Category: Out-of-the-box career advice


Reverse Job Search: How to Deal With Unsolicited Job Opportunities

In last week’s post, I discussed ways job seekers can take advantage of the current job market created by the “Great Resignation.” As a follow-up, I want to illustrate how being honest about both your strengths and weaknesses, and developing good salary negotiation skills, can make a difference in a post-COVID job market, specifically in dealing with unsolicited job opportunities.

Meet my client

A client I began working with in the spring was looking for a slight career change. During our time in working together, she received a couple of job offers, but turned them down because they weren’t exactly what she wanted.

We agreed it would be a good idea for her to hold out for something more in line with her career goals, especially since she already had a job providing good income.

Therefore, she took a step back from the job search. In doing so, she started enjoying her current job more.

Fast forward to September, and she, like many other people right now, was being recruited for unsolicited job opportunities three to four times per week. This is because of the “Great Resignation” and employee shortage many companies are facing this fall.

My client stuck to her guns, and said no to the opportunities not in line with her career goals. Then came a recruiter calling with a job, still not exactly what she was looking for, but it had potential. So, she agreed to an interview.

When I had my follow-up session with my client, she told me everything that happened with her interview. And it was so awesome how things played out for her.

This next part of her story goes to show how anything can happen in a job search, especially during a job seeker’s market. It also shows how important it is to be transparent in the interview process.

Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses

My client shared with me how when it came time for the interview, she’d completely forgotten about it. She was 30 minutes late, and the recruiter called to see why she wasn’t on the Zoom call. My client apologized profusely, figured the company probably no longer wanted to talk with her, and was okay with it if they didn’t.

But when it’s a job seeker’s market, companies are much more forgiving, and they still wanted to conduct the interview with her. (Note: please don’t take this to mean I’m saying it’s okay to be intentionally late for an interview, even in this current job market!)

In an ordinary job market, it’s best to downplay weaknesses and play up strengths in an interview. But because my client wasn’t feeling the typical nerves and pressure she’s felt in past interviews, she decided to take a different approach to this interview.

This time around, she chose to actually emphasize her weaknesses as much as her strengths. She wanted to be completely authentic so she could guarantee the right job match for her. Because of this approach, she said the interview felt more like a conversation, and therefore more comfortable and freeing.

I’ve always told my clients this is how an interview should be. It should be a meeting or conversation about determining a win-win scenario for all parties involved. This includes both parties asking questions of each other so everyone can make the right decision.

The benefits of authenticity in unsolicited job opportunities

As a result of my client’s more authentic approach to the job interview, and despite being half an hour late for it, she got a second-round interview! But there’s a twist to this story. The second interview was for a different role, which was a step above the job she originally interviewed for. My client’s interest increased.

She continued to be transparent about her abilities and weaknesses in the second interview. Following this second interview, another twist occurred. The company called my client to tell her they were creating a role just for her, based on her skills. This role was two steps up from the original job, and three steps up from her current job title!

My client was flabbergasted! They told her to expect an offer after they were done running the required ad for the new role.

Develop good salary negotiation skills

When my client received the offer, she contacted me, wanting to use her remaining session of her career coaching package to prepare her for salary negotiations.

Despite the fact this is the same client who taught me how to negotiate with car salesmen, she was nervous when it came to negotiating salary. She attributed her anxiety to the dip in her confidence caused by the dynamics of her current job. But she admitted her confidence was improving due to the career coaching I’d provided.

This time, I coached her on how to negotiate what she wanted, which included $5,000 more than the offer, and an extra week of PTO.

She still had some concerns that if she asked for what she wanted, the company might rescind the offer. This is a common fear, especially among my female clients.

I reminded her they recruited her, so she has more control in these negotiations. And I reminded her they had created a role tailor-made, just for her! No company would do this, and then rescind the offer.

She responded, “I think I just needed to hear this from you Lori.” She accepted the offer and is very happy with it!

Her biggest lesson from this experience is captured in what she said next:

“I learned I was only going to find the right job and the right company if I was being my true and authentic self.”

