Fact: Until you find a job, looking for a job is your job. No matter what you do or where you live, you must treat this process as if it were your job.
So, we’re going to explore a list of strategies to make you more approachable, more desirable and more hire-able.
Also, along with each example, I’ve offered a “Sticky Note Suggestion.” Use these to post reminders of your newfound job-search strategies on your desk; computer; car; or, if you’re so inclined, forehead.
1. Create a filter that evaluates the asset value of a potential new opportunity. Learn how you make decisions. Physically write out a list of questions to ask yourself. Create a governing document that serve as a guidance system for daily decision-making in your job search. Check out these examples from my Opportunity Filter:
Top 10 coolest exercises you’ll ever do in your life. Guaranteed. How do you make decisions?
Sticky Note Suggestion: W.W.I.D. – What would I do?
2. Do not let this day pass without personal growth. That’s easy. Just ask yourself before you go to bed, “How did I grow today?” And then, here’s the secret: Write it down. I’m serious. Keep a “growth journal” by your bed, and spend five minutes before going to bed filling it out. Then, when your interviewer asks you questions about lessons you’ve learned, you’ll have them ready to go. They’ll be blown away! How did you grow yesterday?
Sticky Note Suggestion: Grow a little every day.
3. Evaluate your ability to add value. Ask questions like:
The answers to these questions will help you conquer new environments, discover new experiences and take your job search to the next level.So, ask and listen. Listen to how your body responds. Because it will never lie to you. How many new skills have you recently become known for?
Sticky Note Suggestion: I am a value-adding machine!
4. Leverage your frustration in this situation as motivation to grow into more of the person you’ve always wanted to be. Anger is pointless. All it does is induce stress, poison your relationships and keep reality TV on the air. Especially with the economy the way it is, you have a choice: You can complain about the storm or dance in the rain. Which one will you pick? I suggest learning to let things go quicker and more frequently. Instead, attend your energies elsewhere. Turn frustration into growth. As the Optimist International Creed states: “Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.” How much longer can you put off being who you really want to be?
Sticky Note Suggestion: Dance in the rain.
5. Pick the most important things for you to work on that will grow your business the fastest. I will now summarize every time-management book ever written in one sentence. This is the only question you ever need to ask yourself during your job search: “Is what I’m doing right now consistent with my No. 1 goal?” If it’s not, stop. If it is, keep going. Simple as that. (You’re welcome.) How are you optimizing your time?
Sticky Note Suggestion: Your time isn’t valuable – it’s BILLABLE.
6. Pinpoint the excuses that are preventing you from getting started. Examples include, but are not limited to:
If that’s the case, my question is: What’s your point? Do you think Mark Zuckerberg made those excuses when he created Facebook as a junior in college? Nope. He remembered the credo: Just go. Change the rules so you can win at your own game.Why are you still waiting for permission to be remarkable?
Sticky Note Suggestion: Comfort zones are overrated.
7. Prepare yourself to endure the failure that growth requires. Contrary to popular conditioning, failure is an option – not learning from that failure isn’t. So, remind yourself that it wasn’t you who failed, necessarily. It was something in your strategy that failed. That’s the attitude that allows you to fail your way to success. Are you making new mistakes or repeat mistakes?
Sticky Note Suggestion: Failure is fertilizer.
8. Release your current knowledge to take in new information. It’s not just about learning; it’s about un-learning. Taking out the (mental) trash. Making room for new ideas and insights that were previously uninvited into your fertile mind by that no-good-defensive-yella ego of yours. And then, most importantly, using this new information to boost your hire-ability. For example, how many books did you read last month? How much money are you losing by assuming you already know everything there is to know about your area of expertise?
Sticky Note Suggestion: Let newness enter.
9. Uncover the mental obstacles that are preventing you from being an effective entrepreneur. Like your incessant need to be applauded. Like your gargantuan ego that won’t allow you to admit to people that you’ve been unemployed for five months. Like your self-delusional belief that you’re too old to go back into the work force. Look, contrary to popular conditioning, vulnerability is strength – not surrender. So, identify the behaviors are preventing you from making progress towards becoming the best, most hire-able version of yourself. And pinpoint the obstacles or threats that might prevent your career vision from being fulfilled.In the past year, what choices and thoughts have renewed your entrepreneurial hope and energy?
Sticky Note Suggestion: Get over yourself – then stay over yourself.
10. Use writing to increase growth exponentially in this experience. You’ve already read my mantra in an earlier column: “Writing is the basis of all wealth.” For several reasons. First, writing is the great clarifier – perfect for practicing your answers to tough interview questions. Second, writing makes everything you do better and easier – especially networking for a new position. Third, writing triples the learning of any experience, because if you don’t write it down, it never happened. This also helps when you tell employers what you learned from previous positions. They love meaty, bite-sized, content driven, ROI based answers. For example, remember those 45 questions from last month? Have you written out all your answers to those yet? What did you write today?
Sticky Note Suggestion: Writing brings clarity.
Remember: Looking for a job is your job until you find a job. Execute these strategies and you will become more approachable, more desirable and more hire-able.
Let me ask ya this …
How are you sharpening your recession-fighting skills?
Let me suggest this …
For the list called, "12 Ways to Get Potential Employers to Open Your E-mail First," send me an e-mail, and I'll send you the complimentary list!