Navigating Your Job Search: Are You Driving with the Brakes On?

You have your list of job requirements. You know what you want and you’re using your best networking and follow-up strategies to get it. At least, you’re trying to. You’re working hard. And time going by without any new developments or success has you working even harder – but now it’s to keep frustration from getting the better of you!

Navigating a job search when you are unemployed can be one of the greatest challenges people experience in the course of their career. Successful job searching requires your best focus, confidence, clarity and strategies. If all of these are not aligned — fueling your energy and enthusiasm — your search can feel like drudgery. The effort you are putting into your search gets slowed down, and you find yourself with about as much forward movement as if you were driving with the brakes on. And when this happens, you are. Make no mistake about it. You are creating your own resistance and moving at a slow pace with starts and stops the whole way. If you’re not feeling energized and focused, clear and confident about your goals and your plan to reach them, it’s a safe bet that you are not having your best interviews, taking your best actions, or bringing your personal best to connect with people with confidence and follow-through.

However, recognizing that the brakes are on is the first step to getting your foot back on that gas pedal!  Below are some signs to help you notice whether or not you have the brakes on in your search process.

Seven Signs that You’re Navigating Your Job Search with the Brakes On

1)    You’re feeling discouraged and are concerned that this may be coming through in your job search and/or networking conversations. Your lack of confidence could absolutely be coming through. After all, it’s often what we don’t say that is most strongly communicated to others. And whether or not your discouragement is actually being communicated, any time your energy and thoughts about your process are less than good, you’re not in “full forward” mode. When this happens, you’re not giving your best to your job search.

 2)    You are dreading the interview question about a previous job you quit, or where you were “down-sized.”  Job loss that was beyond your control can leave you with a sense of loss and frustration. Your feelings, though real and justified, may now be dragging you down and dragging down your job search, too.

 3)    You notice that your tool set or abilities are not as current as they used to be.  On the positive side, finding out information about new tools or technologies can guide your skill development and stimulate new interest in your work.  On the not-so-positive side, hearing about new tools and technology can turn your attention to what you lack rather than to the strengths you bring.   So beware.  Feeling a lack of confidence in your abilities can slow you down to a crawl!

 4)    You find yourself thinking about mistakes you made on that last interview, at your last job, etc.  Thoughts about what didn’t work, or changes you would make if you had the opportunity for a “do over,” can be constructive if you simply allow yourself to learn from them. However, when this learning feels like regret and loss, it’s not only wasting your time and energy, it takes away from your enthusiasm and confidence in the search process.

 5)    Reading your resume does not inspire your confidence. Your resume is essentially your professional self on paper. If you feel it’s not clear, or not strong, or wonder about whether it really targets the particular job you are seeking, your resume is causing you to put your foot on that brake pedal.

 6)    You’re avoiding opportunities to network.  Using the networking strategies that are right for you is important. Finding that you don’t have the energy or desire to connect with people to discuss your work may be a sign that you are not in the driver’s seat, heading towards your goal, but rather stalling in resistance mode.

7)    More and more, you are doubting whether or not you will find a job. This doubting can undo a lot of great past effort on your part, and so it’s a major “caution” light. Thoughts and beliefs about yourself, the job market, your industry, etc. can bring your search to a grinding halt.

At a time when you need to connect with people and market your skills and abilities confidently, a positive perspective and enthusiasm are the fuel you need to get you where you want to go!  So notice if you’ve been inadvertently putting on the brakes in your job search – awareness of what’s happening is the first step.

I look forward to using the coming blog entries to discuss ways to keep you moving in your job search process. And if you want to rev up for success, get into “drive” and hit the gas, remember that working with a coach can be a big help along the way to your next job!

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Don’t Hire a Coach for the Small Stuff

My goals for this blog are: 1) to provide information about coaching, and 2) to inspire you to realize your potential for happiness in your work. I’ve decided to present questions and ideas that often show up in coaching sessions and conversations with clients, and so topics will include:  Career and Job issues; Communication, Leadership, Decision-making, and Life Balance in terms of work and career.