If she hadn’t been so open and honest, the company might have only offered her the original position, which was two steps down, not as good of a fit for her, and not as much money.

Handling unsolicited job opportunities

From this experience, my client understood the point of the homework I gave her, specifically, the personal branding homework. She realized it takes discovering your authentic and unique differentiators, plus learning how to articulate them to employers, to find the right fit for your career goals.

This is true whether you’re actively looking for a new job, or if you’re being recruited for unsolicited job opportunities. Other tips for handling unsolicited job opportunities include the following:

1. Know exactly what your career goals are

If you’re not clear on your career goals when recruiters come calling, you could end up trading one bad job experience for another. Writer and educator James Quigley says,

“If you’ve already gone down the rabbit hole of unfulfilling work once, do your best to avoid a repeat journey by considering factors like work-life balance and daily routine, as important as salary and benefits, when assessing possible job leads.”

The homework my client did can also help you with this. In addition, I always suggest making a three-prong list of what you’re looking for in a job.

The first column of your list should include your “must haves.” The second column should list the items you’re willing to negotiate or compromise on. And the third column should include what I call “icing on the cake” items, those things you don’t expect but would be thrilled to have.

2. Don’t let the flattery of being pursued be your only reason for taking a job

If you take the time to complete the first item, it’s less likely you’ll take a job for the wrong reasons. You don’t want to accept a job just because a company shows interest in you.

I’ve seen so many people make this career mistake. They’re so excited someone’s interest in hiring them, they feel obligated to accept the offer.

But if there’s ever a time to be picky when it comes to a job, now is the time. This current job market is your advantage in finding more of what you want.

3. Be open-minded and listen

Although you can now be picky, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be open-minded when approached with unsolicited job opportunities.

Take the time to listen to the details about the job. Then, ask as many questions as necessary to determine if it meets at least 60 to 75 percent of your “must haves” on your list.

4. Be honest

As you saw in the story above, being honest about your strengths and weaknesses can make a difference in finding the right fit for your next job.

Some resources to help you be authentic to your goals and your gifting include:

5. Be courteous

Finally, if you’re recruited for unsolicited job opportunities, provide the same courtesy you’d want in the job search. If you’re not interested in the job, say so graciously. And don’t ghost companies, even if companies have ghosted you in the past.

Showing courtesy makes you memorable for the next time you’re looking to make a career change.

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What’s a Fun Way to Discover Your Next Career Move? Find Out Here

Along with honoring those who died for our freedom, this past weekend marked the unofficial beginning of summer. Summer is a time to enjoy many freedoms. This includes the freedom to some much-needed time off from work.

I enjoyed my time off this past week with family and friends, and then some time on the water with my latest stand up paddle board. There’s nothing that re-charges me more than the rhythmic sound of my paddle in the water while surrounded by nature. Not only is this a great workout, it’s also very relaxing. For those few hours on the water, any and all stress melts away.

The freedom to discover your next career move

This is why there have been times I’ve taken clients out for a paddle boarding lesson. When they’re so stressed out by their current work situation or job search and it’s all they can think about, paddle boarding is a great way to take a break and shift focus.

Having both the physical and mental break helps my clients gain a better perspective, and gives better clarity to their career goals. This is especially true if they’ve been overthinking their career.

If you’re looking for a career coaching experience that provides a fun and much-needed break for better clarity on your next career move, and the freedom to explore what that might look like, you’ve found it here with paNASH.

Yes, we cover all the serious stuff required for a successful career and job search, but there’s also room here for something both fun and healthy to spark new ideas for your career. Besides, if you can’t have a healthy work-life balance in your career coaching experience, how can you expect to have it in your career?

Find out more

Summer is a great time to work with paNASH and discover your next career move! For more information, click here to schedule a complimentary initial consultation. In the meantime, click here to check out some of paNASH’s free career resources.

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Limiting the Jobs You Apply to Is Healthy For Your Job Search

When looking for a job, it can be tempting to apply for a lot of open positions. After all, shouldn’t you cast your net wide, especially if you’re in a desperate situation? The answer is no, not typically. So what should you do instead? I suggest a better use of your time is to curate and apply only to jobs that make the most sense.

