Archive for October, 2009

How To Overcome The Need For Closure

Posted in Closure, Communication, Emotional Investments, Follow-up, Interviewing, Job Search, Motivation, Recruiter, Rejection, Uncategorized, Whole-Part Whole on October 20, 2009 by jcsicareerassist
Do you see a connection?

Do you see a connection?

This isn’t the first time that the subject of closure has come up on the JCSI CareerAssist blog.  In a previous post entitled Handling Non-acceptance, we told candidates not to focus on the things that they cannot change.  Sometimes you will not know why you were not chosen for a specific position and you will need to rely on assumptions to move forward.  Then in Managing Your Emotional Investments In a Job Search, we encouraged our readers to keep interviews in perspective.  Being attached to every opportunity can be mentally and emotionally draining and can rob you of a true opportunity when it comes around.

In this post, we are going to assume that the advice in the above mentioned posts didn’t quite stick.  Intellectually you understand that rejection isn’t personal.  You can even see how the concept of leaving the interview at the interview would reduce some stress.  But at the end of the day you still find yourself waiting by the phone to hear back from a potential employer unable to breathe until they let you know one way or the other.  If this sounds like you or someone you know, then read on.

In order to make sense out of the need for closure, it may help to know that our brains are actually wired to see relationships holistically.  As the shapes above show, we tend to see things in wholes instead of individual parts.  Most people would describe the shapes as a circle and a square with missing pieces  rather than a bunch of disconnected lines.  This is known as Gestalt Psychology.

Translated to the job search, this means that when we speak to someone about an opportunity we are going to automatically expect it to come “full circle”–pun intended.  When it doesn’t, our brains tell us that something is missing and this is considered a psychological threat.  What happens in many cases is that we assume that we have somehow caused the “missing” piece by lacking in some way.

In order to overcome this, we must be able to see the stages of recruitment as “whole-parts”.  Based on the Whole Part Whole (WPW) Method used in some sports training  and other modalities, the participant is trained to see that each component is a whole within itself.  An example from basketball would be that while the ability to shoot free throws are a part of a game, the ability to shoot free throws is also a skill on its own.  In other words, an interview is part of getting a job, but it is also just an interview.

If you are following this logic, then you can see how “leaving the interview at the interview” is possible.  This is accomplished by:

  • Seeing the whole.  The big picture.  In other words finding a job. 
  • Gaining an understanding of how the parts relate to the whole. These are considered “whole-parts”. Phone Screens, phone interviews, f2f interviews (how many rounds?), etc.  Ask your recruiter for more information.
  • Focus on developing your skills in each “whole-part”. Phone presence, f2f interview skills, follow-up skills, etc.
  • Approach each “whole-part” as a singular event.  An interview serves its purpose in real time without being seen as making or breaking the opportunity.  The goal is to have an excellent interview experience.
  • When reviewing the event, keep it in perspective.  Don’t think how you can stop losing opportunities. Concentrate on developing your “whole-part” skills.
  • Realize that it all comes together in the end.  If you excel in your “whole-part” skills then the whole picture will eventually come together.

As you can see, overcoming the need for closure is more about what not to do than it is about doing  some technique.  The key is to keep the “whole-parts” in perspective.  By seeing the “Whole-Part Whole”, closure is integrated into the process as it moves step by step.  Seeing the process this way reduces stress by releasing candidates from carrying the burden of their entire futures into every recruitment engagement.

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Creating a Job Search “A-Team”

Posted in Diversity, Interviewing, Job Search, Motivation, Networking, Team Building, Team-Working, Uncategorized on October 12, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

If you or anyone you know has been on the job market for any length of time, you will understand that for most people the hardest part of the job search is staying motivated throughout the process.  Traditionally, we are taught to work for rewards.  At the completion of every action, there is an almost inherent expectation of some sort of feedback.  This can come in the form of money, recognition, or even constructive criticism.  All of which we receive from a job.

Once the job is removed from the dynamic, the context of work will take on a whole new meaning.  When you are seeking full-time employment, finding a job is your job.  For many, the longer they are on the search without receiving feedback relative to the work they do, the more diminished they feel.  It can be equated to working on a project for your employer and never hearing whether or not you are on target.  This is a situation that most workers detest and often leads to disengagement.  But what will be the result of disengaging from one’s own job search?

In his book, Who’s Got Your Back, bestselling author Keith Ferrazzi, encourages his readers to break free of the “go it alone” mentality that is prevalent in our society and to establish what he calls, “Lifeline Relationships” to help build success.  The idea behind his message is simple.  Identify a  few trusted individuals with whom you can freely express yourself and enlist them to help you sustain accountability in achieving your goals. 

When applied to the job search, this group could be part of what is called a “Job Search Work Team”. This concept based on the Pierson Method by Oliver Pierson has been employed by industry leader Lee, Hecht, Harrison for over a decade with great success.  Furthermore, according to www.highlyeffectivejobsearch.com this method is scientifically proven to speed up the job search.

