The job search—it’s the great equalizer. Almost all of us have had at least one time in our professional lives when we were looking for work and wondered, “Am I doing this right?” No matter your experience level, one of the best ways to improve your job search results is to talk with someone new about your methods. A colleague, friend or professional employment counselor will see your resume with a fresh view and will notice verbal and non-verbal cues you may be accidentally sending in an interview. So, if working with others is so useful for job seekers…why don’t we do it all the time?
We don’t know where to start: If your job search hasn’t been successful, you know you need to do something, but the question is WHAT? Having the same close friends read your resume over and over again is probably not the best option. Your more distant network connections will probably give you a more honest assessment. If you’ve been stuck in a fruitless job search for a long time then meeting with a professional job counselor is probably worth your time and effort.
The process is uncomfortable: It can be unnerving to feel like someone is examining you and making judgments about your qualifications, your communication skills or your interview style. It’s like having a spotlight on you while you’re wearing pajamas and bed-hair. Try to remember that people who offer to help you improve your job search skills want you to succeed. At some point in their careers they probably had job search problems too. All their comments about improvements to your resume or mistakes in a practice interview are designed to make you a better job candidate and NOT to hurt your feelings.
We haven’t learned to control the volcano: Our emotions are always bubbling under the surface like the lava in a dormant volcano. When the job search isn’t going well, these emotions (disappointment, anger, frustration, fear) can burst to the surface. The worst possible time is during an interview. Because we want to avoid having these negative emotions explode sometimes we evade conversations about the job search. It’s essential to have a strategy for not just pushing these feelings away, but actually understanding them and dealing with them as part of your overall job search strategy. It’s best to work through these lava-like emotions in a practice interview or appointment with a job coach than to risk them erupting during a real interview.
These are some of the issues I discussed in an introductory workshop this weekend. When a group of people give up a piece of a precious sunny afternoon in Vancouver, especially with a parade going on down the block, to attend a workshop “thank you” doesn’t seem like enough. I was thrilled to share a few pointers from my archives on resumes and interviews. It was also wonderful to have two area professionals attend. Alexis Greenwood, Coordinator for the Skilled Immigrant InfoCentre of the Vancouver Public Library, and Eric Lau, Senior Links Coordinator and Labour Market Support Worker at South Vancouver Neighbourhood House, both not only attended but actively participated. They provided a wonderful real life example of the importance of networking and engaging with colleagues across company and agency lines.
Looking for a job can be a frustrating experience, but the process can also open the door to learning and professional development opportunities. We cannot learn to swim without getting wet; we cannot learn to cook unless we step into the kitchen. Finding a new job is the same kind of deal—you can’t really compete in the market without opening up your mind to changing realities.
Finding the Skilled Immigrant Infocentre http://skilledimmigrants.vpl.ca/index.php/contact