Sunday, March 9, 2014
I heard some good news from a former client the other day who had been looking for a new job.
When I first met Ken, he was working in health care and wanted to explore a different work environment where he would be more intellectually challenged and have more opportunities to work collaboratively with colleagues.
Prior to contacting me, Ken had half-heartedly investigated options by talking with a few colleagues and submitting a dozen online applications. He did not like waiting for responses from prospective employers, especially since he rarely got any acknowledgement of his applications.
Ken was discouraged and not particularly hopeful about his prospects for a job change. I was convinced that he had only scratched the surface of possibilities with his meager attempt at a job search. I suggested that he think of this time as a new beginning, since it would involve focused strategies rather than a continuation of unsuccessful actions.
He seemed open and encouraged by this idea and we began to identify next steps. It helped that Ken was clear about his job criteria, his competencies and his priorities. With these factors in mind, he identified key questions to ask people as he explored a new professional setting.
Relying on introductions he requested from friends and colleagues, and clear about the purpose of the meeting and the takeaways he wanted, Ken found it easier this time around to set up strategic conversations with people in positions that interested him.
While Ken was able to identify employment settings that seemed to meet his criteria, he did not learn of any specific job openings right away and began to feel discouraged once again. I told Ken that research shows that it takes an average of ten meetings to hear about one actual opening.
Ken needed to reset his expectations in order to keep his spirits up and his job search in high gear. He had to set achievable goals that were not narrowed to a job offer and become aware of the valuable marketplace information he was gathering in the process.
A few months into the process, Ken happily reported to me that several of his contacts had been in touch with him weeks after he met with them. Just this week, he received a solid job offer as well information about a position that was likely to develop by spring.
Ken had to adjust his timeframe and expectations for his job search. With a more reasonable idea of outcomes and an appreciation for what he was learning, Ken was able to stay focused on his search rather than become stalled and discouraged by unrealistic goals.
Take away tip: Don't give up on your job search because the results aren't happening in your desired timeframe.
Barbara Babkirk is a Master Career Counselor and founder of Heart At Work Associates, a career counseling and outplacement firm in Portland.
With a focused and intuitive approach, Barbara makes a difference in people’s lives by helping them design a new life chapter. She has a successful record guiding career transitions for professionals ranging from executives and artists to attorneys and entrepreneurs.
An expert in her field, Barbara is a public speaker on work-related topics writes a solutions-oriented column about work for the Portland Sunday Telegram.
Scott Woodard is a career coach with Heart At Work Associates, a career counseling and outplacement business in Portland, Maine.
Scott works with clients to identify and articulate their value and their personal brand. He helps clients develop clear, concise and crisp messaging to convey their particular difference, their achievements and their approach.
Scott coaches clients to market their brand through social media platforms, especially LinkedIn. He offers monthly workshops on how to make the most of LinkedIn for businesses or job seekers.