Tag Archives: job search

Your job search is mortal combat: win every time

If you job hunt (or go to work) expecting mortal combat, where the other guy must lose, you will fail.  If you have a strong attitude that, “The company, my manager and I are going to win big,“ you will succeed.  In job search mortal combat you must defeat the real enemy every time. You will lose every time if you fight your allies.

I exhort you also to take part in the great combat, which is the combat of life, and greater than every other earthly combat.  (Plato)

Are companies idiots for not hiring you?  Is every interviewer prejudiced?  Let’s look at your job.  Do you assume that your workplace is run by fools?  Do you know more than your boss?  Do you hang around the complainers and whiners at work?  Are you the ringleader?  Are people out to get you?

People really may be out to get you if you have a bad attitude.  A hiring manager wants someone who will help and support him.  Promotions come to people who help raise team spirits and achieve goals.  Raises are given when a person is worth more than they are being paid.  The manager interviewing you for a job will get a feeling how you treat your current boss.  Your attitude will come through in the interview.

So how should you treat your current boss?

She should be your ally.  In mortal combat, you help your allies.

Often you have to train your manager.  She doesn’t have your perspective on problems.  You need to constantly bring things to her attention that she may not know. You need to train her patiently, the way you would like to be trained.

Would you like to get pats on the back for the good things you do along with the occasional pointer on how to correct a mistake?  Do the same with your boss.  Positive reinforcement sets the stage for your negative comments to be heard.  Take an attitude check today.  Are you saying 5 positive things for every negative you voice?  Keep track.

Are you job hunting?

Can the interviewer tell how you engage in destructive mortal combat?  Is that why they are avoiding you?  Do you treat your current manager as your best ally?  If the right attitude shines through, they will hire you.

Business really is mortal combat.  You have to plan on winning every time.  Are you going to defeat stupidity with perfect logic and rapier sharp attacks?  No, you will lose.  Do you plan on patiently helping everyone learn, grow and win?  Your victory is assured.

An attitude of constant improvement will win. Constant carping criticism loses every time.


Something To Do Today

Keep a notepad with you.  Make two columns.  Put a check in one column for every positive thing you say.  Put a check in the other column for every negative thing you say.  Do the positives outstrip the negatives by 5 to 1?

Every Friday document your week at work in your job journal.  What are your quantifiable achievements and failures?  Make an upbeat report for your manager in a format she can use.  Turn it in whether she asked for it or not.

“Ash breeze” can fix your job search

Sometimes your job search just isn’t working.  Fix your job search using what the old sailors called “ash breeze”.

You won’t go anywhere in your sailboat if you are becalmed, no wind.  Sailors on the old 3 mast boats used to dread finding themselves where there was no wind.  There are places in the ocean where you can go weeks without a breeze.  The old mariners often had only one way out, “ash breeze.”

When becalmed, a rowboat full of men would be sent out tied to the front of the ship.  They would take their ash wood oars and start rowing.  Progress was always painfully slow.  Any breeze would move a ship faster, but “ash breeze” was better than dying becalmed.

Are you becalmed?  Are you stuck in a company or job that just isn’t getting you anywhere?  The book, Carry On Mr. Bowditch, is the story of one of the greatest mariners of our age.

Bowditch was stuck in a nowhere job.  Born in 1773, with little formal education and  apprenticed to a storeowner, Bowditch became an expert bookkeeper.  He wasn’t where he wanted to be.  He studied mathematics and astronomy on his own.  Eventually he became a sea captain, author and educator.  He received an honorary PhD for his accomplishments.  His book on celestial navigation is still used at the US Naval Academy.

The most important thing you have is your attitude.  Couple attitude with an intense desire to better yourself and you cannot be stopped.  Start preparing now for the job you want to have in five years.  Learn what you need to learn.  The more you work on YOU, the better your life will get.

The harder I work on me, the better my life gets.


Something To Do Today

Read the book, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, by Latham.

Tomorrow:  IBD and what’s hot

Is your job search evolving or going nowhere?

If you kill time, you’ll murder your future. In your job search, are you comfortable doing the same thing over and over?  If you are getting interviews, you are doing a lot right.  If you are not getting interviews, you need to add something different.

Here is an example of people with potential dying early because they weren’t challenged.  You won’t die from boredom, but I bet you can learn new skills and look for jobs in a new way.

Down Syndrome vs down syndrome part 3

Up until the 1980’s it was common to put babies with Down Syndrome into asylums.  They never learned to read, talk, be toilet trained or do much of anything.  They seemed to be content.  They would sit in the corner and rock or wiggle their fingers in front of their eyes.  Most died before the age of 21.

The singing cowboy Roy Rogers and his wife Dale Evans had a baby with Down Syndrome, which they refused to put in an asylum.  Dale Evans wrote a book about the child’s two years of life.  She began a revolution.   Most kids with Down Syndrome, like my daughter Merrilee, now learn to read to a fifth grade level, are toilet trained, and live to be at least 50.

