So, you should be a helper. And you should follow the advice in the last section. Everyone understand?
Now, to hell with everybody else. Well...not really, but above and beyond helping others, you should also seek to help YOURSELF. After all, you don't have a job, and you kind of need one. Adulting and keeping from having to live on the street are predicated on it.
The best way to help youself during a job search is to take charge of your job search. Be the LEADER of it. This one is kind of simple, but often ignored. This is especially true for folks that are not normally the "take charge" type.
Please check out the blanket statements below. Say them to yourself. Over and over. Especially if you need the reassurance.
I am my own best career manager.
I deserve to be taken care of.
No one can, or will, take care of me better than me, especially in my career.
I am on the only one that I can ALWAYS count on to have my best interests in mind.
You need to try to exhibit some INFLUENCE wherever you can. Remember that great bunch of stuff in the earlier posts in the series about controlling what you can control? And the other things that you can't exactly control, but that are not completely outside of your control? This is where you can really affect some positive change on your career and on your job search.
While you are at it...
Change the Damn Game
Don't get it twisted, a job search is a game. There are winners and there are losers. You don't have to be an aggro Type A ass-hat...just recognize when the game needs changing and do your part to exert some influence. Hmmm - there's that word again. Perhaps it is important.
Remember - excellence can start anywhere and radiate out. Just because you are a CANDIDATE and the game says that you should take whatever fecal matter they are shoveling, that does not mean the game is correct. Here are a couple of examples I personally noticed during my recent job search. Feel free to use your own strength and desire to TAKE CHARGE of your job search and assert yourself in these areas or any others you see.
Remember, you are the only one that will look out for you every single time.
- Multiple Resumes. There are still recruiters that want you to change your resume for each job submission. This is stupid. You have written your resume to highlight the things you actually did, and the experience you have gained. If someone wants you to highlight certain things, like things that you might not have as much experience in...they are basically asking you to lie. Well, that might be a bit too strong of a word. Let's call it a quibble. Here is the way I chose to handle this situation. As always, your mileage may vary.
- Call them out on their stupidity.
- Ask them if they think it would look good on you OR THEM if you oversold some experience and then ended up wasting an interviewer's time. Even worse, how about if you got the job, and were not able to train up and close the gap soon enough?
- Complain as loudly as possible.
- Then, comply. Unfortunately, this is just how the game works...and it is a straight deal breaker for certain companies. But, here is how you tip the scales in your favor. It is a lot of work to do up front, but will serve you well in the long run.
- Make a YOOG resume, which you will never really send anyone. I am talking about 15-20 pages. Highlight individual projects. Highlight tools or technologies that you only worked with one time. Put as much detail in there as possible.
- Then, when someone wants you to call out certain things to match a job description, or to pass through some parsing algorithm written by an obvious psychopath, all you have to do is cut-and-paste.
- Also, you are not really making it up, you are talking about stuff that you have actually done. Believe me, it has a much better chance of ringing true in an interview if you can speak from memory of what you did, and what you documented when you were taking your time and building out a master resume, instead of what you came up with under a deadline to get a new resume to a recruiter.
- Remote Work. It is 2019. Any company that insists on you being at your desk so someone can physically look at you is probably a company you do not want to work for. Unfortunately, this is like the Multiple Resumes thing.
- It's a deal breaker for lots of companies. If you want a job there, you need to comply with their B.S.
- But just like the Multiple Resumes, you can be an INFLUENCER in this area by opening up your mouth and speaking the truth. Be a loud, yet respectful, data point.
- I usually keep my mouth closed regarding remote work, because it is something I am passionate about, and the conversation can devolve. Besides, no one likes being told that they are stupid - especially when they are being fucking stupid, like if they are making people work on-site every day in 2019.
Be You. Always.
If you are trying to put forth some curated version of yourself in the courtship analog of a job search, then you are very likely going to end up dissatisfied. Don't get me wrong - the company is trying to cover their warts with concealer also. It's always difficult to strike a balance here, but if you remain your true self, you cannot go far wrong.
A good rule of thumb is to start out being as true to yourself as possible. If you are not getting the traction you seek, and the time between jobs is getting longer, and the money is getting shorter...use your head. If no one is lining up to hire the real you, then you might want to starting changing the real you. Duh.
Please note - I did not say "change the way you are presenting the real you." If the real you ain't cutting it, in terms of getting traction, then the real you ain't gonna cut it when you get a job at the level you are seeking. Remember, we are here to: Change. The. Game.
If that includes changing some things about yourself, based on the empirical evidence of a lack of the traction you seek, so be it. You'll almost certainly be better off.
Be Truthful. Always.
If you tell someone an outright lie, you deserve every bad consequence that comes from it. This is every bit as true in your professional life, including a job search, as it is in your personal life.
No exceptions. Not for that one white lie you told that one time. Not to protect someone's feelings or preserve a relationship with a client. This is binary. You are a piece of excrement that has a problem with the truth, or you are not.
Remember, if someone would lie even once, even about something small, they have already crossed the mental line required for them to be a lying sack of garbage. If you trust them not to lie moving forward, if you fail to figuratively sleep with one eye open around them, and you get burned by it - SHAME ON YOU.
One other point here, that will hopefully not only resonate with lots of folks, but will make the business world and the recruiting industry a better place. Do you remember this sentence from earlier in this section:
Excellence can start anywhere and radiate out.
Yeah - lots of folks tend to remember that one. I have had folks come up to me years after having heard one of my talks and tell me that they repeat that over and over at their company. It's a good mantra.
So, in the context of a job search, and as pertains to lying sacks of garbage that you might encounter during your job search, strive to be excellent. Be that point of excellence that can radiate out and make things easier for the next person that has to deal with that lying person.
Ok - here is where it gets nuanced. Let's say, for instance, that a recruiter tells you something that turns out to have not been entirely truthful. Far-fetched, I know. But let's follow the example through, anyway.
So, you still might actually need something from that recruiter, which, in this case, means that the welfare of your family might be dependent on this lying sack of garbage. But, like Jules in Pulp Fiction, you are trying to be the shepherd, so you need to call them on it. So, maybe don't specifically use the words "lying sack of garbage." But be excellent. Let them know that you know that they were not truthful, and that they are not going to get away with it in the future, at least not with you, and ask that they be completely truthful moving forward, even if it is not what the client wants to hear.
Maybe, just maybe, you will not only make things better for yourself, but you having exerted INFLUENCE over the situation will make that recruiter think twice aboout lying in the future, and maybe even increase the percentages in favor of them telling the truth more frequently. You have made the world a better place.
Final statement on this - my mother always used to say this:
If you always tell the truth, you never have to try to remember who you told what.
Click HERE for Part 8.