Archive for the ‘Positive Attitude’ Category

economic crisisSo one day it’s a sunny Fall day and you’re watching children play football and soccer, and the next, 60 mph gusts are launching tree branch projectiles at your home, snapping massive tree trunks in two like so many toothpicks, and driving record tidal surges into coastal homes and businesses.  The storm’s aftermath is a period of shaky calm as people try to assess the damage and contend with life without running water, power, phones, Internet access, the ability to get to work or school or the grocery store (if it’s open and if it has items on the shelves), or even worse…

So just what does a hurricane have to do with losing your job unexpectedly?

It’s not so much the storm that brought you to your “here and now,” since that storm has come and gone.  It’s the aftermath that matters….how you pick yourself up from the devastation, dust (dry?) yourself off, and begin moving forward to stabilize and rebuild.  Recovering from a hurricane and coping with an unexpected job loss are very much about clearing out the debris (the wreckage of your home, yard, career) and focusing on the essentials you need to have/do to move forward to a better place.

You need to:

Stay positive — believing in yourself and a positive future outcome,
Have the necessary tools available and functioning (e.g., Flashlights, Batteries, Resume, References)
Roll up your sleeves and work hard to rebuild, and
Reach out to people for mutual support (aka network)
And all this is done, one step by one step at a time.   So, what are the detailed steps you have to take to power up your job search and find your next job?  Be ready to do some:

Soul searching – It’s time for some healthy introspection.  How did I land here? What went wrong? What went right? What am I good at?  What can I become good at?  What am I lacking?  How can I fill any gaps?  Where do I want to be?  What do I really want to do?
Researching – What’s the current job market like?  What companies would I like to work for? Are they hiring?  Do I know anyone who works there?  What other companies are out there that I might have overlooked with my first pass?
Packaging – Think of yourself as a “product” to be packaged and marketed.  Your primary tools are: your resume, your cover letter, your LinkedIn profile (and other social media pages), and your own blog.  Each of these elements needs to be mindfully constructed so it is clear, crisp, and consistent.  Ideally, working with an experienced resume writer is the best way to devise “stand up and be noticed” marketing materials.  But even if you can’t afford specialized help, you can do-it-yourself with help from Ivy Exec’s numerous webinars on the nuts and bolts of creating “wow” career documentation.  Above all, do not work in a vacuum or your resume will never make it to the top of the pile.
Applying  – Use company job boards and job boards offered by premier career resource companies.  Ivy Exec’s job board posts over 60,000 premium jobs that have been hand selected for our elite members.  Our premium level members receive daily job alerts tailored to their search specifications directly in their inbox. Only apply to jobs you are well qualified for, otherwise you are wasting your time.  Make sure you submit a customized cover letter with every job application that clearly delineates why your skill set and experience map perfectly to the job’s requirements.
Networking – Network! Network! Network!  Reach out to colleagues from prior jobs, friends of friends of friends, and classmates you’ve lost touch with.  Be very open to renewing contacts with people from your past.  LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter are all ways to connect and re-connect.  And these social networks can be used to uncover and connect with company insiders if you are patient, yet appropriately persistent.  You just never know, but someone, who knows someone, who knows someone MAY be able to help you.  Additionally, reach out to the alumni offices at schools you attended.  Alumni offices often have networks of alumni who are more than happy to meet with job seekers for informational interviews, and alumni just might have job leads to share with a fellow alum.
Interviewing and Closing… – If it has been awhile since you interviewed, be sure to sharpen those skills before your first interview.  Scheduling informational interviews can help you polish up rusty interview skills.  As a starting point, Ivy Exec offers member access to a library of webinars on Interviewing.  Our premium members have access to a Mentor Network comprised of seasoned executives who can help you prepare tough interviews.  Ivy Exec also offers career coaching services.  Though it may seem “quaint,” make sure you follow up with every interviewer in writing to thank them for their time,  and to reaffirm your interest in the position.  Ivy Exec’s webinar library also includes materials on Negotiating – a key skill you need to master that will help you ensure that your compensation offer is in line with your expectations/requirements.
…and Working Again! — Once you’ve regained your professional footing make sure you nurture your career by growing your skill set and remaining plugged-in to the bigger picture.  Most successful careers require constant care and feeding.  Careers that are going places don’t “coast” there…

Greg Olsten is an Associate in Professional Services at IvyExec.com.


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It’s a cardinal sin to go into a job interview without planning and preparing to manage the opportunity for maximum impact. First of all, be aware of the six criteria by which most interviewers will rate your interview skills and qualifications for the job.

