One of the best money managers in the business, Robert Doll of Blackrock, said something once that changed how I view almost everything in life: If you control what you can control, and do it well, you will always come out ahead.
As a career coach, this is absolutely true for all of my clients. If you think about it, you can control about 80% of what happens in the job search process:
1. Research enough so that you are well versed not only about the company you are interviewing with, but about their industry and about their top competitors. It shows three things: 1) you know what you truly want, 2) you can speak intelligently during and interview and 3) you are an expert in your field.
2. Ensure your marketing materials are top notch. Not only must your resume be well written and 100% error free, it must quantify your contribution to your past employer and how you affected their bottom line: Did you reduce inefficiency by 50%? Did you increase sales by 25%? Did you decrease time spent in a particular process by 15%. This will catch the eye of a recruiter far faster than fancy formatting.
3. In real estate it’s “location, location, location”. In the job search process it’s “networking, networking, networking”. It’s truly all about your network. Here is how you can have a bigger network: join related associations. If you are a woman in finance, belong to the FWA and/or 85 Broads. If you are an accountant, join accountant organizations. Attend monthly conferences if they hold them (which many do). Get out there and meet people. It will pay you back ten fold! And once you meet all these interesting people, ensure you follow up with them afterwards and continue that relationship past your first meeting.
4. Practice your interview skills. People are not born to be great interview candidates. And we all know there are interviewers out there that don’t know what to ask in an interview. But there are absolute skills you must and should learn to ensure you interview well. You have to have a very clear idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are. And it’s ok to have weaknesses, but they must be authentic and they shouldn’t be the top skills required for your desired job. You can practice by researching top interview questions and answering them to a friend or in front of the mirror if that works for you. Practice, practice and then practice some more!
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5. Check your attitude and make sure it’s positive. This is 100% under your control. Read positive and empowering books. Don’t watch the news—skim it on line. Don’t read local papers because they are depressing. Exercise and let those endorphins kick in. Bring the energy up in a room and smile when you greet someone for an interview. Act like you are confident and it will absolutely help you!
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Believe it or not, this accounts for about 80% of the job search. Do all of these well and you don’t have to be overly concerned with the things you can’t control: the financial meltdown, the downturn in the economy, and the uncertainty that most employed people feel about their jobs. Be prepared and you will succeed! Good luck to you!
Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio is a career coach and co-founder of SixFigureStart and has worked for the bluest of blue chips for the past 25 years. Her companies include Citigroup, Pfizer, and most recently as the COO of Campus Recruiting for Merrill Lynch. Connie also co-authors a career blog for Vault.com.
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