Category Archives: Attitude

19 Hard Things You Need To Do To Be Successful

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  • You have to make the call you’re afraid to make.
  • You have to get up earlier than you want to get up.
  • You have to give more than you get in return right away.
  • You have to care more about others than they care about you.
  • You have to fight when you are already injured, bloody, and sore.
  • You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing it safe seems smarter.
  • You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.
  • You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.
  • You have to look like a fool while you’re looking for answers you don’t have.
  • You have to grind out the details when it’s easier to shrug them off.
  • You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.
  • You have to search for your own explanations even when you’re told to accept the “facts.”
  • You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot.
  • You have to try, fail and try again.
  • You have to run faster even though you’re out of breath.
  • You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.
  • You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.
  • You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.
  • You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you.

You have to do the hard things. The things that no one else is doing. The things that scare you. The things that make you wonder how much longer you can hold on.

Those are the things that define you. Those are the things that make the difference between living a life of mediocrity or outrageous success.

The hard things are the easiest things to avoid. To excuse away. To pretend like they don’t apply to you.

The simple truth about how ordinary people accomplish outrageous feats of success is that they do the hard things that smarter, wealthier, more qualified people don’t have the courage — or desperation — to do.

Do the hard things. You might be surprised at how amazing you really are.

cross posted from luthas.com

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8 Dos And Don’ts After a Job Rejection

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Bouncing back after being rejected for a job can be a difficult task. This is especially true if it was a job for which you had really high hopes.

Being rejected for a job is the ultimate bruise to your ego. It can make you rethink your worth as a professional, and you’ll probably start to wonder what it is they didn’t like about you? Having self-confidence is key to a successful job search, so it’s important to tend to your damaged pride before you start your work again.

Of course, you can’t take forever tending to your needs. At some point you are going to have to get back to work so it’s important to get back in tip-top job searching mode as quickly as possible. With this in mind, here are some dos and dont’s to keep in mind after a job rejection:

Do:

  • Give yourself enough time to get over the rejection, especially if it’s a new experience for you.
  • Ask for help from friends, family, or your job search counselor. See if any of these people can give you advice on how to position yourself for the most success in the job market.
  • Come up with a written schedule detailing the next steps in your job search.
  • Give your efforts the proper time before changing things. Filling out job applications for a week without any success is not necessarily a sign that you need to adjust your job search process.
Don’t:
  • Spend a lot of time on conversations that focus only on the negatives. This will only make you feel worse.
  • Hang around people who have given up on the job search.
  • Spend too much time watching the news. The economy is not exactly in the best shape right now, and hearing reports about it could demoralize you.
  • Assume you know everything. Searching for a job is an unpredictable process, and things can (and often will) happen that will take you by surprise.

 

cross posted from thenonprofittimes.com

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3 Tips to Beat an Unemployment Stigma

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This week, yet another study has come out to prove the obvious. It says the long-term unemployed are being discriminated against when they submit their resumes online for jobs. Shocker. Really? Who knew?! I’m sorry for the intense sarcasm, but as someone who is passionate about teaching people how to find work in these challenging times, this kind of information being showcased repeatedly only does one thing: tells the long-term unemployed to give up.

Well, I’m not a quitter – and I don’t want the long-term unemployed giving up on themselves either!

I got so upset, I reached out to a top recruiter to get his thoughts. I wanted to see if he could provide some insight as to what would make him place a long-term unemployed person. Lou’s what we call an “old school” recruiter. He’s very confident in his ability to assess true talent. He even wrote a book as a way to teach recruiters how to find top talent for their clients which also doubles as a book to show talent how to get the attention of recruiters. I called him and said, “Lou, when you meet a long-term unemployed person, how do you decide if they can be placed?”

Lou said, “Easy. I ask them what they’ve been doing while they’ve been out of work. If they can’t tell me at least one measurable way they’ve bettered themselves professionally, I tell them I can’t help them and to call me in a year when they’ve done something.”

Wow. How’s that for honesty?

Lou went on to say he believes part of the reason we have such a high level of long-term unemployment is that we’ve created a dependent workforce. Lou says he sees people every day who still don’t understand it’s their job to keep their skills both current and relevant. When you’re unemployed, if you can’t see the need to do that on your own – you’re sending a clear message to employers you aren’t the kind of proactive, resourceful talent they’re looking for.