1. Personal impression you make: neatness in dress and manner; self-confidence; and maturity.
2. Preparation for the interview: knowledge about the business of the potential employer; list of questions to ask the interviewer.
3. Communication skills, written and oral.
4. Attitude: enthusiasm, sincerity and interest in the opportunity.
5. Competence: education and experience.
6. Personal chemistry: suitability and “fit” with the culture of the organization.

By way of preparation, learn as much as you can about the kind of interviews the company usually conducts. Are they formal or informal? Are they deliberately stressful? Should you expect “tricky” questions? How long do the sessions last? Are you likely to be interviewed by more than one person? Get a fix on the people who will be conducting the interview. You can develop this kind of information by reviewing the history of the company and its current activities as reported in the news media. Seek out others who have been interviewed by the company, as well as those who work there or do business with the firm. What is the environment like? How do people dress?

Use Negative Thinking In Your Planning

Negative thinking has an important role to play. Ask yourself what could ruin your chance to get the job?

1. Being late for the appointment.
2. Making a negative physical appearance in dress, neatness and posture; reflecting low energy or a lackadaisical attitude.
3. Being too informal and familiar; trying to be humorous.
4. Letting attention and eye contact wander.
5. Being unprepared, indifferent and unresponsive.
6. Dropping names and relating irrelevant life experiences.
7. Being overly concerned with benefits and compensation.
8. Talking too much; interrupting; not listening.
9. Being evasive; unable to explain voids in file.
10. Criticizing past employers.
11. Failing to ask intelligent questions about the job.
12. Being overconfident or under confident.

Interviewing Is A Two-Way Process

Be guided by the fact that interviewing is like any other form of communications process. It’s a two-way process: sending and receiving messages. Unfortunately, a great many people spend too much time with the former and too little with the latter. Here are five tips that will help you improve your listening skills:

1. Be aware that waiting your turn to speak is not listening.
2. Focus like a laser beam on what the interviewer is saying. Listen to the words as well as the spaces of silence.
3. Assure the interviewer you are interested and that you are listening by maintaining eye contact, nodding your head and occasionally acknowledging you understand.
4. Concentrate on the facts. Collect them carefully. Take notes. Don’t get diverted by looking for hidden meanings. You’ll have time to analyze what you hear and see later.
5. Don’t get sidetracked by the interviewer’s personal appearance and mannerisms. Overlook any biased or irritating statements.

Greg Olsten is an Associate in Professional Services at IvyExec.com.


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We are all familiar with the hardships involved in being an unemployed job seeker.  Not only is it frustrating and depressing when you can’t find a job, but the feelings become magnified as the length of time unemployed increases.

Rather than be depressed over what you can’t have today, career expert Elena Bajic, founder and CEO of Ivy Exec, is telling job seekers to think of the jobs they can have tomorrow. Bajic is offering eight tips on how to become smarter job seekers and be better equipped for the future job market. Here are her suggestions:

1. Take a hard look at your finances: If you’re currently searching for a job or are about to start looking for a job, immediately look at your finances to see where you can curb costs and expenses.

2. Take inventory & do a full and honest self analysis: Take time to understand who you are and what you can bring to the job table. Really understand your strengths and weaknesses.

3. Set realistic and achievable goals and review them daily: Make your time count when it comes to finding the right job. Make a specific to-do or checklist each day to make sure your job search is productive. Set goals such as “I need to make at least five calls today” or “I’m going to reach out / network with four people today.”

4. Treat your job search like you’d treat a job: Finding the right job requires the same commitment as one would commit to a full-time job. 

5. Network to build relationships, not to find a job: Networking is about building relationships with people who can connect you with people who can help you find a job.

6. Focus on self improvement: For those who are currently unemployed, dedicate time during your job search to acquire new skills and to improve your candidacy. Use this time as an opportunity to build on your existing skills and experience. Make your time fruitful.

7. Develop a job search with professional help: if you can afford it, hire a professional who can offer objective advice and help anchor you so that you’d avoid making common job search mistakes (ie. take the first job offer that comes through, start interviewing with any company that shows interest even if it is the not right fit, etc.) .

8. Stay positive – Interviewers can read negativity pretty quickly, and nobody wants to hire a negative person. By following the first seven tips, you will be a more confident job seeker with more focus, and with a clear picture of the right job that’s the right fit.

Greg Olsten is an Associate in Professional Services at IvyExec.com.

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When you are going through a tough period in your life, sometimes the hardest time of the day is the morning.  Isn’t it true that, if you are struggling with depression, you often wake up with that dreaded weight of worry and fear sitting on your chest?  With the realization of another day, instead of the new day filling you with the joy of being alive, the heavy burden of facing a day with no job, no hope, makes you want to climb back under the covers and go back to sleep.