Merrilee would sit in a corner and rock or wiggle her fingers in front of her face if she didn’t have something more interesting to do. We have to purposely work at it.  We have to provide something better than rocking in the corner. Are you doing the same for yourself?

Job seekers with down syndrome often end up doing something equivalent to rocking in a corner.  They find an essentially useless, brainless task and concentrate on it.  They don’t want to think.  They just want to be doing SOMETHING. Or they find a task that looks like it should be useful, but is producing absolutely nothing, and they do that.

Do you keep submitting the same resume online to hundreds of jobs with no result?  Do you mail a resume to all the ads in the paper without getting an interview? Do you scan websites for jobs and never find one?  Do you just watch TV because it is less painful than trying to get a job?

You really do have amazing potential.  Sometimes discovering your talents is painful and difficult.  Worse, trying to get paid for those talents the first time, before you have “experience”, can take the wind right out of your sails.

Try something new.  Make a completely different resume and submit it a few places.  Call a few companies and ask for the person who would be your new supervisor.  Do some serious networking by having friends critique your resume for you.  Study interviewing skills at the library.  Read, “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.  Read “Acres of Diamonds” by Russell Conwell (Google for it)


Something To Do Today

Try something new.

Tomorrow:  Ash wind and sailing

What if you are getting NO response to your resume? 6 fixes

If they can’t see you, you aren’t there.  If they can’t take their eyes off you, there’s no competition.

What is the difference between these three scenarios?

  1. You send out 100 resumes in an hour and get no response.
  2. You spend two days deciding who to send resumes to, send out 3 resumes, and get no response.
  3. You go fishing.

From a job search perspective, there isn’t much difference.  If you are getting absolutely no response from your job search efforts, change something.  Experiment.  What can it really hurt if you completely change what you are doing 10% of the time?  Can the response get any worse? 

Get creative.  Here are some things others have tried:

Make a trial resume each week.  Do severe changes or just rearrange the bullets.  Send your normal resume out to most jobs.  Send your trial resume to 5 or 10 companies.  Do you get a response? 

Call up 10 friends and ask them to critique your resume, before you send it.  Send them a copy and find out what they think.  You don’t have to make the changes they suggest.  In addition to getting some good and bad help, you’ll be networking.  They’ll know exactly what you can do and be looking for an opportunity to help you.

Call half the companies you want to send a resume to.  Ask for the person who would be your supervisor.  If you get HR (Human Resources) that’s okay.  Whoever you get, ask them what skills they are having the hardest time finding.  If you have the skills, make them the first line in your resume, in bold print.

Once a week walk down the street in a business park and ask for the owner of each business.  Whether you talk to the owner or the receptionist, tell them you are looking for a job.  Take a resume and a sincere desire to help.  It can’t hurt.  Ask everyone you meet who they know that can use you.

Add a recommendation letter to your resume.  Get your last boss or a coworker to write a letter telling how hard you work and how much you help.  Make it the first page of your resume.  It’s bragging when you say it, it’s proof when someone else says it.

Think. Earl Nightingale suggests spending an hour each day with a pencil and a pad of paper just thinking and listing ideas of how to reach your goal. Exercise your brain. You’ll throw most of the ideas away, but you’ll also come up with some gems.  Think.  What can you change that will make you stand out?  What can you do that will draw positive attention to yourself?  Is there any REAL risk?  Probably not.  So try it a few times.  See what the response is. 

Learn.  Do better each week.


Something To Do Today

Decide what you will do different.  What will you change?  Try your experiment out 5 or 10 times and see what happens.  

Tomorrow:  Down Syndrome vs down syndrome

Make them want to hire you in your first 30 seconds

The greatest tool for your job search is an enthusiastic desire to help, not the job title you want. Let me show you what I mean.

I was talking to a local TV station manager.  He asked, “How would you like to stand in the middle of the biggest stadium in Pennsylvania and tell everyone there about your product?  That’s what a 30 second ad on my station is like.” Later he added, “You’d plan your speech well, wouldn’t you?”

Have you been telling a lot of people how good you are and getting no response?  Maybe you need to work on your speech.  Turn it into your 30 second commercial.

The biggest mistake most job seekers make is they start by saying, “I really need a job.  Can you help me?”  Why would that make a manager want to hire you?  You just asked him to give you money he needs for other things.

He’ll hire you if you can solve his problems, make his life easier, or earn him money.

He’ll hire you even if he doesn’t have an opening right now.

Sit down with a piece of paper and write each job type you are applying for.  Leave lots of space between jobs.  Under each job write what problems you can solve for the hiring manager.  Next write how you can make his job easier. Finally put down how much money you can make him in new income or save him in expenses. Would you pay someone to do those things?  Give examples of what you did in the past.  Give real examples.

