It cannot be avoided. It is the new year and talk of resolutions will abound. However, rather than blog about new year's resolutions in December when people are speaking of future commitments or January 1st when we are still buzzing with excitement that we survived another calendar year. I waited a week out when the cloud has been lifted and the high has worn off. Since it usually only takes about a week for most people to start breaking their resolutions, I felt that those who make it to January 8th are going to take their resolutions seriously enough to get something out of this post.
The following resolutions that I am going to suggest to job seekers are based on what I have heard from candidates on the market, from other recruiters, and from what I've witnessed of the way finding a job has changed.
- Get active on LinkedIn. I have asked so many candidates if they are using LinkedIn and so many of them answer, "I've been meaning to do that" or "I don't see the point." I then ask if they know that there are jobs posted on Linkedin. Very often they don't. Here you have a recruiter asking you if you use LinkedIn and you don't see the point. Besides finding candidates on LinkedIn, I have been further educated by the benefit of engaging with others with broad perspectives on topics of interest. If you are on the job market, I suggest taking 2 hours a week to get familiar with this platform. Even if you don't see the point, recruiters do and that's who you are trying to connect with.
- Know your value. Even if you are not a dollars and "sense" kind of person, you need to know that you have something to offer an organization. Many candidates that I speak to allow their worth to be determined by their W-2. If you are such a person, without the confidence of having a job already, you are going to give a terrible sales pitch when you interview. If you need to gauge your worth in money, use your last salary or desired salary to determine how much your time is worth. Then when you go in for an interview, go in there like you expect to be paid for your time and service because ultimately you do.
- Dare to be different. There's a quote that says something to the effect of, "If you want results you've never had, you have to do something you've never done." I talk to people all the time that won't even try to extend themselves beyond their comfort zones. I once had a candidate who would call me every week and just say, "Got anything?" One day I asked him had he tried doing anything different in his job search. He said he hadn't. I gave him the homework assignment of doing just one thing different that weekend, even if it was trying a food that he'd never had. I wanted him to tell me about it the next week. He agreed. A week later the phone rang. "Got anything", he asked. I asked him what he had to eat that was different in the last week. He said he wasn't able to do it. I haven't heard from him since. In order to manage in this world you are going to have to embrace change. If you can't, resolutions aren't for you anyway.
Rather than beat anyone over the head with other resolution ideas, I will leave you with this. When we think of resolutions, we commonly think of this far reaching goal that can make us feel inadequte regarding our current position. This is completely contradictory to the true spirit of what it means to make a resolution. If you look up the etymology of the word you find that the word originally meant the "process of reducing things into simpler forms". In other words, resolutions are meant to make life easier, not harder. It is a matter of perspective. The reward is not at the end of the journey. It is the journey itself. Decide where you want to be and have fun learning how to get there.
Happy January 8th, 2010!