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Posts Tagged ‘job hunt’

 I’ll never understand what goes on in the heads of job description writers. I once saw a job posting that said:

Seeking quick learner who is detail-oriented and can work under constant pressure in a fast paced environment. Must be highly analytical, possess extreme attention to accuracy and has the ability to get work done earlier than expected.

Huh?

Honestly, I just don’t understand what hiring managers want from workers these days. It’s bad enough that the job market is being flooded everyday with highly capable and talented individuals who find themselves forced (by circumstances) to take jobs in which they may be slightly (or not so slightly) over qualifed for. To top it all off, we’ve got HR personnel, managers and recruiters putting together job descriptions that sound…well, a tad crazy.

The words quick learner and detail-oriented should never be in the same sentence. Quick learners (who do things quickly, in this case) aren’t detail oriented. Being a quick learner is not about being detail oriented – such folks are are all about the BIG picture. They have to mentally aggregate things into fast, simple steps in order to be quick.

Details, details, details!

Details, details, details!

 
Being into the details requires taking time to scrutinize, analyze and pay attention. Such individuals take their work very, very seriously and demand that they slowly and methodically calculate each piece of (ir)relevant information.
 
No one can (or should) do that in a rapid fashion. 
 
You can’t get the same results when you are trying to “quickly” get something done – especially in your fast-paced environments (isn’t that everyone’s workplace environment, nowadays?). This is why people like lawyers and accountants are detail oriented – they have the time (and are getting paid the money) to be crazy about the details.

But let’s think about people who are not so detail-oriented. What are they like? Perhaps, they are the type of individuals who miss a few buttons on their shirts, wear mismatched socks or don’t beat themselves up because they put Ms. instead of Mr. on a letter of correspondence.

Granted, we’ve probably made all those “mistakes” before, but it doesn’t make us fashionably challenged slobs who don’t know how to compose business letters. Hiring managers need to decide if they want someone who is detailed enough to not make dumb mistakes and gets work done on time or a person who categorically nit picks every tiny piece of minutia, inevitably clogging up workplace efficiency (but by, golly – they’re detailed-oriented!).

Be careful what you ask for – you just might get it.

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resume-writing1Oh God – you’ve looked up and 5 years of a boring job hell have passed you by! After ridding yourself of the grogginess of being a career zombie, you remember that you’d like to have real professional journey as well as something to tell your grand-kids.

Enter the less than stellar resume. The details may be different – but the story is pretty much the same:

Worked two years as a receptionist – [insert 1st job of out college company name here] merged and decided that they rather have an automated system answer the phones than YOU.

After feeling sorry for yourself for 2 months, you temped off and on for 4 months. Got hired as an office assistant for a year – got fired. 

Temped again for an entire summer doing project management work at  [insert uninteresting company name here]. Then, found a really cool job working at [insert cool company here] for 8 months. 

The company went bankrupt and dissolved. Temped again for 2 months – found another job as an assistant to the Director of [insert whatever department here] for a year – came to your senses and QUIT.

Not everyone has this particular kind of story to tell in their career journey – but for those of you who do, your resume looks like a bad case of career schizophrenia and professional ADD.

What do you do with such interesting luck?

Don’t beat yourself up! You can overcome this – you’ll just may have to work a little harder (and little differently) to get your potential career on track.

Find the links and focus

If you were doing poorly in the last string of jobs you had, you probably aren’t “built” for those professions.  Yes, there may be some outlying factors that contributed (lack of maturity, directionless, job ego), but if you don’t like administrative work- DON’T KEEP GETTING JOBS AS AN ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT!

If tasks like calendar management, scheduling, and making sure that the phones are answered in a “pleasant and upbeat manner” make your skin crawl – don’t kid yourself into believing a happy career as administrative personnel lies ahead.

Also, you will need to decide if it is worth it to you to take an administrative job as the stepping stone to getting into the type of career you may want. 

As more workers become specialized (and degrees as well) – the old-fashioned way of becoming the “secretary” and working one’s way up the ladder will become increasingly irrelevant.

There are other ways to enter the profession of your dreams. Instead, take the time to figure out what you want to do and craft strategies to realistically pursue it.

Moral of the Story: Denying yourself the career you wanted only caused you to be unhappy – be honest with yourself and go for what you want.

Aggregate accomplishments

I seriously doubt all that time you spent job hopping was a true waste. I’m also sure you’ve done something worth talking about in a job interview.

Yes, it’s demoralizing to realize you may not have as much professional development as your peers – but this isn’t about feeling sorry for yourself anymore.