So, what’s an out-of-work person to do?

My answer: Disrupt the process. The problem isn’t just in the employers looking at the date of your last job, it’s also in the dysfunctional process of submitting the resume online. Of course the long-term unemployed don’t stand a chance when submitting their credentials electronically – they aren’t there to convey in-person what they’ve been up to. The only viable solution is to go around the process. With that in mind, here are three tips for beating the unemployment stigma.

  1. Never apply solely online. When you see a job you know you are 100% fit for, start looking for people you can connect with who work there. Leverage your social networks and find someone you can contact about the job. I don’t care if you have to ask a friend to introduce you to a total stranger. In the words of Nike, “just do it!” Nobody can job search alone. You need to ask for help. In fact, you have to do everything in your power to get someone to “pitch” you for that job – or at least get you a shot at pitching yourself. At the very least, getting your killer cover letter and a solid recommendation walked in to the manager can help them overlook the lack of recent employment on your resume.
  2. Create an interview bucket list. Stop going after the posted jobs and competing against thousands of other applicants – many of whom are employed and will get the interview over you. Instead, identify 10-20 companies you want to work for and start proactively connecting with people who work there. Discuss what types of problems they are busy solving at their companies and what types of skill sets they’ll be looking for to support their efforts. Get the inside track on potential opportunities and a head-start on the interviewing process by making friends with those you’d like to earn a chance to work with. Who knows? If you can develop a professional relationship based on shared professional interest, they just might help you get hired.
  3. Develop a problem-solving marketing platform. I always tell people, “you are a business-of-one.” That means you must develop a marketing plan for your business’ unique brand. The most attractive talent are aspirin to an employer’s pain. Identifying a problem you like to solve that showcases your professional expertise is vital to off-setting your lack of current employment. If you can talk about how you like to save and/or make a company money using your proven approach to solving problems, you can show them the fact you are between jobs right now doesn’t mean you aren’t a valuable commodity. Instead, they just might see you as an underutilize asset!

NOTE: Success with these tips hinges on one thing.

The above tips only work when an unemployed person believes in their professional abilities. Rejection is part of the job search process, but it doesn’t mean you aren’t qualified or capable. You must trust in your skills and continue to market them. You’ve got nothing to lose, so why not go out there and play by a new set of job search rules? That way, you can use the tips above to give yourself a fighting chance.

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How to Break Out of a Career Rut in a Month

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Think you might be stuck in a career rut?

The good news is, career ruts are easy to spot. There’s that telltale sick feeling in your stomach every Monday morning, jealousy when a friend gets a new job that she’s excited about, and a tendency to quickly change the subject when someone asks you what you do for a living.

The bad news? Career ruts are much harder to fix. You might not even know exactly why you’re so miserable, let alone how to solve the problem.

Although it can seem like you’re stuck in never-ending career limbo, your time is valuable, and there’s no need to waste it feeling unmotivated, unappreciated, or just plain unhappy. So we’ve created a simple, four-week plan to put you on the path to career improvement. Just think—one month from today, you could be well on your way to a job that you’re truly passionate about.

Before we delve into the week-by-week plan, here’s a quick tip to make your time as productive as possible: Schedule time for your career improvement, and stick to it. We’ll be focusing on one task per week, so be sure to set aside a few chunks of time to accomplish it (and commit to keeping these dates with yourself, even if your friends want to grab dinner or the treadmill is calling your name!). In just one month, you—and your career—will be really glad you did.

 

Week 1: Identify the Problem

Dedicate the first week to focusing on what’s behind your dissatisfaction. Sure, you don’t like your job, but what specifically is bothering you? Do you have too much time on your hands, or are you run ragged from 10-hour days? Maybe you’re stuck in a field that you’re not passionate about or you’re sick of making a long commute to your least-favorite part of the city. It’s important to be as specific and honest as possible.

In addition to identifying the big changes you’d like to make, spend time at the end of each day jotting down things that you don’t like about your current job, as well as things you do. This will help you narrow in on what to look for—and what to avoid—when you make your next move.

 

Week 2: Research, Research, Research

This will be the most time-intensive week, as you’ll figure out what potential jobs or career moves will be the right fit. You may event want to extend the process to two or three weeks, especially if you want to make a big change.