Did you only write what duties you want?  I hope not.   If you wrote, “I can take care of the computers,” that isn’t enough.  Add, “I cut computer downtime in half at my last job.”  In addition to, “Do help desk duties,” write, “As second level help desk technician I cleared up all incoming calls in an average of 20 minutes per call.”

Can you write down accomplishments instead of duties?  What have you done?  How have you helped in the past?  Where have you saved money at your last job?  Did you figure out how to save time for 20 other people?  Did you bring in 20 new customers?  Were you better than anyone else?  Prove it with concrete examples.

For each job you need to write a 30 second personal commercial.  It should not say what you want.  It should say how you can help.  It should show your enthusiasm and your “can do” attitude.  Prove you can do it with examples.  Use that commercial when you are talking to people about your job search.  You’ll get a much better response.


Something To Do Today

Make that list of jobs you are applying for.  List what you can do for the hiring manager.

The Elmer Fudd job hunt

When Elmer Fudd went hunting for Bugs Bunny, he always started out with a plan.  He carefully prepared and then waited.

Bugs would come up to him and say, “What’s up doc?”

Elmer replied, “I’m going to get me a wabbit.”

Then Elmer would realize that the rabbit was talking to him instead of falling into his trap.  Elmer overreacted and Bugs got away.  Elmer kept overreacting more and more.  It got less dangerous for Bugs and more dangerous for Elmer.  Eventually Elmer would turn into a whirlwind, shooting in every direction. There was no chance he would hit Bugs.

Does that also describe your job hunt?

Did your first plan fail?  Then, you reacted too far in the other direction?  Then you overreacted in still another way?

You need to react to what you learn, but you also need to carry out a workable job search plan.  You need to put in enough effort in a disciplined manner to get results.

Something To Do Today

Sit down and think.  Are you feeling strung out and desperate?  Then find someone to help you review your job search plan.  You may just need to slow down, plan, and then execute in a disciplined manner.


Later:              How not to be a liar

The strength of weakness

Do you eat the leaves of your job search before the fruit appears?

Woodchucks are evil.  They get in my garden.  They eat the leaves on my strawberry plants and leave the flowers and small green fruit.  Then the flowers and fruit die.  I hate woodchucks.

I sometimes do the same thing figuratively.  I get started in a successful niche in my business, then I turn my hand to something else without thinking, without following my plan.  I waste my built up career capital switching direction because of lack of discipline.  I fail to direct my efforts and let the shifting winds of the moment direct my efforts.  I eat the strawberry leaves.  Then the flowers and fruit wither and die.

Are shifting winds and tides driving your job search and career?  Changing direction is one thing.  Never deciding is another.  You only have 40 or 60 hours a week for your career.  You have to build the roots and leaves of your career so that you get the full fruits of your labors.

Don’t let the woodchucks of indecision and lack of discipline keep you from the ripe fruits of hard work and patience.

Something to do today

Write out what you want your career to look like.  You can change it later, but if you write it out you will be less likely to change it 3 times a day.


Later:             It’s official

Illegal questions

How to quit

The old boy network

Exploit the old boys

The money question

Why failure is good in your job search

Not many people are willing to give failure a second try.  They fail once and it is all over.  The bitter pill of failure is often more than most people can handle.  If you are willing to accept failure and learn from it, if you are willing to consider failure as a blessing in disguise and bounce back, you have got the essential of harnessing one of the most powerful success forces.  (Joseph Sugarman)

Why failure is good in your job search

When I was 17 I bragged that I had gotten every job I applied for.  That was 5 jobs at the time.  I set my own expectations and hit them.  I continued to get every job I applied for. Looking back, I was lucky and that luck kept me from doing better.

I always had enough money to survive and my desires weren’t huge.  I was going to college by then and just wanted to graduate.  That is why my luck hurt me so bad.

After I left college I found out that my Geology Department would have gladly given me jobs while I was at school.  I just never asked.  I could have gone on to graduate school and jobs would have been lined up for me so I could afford it.  I never asked.  During the summer break there were jobs available for aspiring geologists, but I had already lined up something else selling books or working in the library.  It was so easy to get the jobs I applied for that I never got the jobs that would advance my career.

Even when I graduated I applied for a job in geology that was being filled by high school graduates at the time.  Of course I got the job.  And I earned less than I could. And I didn’t look for another job until I was laid off.

It took me 3 years after that lay off to get a good job with a bright future.  It took me that long to learn that if I accept every job I can get, I get jobs without a future.

I was a slow learner.  I didn’t start failing until after I was laid off.  I finally learned.  Sometimes getting every job you apply for means you aren’t aiming high enough.

Something to do today

Do you have a real career plan?