One way to begin a new day with hope and positive feelings is to start the morning reflecting on all of your needs that have already been met!  That is, to begin with “an attitude of gratitude.”  To move toward this way of thinking, your focus has to be on TODAY, not yesterday or tomorrow, but this present day, this present moment.  How have your needs been met for NOW?  Do you have a safe place to stay, food for today, clothes for the day, someone in your life to love, someone who loves you?  Do you have good health; are you able to care for your personal needs independently?  Do you have friends who will listen to you and support you?  Think about all that you have in your life even before you get up.

Then, get up and make a list – on paper or on the computer — of all your “blessings.”  You will probably think of even more as you sit and reflect.

Next, say, “Thank you!”  Say thank you to a higher power, to yourself for getting this far, to someone who has helped you along the way, to someone who might never expect a thank you from you.

Now, move ahead in your day with an eye and ear and heart full of thankfulness for what you already have and be sure to keep yourself open to realize other “blessings,” or reasons for gratitude, throughout your day.  You will be surprised at how positive your day will be.

When you go to bed, reflect on all the positive events of the day – think well about what was good during your day; what added to your joy or gratitude.  Let go of the negatives and rest in the positives and you will probably fall asleep with a lighter heart – and you might awaken tomorrow with a less heavy weight of depression.  Cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” every day upon waking and your step will become lighter, your face will be brighter and more cheerful and more hope will shine in your heart.

Mildred Barton is a Spiritual Director, practicing in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

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In my blogs I have often referred to the impact thinking has on our emotions and behavior.    perspective, I like to define thinking as talking to yourself.  (You know, that inner voice that only you can hear.) If your thinking is faulty, it   to negative emotions and self-defeating behaviors such as avoidance,procrastination, anxiety and depression.
Let’s take one common thinking error we might make.  We sometimes think about events in all or nothing terms.  Everything is either black or white; yet life events are usually more complex.  Examples of this type of thinking  error might include “What a loser I turned out to be,“ or, “I’ll never get another job.” Thinking this way can lead to the self-defeating conclusion: “I might aswell give up looking for a job.”
It is critical that you catch these thinking errors quickly and analyze them.   Does the evidence support your conclusion? For example, if you can list some successes in your career, then you’re conclusionthat you are a loser is not supported and therefore inaccurate.  Can you step back and evaluate your decision to stop looking for a job?  Is stopping in your best interest? It can be helpful to write down a statement that is more accurate on an index card that you can use to remind yourself whenever the unsupported thought pops up again. It might be something like, “I am not a loser! My career was successful until this recession.  It will take time, but I will find a job.”