In any case, your goal is to look for positions and places that will capitalize on the things you like about your current role while avoiding the things you don’t like. Start browsing job openings and companies in your field. Does anything sound like it will meet your “great job” criteria? (Hey, you might even realize that you don’t need a new job, you just need to tweak a few aspects of your current position.)

Or, maybe you want to think about a complete career overhaul, like going back to school or changing careers. If this is the case, take some time to think about your interests, hobbies, and passions. Is there something that you love doing that you could look for in a job? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and explore some ideas that might be a big departure from your current career. A friend of mine had a traditional office job, but realized that her favorite part of the day was when she left work and headed to the gym. She’s now a part-time personal trainer, and hopes to eventually leave the corporate world behind forever and train clients five days a week.

Career-savvy friends, former collegues, college professors, and professional mentors can also be great assets when you’re trying to revamp your career. Let them know what you’re looking for, and ask if they have any recommendations. Advice from someone who knows you (and your local job market) can be more beneficial than 50 Google searches.

 

Week 3: Create a Game Plan

This week is all about choosing a goal and creating a game plan to achieve it. First, hone in on what direction you really want to pursue: Look at all of your options and see which excites you the most or seems most feasible at this point in your life. You might have a couple of potential goals, and that’s OK—just follow this part of the process for each one.

Once you’ve chosen a goal, start mapping out what you’ll need to do to achieve it. Let’s say, for example, that you’re a PR professional currently working at a small agency, and your goal is to get a job with one of the top three firms in your city within six months. Your game plan might look something like this:

  1. Evaluate my skills. Do I have everything I need to qualify for Account Executive positions at big firms, or should I enroll in classes or take on some pro bono projects to get more experience?
  2. Update my resume, portfolio, and LinkedIn profile to reflect my latest and greatest work and accomplishments.
  3. Browse LinkedIn and send an email to my network to see if I have any contacts within the firms who might be willing to put in a good word for me. Set coffee dates with each of these contacts.
  4. Check out open positions at each firm. Draft targeted cover letters and applications for each firm, and apply.
  5. Attend at least one networking event per week to make new connections at these firms.

Obviously, everyone’s game plan will look different. The point is that you can achieve almost any task—even ones as big as landing a new gig—by breaking it up into small, manageable bites.

 

Week 4: Get Started

Now it’s time to get the ball rolling on your career plan. In week three, you listed all the tasks you’d need to finish to complete your goal. Now, it’s time to get out your calendar and actually schedule those steps. Depending on how much free time you have (and how desperate you are to get out of your current rut), you might want to try to complete part of your game plan every two or three days, every week, or every other week. It might seem silly or tedious to write out what you want to accomplish on your calendar, but it will keep you accountable to achieving your goal.

Of course, actually achieving all the parts of your “game plan” might take weeks or even months. The key is to make sure that you’re setting manageable goals and then committing yourself to accomplishing them. Don’t let yourself lose momentum during this part of the process, and continue to carve out time to achieve your weekly or daily goals. Keep a reminder of why you’re working so hard—maybe a picture of your dream office or a motivational note to yourself—nearby to keep you focused on what you’re trying to accomplish.

 

After you’ve completed this four-week program, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. In a single month, you’ve done what some people never accomplish—put yourself on the path to a career that is truly right for you.

cross-posted from The Daily Muse

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22 Things Happy People Do Differently

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There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a person living in the slums of a third world country could be happy and content. I have spent plenty of time amongst both groups to have seen it first hand. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

1. Don’t hold grudges.

Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat everyone with kindness.

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

3. See problems as challenges.

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

4. Express gratitude for what they already have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

5. Dream big.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

7. Speak well of others.

Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

8. Never make excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

9. Get absorbed into the present.

Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning.

Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

11. Avoid social comparison.

Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

12. Choose friends wisely.

Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

13. Never seek approval from others.

Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

14. Take the time to listen.

Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.

15. Nurture social relationships.

A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.

16. Meditate.

Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

17. Eat well.

Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.

18. Exercise.

Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

19. Live minimally.

Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

20. Tell the truth.

Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

21. Establish personal control.

Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

22. Accept what cannot be changed.

Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.