I was talking with programmers earning $50,000 per year and others earning $120,000 per year.  They had the same basic talents.  The better paid ones had chosen to work in SAP instead of Visual Basic.  They really had to pay a price to get into SAP.  Now they are reaping amazing rewards compared to the programmers who applied for jobs they knew they could get.

Do you really have a career plan?  Or is it just a downhill career path?


Later:              Simplicity

The attention business – connectedness and your job search

Google put first things first. They figured out how to rank pages by connectedness.  They put the page that will be the most useful to you at the top of your list.  That saved so much time that people abandoned the other search engines.

Connectedness is a simple idea on the web.  It is how often your web page is referred to by other web pages and how many web pages link to the ones that link to your web page.

There are simple and complex strategies to be ranked highly by Google.  All of them are forms of networking.  The two most common strategies are: 1) you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours, and 2) become the expert.

You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours

You offer to list their web page on yours if they list your web page on theirs.  That way you both get a lot of recognition.

Guess what?  It works in job hunting too!  Okay, not that easily.  The basic idea is to help as many people as you can, and they will help you.

Getting articles published in trade journals is one example.  There are literally thousands of local, state, regional and national associations and publications that need authors.  Call up one and tell them you want to write an article.  Local newsletters are especially useful.  If you do a great job, they’ll publish it.  And the people who get those newsletters will then consider you an expert.  They may just call you to help them with a question.  They may offer you a job.

If you have something interesting to say, and already know you are a good speaker, contact your chamber of commerce and get on their speaker list. If you would like to be a great speaker, contact Toastmasters.  I know there is a club near you.  Go to www.toastmasters.org .  They are the best speaker trainers in the country.

Become the expert

When you are the expert, everyone seeks to be connected to you.  You can get to be known as an expert by getting certifications or doing consulting work.

Certifications are available for almost every field: sales, HR, accounting, real estate management, security, law, computers, etc.  Often hirers search resume databases for the certifications and assume a good person will be attached to them.

Consulting work can really mean just getting a temporary job in the field.  If you are unemployed, you have little to lose.  Contact all the temporary staffing agencies and ask them if they place people with your skills on temp jobs as well as permanent ones.  If they don’t, ask them who does.  I was surprised that there is a market for temporary doctors in Antarctica, temporary electrical linemen in Alaska, and temporary environmentalists in Butte, Montana.

Figure out how to get connected to as many people as possible.  It is a Google job search method that gets you in front of the competition.  It could eliminate all your competition.

Something to do today

Make a list of ways other people have connected to you in your job.  People who have not worked directly with you have wormed their way into your mind.  How did they do it?  Are they trainers, writers, consultants, speakers or something else?  Track down how they got connected to you.  Can you do the same?

It’s scary, Your job search means you are in the attention business

Google is one of the most outrageously priced stocks in the market today.  They give away services that competitors charge an arm and a leg for, and they make a profit.  Google is the best company in the world that is in the attention business. If you are looking for a job or a promotion, you are in the attention business too.

Google started out as a search engine.  It was a simple catalog.  Then the owners started selling simple ads, but in a different way.  That difference changed the internet.

Go out and Google “jobs”.  Everything you see on that first page is a response to your attention.  There are a few ads at the top and to the right of your results. The results you see on the first page were also paid for by savvy marketers.  Your interest and attention to “jobs” is a valuable commodity.  Google is in the business of finding out what you will pay attention to, and serving it up with the least fuss and the most profitability. Google finds out what interests you and then shows you ads you really want to see.  Their ads solve your problems.

Now the scary part. Can anyone find you?  My query about “jobs” produced 3,420,000 hits this morning.  Two years ago it was 91,900,000. Four years ago it was over a billion places (1,400,000,000)  the word “jobs” was referenced.  Even Google is getting more selective about the information they present to me.  They sell more by presenting less information.

Let’s cut down the competition.  Google “biomechanical engineer” in quotes and you get 35,600 hits, and a lot of the ads disappear. Google your name inside quote marks. I get 5590 hits on “Bryan Dilts” because I am a blogger and businessman. Can anyone find you? Google is expert at finding what interests me and presenting the most important information in the first page. People can find me, can they find you?

Why you are in the attention business. To get a job, you have to get a hiring manager’s attention. You have to be at the top of his employee search.  There is a huge amount of competition for his attention.  He has to stop and look at you as a person.  He has to call you, bring you in for an interview, and introduce you to the team.  Then he has to decide to stake his career on hiring you. He has to pay a lot of attention to you.  Are you doing what is necessary to be at the top of his search?

The next few days are about getting the attention of people who will hire you.  Google is going to play a big part in the discussion, so go out and have some fun with it.

Something to do today

Cut a paragraph or phrase out of your resume and Google it.  Do the same with a job ad.  Have some fun.


Tomorrow:     The attention business – connectedness