We have gone from one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country's history to one of the highest in recent memory in just the past couple of months due to the pandemic. While many of these jobs will come back, sadly many others are gone for good as businesses close up shop. So, now seems like a perfect time to share some of the lessons from my book “Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door: Job Search Secrets No One Else Will Tell You.”
I wanted to title the book “Getting a Job Is a Job,” but the publisher rejected that title since they thought people would be turned off if they had to work to get a job. But that’s exactly my point. Finding a job -- a job you really want -- is hard work. You have to get a routine and stick to it. And it can be a 10- to 12-hour-a-day proposition. Get in shape. Reconstruct your attitude. Mobilize your network. Plan your attack and get hired. How you spend your days will determine how you spend your life.
As for your attitude, remember that everyone gets rejected. You can’t take it personally. Analyze every failure, but never wallow in one. Remember your past achievements and how you felt.
Working on your network might be the best thing you can do, because two-thirds of all jobs are found through networking. Often, it’s not what you know but who you know. The big thing is to get to know them before you need them. Join every networking website you can find, like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, that can enhance your network. Webinars and virtual meet-ups are replacing trade shows and conventions and are a great way to expand your brand. Be visible. Be a resource. You need to sow your network so you will be able to sew up a job when you need it.
Just remember, countless people have torpedoed their chances by uploading career-suicide videos and party antics. Companies want to hire pros who are linked into the latest technology, not junkies who are hooked on it.
The average person today will make 12 to 15 different job changes and five to seven career changes. Many desirable jobs today didn’t exist 10 years ago, so think outside the box about jobs that could exist in a few short years. The world of work will look vastly different with the “new normal” that we are facing as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.
If you need to retool your job skills, now is the time to start switching gears. Think about how your current responsibilities would fit into a different pathway. Consider a total career change drawing on a hobby or volunteer experience. Your abilities are adaptable to other opportunities, so be creative.
Rehearse job interviews in the privacy of your own home using your smartphone. Invite members of your personal “kitchen cabinet” to pose tough questions and to critique your performance. Check out my Mackay 44 to help you prepare for interviews and the Mackay 22 to debrief yourself after every job interview. Both are available on my website, harveymackayacademy.com under Resources.
Never lie on your resume, but always remember a resume's purpose is to get you an interview and resume work. Few things explode more easily than an overly inflated resume. Use industry-accepted terms to describe what you do. If you try to make yourself seem too special, firms won't know what to make of you.
On resumes and in interviews, point to specifics in your achievements -- the more measurable, the better. If you're a manager, showcase the people you've developed in your career and where they are today.
Respect your references. Recruiters check out these resources more thoroughly than ever before. Make sure your praise-singers know in advance that you're listing them and how appreciative you are of their help. Firms will also contact people who aren't your supporters.
Dress like a mess and you won’t see success. Even if your interview is virtual, resist the urge to dress professionally only from the waist up.
You may not be interviewing for a sales job, but you have to be a great salesperson to sell yourself. Competition is fierce, but you need to be fierce also.
Mackay's Moral: It bears repeating, getting a job is a job.