Category: Career Growth & Advancement


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.

Related posts

How Do You Make the Right Choice Between Multiple Job Offers?

Last week I had a client who landed several interviews and job offers. Once she got past her initial excitement, she admitted some feelings of fear and nervousness.

You might wonder why she’d feel nervous or scared about having numerous opportunities coming her way at once. But these feelings can be normal, especially if you’re not used to it.

My client said this was the first time in her career she’d experienced more than one job opportunity at a time, and she wasn’t used to this unfamiliar feeling of being “in demand.” It was a bit overwhelming to her.

She felt some “analysis paralysis.” She wanted to make “the right choice.” But she also didn’t want to disappoint her networking contacts when turning down the opportunities they led her to.

What would you do in this situation? You might think you’d be ecstatic, but you may experience some of the same feelings she did.

When you find yourself in this situation, there are some things to help you in making your decision. To find out what they are, read on.

The choice between multiple job offers

One thing you need to keep in mind when faced with multiple job offers is, most of the time, there’s no such thing as “the right choice.” Sometimes, it’s just a choice. Each opportunity can have an equal number of pros and an equal number of cons.

Putting pressure on yourself to make “the right choice” can cause undue stress. It can also result in so much analysis paralysis you make no decision at all, and the opportunities pass you by.

Instead of pressuring yourself to make “the right choice,” try to focus on which opportunity will be the most compatible choice.

How to determine the most compatible job offers

Making a choice between multiple job offers requires you to know more than just what’s included in the offers. It also requires you to know a lot about yourself. Things such as:

  • Your core values
  • The future goals for your career
  • Your mission in life

1. Your core values

Knowing what you value most, and what your non-negotiables are, will help you determine if a job offer is compatible for you. You want to compare your own core values with the company’s values to see if they align with each other.

Also, you want to determine if the job itself helps you carry out your core values, either directly or indirectly.

While salary plays a big role in your decision, it’s highly likely other things will be important to you. Knowing how those things align with your core values will help make the decision easier, especially if the salaries are the same or similar among each offer.

Take some time to write down your non-negotiables for your next job. Do this even before you start looking for another job. paNASH’s one-on-one career coaching can help you in clarifying your values.

2. Your future career goals

It’s important to be clear about your future career goals so you’re making decisions on job offers that will move you toward those goals, instead of possibly away from them. Accepting a job offer without the future in mind could cause you to drift off course.

To learn more about setting good goals, subscribe to the paNASH newsletter and receive the free 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

Subscribe & Receive 8 Steps to Purpose & Success

3. Your mission in life

I’ve previously written on the importance of having a personal mission statement. But as a reminder, a mission statement indicates how you plan to carry out your core values and arrive at your future goals, to make a positive impact in the world around you.

It serves as a measuring stick of sorts, and helps you to know what decisions to make. You should give serious consideration to agreeing to the opportunities supporting your mission statement. Opportunities not supporting your personal mission are ones you should seriously question, and likely say no to.

To write your own mission statement, check out the instructions in my previous post entitled, “How to Make Career Choices That Won’t Destroy Your Personal Brand“:

How to Make Career Choices That Won’t Destroy Your Personal Brand

Help in making the most compatible choice

I’m glad to say my client didn’t spend a lot of time stuck in her fear and nervousness about her various opportunities. She was able to make a decision for an offer she says is most compatible with her idea of her dream job.

She attributes this to the career coaching she received:

“I don’t believe I would be in the very happy position I’m in, had it not been for our work together” she says.

If you need help with making sense of the direction of your career, paNASH can help! We can assist you in determining your core values, your future career goals, and your personal mission.

We provide one-on-one coaching services and online resources to ensure you’re making the most compatible and productive decisions for your current and future career. This also includes assistance with salary negotiation.

To schedule a complimentary initial consultation, click here and complete the paNASH intake form.

Pursue Your Passion With paNASH

Related posts

How to Tell If a Company Is a Good Fit for You

How to Make Your Big Decisions More Simple

How to Make Career Choices That Won’t Destroy Your Personal Brand

How to Know If You’re In the Wrong Job

 

Why There’s Always Room for Improvement in Your Career and Your Life

This week is the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics. My favorite Olympic event has always been women’s gymnastics, with diving being a close second. This YouTube video of what women’s gymnastics looked like in 1936 always cracks me up.

What was once considered impressive, is now funny because it’s sub-par based on today’s competitive standards. But the video is also a reminder of how there’s always room for improvement in our careers and our lives.