You’re taking a pro-active role in getting professionally on track. Think hard about scenarios where you were asked to work on projects – “projects” being the all encompassing word that even includes the following:

  • Running the mail room
  • Training other people to do your job
  • Filing Systems (complex or not)
  • Having to organize any sort of electronic data
  • Being charged with performing “other duties as assigned”

Believe it or not, all you will need to do is truthfully “glamorize” these mundane tasks – hire a resume writer or take a look at this by Penelope Trunk.

Resume tip: Anything can sound interesting if you word it right. Avoid buzz words and don’t lie!

Be selfish and volunteer

Not all volunteer work is created equal. Also, in that case, neither are the seeminlgy altruistic motives for volunteering.  A lot of Gen Y-ers volunteer to develop contacts, build their network, or enrich professional skills they already have (or wish they had).

So, if you are woefully between jobs, temping or currently preparing yourself for the pink slip – start doing volunteer work that focuses on your interests and strengths (as well as engaging in an opportunity to learn more about yourself).

Job Hunt Strategy: Volunteering can actually get you job, but it also can make you look “extra” competent to potential employers. It shows you can manage time and put your professional skills to abundant use.

Put yourself out there

This means you will need to pack a super punch into your networking activities. Let people know you need help. Take advantage of any professional relationships you’ve developed so far.

This is no time to start being proud.  Trying to do it all “on your own” is most likely what got you in your current predicament.

Plead for help, press for advice and look for mentors where you can find them. If you haven’t tried social media sites like Linked In – get on board. Blogging isn’t too bad, either.

Networking Idea: Don’t underestimate talking to strangers (in familiar places), usurping a friend’s professional network or joining professional organizations (whether or not you are currently working in the field in question).

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looking-up1Just to let you know, readers, if you ever meet someone who is currently unemployed and looking for work – give them a hug. They deserve it. It doesn’t matter who they are – give them a hug anyway, and while you are at it, throw in an encouraging pat on the back.

Job hunting is insanely tough. The confusing medley of emotions – fear,  frustration, anxiety – can pull you down faster than quicksand.

Usually, worry is the the ever present factor during a prolonged  job hunt. When you are out of work, you worry about money. And, when you worry about money, you worry about what kinds of jobs you would take just so you can have some money.

You think about how much of a pay cut you could reasonably handle without becoming financially bankrupt (while ignoring the possibility of becoming emotionally and spiritually bankrupt as well).

Suddenly, you rationalize what kind of crap (i.e. extreme BS) you’d put up with just to maintain a job you know you would hate, the difficult personalities you’d force yourself to tolerate. Then, slowly, but surely, you get depressed.

That is because you really, really wish you weren’t in that kind of position to have to make those kinds of decisions. 

And, without much forethought, you think you could convince the Forever 21 to hire you, despite being overqualified (or not having any retail experience at all).

It’s called sacrifice.

Sacrifice sucks. And, so does desperation.

People say life is about compromise. Most of the time, it’s more about sacrifice.

Compromise is the sugar coated we-don’t-really-want-to-say-it word for sacrifice. If you are giving up on one freedom (or happiness) for another – then you are certainly sacrificing something for the other.

Can a job hunter have her cake and eat it too, though?

Perhaps.

But right now, a lot of people I know are being served an overabundant helping of career sour grapes. No room for chocolate fudge cake here, folks.

Desperate times call for a complete break. Stop. Relax.Veer off course and recharge. Jumping headlong (or mellowing comfortably) into this desperation will cause you to cease maintaining a clear perspective.

Don’t become demoralized.  If this happens, you begin to doubt who you really are and what you are actually capable of doing. Once you forget that, you head toward an emotional downward spiral.

You are least productive when this happens. And, you need to keep full steam ahead. So, how does one keep from forgetting about the proverbial “light” at the end of the tunnel?

Look forward to the possibility of more.

That’s the good part. The wonderful part. It’s your chocolate fudge cake. But you can only have it after you finish all that hard work first. It’s the anticipation that more is in store. Dare I say it?

Keep the faith.

This has nothing to do with what God or god you believe in (or none at all). It’s about that inner chutzpah. Believing that “It doesn’t rain everyday” (even when you think life has sent you the career version of Hurricane Katrina).

The more part only represents that you’re not satisfied and working towards getting more of what you want. Stick true to those principles. They won’t fail you.

How will you know when you are done with getting more? I don’t know. How do you know when you are happy? You just know. And who says that you should stop wanting more for yourself, from yourself?

This is the ultimate combatant to desperate frustration. In the meantime, remember these things:

  • You are not doomed to remain unemployed
  • You are talented, smart and bring a fresh perspective and thought process to everything you do.
  • There is nothing wrong with working “to just get by”
  • Being a loser is a mindset and not an actual station in life
  • Remind yourself about where you have been and how far you have come

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