Monday, June 9, 2014

Waiting for Your Lucky Break

I would suggest that the majority of people looking for a job, at one time or another, rely more upon luck than putting stock into their own abilities to find a job. That’s right, most people are playing the lottery, hoping their ticket – in this case their resume, will be chosen. In their minds it’s just a numbers game and they’re playin’ the odds. Come on, tell me I am wrong.
But this kind of thinking is defeatist and by nature not a serious approach. Furthermore, I speak with people who believe a university degree for which they paid so much is an automatic door opener, a golden ticket for success; in past decades it may have been, although it is becoming painfully obvious that is increasingly no longer the case. The new normal (since 2008) requires more than simply showing up and expecting a red carpet thrown before you. It absolutely requires an orchestra of effort requiring multi-tasking abilities. It is right here where peoples’ eyes glaze over and I lose the attention of too many unwilling to make the effort to do what makes the difference, rather falling back on the concept of dumb luck than to motivate themselves beyond their comfort zone, but you must. It isn’t that it’s so hard to do, you must resolve to do it, even just a bit at a time.
I was speaking with someone just this morning on this same topic, suggesting people need to do more even if it is physically hand carrying their resume to drop it off in person whenever it is possible, even for the sake of connecting a smiling face to that lifeless piece of paper that represents you. Nonetheless, they replied negatively, saying they’d be looked upon oddly if they ever did that and, well, because nobody else does it, which makes it weird. I also suggested their resume should be more than a bland and boring description of their current job; that whenever possible it should include accomplishments that represent them better than what they are already (yawn) supposed to be doing anyway. Again their reply was negative, telling me that HR looks at a resume and if they don’t see anything special they will just toss it aside – which, ironically, only proved my point but they’d hear nothing of it, instead committed to proving my 20+ years of experience is wrong. They said it’s all rigged and companies only hire people they already know before the jobs are posted and, even then, companies receive 100 or more people applying for the same jobs. In other words, it’s all a waste of time and the system is set up for you to fail.
By the way, whoever said finding a good job was easy – especially now. So imagine their shock when I smiled and replied, “Okay, so then if you’re right, if you feel that way you should just give it up – why bother then?” Clearly, they wanted to be convinced otherwise because they have self-doubts – which is completely understandable in the current jobs market; lots of people feel this way. But I’ve said it many times, that regardless of the state of the economy, companies are hiring people every day; they are taking longer to do it and you must compete with more people than ever, but they are hiring. However, the same old routines and methods that worked 10 years ago won’t get you the same results in the current market. A new normal requires adaptation and adjustments to meet the new challenges.
I write about this stuff every week and I recently posted onto YouTube a series of videos which provide usable advice; just go to YouTube and do a search with this word grouping: “Why Should Anybody Hire You?”  Or the word combination of “Empower Yourself Michael Mayher” and you’ll find it, there are 25 of them. But if I may be philosophical for a moment, the answers aren’t coming to you, you’ve got to take the initiative and seek them out. If in this ‘recovery’ you think you can find a good job without putting forth more effort than in the past, you just don’t get it. It requires effort, you’re going to fail and hear no more then you’ll hear yes. Even with advice that I or anyone else can provide, it’s still a task but a worthy one. As for roadblocks and obstacles in your path, years after my service I still possess an airborne military mindset and my reaction to any obstacle is to contemplate how to get over, under, around it or to go straight through it.
Here’s an analogy for you to consider -- when you play any video game for the first time you’ll get only so far, able to reach a certain point only to have to go back and start again. Each time you repeat the process you advance a little further along, don’t you? Well, that is analogous with the process of mastering an interview. So with each interview, if you’re paying attention, adjusting and self-critiquing your performance afterward that means that it is not a waste of time, is it? And you will learn different and alternative things to utilize in combination to use at the right moment, somewhat similar to the different tools or weapons available to you in a videogame in order to adapt to whatever you might encounter. In the case of the job hunt or interview process that would be, resume, cover letters, how to present yourself, interview tips, follow-up and Thank You letters, developing your negotiating & closing skills, maximizing use of your references, etc.
So if you want to give up, as many sadly have, nothing I can say will change your mind. But if you want to up your game, or get back into the game there are tools that can help you – but you’ve got to want it. It’s not only about your ability to get back up, after being knocked down, but instead, how many times you can get knocked down and still get back up again, dust yourself off, moving in the right direction in the smartest and most effective manner learning as you go. You’ve done it all your life, otherwise you’d still be crawling around as if you had a diaper wrapped around you. The current jobs market is tough but far from impossible – if you have had doubts, now is not the time to get wobbly, there’s help and advice but you must seek it out and then – capitalize on and use it.   
By the way, a few days after I composed this blog entry the person I refer to above received an offer resulting in a new (good) job opportunity. The message is simple – NEVER give up! Indeed, you should adapt and adjust your efforts along the way. Don’t you know that good things are rarely easily won and must be earned? Or have you, up until now been one of those rare folks who got everything in life so easily? I doubt it, so don’t doubt yourself.
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