The improvements and advancements in gymnasts’ skill levels and techniques since the 1930s didn’t happen overnight. These changes occurred incrementally over time. They evolved as athletes continued to improve and push their limits with the help of their coaches.

How can you find room for improvement in your career and your life?

Do you want to evolve in your career or your life? If so, there are things you can do to create room for improvement. And you can do so over time. In fact, sometimes it’s better to take small steps over an extended period of time. Incremental improvement prevents you from getting overwhelmed, frustrated, and discouraged. It keeps you from giving up too soon.

Therefore, I suggest inserting slightly more difficult challenges into your ordinary routine on a regular basis over time. This may require a little creativity, along with a few steps outside your comfort zone.

The challenges don’t have to be huge. You can begin with something as simple as raising the proverbial bar just a tad bit higher. Once you’ve mastered your new challenge, you can add another small but new twist to your routine.

Looking back

Think about the areas in which you excel. Looking back, can you remember when you first started out in this particular specialty or skill?

Do you now find it funny how what once seemed difficult now seems ridiculously easy? Do you find it interesting how far you’ve come?

When I first started my coaching business, I remember I knew nothing about the logistics of running a business. Now, many of those logistics have become second nature for me.

And when I first began paddle boarding, I remember how slow I was. Then, I increased my speed significantly, especially after getting some training from former canoeing Olympian and pro paddle boarder, Jim Terrell.

Looking ahead

Looking ahead, what’s something creative you can do to challenge your limits and improve your skill set?

For me, I want to do two things this summer. One, I want to read more books to improve my knowledge on the topics of economics and investing.

Two, I want to advance my current communication skills, particularly in the areas of interpersonal relationships, discourse, and even car sales negotiations. I’ve already started practicing the latter with the help of one of my clients. She’s a master at negotiating a fair price for a car. Her tips have helped me so much in shopping around for my next vehicle. I feel much more confident and in control.

Making more room for improvement

Gymnasts improve their skills with the help and motivation of their coaches. My friend who’s a gymnastics coach does this for her athletes. And I do the same for my clients, helping them challenge their limits and encouraging them.

Do you need a coach to help you make room for improvement in your life or career? If so, you can schedule a complimentary initial consultation by completing the paNASH intake form. I’d love to talk with you and see if paNASH’s coaching services are a good fit for your personal and professional goals.

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How Your Grit Can Help You Negotiate a Better Salary

My grandmother was the hardest working person I’ve ever known (not just woman, but PERSON). She had grit. And she knew how to value her hard work. In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, allow me to share her story.

My Grandmother’s Grit

My grandmother worked in a textile mill for a total of 54 years, well beyond the age when most people retire. At the same time, she worked her and my grandfather’s farm until age 91. Because my grandfather couldn’t walk very well, my grandmother did much of the leg-work of running the farm. She also had a side-hustle doing alterations, and raised two children while doing all of this.

My grandmother could pick 100 gallons of strawberries in 90 degree heat at record speed. She was three times faster than people half her age. She was such a hard worker that when her shoe fell off while stooped over picking green beans, she never even stopped to put it back on. A few weeks later her sister noticed the shoe tangled up in some vines. She asked whose shoe it was. My grandmother responded casually, “Oh, it’s mine. I walked out of it and just kept going.”

My grandmother was such a hard worker that on the morning she had a major stroke and was paralyzed on one side of her body, she wouldn’t let my grandfather call 911. Instead she made him hold her up while she fixed breakfast for him with one arm. He had to sneak and call 911.

Know Your Worth

My grandmother was the hardest working person I ever knew, but there was one thing she wouldn’t do. She would never work a job that didn’t pay her fairly. In fact, when she had to enter a nursing home at age 91, she still wanted to work. So, she asked the nursing home director for a job. The director told her she could help deliver mail to the rooms, but they wouldn’t be able to pay her. She responded with, “No thank you.”

Don’t get me wrong. My grandmother was a very giving and generous person. She’d make sure everyone else had food in their stomachs and shirts on their backs long before herself. She denied herself a lot of things so others could have more. But she also understood her value, and never cheapened her skills.

My grandmother’s grit serves as an example to me, and hopefully to other women, that our skills and abilities are valuable in the workplace. We should not settle for a compensation not commensurate with our experience or the services we’re providing. Instead, we should stand up for what we’re worth, or be willing to walk away.

If you know you’re a hard worker and you’re good at your job, get the confidence to ask for what’s fair. Know your worth and negotiate that new job offer or that contract with a new client. Ask for your long over-due raise or promotion. Don’t demand this kind of respect, but instead, command it. And teach your daughters and granddaughters to do the same.

