Master Career Counselor

Carla Hunter, President of Career Span, Inc. is a Master Career Counselor (MCC) by the National Career Development Association and a Certified Career Coach by the National Board for Certified Counselors. She is an expert in writing resumes, effective job search strategies and interviewing success. Most recently, with over 20 years of navigating the complexity of today's world of work, she published "Finding Your Place in the World of Work", a career interest inventory (2014) and CareerView, an iPad app. As a private practice career counselor and a workforce development consultant, this blog is Carla's trove of ideas, trends, forecasts, and career tips for finding meaningful work.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Most Successful Job Search Strategy

The most successful job search strategy begins when you're not seeking employment.   It is the simple, yet critical skill of developing interdependent relationships that are mutually beneficial. This type of relationship gives and takes in an equal exchange of ideas and common bonds.  No small talk.  No synthetic animation. No fake conversations. Just real relationship building.


The degree (strong or weak) of this relational connectivity is directly correlated to your job search success. Think about it.  The smaller the circle of relationships, the fewer opportunities to job leads.  The greater and broader the circle of connection, the more likely you are to land the interview that gets the job. 


BRUTAL HONESTY


For some people, a long and depressing job search is a consequence of not being intentional and available for relationship building.  Isolation and loneliness are the greatest barriers to overcome when seeking employment. It is never too late to connect and express care. Just being available to respond and develop a relationship with others could change your life and get you to work.


We get so busy and think relationships can wait.  Next month.  Next year.  And of course before we know it, an unexpected job loss has us reeling in a sea of pure despair.  It is then we recognize the island we've become. To make matters worse,  the awkwardness of not knowing where to begin is downright overwhelming.


WHAT TO DO?


Start from scratch.  Make that call.  Build the relationships you were meant for.  Here are a few simple ways to connect:
  • Cook dinner for a neighbor and take it to them including a note of appreciation 
  • Join a book club
  • Attend a neighborhood association gathering and meet who lives around you
  • Attend an alumni event of your high school or college
  • Visit the career center of your college and ask for help
  • Join the board of a local charity you are passion about
  • Volunteer at your local school to tutor
  • Have people who are acquaintances over for dinner at least monthly


I can't tell you how many times I experience the following conversation with a client:


Job-seeker: "It is terrible out there in my search for employment. I can't seem to land a single interview.  How awful it is that who you know gets you the job.  It just isn't fair."


Me: "Tell me about your personal relationships with friends, community and former colleagues..."


Job-seeker:"What do you mean?  Like, how many people do I know?"


Me: "Yes, tell me about how you're connected to other people through friendships, organizations, and the neighborhood you live in."


Job-seeker: "When I worked, I was too busy to make friends a priority.  I've never volunteered and I went home after work too tired to socialize.  Now, I'm too busy applying online to see people. To tell you the truth, I don't know where to begin."


This conversation expands from an imperative dialogue challenging the assumption that connections get you the job (they don't) to an intense regret of not making the time for what is truly important.


Your connections will likely get you the interview.  You get you the job.


Without these connections, how will you know what jobs are available?


The greatest success finding a job is within the context of interdependent relationships.  The person too busy to build them sees just how important they are when a pink slip is in their hand.



The next step for you is to terminate your belief that relationships take too much time.  

The reality is not building them is detrimental.


In the next blog, I'll discuss in detail the most successful strategy employers use to find new hires.  Now, go call somebody and have lunch together.

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