When I sit with a client a job search strategy session, we develop a career development plan. We create a contract agreeing to complete certain tasks with dates, times and how-to associated with the task. I will have a to do list, and my client, the job seeker has a list. We have each other’s list, and we work to make it happen. 9.9 out of 10 times I have to remind my client, but they pay me to do so. Without accountability it you are likely to fall behind and excuse yourself with your job search efforts. It is part of the longitudinal conspiracy against yourself.
That’s right, I said it! You are purposely derailing your own job search.
You are not helping your career by waiting for a lead to drop from the sky. Nor, are you strategically active researching and exhausting resources to gain insights about employers. You can blame laziness, passivity, and apathy for letting important career defining moments lapse. Many of these mini-moments occur in front of you, and you pass on an opportunity to display expertise. Sometimes, these are tests that an employer will employ to see if you’ll blink. I bet you blinked more than once.
Other times the volume and speed of the conversation intimidates you. They smile. You smile. The interviewer forcefully and politely ends the interview and before you know it, the meeting is over. And still you remain unemployed.
Et tu, job seeker?
I can name several obvious ways that conspiracy against thyself rears its ugly head:
You lose track of the employers you approached, and networking contacts
The conspiracy: Shame on you not following up on resumes and other correspondence to employers seeking interviews, and other opportunities that could advance your career. It’s an essential part of your job search! Solution: Get organized and start using tools that provide reminders of contacts, events, and of course, follow calls.
It’s what you don’t say that speaks volumes
The conspiracy: What? No questions for the interviewer? No research done? No direct answers given? At this point, your silence says things you don’t want to say–you don’t care. You didn’t take time to prepare. Solution: Ask direct questions, and through research answer direct questions. Anticipate what will be asked, and prepare accordingly. If your experience has the depth, so will your answers.
You give too much information
The conspiracy: A bad sign–your overstated banter becomes someone else’s entertainment. You mentioned your former bosses and coworkers by name, how bad you the were to you, and nothing about what your team accomplished. Solution: Listen three times as much as you talk, and answer one question at time. Show understanding and give positive examples of how you worked with others and what you accomplished together.
Not asking the interviewer the right questions
The conspiracy: This is the part where the lack of diligence bites your butt because your preparation downloading “50 Questions to Ask in an Interview” was satisfactory to you. You didn’t prepare to interview with the specific company, and glean questions to ask about the company. Solution: One interview, one employer, one set of questions to ask the employer. There are LinkedIn groups to participate in, and the company’s 1-800 number to inquire about the company’s product and brand, and the website to capture the company’s philosophy.
Quietly passive upon receipt of the unanswered question
The conspiracy: Remaining neutral on direct questions is a common error. No one likes admitting it, but the bait and switch is a frequent strategy to avoid answering questions. Solution: An interview is a privilege, and never a right, so seeking confrontation when a question is not answered is more than a bad idea. Be tactful in asking the answer to a question. First see if you were clear, and assume that you were not. I suggest having a main question, and prepare a rephrased a and b question.