Need help improving your salary negotiation skills? paNASH can help! Email me to get started.

How to Go From Veteran Hero to Civilian Employee

When I first started out in career coaching, I worked as the director of a career center at a college located next to the largest military installation in the world. Many of our students were U.S. veteran men and women making the transition from the military to a civilian job. I salute them for their service in celebration of Veterans Day today!

But making the transition from the military to a civilian career path was not easy for most of them. I had to help several of them understand how their military skills transferred to civilian work. I also helped them re-word their résumés to use more civilian-friendly terminology, and make them more marketable to potential employers.

It was an honor to work with such fine men and women, and to help them use their skills to serve their communities in new and different ways.

Jamie’s story

There are numerous companies who want to hire veterans. But just being wanted doesn’t guarantee you a job. And listing your military service on your resume doesn’t even guarantee you an interview. You still have to know and understand the do’s and don’ts of the job search.

For example, I once had a client named Jamie who came to me because, for two and a half years since leaving the military, she had not had any luck in her job search. Despite being a veteran and applying with companies known for hiring veterans, she couldn’t even land an interview.

Jamie was in her late 20s to early 30s, had proudly served her country, and was honorably discharged. In the two and a half years since she’d left the military, she’d started her own animal rescue non-profit, and earned an MBA while also conducting her job search. She had mad skills!

When she first came to me she said,

“Obviously I’m doing something wrong, but I haven’t been able to figure out what it is. Maybe you can show me.”

She knew there was something she was missing. She just didn’t know what it was. After all this time she finally recognized her need for someone to point out her blind spots and show her the way.

A veteran transitions into a civilian employee

When I began working with Jamie, it quickly became apparent to me she needed to make some small tweaks on her resume and learn some new interview skills.

There were some things she’d included on her resume she thought were assets. However, hiring managers instead viewed them as liabilities. I had her remove those from her resume immediately.

Just a couple days later, Jamie got a call for an interview. I spent a few sessions preparing her for the interview. I taught her the interview skills she lacked, and did mock interviews with her while providing feedback on how to improve.

Jamie said:

“I had no idea until now what I’ve been doing wrong all this time!”

A week later, Jamie got the job offer. In fact, the gentleman who offered her the job commented,

“By the way, you gave a really good interview. I have a family member who has a job interview coming up. Do you think you could help her prepare for it?”

How to make the transition from veteran to civilian employee

If you’re a veteran making the transition into civilian employment, here are some tips to help you better market your past experience for civilian opportunities.

1. Get help

First, if the trauma from your military experience has resulted in PTSD, or any other problems that could negatively affect your future work performance, get help! Take advantage of any and all resources offered by the military and the VA.

If these problems are not addressed early and appropriately, it could lead to poor work performance. And if you get fired from your first civilian job, it will be even more difficult to find your next job.

2. Build a civilian network

Next, build a civilian network by starting with the people you already know, including fellow veterans and active service men and women. They have civilian friends and family who probably know someone to connect you with.

Then, take time to learn new networking etiquette tips and networking skills. You can do this through my e-book, Secrets to Networking With Ease (available on Amazon), and also through my on-demand program, The Secret to Successful Networking: How to Do It Naturally and Effectively. If you need more in depth assistance, I offer military discounts on my one-on-one coaching services to those transitioning out of active duty.

3. Assess your skills

Take some time to list out all the skills you used in your military service. Then, go back and determine which of those skills could transfer to civilian opportunities. It’s helpful to look at the skill requirements in different job ads to better understand how your skills might transfer.

Then, re-word those skills on your resume using some of the same terminology used in the ads. You can also look at LinkedIn profiles of other former military personnel to see how they’ve worded their job descriptions. Choosing a one-on-one coaching package can also provide you with personalized assistance in assessing your skills and marketing them to potential employers.

4. Tell your stories

In just about every job interview, you’re going to have to answer behavioral interview questions that begin with, “Tell me about a time when…”

It may be difficult to relive some of your experiences from your military service. But, your stories are what make you marketable and unique. You must be able to tell your stories in a way that exhibits the skills you’ve developed while dealing with challenging situations.

To learn the right way to answer behavioral interview questions, see my post entitled, “The Secret to Answering Behavioral Interview Questions.”

From Deployment to Employment

I’d like to thank all U.S. veterans for their service! I hope you find these suggestions helpful as you make the transition into civilian employment. For additional resources, please check out the info graph below.