 

Cross posted from Successify

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20 Ways to Maintain a Positive Attitude during Job Search

Woo hoo!

 

 

Like many thousands of other people, you have been thrust into a situation that you probably didn’t want to be. For many, it can be a devastating experience. Do you find yourself struggling to cope with unwelcome emotions of fear and hopelessness? If yes, this article is for you.

 
Positive Mental Attitude
It introduces you to several key concepts which will help you to use your innate power to walk through this period in order to achieve incredible success and it illustrates unique ways to harness, focus on you, your personal inner calm and your power.

A major feature of unemployment is that it is one kind of cross-roads in your life and only you can choose which direction you take. There are very few opportunities like this in your life. Paradoxically, while you may not have chosen the redundancy or lay off situation, it has delivered the opportunity for you now to choose your future direction. However, realising this is crucial because you have to first maintain a positive mental attitude and use the same positive attitude to do a job search.

While maintaining a positive attitude is vital to a successful job search, there will be times when you get discouraged. It may seem impossible to revive that positive energy level. But there are many things you can do to bring your good outlook back to life and keep it in good shape.

Think of the following tips as a crash course in job search CPR – Cheerful, Positiveness, Resuscitation.

1. Remember to feel good about yourself.

This is the key to a positive attitude, and all the points that follow are ways of helping you feel good about yourself. No one can feel good for you. Reach out to that wonderful place inside you where no one else has control of and bring it to the surface and let it radiate through your being.

2. Talk positively about yourself and your abilities.

Don’t talk yourself down. Be very positive about yourself. Think about all your achievements in the past and be happy about them. Pe proud of yourself and let it show in your talk, walk and the way see life. You know the story about the little engine that could, right? What you believe about yourself is the foundation of all your future actions.

3. Take charge!

Only you can do it, roll up your sleeves and take charge. Be present, be accountable and be ready. Accept full responsibility for your life and your job search. It is not up to your partner, mother, father, girlfriend or boyfriend, or your aunt Tania in Godknowswhere to find you a job. Although it is important that you expand your circle of influence by networking like there is no tomorrow and your network will be a definite help, but YOU are responsible for the success of your job search so learn to be a superstar job seeker.

4. Let go of regrets about the past.

Instead of blaming yourself or anybody and constantly rehashing past mistakes, take the opportunity to learn from the past. Build on past experiences to improve yourself and your abilities. Waste no time on unproductive thoughts and things. Be pragmatic and live in the present with a focus on a new beginning.

5. Stop worrying about the future.

While you don’t want to live in the past, you also don’t want to live in the future. Worrying is a habit, and you can change the habit if you really try. If you find yourself stuck in a negativity rut, shovel yourself out by focusing on your hopes and dreams rather than on your fears.

6. Flatter yourself.

The job search is no time to be humble. Make a list of every positive feedback that you ever received and why. Read every complimentary thing about yourself that you can find. Letters of praise, past awards, performance appraisals, or any other positive recognitions you have are good ways to remind yourself of your worth and talents. Paste these things on a wall or a bulletin board in your work area at home to boost your spirits whenever you feel a little down.

7. Start each day on a positive, upbeat note.

The start of your day will set the tempo for everything that follows. So it is important that you do something every morning that will put you in a good mood, whether that is taking a walk, walking your dog, listening to some upbeat music, twittering, blogging, running, doing a crossword, or just relaxing with a good cup of coffee or tea.

8. Get physical!

Don’t vegitate on a sofa with a remote in one hand feeling sorry for your self. You’ve heard the saying, “healthy body, healthy mind.” Keeping yourself healthy and in good physical shape. This will boost your energy level and make it easier to maintain a positive mental attitude.

Exercise regularly.
Eat a well-balanced diet.
Get enough sleep.
Chill out with positive friends and not the ones that will talk your emotions down.
Turn the volume of your music up and dance but don’t disturb your neighbors.

9. Create a schedule and stick to it.

Knowing what you are supposed to do each day can prevent you from feeling lost or bored. Sticking to your schedule as closely as possible will provide focus to your job search.

10. Keep up appearances.

Turn your cool and professional swagger on. While nobody expects you to wear a suit and tie every day on your job search, try not to dress too casually. Keep your work space and living space neat and tidy. Set a positive framework for your job search.