I’ll speak about how to determine which ones make the most sense in a moment. But first, I want to talk about why curation is both an important and necessary step in your job search.

Why you should curate job postings

There are so many jobs listed in various online job boards. You could spend an unhealthy amount of time with the online application process. This is not always time well spent. Especially given how 80% of the workforce found their jobs through networking, not applying to jobs.

This is why I tell my clients they should spend only 20% of their job search answering job ads, and 80% networking. But most job seekers have this reversed.

As a result, you should limit your job applications to a manageable amount, so your time is freed up for more networking efforts.

Also, being selective in the jobs you apply to shows focus. I’ve previously written how applying for a lot of different jobs, especially different roles within the same company, can signal to employers a lack of focus. They often view this as a huge red flag.

How many jobs should you apply to?

Allow me to use some similar language from Justin Whitmel Earley’s book, The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction. He talks about the importance of curating the media we watch as one way to foster healthy habits. While he’s referring to media consumption, I’m going to refer to job applications.

So then, how many jobs should you apply to? It’s up to you to decide what your limit will be. “The point,” Earley says, “is to determine some kind of limit that forces curation.”

You can’t apply to every job listed in your field, but you should apply to some, perhaps even many. However, you also must curate them, instead of allowing the online job boards that care nothing about your career to curate them for you.

Earley says, “The good life doesn’t come from the ability to choose anything and everything; the good life comes from the ability to choose good things by setting limits.” You can substitute the word “career” for the word “life” in this quote, and it would still ring true.

Unlimited choices lead to “decision fatigue.” But limits, however, provide freedom. In the case of a job search, this could be the freedom to meet new people and grow your network, or discover opportunities not yet advertised.

By limiting and curating certain job ads, you improve your ability to make good career decisions.

What kind of jobs should you apply to?

Earley says, “Curation implies a sense of the good. An art gallery has limited space on the wall, so its curator creates shows to make the best use of that space according to a vision for good art.”

I recommend you develop a vision for good opportunities. The jobs it makes most sense to apply to are the ones meeting at least some of the following criteria:

1. Jobs matching at least 65 to 75% of your “must-have” requirements for a job. This will help you stay realistic without settling.

2. Ones where your skills match at least 65 to 75% of the qualifications. Remember from my previous post, “How to Know If You Should Apply for a Job You’re Not Qualified For,” job ads are written like wish lists. It’s unlikely there’s a candidate who checks every single box.

Where you might lack a particular skill, you make up for it with the ability to learn quickly, or with other assets such as emotional intelligence.

3. Jobs listed on LinkedIn or a company’s web site, instead of those listed on a big job board where the market is saturated and the postings are questionable.

4. Those your networking contacts have referred you to. This is the most effective way to apply for jobs. Therefore, you should spend much of your time building relationships with your contacts.

Conclusion

You may currently be in a situation where you feel like you have to find anything, and fast. But keep this in mind: by not being selective enough to curate a good list of job opportunities, you might find yourself right back in the same situation a year from now. This can turn into an unhealthy cycle. Is this really what you want?

It’s time to take a healthier approach so you can be more successful in your job search, and ultimately, your career.

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How Can Career Coaching Help Me if I’m Not Currently Looking For a Job?

The other day I heard from a previous potential client. We had originally spoken last fall about his desire to look for another job, but then he decided to stay with his current company to try to make it work. Now he’s reaching back out because this approach hasn’t turned out as he’d hoped, and he’s now reconsidering career coaching.

Did you catch that? He wanted to try to make his current career situation better, yet originally declined career coaching. Does this make sense to you? Probably, if you’re like most people who think career coaching is only beneficial when conducting a job search. But it’s not.

In fact, career coaching is helpful for all aspects of your career, such as improving your current work situation so it’s less miserable, getting promoted or changing roles within your company, starting your own business, considering retirement or semi-retirement, and much more.

Trying to do any of this without the help of an expert is a lot to put on yourself. Why go it alone?

