always outsells short copy.
You can say a lot in two pages, which is the maximum length I recommend. Try to shoot for a mix of 30-40% duties and 60-70% achievements when describing your experience at each job.
Bad Resume Advice #3 — Include your salary and reasons for leaving each job.
Never include your salary, and include reasons for leaving in rare cases only.
For example, a recent client of mine was prevented from working in his industry by a non-compete agreement. Here’s how I explained his transition from the seafood business back into computers: “Sold firm at twice original revenue and re-entered high-tech sector upon expiration of three-year non-compete agreement.”
You can use similar language to explain why you left a job or left your industry.
Remember what Satan, as played by Al Pacino, once said: “The worst vice is advice.” While that’s not always true, be sure to consider the source the next time you get a hot tip on resume writing from someone who doesn’t do it full-time ….
Best of luck to you!
Has a state of exhaustion overcome your good intentions to stay focused on a job search? Many job seekers have been unemployed for months, if not years. Many are burned out, burned up and just plain tired. If that fits…
Resume before and after that’s what this post is about.
Kevin and I have been working on his job hunt not for about 3 weeks. He got serious about it after Christmas. The plan came first. That took a couple of days. Then we began work on his resumes. Yes, he has more than one but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Kevin’s heard me say a thousand times, The most qualified job hunter is rarely the one who gets the offer! Yup that’s right. It’s not a typo. I’m not crazy. The best positions go to the people who do the best job at positioning themselves as the best solution to an employer’s problem — once in they’re in the interview. And that’ s the rub.