How to Overcome Fear While In-transition

How to Overcome Fear While In-transition

Photo by Jamierodriguez37 at morgufile.com

During my work with job seekers or those contemplating a job/career change, I evaluate the amount of fear that drives—or paralyzes—my clients. To some extent, all of them exhibit fear originated by some threat—or so they perceive. For a person out of a job, that feeling is not only a perception but also, unfortunately, a reality. The normal human body has a built-in mechanism to protect itself from such an emotion by either confronting it or running away from it. It’s also known as the fight-or-flight response. In more-extreme situations, such fear leads to anxiety, but I’ll let a mental-health professional explain that one.

Conversely, a few clients indeed become energized by fear resulting from lack of employment. Their adrenaline levels rise sharply, and they’re ready to attack. They see opportunities coming out of this employment change, and nothing stops them from getting to their next assignment. They exhibit a go-getter mentality and thrive on even small incremental successes. However, the majority of those I see react to their unknown futures by clamming up and thus thinking they’re protecting themselves during this vulnerable stage of their life. I vividly remember my own situation during a transition. My entire attitude could have been described as, “The answer is no, so what’s your question?” It’s a shame that our emotions and our logic are not always congruent.

In working with people who at times seem paralyzed due to their new, jobless reality, I try to clearly understand what’s behind the obvious fact that they don’t have jobs. That understanding is typically complex and intertwined with other, tangled elements. For example, embarrassment vis-à-vis family and friends, or self-humiliation as a parent unable to financially support a child who wants and deserves a college education, or, perhaps, aggravation of an already bad spousal relationship due to the inability to contribute to basic family finances for an extended period. And the list can go on and on.

In such a situation, my solution is to attempt to provide clients with (1) job search tools, (2) exposure to and familiarity with the job search process, (3) ample amounts of mock interviewing that increase clients’ confidence, knowledge and experience, and above all, (4) listening as they talk about their pain, and (5) an understanding of all they’re going through. Another tactic that’s proved successful is helping clients learn to divert their attention to something positive. For example, clients can learn to network effectively in order to establish new relationships with people who may be able to help them and whom in turn they can help. Clients can also learn to discuss volunteering opportunities that not only could lead to a job but in the interim could help job seekers mingle with other people. And, more often than not, volunteers could hear again the words “Thanks for a job well done”—a sentiment that for a while has probably been absent from their lives.

10 Tips About Submitting Your Résumé

The adage “What you don’t know won’t hurt you” is very misleading, especially for people in transition or otherwise contemplating a career change. Not only is the contention untrue, but also it in fact hinders the ability to get what you want. Furthermore, it conveys a false sense of positive feeling. For example, those in transition are advised to customize their résumés to the job openings they’re applying to. Sounds logical, but it’s a laborious process that can take hours of close work, even though, at the end of the process, clicking on Submit or Apply gives a sense of satisfaction. But it’s a false satisfaction because nowadays, most if not all such submissions are going through electronic software called an applicant-tracking system, or ATS, which has its own rules. If the applicant does not obey the rules, the résumé or application goes into the proverbial black hole and never reaches its intended destination. That’s where the hurt comes in, because the applicant will never learn why it happened or how to correct the process for next time. So, what to do? Here are several suggestions. They apply only to electronic job applications, which means you should have two versions of the résumé: one for ATS software so that it will reach a recruiter and another one for a human. 1.Submit your résumé in Microsoft Word format. 2. Do not include tables in formatting the text. 3. Be aware that there are many ATS providers, including archaic and new versions. As a candidate, you have no way of knowing which one your résumé will have to deal with, and pdf files or files formatted in other ways might not be able to get read into every type of ATS software. 4. Don’t format your résumé by way of the use of a résumé template. 5. Use the standard, customary section headers for sections, and put them on separate lines. 6. Type those section headers in all capital letters, such as PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE, but do not type anything else in all caps. Of course use a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence, for the words in course titles, and for all proper nouns. 7. Be consistent when listing your previous companies and titles—whichever you want to list first for emphasis. 8. List a company name with its appropriate suffix such as Inc. or LLC. Otherwise, the company name could be mistaken for a different company. 9. Separate each résumé section by a blank line, but never add a blank line within a paragraph. 10. Do not number the pages because computers see all information as continuous. Your page number would wind up appearing at random somewhere in the middle of the document. As you can see, the foregoing steps may appear as details, but as another adage goes, “The devil is in the details”; and that notion could be both crucial and decisive for your future career.

