Have you been looking for a new job and find yourself surprised and frustrated that it’s taking so long? Well, let’s start with – IT’S NOT YOU! That’s right. I know after several attempts to land that next job and not receiving an offer is hard. It’s demoralizing. You start questioning yourself, your skills, your personality, well pretty much everything. The good news is it really isn’t you! In my experience, those jobs you missed out on weren’t the right jobs for you anyway. You’ve likely dodged a bullet. The company ghosted you after an interview? Or they were really difficult to interview with? Or they kept changing the schedule on you? Well, if they treat you this way during the interview, do you really think they are going to be better to work with? Likely not.
Let me give you two of the longest job searches I’ve witnessed. Both of these people successfully landed extraordinary jobs. It took FAR longer than they hoped or expected, but in the end, are grateful that they were patient.
Let’s call him Hugh. Hugh had very specific requirements for his next employer. He wanted to work for a particular type of culture, keep his casual attire and appearance, and sought a position for which he had experience, but not education. For his particular career, this was a difficult task. Yet, while it took him over a year, he finally did land in exactly the right job for him. He loves his company, the work he gets to do and is completely happy, despite the time it took. The right job just hadn’t been there at the start of his search.
Esther was in a dead-end job that wasn’t in line with her education. On top of that, it was the most toxic environment I’ve ever heard of. She was under paid, abused in many ways by her employer, and was desperate to move to a job that was in line with her education, feed her passion, and help her thrive. Yes, it took 3 long years – that’s far too long, but she made it. The morning I opened my email and read her news, I literally jumped for joy. She had worked hard, never given up, kept believing in herself and kept trying creative ways to land a new role. Now, most people don’t have to wait 3 years, but this is such a great story in not losing hope and keeping the job search going even when it might feel hopeless.
I always tell clients that the right job WILL be there at the right time. This is the mystical part of the job search. There is no rhyme or reason, no way you can change it, but there are steps you can take to keep the search active and moving forward.
I've just had my first experience raising monarch butterflies. Just like the caterpillar who transforms into a chrysalis and finally a beautiful monarch butterfly, we each go through transformations in our life. We come out of each phase a different version of our original selves.
I like to think of retirement this way. We never stop being who and what we've been. We simply find different ways of being.
I recently realized quite suddenly that I was tired after working for more than 40 years. While I've been through numerous transformations in my life, I've always been working. It just feels like time to step away from the grind. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my work. I LOVE seeing people find happiness, whether it be a new job or a happy, meaningful retirement. So I will continue working with individuals, particularly helping them transition from full time work into whatever their version of retirement looks like. Making the transition myself, helps me understand what my clients are going through. I've felt the paralysis, the fear, the unknown of what retirement might look like. Now I'm on the other side of that and fully enjoying this next phase. I can be more selective about who I work with and what hours I work. Meanwhile, I can spend more time on the hobbies that always took a back seat. Raising monarchs was a surprise that just fell in my lap. I was in awe of nature's amazing miracle. Each day, I'd visit my caterpillars and watch their journey as they grew from barely visible, to a nearly 3 inch caterpillar. They instinctively knew when it was time to crawl to the top of their cage and turn into a chrysalis. 14 days later, I was stunned to watch each monarch come out of it's chrysalis. Our transformations can be just as stunning, yet natural.
I'm excited for this next phase and would love to help you feel the same joy that awaits you!
When it comes to the job search, nothing gives a person more angst than the negotiation phase. By the time you’ve applied for countless jobs, interviewed or been ghosted, and waited for things to fall into place, it’s difficult NOT to jump when an offer is received. I have one word for anyone in this place – PAUSE.
Yes, PAUSE. Don’t accept on the spot. Give yourself time to consider all the implications of this offer.
Here is a rundown of all you should do and consider BEFORE accepting an offer.
As a career coach, I get asked a lot of questions about the job search – a LOT! I woke up thinking about them and thought I would share those most frequently asked.
Q: I’ve always gotten every job I’ve applied for. That doesn’t happen anymore. Why?
A: The market and technology have changed. First, thanks to automated application systems, there are more people competing with you for those jobs. It’s no longer just a local market. Second, companies have gotten very impersonal in their searching methods; seeking out key words and qualifications. While they may end up with a great candidate, this process systemically eliminates other great candidates.
Q: I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs online, but rarely hear anything back.
A: Ah! This is my pet peeve. Thanks again to the Automated Tracking Systems (ATS), machines are now scanning resumes in search of key words. Do they appear? In what order do they appear? How recently do they appear? You can never know exactly how a company has set up their ATS, so it’s difficult to beat the system. Your chances of getting selected are slim. The highest number of successful applicants I’ve ever found is 25%. So, your chance of ‘getting through’ are extremely low. There are hundreds of suggestions on how to beat the system out there, but I don’t see the numbers changing much.
