Thursday, July 24, 2014

Seven Lies That Can Sabotage Your Job Search

Liz Ryan

On a job search you need all the power you can muster. It isn’t easy out there pounding the pavement, or staying at home and filling out endless job application forms. It’s hard to get through a job search without a moderate-to-severe mojo drop. You wonder why it’s taking so long, and rage against whoever invented keyword-searching algorithms. A job search is isolating, and causes you to doubt yourself. You need all the resources you can gather!

That’s why it’s  important to pay attention to the messages you’re taking in during your job search. For years now, since the beginning of the recession, we’ve heard that it’s a buyer’s market for talent and that job-seekers have to grovel and beg to get hired. We’ve heard a lot of other garbage, too, like these often-repeated beliefs:

  • People over 50 don’t have a chance in the new-millennium job market, and will have to accept whatever they can get.
  • The only way to get a job is to lob resumes into Black Hole recruiting portals, then wait for a response from an automated bureaucrat known as an Applicant Tracking System.
  • A job-seeker who walks away from a job opportunity is squandering something valuable.
All of this is nonsense, of course. Job-seekers of any age have power in the hiring equation, but only if they’re aware of it. Plenty of people in the mix, from recruiters and HR folks to your very own loving parents and spouse will tell you that you can’t be yourself, can’t follow your heart and most of all, can’t break the rules on a job search.

If you believe the conventional wisdom, no one would ever negotiate a job offer or opt out of a recruiting pipeline that was obviously going nowhere. Only people with self-esteem make choices like that, and if you pay attention, you notice that those are the people who prosper. They take a chance, and say “Well, surely God or the universe doesn’t want me in THIS hellish job situation!” They don’t always know what’s next, but they listen to their heart and their sturdy instinct. That is what wise and forthright people have always done.

Here are the seven lies that, given room in your brain, will sabotage your job search and keep you in Please, Your Majesty, May Your Humble Servant Approach Thy Throne? Land when you should be stepping into What You See Is What You Get territory on your job search. As we tell job-seekers, Only the people who get you, deserve you. Want to find those deserving people faster? Get these seven lies out of your brain at the first opportunity.

1) You Are Your Job Titles and Degrees, Period
Many people have unknowingly and unwillingly sucked down toxic lemonade that has them convinced their worth is in their past job titles, degrees and certifications. If you ask them about their life and career, that’s what they’ll tell you: that they went to this university and worked for that brand-name employer, as though these are the most significant elements in their lives.

On a job search today you’ve got to know more about yourself than the job titles you held and the tasks and duties you carried out at each one. In the end, no one cares about that stuff – they care what YOU care about, and what you think about and what you stand for. If you’re spending your job search time chasing recruiters and managers whose only interest in you is your pedigrees, look elsewhere. The more fearful the person, the more trophies will matter to him or her, and the less you’ll be able to grow your flame working with him or her.

2) You Can’t Do It Your Way
You might think about branding yourself like a human being in your LinkedIn profile or your resume, and in my experience that’s the best thing you can do. If you want to step outside the velvet ropes that way, get ready to hear the chorus of horrified shrieks from people who’ll tell you “No, you can’t do that!” I still meet people who say “You can’t use the word I in a resume,” as though if you did that, employers would come to your house and slash your tires in the driveway. Of course you can do your job search your way. The people who like your  brand of jazz will be delighted to meet you. The rest of them won’t, and they are welcome to take a refreshing dive into the nearest lake.

Rules 3-7 and the complete Forbes article

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