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In prior blog posts I spoke about using a brag book, the need to stay in front of your network, the importance of networking, how to stand out and how to use a bio, but the focus here is more broad.  These prior blog posts provide specific, tangible tools to help you manage your career, but what are the overarching strategies that are the key to a successful job search in this current economic climate?  It is what I refer to in my career management methodology as the three A’s: Attitude, Activity and Assertiveness.  You can have the most amazing credentials in the world and the most polished resume but if your Three A’s are not in perfect order, your job search will likely falter, or at a minimum, will not allow you to land the job you deserve in the shortest time possible.
Let’s look at each of these key dimensions:
A positive, energetic, hopeful attitude while in job search mode is such an important element in this process.  Hiring managers and recruiters can sniff a desperate, negative and lackluster approach from miles away.  This approach won’t help at all in the current economy.  Let’s look at how a healthy attitude plays out with a standard interview question.  Let’s assume I was laid off due to an elimination of a layer of management.
Interviewer: “Matt, why are you no longer working at XYZ Company?”
Poor Attitude
Me: “Well, I have to tell you, my boss and I never really got along that well.  My clients loved me but I never really hit it off with her.  She seemed to play favorites and I never felt like I had a fair shake.  It’s all for the best anyway because I don’t think I was a good fit for XYZ.”
Positive Attitude
Me:  “Frankly, I never thought that high-performing employees would get hung up in a layoff; however, business decisions had to be made.  My entire layer of management was eliminated.  I know it wasn’t personal.  While I can’t say I agree with it, I can respect a company that makes difficult decisions.  Rather than focus on what was out of my control, I decided right away to leave on a high note by finishing strong on my assignments and transitioning my work in a timely manner.  Now, I am being very selective in what role I accept next because I want to make sure to land in a spot where my talents can best be utilized and where I can make an impact to the company.”
So, as you can see, by fostering positive attitude, you can leave a positive impression during an interview.  This attitude will serve you well in other aspects of your job search, too.  A great example is during the heavy networking phase of your search.  It is important to remain upbeat with your networking partners.  If you are executing your search properly, you should be going after the influential players and power connectors (the most well-networked people) in your industry and region.  These folks are extremely busy and surely will not take a networking call or meeting with a downtrodden job seeker.  Not a chance.
You can have the best attitude in the world, but if you are not talking to these power connectors, not attending events, meetings and conferences, and if you are not applying to jobs regularly, then you are going to have a tough time accelerating the job search process.  Activity yields results.  It always does.  Ask any sales professional.  They all use statistics that tell them how many leads they need to call on, how many need to be converted to a face-to-face sales pitch, and how many of these will yield a sale.
Job search is the same way, except you are the product and salesperson wrapped in one.  Here’s a list of some important activities that you should be participating in every day, week and month.  This goes for whether you are out of work and those who are gainfully employed:
·       Face-to-face networking meetings with power connectors
·       LinkedIn invitations
·       Networking events
·       Professional organization meetings
·       Speaking with recruiters
·       Applying for jobs
This type of activity is crucial.  By getting out there and meeting people, even the same people repeatedly (the average networking partner forgets about you in about seven days ), you start to become ingrained in your connections’ minds as the person to remember for job leads and other important referrals.
Please don’t lose sight of the need to apply to open positions, too!  It is very easy to get swept up in the networking process.  So much so that you forget to apply to open jobs.  You need to set aside time to do both.  When the process comes together, you will see an open job and then tap your robust network to find someone with influence to pluck your resume out of the “black hole” and right onto the hiring manager’s desk.
Searching for your next position also takes the right degree of assertiveness.  Assertiveness comes into play in several areas.  First, when you are trying to get networking appointments with power connectors, you may have to follow-up on two or three different occasions.  Why?  Not because networking partners don’t care about you or don’t want to be bothered, but because they are extremely busy and just have trouble keeping up with all that they have on their plate.
Let’s look at an example.  People have called me a power connector in the Philadelphia area, particularly in Human Resources and in the pharmaceutical industry.  I’m not sure of this but let’s go with it.  I have a full-time job, a side business and a volunteer position.  This creates many emails, phone calls and meetings.  If you send me an email, it could likely get buried under other pressing issues.  Does this mean I don’t want to connect with you?  No, not at all, so I suggest you send another follow-up.  Build rapport, show credibility, and show me that you believe in mutually beneficial networking.
The same concept applies to a call or email to a recruiter that has an opening that fits your background.  Polite, courteous and timely follow-up shows interest, passion and persistence.  These are traits that any employer would likely covet.  Of course, there is always a limit.  Too much of a good thing is always problematic.
Many job seekers are timid and don’t follow up enough.  If that’s you then remember a good amount of follow-up is appreciated and can really make a difference.
Conducting a cutting-edge job search requires many tactical elements such as a resume, cover letter, bio, target list of companies and brag book; however, if you also remain focused and practice the Three A’s of Attitude, Activity and Assertiveness, you will likely land your next position sooner and with less stress!
Remember, It Only Takes ONE
Matt Levy is an HR Professional/Recruiting & Talent Expert/Innovator. He blogs at http://mlevy2222.wordpress.com.  You can read the articles he refers to above at that site.   His article, “How Thinking and Acting Positively Helped Me Get a Great Job,” can be found below.

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As a psychologist, I present workshops focused on psychological strategies to help unemployed participants stay positive, motivated, and focused while searching for another job.  Recently, a participant pointed out that she had used volunteering to get her out of the house and enrich her life during her child rearing years.  After returning to work, she became too busy to volunteer.  Like many others today, she found herself out of work and spending countless hours seeking new employment.  Eventually, she found it more and more difficult to stay motivated.  She found she was becoming less energetic and was just going through the motions of looking for work.
It struck her that returning to volunteering would get her out of the house and help her feel more positive about her life.  She shared her experience with the group and even talked another member into joining her work at a food bank.  To my surprise, more and more participants started to volunteer in a variety of settings.  All reported feeling an improved sense of self-worth and more motivated to engage in job search activities.  One participant pointed out that she was being taught new software skills while volunteering.  (Something that would have benefited her in her previous job.)
In good times, volunteering is seen as an altruistic endeavor.  For an unemployed person volunteering remains a way to help others, but it can also help them help themselves.  It also looks good on your resume.  It shows perspective employers that you have a cooperative, sociable nature, and are willing to give generously of yourself to support a greater cause.

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