By Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author’s program note. If you’re like millions of people worldwide, you’re engaged in the often frustrating, discouraging and disheartening hunt for a job. I’m here to help, especially if you’ve just graduated from college and you’re trying like the dickens to grab that first job.
The music I’ve selected to accompany this article is perfect for the state of mind you need now and must maintain throughout the entire job-hunting process. The tune is “You know you want me! (Calle Ocho) ” by rapper Pitbull, recorded in 2009. You’ll find it in any search engine. When you do, play it a couple of times. And I mean play it! And dance it!
This high energy song has just the right lyric: “You know you want me!” Because isn’t that what the entire process is about: getting the all-important employer to say these magic words to you… so that you can reciprocate the favor by saying “You know I want you!”, the mutual “I do’s” commencing the perfect relationship.
Oh, just one thing: don’t even dream of going to any job interview dressed like Pitbull and his video friends. Dressed like that, they’d never get a real job…
1) Looking for a job is currently your job. Behave accordingly.
Right now, you think you’re unemployed. But you’re wrong. You have a job; it’s looking for paid employment. You must arrange your day exactly as you would any regular work day.
Before you go to bed (at a reasonable time, too) arrange what you’ll need for tomorrow. This includes knowing precisely what potential employers you’ll approach and ensuring you have everything you need to do so (phone numbers?)
Also, lay out the clothes you intend to wear, right down to that eye-catching rep tie. That’s right, dress for success. You are what you wear.
Too many job seekers allow themselves the luxury of looking like an unmade bed as they look for paid employment. They’re unbathed… undressed… and hence unsuccessful. But this is hardly surprising. Yo! Get some self-respect and dress for business… the way your successful competitors are doing and which you most probably are not.
2) Go out, come in, start your day.
Just because you’re not currently engaged in remunerative employment certainly does not mean you jettison all your good habits. Remember, looking for a job currently is your job. Thus, after you’ve finished the usual morning tasks (including donning appropriate threads), leave your abode for your “office”.
Go out the door. Close the door. Open the door, then march to your desk, ready, willing and able to get started. You might think this exercise foolish and unnecessary, but it’s not. With it, you are signaling your brain that you are in the “work zone”. This means complete and total focus on the job hunt; no long gossipy conversations with your buddies; no old films either, or “just a few” video games.
When you are at the place you have dubbed your office, you engage only in professional, work-related activities.
This is a must.
3) Set-up your computer so you’re ready to engage.
You need a file containing complete details of the people and organizations you’re contacting. This includes name, title, street address, city, state/province, zip/postal code. Also, phone number, fax, email address, etc.. And, importantly, notes on your contacts. With this information readily available, you immediately enter the ranks of the most organized and efficient job seekers.
4) Write and keep your resume updated; ready to be emailed.
The purpose of a resume is not to talk about yourself (though it may seem so) but to show your prospective employer just what you can do for him… based on what you have done for others. This means concentrating on results, results, demonstrated results. This puts the focus of your resume where it needs to be: on what the employer wants, not on you.
But, you say, I’ve just graduated from college, what kinds of demonstrated results have I had?
At this moment, you may suddenly feel that the degree you worked so hard to get (and you an honors graduate, too) isn’t worth the paper it’s engraved on. Wrong again. It was, is, and always will be precious, important third-person validation. You were awarded this degree because of proven results.
For openers, can you write a clear, clean, understandable English sentence, one that makes your meaning pellucid? Good. You’re ahead of 90% of college graduates. Tell your prospective employer, because in moments of desperation and exasperation he’s been known to utter some abrasive home truths on the communications errors his current employees are making, embarrassing him and the company while perplexing and irritating customers. Show him you’re different.
Do you have exemplary habits? Do you make commitments and keep commitments? Or do you say one thing, and do something quite different? Your new employer is quite qualified to show you what he wants from you; but now he wants reassurance that you’re worth the time and trouble. Got good habits? Then flaunt them. Remember, “You know you want these…”
5) Treat the “little people” you encounter with respect. Remember, they know more about the organizations you are contacting than you do.
One way you can get a leg up on your job-seeking competitors is by showing you respect the so-called “little people,” secretaries, executive assistants, go-fers, young people on internships, etc. ALL leaders must have know how to work with such folks, because they (and not just the CEO) are the essential elements of the equation.
When you talk to these people on the telephone, sit up, take a deep breath, put a smile in your voice. If they use their first name (“Hello, this is Mr. Goody’s secretary Mary”), then you do the same thing. Remember, Mary has access to the people you want to connect with. Be pleasant, upbeat, friendly… turn her into your advocate.
The same applies when you arrive for interviews. Be at least 15 minutes early. Bring extra copies of your resume, work samples where appropriate, copies of letters of recommendation , extra business cards, etc. Put a smile on your face, even though you may be nervous and anxious. While waiting read the company’s brochure. And you’ll really make a good impression if you print the company’s website and underline the areas where you could make a constructive difference. Now that’s being “with it”…
It’s time for carpe diem. At the end of today, 24 hours of your life will be used up, gone forever; that’s true for all of us. The real question is whether you’ll be ahead or behind at day’s end. For the result you want, when you see your prospective employer (or talk with her on the phone), say “Hello, I’m here to help you ma’am; I hope you’ll give me the opportunity!” That said, you know they’ll want you. How could they not?
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About The Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is , where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at http://homeprofitcoach.com/associates