One of the things I was most surprised by when I got into the jobs business over a decade ago was the prevalence and practice of age discrimination in hiring right here in the USA. Oh, sure... we're not like some overseas markets where job ads explicitly demand youth, or a particular gender, or beauty(!), in the applicant, but there it is...
In Part 1 of this series about elevating your visibility, you learned the secret to a successful job search: Anonymity is bankruptcy.
So, now that you’ve begun exerting your distinctiveness ; expressing your vulnerability and acting smart (not like a smarty pants ); let’s advance our discussion by exploring 12 daily practices to turn approachability into hire-ability!
1. Be radically honest.
Next time someone says, “Hey Karen — how’s it going?” respond by cheerfully saying, “Still unemployed!” Three things will happen:
How many people did you tell you were unemployed today?
2. Become the observed.
You attend chamber meetings, BNI events, job expos and trade shows to look for job openings, right? Well, let me ask you this: When was the last time you were the guest speaker?
Really? Never? Wow. Try this: E-mail every single c hamber of c ommerce d irector in your city. Tell them you have an educational and entertaining presentation based on your expertise and career history that’s perfect for their membership.
If they ask what company you’re with, be radically honest and say, “Actually, I’ve been unemployed for six months, and I’ve had a lot of time to practice my presentation!” They’ll love you. And so will the audience, if you do it right.
When was the last time you gave a public presentation?
3. Blog every single day.
By sharing your expertise with the world, you will accomplish a few things: (1) Prove to people that you deliver insight, not just knowledge, (2) Boost your web presence, and (3) Accumulate a reservoir of resources to e-mail prospective employers.
Example: Imagine if, at the end of your thank-you e-mail to someone who just interviewed you, you included a P.S. that read, “By the way, Mr. Randall, I wrote a blog post last week about the four biggest mistakes made by HR d irectors. Just a few things I’ve learned in my career over the years. I hope I can help your company avoid these same mistakes!”
Why aren’t you blogging yet?
4. Print business cards.
“But I don’t have a job!” What’s your point? All the more reason to have your own business card.
Make them yourself. Use Vista Print, pay the 50 bucks, and carry a dozen with you wherever you go.
Tips: Red stands out. Pictures aren’t a bad idea. And for the love of God, don’t use “Papyrus” as your font. Oh, and bring them wherever you go. Because you never know. Everybody is somebody’s somebody.
How many opportunities have you missed because you didn’t have a card with you?
5. Change your e-mail.
If your e-mail address contains the letters “AOL” in it, change it. If you use it, people will prejudge your messages before they read them. People will also prejudge you before they meet you.
Here’s the reality: AOL is for old people, novices and technologically deficient professionals. Don’t be one of those people. Get your own Web site, or, if you must, use Gmail.
What does your e-mail address say about your professionalism?
6. Don’t be clever or cute.
Clever is using other people’s conversations as springboards for your little jokes that nobody thinks are funny but your cat. It annoys people and won’t encourage anyone to hire you.
Cute is sending a pink ribbon on your resume because you think it will get you noticed. Nope. It won’t. You need to be smart and strategic. Like creating an online video resume. That’s smart.
How much money is being cute costing you?
7. Get up one hour earlier.
Single best piece of advice I’ve ever been given. And just imagine — at the end of three months, you will have put in more than two extra weeks of time. Talk about outworking everyone!
What time did you get up today?
8. Internetworking gets jobs.
Whatever social media outlets you currently use — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, whatever — commit to spending one to three hours every single day leveraging those tools.
Comment on blogs. Send messages. Connect people. Write killer posts. It doesn’t matter which ones you use; it matters that you use them consistently.
How e-pproachable are you?
9. Leverage branding hot spots.
If you’re making calls and trying to set up interviews day in and day out, it’s probable you’re asked the question, “May I ask who’s calling?” between 10 and 50 times, right?
What do you say? Steve Johnson? Rebecca Jackson? Terrible! Imminently forgettable. You need to insert your uniqueness. Something like, “The Pool Guy,” or “The Queen of HR!” You will stand out among the other 300 people that call that day.
How many jobs has being boring cost you?
10. Set up your Web site.
Doesn’t have to be fancy. Doesn’t have to be expensive. Here’s what you do:
All of this can be done for less than $1,000.
Why don’t you have a Web site yet?
11. Shift your attitude.
You may be unemployed. You may be broke. But the reality is, finding a job needs to become your job until you find a job.
Let me say that again: Finding a job needs to become your job until you find a job. That means structuring your days. That means having regular lunch meetings. That means treating it like any other job.
How much television did you watch yesterday?
12. Write it first.
Now that you’re getting up an hour earlier, you can use (some) of that time for writing. My suggestion is to make a list of the Top 100 Interview Questions You Might be Asked.
Every morning, pick three of them out of a hat. Then spend a few minutes writing out your answers. If this sounds challenging to you, good ! That’s why you need it.
Writing is the great clarifier. Writing is the basis of all wealth. Most importantly, writing makes you better at everything you do. Your interviews will be amazing if you’ve already thought out — and written out — your answers.
What did you write today?
Remember: When practiced with commitment and consistency , your approachability will be the ticket to your hire-ability.
Let me ask ya this..
How many job opportunities have you lost because people perceived you as unapproachable?
Let me suggest this:
For the list called, “45 Questions Every Unemployed Professional Needs to Ask,” send an e-mail to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!