11. Take a team approach to finding a job.

Even if the team is only two people, it is helpful to have somebody else to share ideas with and to review your progress on a regular basis. Talk to your former colleagues and share tips. Talk about what success will look like and how to get there. Go for a drink and discuss in a happy environment.

12. Accept your cycles.

While it is important to maintain a positive attitude, it’s unrealistic to think that you will be 100% positive forever. The trick is not to get down on yourself when you get down. Set a time limit on how long (15 minutes, for example) you will allow yourself to stay down when you feel a little depressed.

13. Join a professional group.

If you are looking for a job in a certain profession, join LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. ‘Follow’ the company, ‘friend’ them and ‘like’ their products. Comment on their recent developments and follow their news. However, be professional at all times. Joining an association can be an excellent way to keep up to date on developments and trends. It will help you develop your network and put you in contact with people that have interests similar to yours.

14. Keep growing.

Continue to develop your skills and knowledge while looking for work. Do this by:

  • Taking a class.
  • Attending free webinars
  • Taking part in Twitter (professional) chats
  • Attending conferences, workshops and seminars.
  • Reading pertinent articles on the web
  • Creating a blog of your own
  • Subscribing to RSS feeds
  • Subscribing to trade magazines.
  • Reading the newspaper and other current-affair magazines.
  • Doing volunteer work that uses the skills and knowledge you want to use in your next job.

If you are not immediately successful in finding work, you might start to question your skills and qualifications. Keeping on top of the skills, knowledge and trends in your field will make you feel positive about your ability to do the type of work you want to do.

15. Don’t take rejections personally.

Very few people land the very first job they apply to or are interviewed for. Your attitude really depends on how you look at things. You can see a job rejection as a personal attack on your abilities or character, or you can see it as an opportunity to grow and learn more about yourself.

16. Do it now, don’t delay.

Procrastination is a sure way to lower your self-esteem. Nobody actually considers putting things off as a positive trait, do they? The more you delay, the more depressed you will be when you realize all the things you have left to do. On the other hand, doing something every day will make you feel like you are putting in a real effort and you will feel good about yourself.

17. Attitude is contagious.

Surround yourself with supportive, positive people. Walk away from naysayers, or emotional vampires. Don’t let them drain you of your positive energy.

18. Reward yourself.

Make sure you take time out to relax after a day of job hunting:

  • Go to a movie with a friend or watch a movie at home.
  • Have your favorite snack at hand.
  • Read a book.
  • Take a walk.
  • Do anything else that you find enjoyable and relaxing and that will take your mind off job hunting.
  • Chat on your phone
  • Spend time with a loved one

19. Talk to someone.

You might feel really burned out, angry or frustrated after a long, unsuccessful job search. Or you might reach a stage where you want to give up looking for work altogether. At this point it might be a good idea to talk to a trained professional, such as a the Citizens Advice Bureau, a psychologist or a counselor that can help you sort out your feelings.

20. Keep a smile on your face.

You might feel like there is nothing to smile about at times but make an effort to keep a smile on your face. Life is good because you are still alive and kicking. You can walk about and look for jobs, you are not defined by your current situation. It is just a phase that will surely pass. No one can get you down except yourself. Cheer up and love life!

cross posted from Catherine’s career corner

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You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know. You Know?

Have you ever applied for a position and think to yourself “I don’t stand a chance. This job is way over my head but I might as well apply?” First off, good job, for being confident and ambitious enough to apply for the position. But what happens if you get a phone interview? I’ll get to that in a moment.

If you are trying desperately to find a job, just casually looking for that matter, you need to treat the process as though it is a job. Here are some tips on how to organize your search.

  1. Keep a book, note pad, Excel spread sheet, whatever is available to you and track ALL of the positions and companies you apply to.
  2. Beside each entry document the main job duties that are in the description. Then make note of the parts of your resume that you believe are most applicable to the position.
  3. If you are able to get contact information for any of the positions, make sure you document that as well.
  4. Continuously update the list and put the positions you are most interested in at the top. Date when you applied to them so you know when to follow up on your application.