Please feel free to send an email or post a response. I appreciate the opportunity to share my work with you and I value the learning that comes from people sharing their thoughts and ideas. And if you haven’t worked with a coach, I hope you will consider what unmet career potential awaits you.  Consider hiring a coach to be the lantern that helps you navigate your path to happiness. After all, if our work isn’t aligning with our happiness, what are we doing it for?

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.  And don’t hire a coach for it either. “What?!” you say, “Don’t hire a coach?”

Not for the small stuff.

Sometimes when considering a coaching program, individuals will ask if I will hold them accountable to their goals – if I will “hit them over the head” if they don’t do what they say they’re going to do.  “Hmmm…,” I say.  “I don’t typically use a hammer in my work.”  Kidding aside, accountability is certainly an aspect of working with a coach.  And as a coach, I support clients in their accountability to the extent and in the way that works for them.  However, if you’re thinking of hiring a coach only for the accountability support, you may want to ask a friend or colleague to partner with you for this.  Find an accountability partner.  Set clear goals and check in with each other and champion each other’s progress.  The cost is low.  The value is yours to determine.

On the other hand, if you want to understand what has been in the way of your accountability or accomplishment, and keeping you from your potential…  Or if you would like to transform how you bring yourself to your job, career or life, then hiring a coach may make great sense.  And the value of that work may be greater than any price tag.

Keep in mind that working with a professional coach involves a financial commitment that will likely reflect the value you are looking to attain in accomplishing your coaching goals.  So should you find yourself ready to open your career and life to all that they can be… Claim your vision.  Hire a coach.  Go for the big stuff!

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A Day in the Life of an Unemployed Job Seeker

If you are presently out of work and looking for a job, you may be experiencing one of the biggest frustrations for people in this situation – difficulty staying confident and energized.  This is often a challenge when there isn’t an office, co-workers, or work schedule to ground you, can be the distraction that keeps you from using your most effective strategies and feeling on top of your search.  

The networking and search strategies you employ are important.  And just as important, is staying engaged, confident and positive in your search process.  So how can you do this, you ask?  First remember to notice who and how you are being in your search process.  For example, notice where limiting thoughts or a less than positive attitude, may have you “swimming against the current.”  Your awareness of these patterns is often the first step to shifting your thoughts and grounding yourself in the positive, energized flow of your “success zone.”  As you continue to notice and shift these patterns, you will approach your search process from a more positive, energized perspective, bringing your best creativity and confidence – two key ingredients for job search success. 

Also, consider using a vision plan as a way to support yourself in staying anchored to your most positive thoughts and attitude.  I’ve included a sample vision plan below.  It’s a to-do list that includes some strategies about how to be in your “success zone” and maximize your search success.  Tailor it to your day and strategies and then let it support you in bringing the best of YOU to your job search success!

 (A Sample Vision-Plan) 

You check and respond to emails and phone messages.  You are on top of your messages because you know that prompt follow-up can make a significant difference to your job search success.

You update your personal networking contact list regarding meetings or phone calls.  Using a notebook or spread sheet, you stay on top of contact names, dates of contact, and information shared.  You know that this is a great way to not only organize your search, but also a great way to ground yourself.

You review your vision for the job you are looking to land.  You feel good as you read it, remembering how great it will feel when you are in the job you want and loving it.

With continued focus, you review your contact log and follow up with outstanding  emails or phone calls that are pending.  You know that recruiters and other contacts can be busy – sometimes swamped with other agenda items, and so may take a while to get back to you.  You gladly take responsibility for following up with them.

You check for new postings on the list of job websites you are following.  Your list feels current, on target and has grown as you’ve shared site information with fellow job seekers, and developed a system for managing your site priorities.

You remind yourself of a new “flow” pattern you want to strengthen.  Remembering what you’ve learned about where you stop or hold back in your job search process (i.e., follow-through, attitude, perspective, etc.) you take at least one action to shift an old “stop” pattern to a “flow.”  You have a new conversation with yourself to continue your shift into energizing, productive thoughts and actions. 

You email, and/or submit your online application and resume to a goal number of new listings that are of interest.  You feel confident about your resume and feel good that it is out there working for you.