Q: So, if my chances are so low with an ATS, how do I get noticed?
A: As much as people don’t want to hear this, the answer is Networking. The good news though, is that this doesn’t mean going out to events with hundreds of people and trying to get noticed. You can network one on one with people you already know. Reach out. Let people know you’re looking.
Q: How do I increase my chances?
A: The one thing I recommend that surprises people, and actually makes them uncomfortable, is to narrow your search. Do your research and identify the top 10-20 companies that offer jobs in your field, meet your values and personality, and provide the requirements you seek. Not only will you land a job sooner, but you’ll waste less time going after jobs that don’t meet your criteria. Why apply to jobs that pay too little, or don’t have the work/life balance you seek? Taking the time to land at the RIGHT company, will help ensure you are happy with your work.
Q: Will a company withdraw an offer if I counter?
A: No. I always encourage my clients to negotiate and I’ve never seen a company withdraw an offer, especially when it’s done professionally. Counter multiple times, or with unreasonable demands, and yes, they may walk, but not the first time.
I hope these will help you in your search. Be confident, do your research, and go out there and land that next great job!
Do I, or do I not, pay someone to write my resume for me? This is a question many professionals that I have encountered ask. My short answer is no, do not hire someone to write your resume for you. Hire someone to help you craft a resume that tells your story in YOUR voice. My approach when working with clients is to have them tell their stories first. We then take those stories and craft strong, action-oriented bullets on the resume. The result? A resume that sounds like you, in your voice, telling your stories.
I’ll share a story from my own history. About 10 years ago, I paid what I feel is an exorbitant fee, $900, to have someone write my resume. After just one meeting and completing an extensive information sheet, well sheets, I received a resume that looked AMAZING! Yes, amazing. The problem was, I didn’t recognize the person in the resume. It didn’t look, feel or sound like me. The person in this resume was an executive seeking an executive position. Neither of these applied to me. At the time, I was a leadership development educator seeking program manager roles; a far cry from the Chief Learning Officer that jumped off the page of this resume.
This story has become an underlying purpose for my work. When you are in job search mode, YOU are the product and salesperson. It’s true. And, like any salesperson, you have to believe the story you tell. The best way to have a story you can believe in and tell, is to tell it in your own words. Only then does your authentic self come through. Try and be someone else, and you’ll ultimately fail in your pursuit of the right job. Either the employer will sense a mismatch between you and your story, or you will end up being hired into the wrong company that doesn’t share the same values as you.
So, ok, I understand. Not everyone enjoys writing, and fewer enjoy ‘bragging’ on themselves. That’s where I come in. My approach is to help you tell your stories, then work WITH you to craft resume bullets that you can relate to; that represent the YOU who is applying for that job. Let them see YOU. If you resonate with them, they will hire you and you’ll be happy. Try and be someone you’re not, and you may still get hired, but will you be happy? I believe in helping my clients land jobs that share their values; that provide the work environment where they will thrive.
So, let me ask you. If you were in front of the one person in the world who you’d like to impress, would you leave telling YOUR story to someone else? I think not. Still not convinced? Ok, spend the big bucks and let someone else write your resume. But when that resume doesn’t get the results you’re seeking, call me. I’ll help you tell YOUR story in YOUR words. The authentic you that will spend 40+ hours a week working with these people will thank me….and you!
Throughout my years coaching individuals through the job search process, I’ve observed that even more frightening than the interview, is negotiating the offer. People, especially women (a shocking 68%), simply don’t try to negotiate, accepting the first offer made to them. Failing to negotiate has a long-term impact on your income. If you settle for a lesser amount upon hiring, all salary increases are based on that smaller amount. Additionally, when you change jobs, the previous job’s salary will be less, possibly leading to a lower offer. I believe negotiation is the most crucial step in the job search process.
Most people avoid negotiating because it’s just too scary. The most common fear is that the company will rescind the offer because you countered. Let me put that fear to rest. No company will withdraw an offer because you countered. Now, if you keep going back and forth and changing your ask, that’s a different story. But one counter offer is not only acceptable, but in many cases, expected. So, here is how to prepare yourself to assess, and if necessary, counter the offer you receive.
I recently sat down with Martin Wolk for an article that appeared in the Seattle Times. As I’ve spoken with people since, three things keep bubbling up as to how one can accelerate their job search. I thought I would share them now.
Don't wait. Get started on your dreams now. Book your complimentary 15 minute consult with Andrea now.
Andrea's passion is to see you achieve your professional dreams. Whether you are a corporate leader seeking leadership development for your employees or an individual seeking guidance in building your career or preparing for retirement, she will coach you to success.