Now, back to the position you have no chance at getting. You have a chance. In many cases job descriptions are carefully crafted by Human Resource departments and don’t always give an accurate depiction of the nuts and bolts of the position. Refer back to your organized list and see what information you already have on the job. Then, look over your resume and put yourself in the recruiters’ position. Ask yourself; “Why would this resume make me stand out?” Chances are there skill sets that have been identified in your resume that has gotten you to the opportunity to interview.  Take the items on your resume that align most with the job description and make not of them. You will need to refer back to this information during the interview.

At this point you still don’t have a good idea of the position and the phone is about to ring. It’s OK. Breathe. When the recruiter calls, it is absolutely OK to inquire further about the position. Here is an example of what you may say…”I want to make sure that I am able to provide the best answers possible. Could you tell me what the 3 most important responsibilities are?” This can help you tailor your answers to what they want to hear.  Without this information you will find yourself in a position where you don’t know what you don’t know.  You know?

 

 

The HR Recruiter

The HR Recruiter has over 3 years’ experience working in Employment Services and Human Resources. He is currently working on his Masters of Science in Human Resource Development at N.C. State University. He is also a member of SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management). 

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Listening to Complainers Is Bad for Your Brain

Exposure to nonstop negativity actually impairs brain function. Here’s how to defend yourself.

baby crying

 

Do you hate it when people complain? It turns out there’s a good reason: Listening to too much complaining is bad for your brain in multiple ways, according to Trevor Blake, a serial entrepreneur and author of Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life. In the book, he describes how neuroscientists have learned to measure brain activity when faced with various stimuli, including a long gripe session.

“The brain works more like a muscle than we thought,” Blake says. “So if you’re pinned in a corner for too long listening to someone being negative, you’re more likely to behave that way as well.”

Even worse, being exposed to too much complaining can actually make you dumb. Research shows that exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity–including viewing such material on TV–actually peels away neurons in the brain’s hippocampus. “That’s the part of your brain you need for problem solving,” he says. “Basically, it turns your brain to mush.”

But if you’re running a company, don’t you need to hear about anything that may have gone wrong? “There’s a big difference between bringing your attention to something that’s awry and a complaint,” Blake says. “Typically, people who are complaining don’t want a solution; they just want you to join in the indignity of the whole thing. You can almost hear brains clink when six people get together and start saying, ‘Isn’t it terrible?’ This will damage your brain even if you’re just passively listening. And if you try to change their behavior, you’ll become the target of the complaint.”

So, how do you defend yourself and your brain from all the negativity? Blake recommends the following tactics:

1. Get some distance

“My father was a chain smoker,” Blake confides. “I tried to change his habit, but it’s not easy to do that.” Blake knew secondhand smoke could damage his own lungs as well. “My only recourse was to distance myself.”

You should look at complaining the same way, he says. “The approach I’ve always taken with complaining is to think of it as the same as passive smoking.” Your brain will thank you if you get yourself away from the complainer, if you can.

2. Ask the complainer to fix the problem

Sometimes getting distance isn’t an option. If you can’t easily walk away, a second strategy is to ask the complainer to fix the problem.

“Try to get the person who’s complaining to take responsibility for a solution,” Blake says. “I typically respond to a complaint with, ‘What are you going to do about it?'” Many complainers walk away huffily at that point, because he hasn’t given them what they wanted, Blake reports. But some may actually try to solve the problem.

3. Shields up!

When you’re trapped listening to a complaint, you can use mental techniques to block out the griping and save your neurons. Blake favors one used by the late Spanish golfer Seve Ballesteros during a match against Jack Nicklaus–a match the crowd wanted Ballesteros to lose. “He was having difficulty handling the hostility of the crowd,” Blake says. “So he imagined a bell jar that no one could see descending from the sky to protect him.”

Major League Baseball pitchers can sometimes be seen mouthing “Shields on!” as they stride to the mound, he says. He adds that his own imaginary defense is “more like a Harry Potter invisibility cloak.”

A related strategy is to mentally retreat to your imagined favorite spot, someplace you’d go if you could wave a magic wand. “For me, it was a ribbon of beautiful white sugary sand that extended out in a horseshoe shape from a private island,” Blake says. “I would take myself to my private retreat while people were ranting and raving. I could smile at them and nod in all the right places and meanwhile take myself for a walk on my private beach.”