As your “work” vision is close at hand, you review it again.  Again, you feel good as you read it, remembering how great it will feel when you are in the job you want and loving it.

You take a break and give yourself an physical energy boost.  You perform 15 minutes of a healthy, physical activity.  You know that anxiety and stress are often reduced by movement and physical exercise.  You notice that this exercise break is getting you out of your head and into your body — giving your brain both a break as well as more oxygen.  Whether it’s yoga, meditation, going for a walk or run, you feel energized. 

Remembering your need for connection to people, you contact a supportive friend.  Whether via email, telephone or over lunch, you exchange some thoughts about your day or week and take in the support others have to offer.  It feels great to feel connected.

You then check your calendar to verify that you are attending at least one in-person networking activity this week.  You plan for what you need to do to make it a feel good, productive event.  Having confirmed what you will wear and that you have plenty of business cards, you consider ways you will reach out to make new connections.  You notice that practicing and updating your new, confident and clear elevator speech has you feeling ready to meet people.

Using a notebook or spread sheet, you update your networking contact list.  You feel organized and grounded as you conscientiously use your list to keep track of contact names, dates of contact, information shared, and any longer term follow-up activities. 

And now you take a break, completing 30 minutes of a relaxing, creative activity.  Whether it is painting, gardening, singing, playing the guitar, etc., the shift to a more creative, right brain activity gives your left-brain focus a nice break.  Taking a creative break, helps you to freshen your thoughts and strategies, bringing your best thinking to the work of finding a job.

And then you trust.  You notice any thoughts that may be lacking trust, and you remind yourself that you have the power to create exactly what you want. 

So, it’s not just a plan, but a vision plan.  Write an organized vision plan for your process to include, not only your action items, but the “YOU” in your process – your attitude, perspective, confidence, etc.  Stay grounded in the possibilities for success.  And never underestimate the power of a clear vision.  You dream job is waiting for you!

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Happy new year — 2011!

Welcome to the all-new Momentum Coaching, LLC blog! As I’ve moved away from my newsletter and the time it requires, I look to use this blog to share and discuss coaching ideas, concepts and experiences. I invite you to share back as the sum or power of 1 + 1 is so much more than two! I appreciate the opportunity connect with you and support you in work and personal happiness you desire!

Happy New Year!

As I sit here wondering what New Year’s commitments I might like to make for 2011, I find myself simply thinking about the “new year”phrase we say over and over to each other.  As I ponder the meaning of these words…I share my thoughts with you and wish you a truly happy new year!

HAPPY

Happiness — that which brings us joy and filss our hearts with gladness.  Take this time to look more closely at what exactly does bring you happiness and joy.  Notice what has to happen for HAPPY to come into your life.  Does it require being more present or aware?  Maybe it requires removing the lens of judgement to embrace the positive that’s always there.  Sometimes HAPPY merely requires being put into the schedule so that it happens.  Start now by planinng for happiness and noticing it when it shows up — especially in the sometimes hidden corners of your life.

NEW

It’s about new possibilities and a recreation of your life.  It’s a time of openness and renewal.   The NEW may be about new goals that will bring you more happiness.  NEW may be about renewing your commitment to past goals or reclaiming the vision for what you want.  It is a beginning.  Embrace the opportunity and energy of NEWness and experience yourself as the powerful creator you are.

YEAR!

YEAR is a measurement.  It’s a way to view the passing of time and a cycle of the seasons.  It is a way to bring closure – to help you take stock.  Viewing a year in your life, supports your plan for the future — a ground mark for your commitment and measurement of your learning and  progress.  It’s an abundance of time and space.  It’s a chunk of your life that you can view right from where your sitting – even if that view feels scary or unclear.  Your most powerful starting place is from the question “What would I like the year to bring?”

Happy New Year to you!  May your wishes for 2011 glisten with the crisp freshness of the snowy, winter air.  May the coming year be filled with peace and joy, and empower you to be a creator of your life.

-Trish

Envision…  Empower…  Evolve.

www.MomentumCoaching.com

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