1. Adjust your expectations.
There are many under the misguided notion that all it takes to secure a job is send out a standardised (and might I add, boring application letter) across the board to every company they are interested in. Add on a 10 pager resume detailing every single transaction you’ve had impact on while articulating how you are a people person and love a challenge and… bob’s your uncle. But I believe that mediocre efforts will only result in mediocre results. Understand one thing : securing a job is a full time job. This simply means that the process should be treated with a level of respect.
Understand and accept that a certain amount of work needs to go into the process of establishing your presence, presenting yourself as credible while enabling people to verify what you’ve said about yourself and find something unique about what you have to offer. Certainly, it isnt’ something that can be done once – this takes time. Think of it as a process of refinement as you go along…. refining your application process, refining your brand promise, and refining your relationships and tools.
Understand that you cannot expect significant result from the start … but that a start is exactly what is needed to begin this journey.
2. Tap on your network but be selective about who and how.
Networking is a tricky game. While you do want to maximise the relationships you have, you also need to provide value. Give before you get. Be transparent, tell people what you want.
Your actions and words speak about you – what you say and what you don’t say, have an impact on others. When you send out a generic email to all and sundry and ask for their help to secure a position or to put the word out, how would that speak to you, if you were to receive that email? You want to ensure as many people as possible know about you and make an effort where they can but it is far more effective to make an impactful point with a handful of people than to send something out to the entire network that is only bound to be deleted on receipt. Personalise your communication, especially when you are asking for a favour – let the recipient feel and believe, as he should rightly feel, that you are indeed talking to him, as opposed to sending out 260 emails of similar content. Spread yourself across all channels – social media, email, face to face, social interactions and over the phone.
3. Give before you get.
I mentioned this in point two and it’s worthy of singular mention. If you give before you get, you make an impact for who you are and what you’ve done. These are good ways to make an impact.
If you do so, you’ve cleared a major hurdle – what’s in it for the other person to stop and go out of his way to assist?
If you do so, you’ve moved beyond ‘me, myself and I’ and that’s never a bad thing.
4. Be careful about the communication process, content and language.
Look at the entire thread of how you are putting yourself out there –
- what is the process?
- is it the most effective?
- how can this be viewed negatively against me?
- is it a suitable channel?
- what is my primary message and is it likely that my message will come across as I intend it to?
- what kind of language am I using – formal and staid, too informal and sloppy, careless, rigid, humorous, insensitive?
5. Aim for consistency.
What you present in your application letter must match the other products in your process.
Do the resume, application letter, voice on the phone, blog posts, and social media rants all present a consistent picture of who you are?
Whether you agree that these should all match up or be cross-referenced, some employers are drawing references from a myriad number of sources to build a picture of who you are. They’d like to cross reference this against the picture you paint of yourself. Do you know, with certainty, whether there are inconsistencies and if so, what are you doing to address these?
6. Think. Really think about what kind of person you’d likely want to employ.
I can guarantee this : if you spend the time to really think about the kind of person you’d employ – their work ethic, flair for risk, entrepreneurial spirit, ambition level, how sociable they are, how they interact – lead others and are led by, how they communicate, how they add value – if you spend the time to think of even four or five of these elements and then get started ensuring that you yourself can embody some of these traits, you’re well on your way to greater employability. In a nutshell : try to see things from the employer’s point of view.
7. Deal with your issues. Period.
Take a good hard look at your last three jobs. Ask yourself why you left/were fired or asked to leave/moved sideways. Look at the timeframe between the jobs held.
Consider the similarities in role and organisation between the three jobs and then consider what made each distinct. Are you able to identify the issues you brought to the table with each job? Even if the fault lies with someone else, or management or the company as a whole, consider what you did imperfectly and what you could have done better. Do you see similarities in these issues raised between all the jobs you held? Do you have the maturity to really see what you’ve done wrong in each of these jobs? And once you’ve had the time to assess this, consider whether firstly, there’s anything you can do now to address those issues and secondly, what’s holding you back from doing something about it?
Deal with the issues… your issues. It will mean you don’t have them cropping up, with the only distinction being a change in your management team at every turn.
I am sure if you want to be honest with yourself, if you want to take a look at what went wrong, you will find the answers you seek. And your handling the issues will mean closure and growth for you.