Blake first saw the picture of the island in a magazine, and the image stuck with him. Eventually, he got a chance to try it for real. “It turned out the island was for rent, and it was the same one I’d seen,” he says. “So I rented it for a week. And I got to take that walk.”

 

Minda Zetlin is a business technology writer and speaker, co-author of The Geek Gap, and president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. @MindaZetlin

Cross posted from Inc.

 

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What Does “Overqualified” Mean, Anyway?

Of course rejection hurts, but to tell your friends and family (and yourself) that you were turned down because you were too skilled or too experienced is much less bruising on the ego than the alternative. For companies looking to eliminate candidates, using the word “overqualified” may take some of the sting and fear of retribution out of the rejection. But is it true?

Think about this scenario for a second. You are trying to hire a new employee and you estimate that someone with five years of experience should be able to handle the duties effectively. A candidate is presented with fifteen years of experience that has all the attributes you are seeking. This person should theoretically perform the tasks quicker and even take on some additional workload. Do you really think a company would not hire this person simply because he/she has those additional years of experience? I would argue that is rarely the case.

What can overqualified actually mean?

Overpaid

If your experience is greater than what is required, it generally becomes a problem when your salary requirements are above what is budgeted. It’s not that you are classified as overpaid in your current role, but that you would be overpaid for the level of responsibility at the new job. I list this as the most likely culprit because I often see companies initially reject a candidate as overqualified, then hire that same person because of a lack of less experienced quality talent.

Stagnant

Candidates who have worked for many years in a technically stagnant and regulated environment will often not thrive in less regulated, more technically diverse firms. The conventional wisdom, right or wrong, is that you can’t release the zoo lions back into the jungle once they’ve been tamed.

Overskilled

If your skills are greater than what is necessary for the job, an employer may fear that the lack of challenges provided will bore you into looking for more interesting work in the future. Hiring a tech lead to do bug fixes could lead to a short stint. There is emerging evidence that shows skilled workers do not exit less challenging jobs quickly or in high numbers, but hiring managers are not quite ready to abandon the traditional line of thinking.

Threatening

If your experience is greater than those conducting the interviews, there could be some fear that you could be a competitor for future opportunities for promotion. If a start-up is yet to hire a CTO, the highest geek on that firm’s food chain may be jockeying for the role. This may sound a bit like a paranoid conspiracy theory, but I genuinely believe it is prevalent enough to mention.

Age

Ageism is a real problem, but in my experience, ageism is also widely overdiagnosed by candidates who think the problem is their age when in actuality it is their work history. Most of the self-diagnosed claims of ageism that I hear are from candidates who spent perhaps 20+ years working for the same company and have not focused on keeping their skills up to date (see stagnant above). I can’t say that I’ve ever heard a claim of ageism from a candidate that has moved around in their career and stayed current with technology. The problem often isn’t age, it is relevance.

So if you are an active job seeker that is continuously hearing that you are overqualified, what can you do to improve your standing?

1. Rethink: Try to investigate which of the meanings of overqualified you are hearing most often. Is your compensation in line with what companies are paying for your set of qualifications? Do you present yourself in interviews as someone who may become easily bored when your work is less challenging? Are you making it clear in interviews that you want the job, and you explain why you want the job?

2. Retool: Make sure your skills are relevant and being sought by companies. Invest time to learn an emerging technology or developing some niche specialty that isn’t already flooded.

3. Remarket: Write down the top reasons you think a company should hire you, and then check to see if those reasons are represented in your job search materials (resume, email application, cover letters). Find out what was effective for your peers in their job search and try to implement new self-promotion tactics.

4. Reboot and refresh: Take a new look at your options beyond the traditional career paths. Have you considered consulting or contracting roles where your guidance and mentoring skills could be justified and valued for temporary periods? Are there emerging markets that interest you?

Terms like ‘overqualified’ and ‘not a fit’ are unfortunately the laziest, easiest, and safest ways that companies can reject you for a position, and they almost always mean something else. Discovering the real reason you were passed up is necessary to make the proper adjustments so you can get less rejections and more offers.

Dave Fecak is an independent recruiter and consultant that specializes in working with software firms primarily in the Philadelphia area. Dave is also the founder/JUGmaster of the Philadelphia Area Java Users’ Group. His blog isJobTipsForGeeks and he tweets at @jobtipsforgeeks.

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Think about it…

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