Work smart and not hard

The adage “What you don’t know won’t hurt you” is very misleading, especially for people in transition or otherwise contemplating a career change. Not only is the contention untrue, but also it in fact hinders the ability to get what you want. Furthermore, it conveys a false sense of positive feeling. For example, those in transition are advised to customize their résumés to the job openings they’re applying to. Sounds logical, but it’s a laborious process that can take hours of close work, even though, at the end of the process, clicking on Submit or Apply gives a sense of satisfaction. But it’s a false satisfaction because nowadays, most if not all such submissions are going through electronic software called an applicant-tracking system, or ATS, which has its own rules. If the applicant does not obey the rules, the résumé or application goes into the proverbial black hole and never reaches its intended destination. That’s where the hurt comes in, because the applicant will never learn why it happened or how to correct the process for next time.

So, what to do?

Here are several suggestions. They apply only to electronic job applications, which means you should have two versions of the résumé: one for ATS software so that it will reach a recruiter and another one for a human.

  1. Submit your résumé in Microsoft Word format.
  2. Do not include tables in formatting the text.
  3. Be aware that there are many ATS providers, including archaic and new versions. As a candidate, you have no way of knowing which one your résumé will have to deal with, and pdf files or files formatted in other ways might not be able to get read into every type of ATS software.
  4. Don’t format your résumé by way of the use of a résumé template.
  5. Use the standard, customary section headers for sections, and put them on separate lines.
  6. Type those section headers in all capital letters, such as PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE, but do not type anything else in all caps. Of course use a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence, for the words in course titles, and for all proper nouns.
  7. Be consistent when listing your previous companies and titles—whichever you want to list first for emphasis.
  8. List a company name with its appropriate suffix such as Inc. or LLC. Otherwise, the company name could be mistaken for a different company.
  9. Separate each résumé section by a blank line, but never add a blank line within a paragraph.
  10. Do not number the pages because computers see all information as continuous. Your page number would wind up appearing at random somewhere in the middle of the document.

As you can see, the foregoing steps may appear as details, but as another adage goes, “The devil is in the details”; and that notion could be both crucial and decisive for your future career.

 

How to Make the First Impression in an Interview

How to Make the First Impression in an Interview

How important the first impression is?

“Nobody impresses me for the first sixty days on the job.” This was a saying that all of those working with me in the corporate world would hear me say over and over. I wanted to express that there’s a difference between the impression a job seeker leaves initially—even as early as during the interview—and the impression an employee makes afterward for the duration. I have proved that particular opinion to be correct many times over: people who had made a great impression during the interview not in all cases demonstrated those great qualities and extensive knowledge some months after being hired and on the job.

But let’s first agree on the purpose of the interview. No, it is not to get the job. It is to get a job offer. And once the offer was committed to paper and received by the candidate, the latter must perform due diligence, evaluate the offer, negotiate if appropriate and possible, and then make a final decision. However, to get that coveted letter that starts with the word Congratulations, one needs to convince the hiring team that one is the ideal candidate.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the first impression

We’ve all heard the saying that the first impression is a lasting impression. And it’s true. Interview guru Lou Adler performed an otherwise admittedly less-than-scientific study via a survey. The result was that more than 80 percent of people like a person they meet for the first time. And this is applicable also in an interview situation. A further question asked about the importance of that first impression; in Adler’s study example, it was a salesperson. Of the respondents, 85 percent indicated that the first impression is highly important. Now, I don’t think there’s anything new or surprising about those numbers, but they do support the general tenet of the importance of the first impression.

The first impression can be nearly impossible to reverse. The impression made during a first encounter is extremely important, simply because it sets the scene for all future interactions.

Remember the importance of the smile!

“Smile and the world smiles too,” as the adage goes. There’s nothing like a smile to create a good first impression. A pleasant and confident smile puts both parties at ease. So, smiling is always a winner when it comes to making a great first impression.

Project confidence

Body language as well as appearance speaks much louder than words. Use your body language to project self-assurance. Stand tall, make eye contact, and greet with a firm handshake. Good manners together with polite, attentive, and enthusiastic behavior help make a good first impression.  When decision making comes, people will forget all the words you said but will remember the image you created.