How career coaching can work

To illustrate this point, let me tell you about a client of mine. I’ll call her Kate. Kate first came to me because she was unhappy with the department she was in at her current company. She didn’t mesh well with her co-workers in this department, and she wasn’t getting to do the type of work she enjoyed most. But she also wasn’t ready to start a job search yet.

Over the course of Kate’s coaching package, we looked at various options for her. This included exploring whether she should consider a new job search or not. We also explored the feasibility of starting her own business.

But first, I helped Kate brainstorm ways to have conversations with her supervisor about the option of carving out a role more in line with her skills and passions. We worked on this throughout her coaching package.

While doing so, we also focused on how Kate could start her own business doing what she loves, first as a side hustle, then eventually as a full-time gig if nothing panned out or things didn’t improve at her current company.

Kate began taking the steps to start her own side gig, and then COVID hit. As a result, she had to table her business idea.

In this time, the conversations she’d been having with her supervisor, along with taking the initiatives I suggested she should take at her job, led to the ideal role for her in a different department at her current organization.

When I last saw Kate, she was much happier in this new capacity at her current company. She was thriving because she was working within her skill set, and with a new group of people who appreciated those skills.

Are you running from something, or running to something?

Kate still plans to grow her own business idea slowly in the form of a side hustle, in case she ever decides to go full-time with it. But she feels less pressure now to do so. This is because she started with career coaching prior to considering a job search, before she knew exactly what her next step should be.

Kate told me she’s glad she didn’t wait until she was so fed up at her current company that she decided to start a job search. She knew if she had, she’d be running away from something instead of running to something.

Don’t wait to get started with career coaching

Don’t wait until you’re desperately running away from something to talk with a career coach. If you do, you’ll probably find yourself running in all different directions, with no real direction at all.

Let paNASH help you find the direction of your next turn in your career path. Click here to get started and schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

Or, help yourself to some of paNASH’s online video tutorials. These will help you get your footing in your current situation and properly pace yourself for the next step.

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Why Your Career Decisions Require Focus, Patience, and Passion

When working with clients, I spend a lot of time delving into the deeper issues involved in career decisions and the job search. I’ve written several posts on this topic as well.

Today, I want to share some “oldies but goodies” with you. If you’re new to this blog, I hope you’ll find them refreshing. If you’ve been following me for some time, you’ll see it never hurts to be reminded of these topics. Repetition helps improve memory and learning.

How to make good career decisions

1. Don’t follow your heart

You might think since my work emphasizes helping people pursue their passions, I’m telling them to just follow their hearts. This is far from the truth! In fact, following your heart can actually lead to trouble.

To better understand how pursuing your passion is different from following your heart, check out my post titled, “‘Follow Your Heart’ is Bad Advice. REALLY Bad Advice!

“Follow Your Heart” is Bad Advice. REALLY Bad Advice! (Re-Post)

2. Get focused

You can’t expect to find the right job without having focus. Applying to jobs without really knowing your goal can lead to some very poor career decisions.

Learn how to get focused in my post, “Why Focus Is So Important in the Job Search.”

Why Focus Is So Important in the Job Search

3. Seek career advice that’s different from the same old, same old

In addition to providing some tried and true career guidance, I always strive to bring more to my clients with out-of-the-box career advice. This approach helps set them apart from their competition. It’s advice you won’t get with most other career coaches, or from a simple Google search on the topic.

Get a taste for this out-of-the box guidance with my post titled, “Career Advice No One Will Ever Share With You.”

Career Advice No One Will Ever Share With You (Re-post)

4. Be patient

Learning to be patient is a difficult thing to master. In fact, it’s a lifelong learning process. Each time we fail, we’re given more opportunities to become more patient.

To improve your patience with your job search, check out my post, “How to Be Patient When You’re In Between Jobs.”

How to Be Patient When You’re In Between Jobs

5. Try some proven life and career hacks

When your career or job search feels out of control, focus on doing the things within your control, while letting go of the things you can’t control. This will help you better prioritize your job search and career decisions.

For eight simple hacks, see my post titled, “How to Hack Your Way to a More Passionate Life and Career.”

How to Hack Your Way to a More Passionate Life and Career

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