This is why forming your own team for your job search can be a perfect solution to help you achieve your mission.  To illustrate how these teams can work for you, we’ll use the example of the 80’s TV show, The A-Team.  The main lesson to learn from this show is to build a team with diverse skill sets.

  • John “Hannibal” Smith– The Planner.  This character was the one who began with the end in mind and figured out a way to get there.  Having someone like this on your team is essential.
  • B.A. “Bad Attitude” Baracus-The Mechanic.  Inevitably you will run into snags in your plan and when you do, you will need someone who knows how to take what’s broken and either fix it, create a work around, or completely “build a better mousetrap”.
  • Templeton “Faceman” Peck-The Image Consultant.  When interviewing for most jobs, it is very important to dress the part and turn on the charm.  Having someone who has an eye for such things can be vital to interview success.  This is the person you’d want to perform a mock interview with.
  • H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock-The Dreamer.  When things don’t go according to plan, you can’t easily conceive of a work around, and your charm isn’t opening doors, you need an out of the box thinker who simply supports you without condition.  They don’t believe in impossible and can smile while the whole world is frowning.
  • Amy Amanda “Triple A” Allen-The Insider.  To round out your team, you are going to need someone who is connected or at least knows how to follow a trail to decision makers.  Having someone with the investigative flair is always helpful because if they don’t have an answer, chances are they can connect you to someone who does.

Now imagine how much easier your job search might go if you had such a team working with you.  As you already know, networking is often plays a very important role in a job search.  This post encourages to take it a step further and and go from networking to team-working.

Planting a Resume Garden

Posted in Emotional Investments, Hiring Trends, Job Search, Personal Brand, Recruiter, Resume, Uncategorized on October 6, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

Many candidates are not told this, but how they distribute their resume can contribute greatly to the response they receive from prospective employers.  To demonstrate this I will use the analogy of a garden to show your resume’s relationship to the job market.

In this example you should consider each copy of your resume as a seed with the potential to grow your ideal job.  The soil is represented by the places where your resumes end up, such as companies, organizations, job boards, and applicant tracking systems (ATS).  The sun’s equivalent will be the human eyes that will actually see your resume and determine how far it will go through the cycle.  And lastly, the job market itself will play the role of the weather conditions that can either facilitate or threaten your resume’s chances of fulfilling its potential.

Now, if you’ve ever tried to start a garden,  you know that it is not an easy task.  There are so many things to consider before you even start that the thought alone keeps most of us from ever taking on the task willingly.  It’s not as simple as deciding that you want some pumpkins or tomatoes and then throwing some seeds in a field (job board) and sitting back and waiting for the harvest (plenty of jobs to choose from).  You have to think about the type of soil available and whether or not it can sustain the plant.  You also have to consider the amount of sunlight and water that the plants will need to receive.  Lastly, you must understand the plant’s growth cycle so that you know when to plant them and when you can suspect a harvest.  And all that’s before you even consider dropping the first seed (resume).

Once you determine that you can manage the conditions necessary for growing a sustainable crop, you have to go about preparing the land itself.  This takes a lot of work as well.  You have to make sure that there is proper spacing between the vegetation so that each crop can get its fair share of nutrients.  It’s also necessary to separate certain plants from each other because they stifle each other’s growth.  In other words, you cannot rely on having your resume mixed in with a bunch of other resumes and you can’t overload a company with a truckload of resumes hoping one will slip through.  Think of how that will reflect upon your personal brand.

It is not until after you have taken these considerations and made the necessary preparations that you are ready to plant the seeds.  When planting the seeds you must make sure to plant them deep enough in the soil so that they can take root and not get flooded out by rains or picked up by birds or other creatures.  i.e. Try to get a referral or work with a recruiter (professional gardener) to increase your chances of resume survival.  Once all of this is done you have made it to the hardest part of planting a garden–waiting.

Perhaps your ultimate goal with this garden was to be able to make your own salad.  That’s the image you have in your mind and it is what motivated you to do all of the work in the first place.  Now that you’ve planted your seeds, you may find yourself getting a little anxious.  That’s because after all of the work that you’ve done you’ve finally come to the part that you have absolutely no control over.  Depending on the plant’s growth cycle and other conditions, you can spend several weeks maintaining the surrounding area to keep it free from, weeds, rodents, and bad weather and never see a single sign that anything is happening under all that dirt.  All you can rely on is the fact that you did everything that you were supposed to do.  Such is the case with your resume.

The main point that you should take away from this is to value your resume if that’s what you expect others to do.  Consider hiring a professional to review your resume to make sure that the seeds you are planting are good.  And once you’ve done that,  do what you can to give them the conditions they need to make it to harvest time.  That’s the way to plant a resume garden.