Category: Goal-setting


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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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.

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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

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

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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 to Avoid Taking the Wrong Career Risks

When making career decisions, risk is inevitable. And to be successful in a job search, you have to be willing to take some career risks. Especially during a tough job market like the one we’re in right now.

For the past four weeks, I’ve shared some unique, out-of-the-box job search strategies. Not all strategies will work for every job seeker or every situation. But, they provide examples of calculated risks you may want to consider so you can stand out above the tight competition, and therefore increase your chances of landing a job.

How to take calculated career risks

How do you take calculated risks in your job search and your career?

It all starts with knowing your goals, your personal mission, and the strengths and skills you’ve been gifted to help serve others.

These factors should be the foundation of your job search, and all your career decisions. If you don’t know these things, you’re taking a dangerous risk.

For example, if you have more than one job offer to choose from and you haven’t taken the time to determine your personal mission, you may make a choice based on superficial things.

I see so many people choosing a job offer based solely on how much it pays. They think they’re making a good, financially risk-free decision. But soon they find themselves in a soul-sucking job.

They realize, by only taking financial risk into consideration, they risked so much more. They risked their peace, their sanity, and even their family.

A year or two later, they’re looking for a new job again.

Doing the foundational work

The foundational work needs to be done before you’re faced with multiple job offers. This foundational work includes clarifying your goals, solidifying your personal mission and vision, and knowing how to best use your skills to serve others.

It’s a process, and it takes time and commitment.

Just yesterday I read a quote that says,

“Most people do not deliberately seek to build on a false or inferior foundation; instead, they just don’t think about their life’s purpose.”

Don’t be one of those people!

Having a foundation already in place will help you know what you should measure your decisions against. This way, you’ll take calculated risks, and make sound career decisions.

Map out your goals

To get started on this necessary foundational work, first find some time and a quiet place to map out your goals.

Using paNASH’s 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan can guide you through this process. It’s free when you subscribe to the paNASH newsletter.

Solidify your purpose and mission

Next, use paNASH’s Personal Branding program, in conjunction with the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan, to help you solidify your purpose and mission. This program will also help you determine your skills and who they best serve.

The Personal Branding program is available in a variety of forms:

The insights gleaned from this program give you leverage when determining which jobs to apply for and which calculated risks to take. This saves you time in your job search. Also, it helps you make the wisest career decisions when faced with multiple job offers.

Taking no career risks is a huge risk!

One thing to bear in mind. Your career cannot, nor should not, be confined or reduced to one particular model or program. Hence the suggestions for out-of-the-box job search strategies and one-on-one career coaching.

But often, models and programs, such as the ones listed above, give you a starting point to gain clarity to your unique situation, along with a foundation to build upon when different situations arise in your career.

I always recommend you use discernment, and consideration of more than just financial gains, when taking calculated risks in your career. But also understand, taking no risk at all in your career, is taking a huge risk. So start building your foundation today!

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How to Plot Your Escape From the Golden Handcuffs

So you’re thankful to still have a job in these current economic times, but you’re miserable in it. You’d love to escape the golden handcuffs to start your own thing.

Now could be a good time to start plotting your escape so your business idea can be ready when the economy opens back up.

But before you do, you need to evaluate your personal goals. And even if you’re not looking to start your own business, but instead want to change jobs or careers, I recommend you also evaluate your personal goals first.

If you don’t take into account your goals in other areas of your life before focusing on your new career goal, you could find yourself more miserable than you currently are.

This goal review should include a detailed plan outlining the kind of life you want for you and your family. Here’s how to start.

Evaluate your goals

1. Write down your goals

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s statistically proven you’re 50% more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down.

When plotting your golden handcuff escape, you want to write down more than just your career or financial goals.  You also want to write down your goals for all aspects of your life. This includes your spiritual, family, health, social, and personal development goals. Focusing only on career or financial goals can lead to burnout real fast!

For help with all types of goals, download my 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. It’s free when you choose any of my subscription options.

2. Look for complementary goals

Once you’ve written down your goals, look for areas where the achievement of one goal will result in the achievement of another goal.

For example, you may have a goal to become healthier by exercising more, while your new business venture will require some regular physical work.

3. Pay attention to competing goals

Don’t ignore where you may have competing goals.

For instance, you may want to have more time with your family, but your career goal will require a lot of business travel.

I’m currently working with a client who, when we first began working together, had a short-term goal of starting her own consulting business. But, after working with her on her goals, she realized this goal was in competition with her new family dynamic. She recently gained custody of her 13-year-old nephew and wants to provide a solid, stable home for him for the next five years.

Her goal for her consulting business hasn’t been dashed. It’s just been changed to a long-term goal. Her new short-term goal is to find a stable job that will put her in front of future clients and strategic partners for her long-term goal.

Author Pamela Slim says in her book, Escape From Cubicle Nation:

“Over time, as your life changes, you can adjust the plan. The important thing is to think about your ideal life before you make any serious decisions.”

4. Include your family’s input

For this reason, you’ll need to include your family in your goal-setting and goal review process. Their input is essential because your choices will significantly impact them as well.

Consideration needs to be made not only for your spouse, but also for your children and/or aging parents under your care. Each member of the family should weigh in on what an ideal life would look like.

You won’t all agree on everything, but there should be agreement on some major areas. Creating a family mission statement (or personal mission statement if you’re single) can help you in making big decisions and coming to agreement in those decisions.

Once you have a personal or family mission statement, you can use it to weigh important decisions. You do this by observing which decisions best support your mission statement.

My Personal Branding program works in conjunction with the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan, and can be adapted to families as well. You can also use it to help you flesh out your business idea or next career move.

5. Find room for your life

Your original reason for trying to escape the golden handcuffs likely had something to do with wanting more work-life balance.

Use your evaluation of your personal goals to find creative ways of making room for the life part of your work-life balance goals. Do this before you get so wrapped up in your new career goal you have no time for life. You’ll be glad you did.

Things that will thwart your escape from the golden handcuffs

1. Not trusting the process

Some clients who come to me wanting to break out of their current job to start their own thing, often want to jump ahead of the process listed above. This is usually because they’ve waited so long to start making such plans, either because of fear or lack of confidence. Which leads to a desperation to jump into something new without doing the necessary research and prep work. As a career adviser, I have to say this is a dangerous reason to start something new.

If you’ve overstayed in your current job and you’re now anxious to get out, resist the temptation to:

  • Skip the goal evaluation process all together.
  • Get impatient with the process and quit before you’ve completed it.
  • Forgo your due diligence and research
  • Become inflexible about your business idea.

While passion is important, your business idea should also be something people need and can benefit from. This is why the Personal Branding program includes the process of figuring out if there’s a market for your idea, who your market is, and how you help solve your market’s need or problem.

2. Unwillingness to make necessary financial sacrifices

Other clients who come to me wanting to leave their current job for something new, such as starting their own business, will often say they’re ready to make the transition. However, they attach a condition to it. They say they must immediately earn the same amount of money they’ve been making, or more. This is an unrealistic expectation.

Therefore, it’s important to do the goal evaluation first and to include your family in the process, as suggested above. You must look at your finances to make sure you can afford to start something new. But, you need to be realistic about this as well.

If you say you need to earn the same amount because you’re putting your children through college or have some large medical bills, that’s one thing. But if it’s because you think you can’t live without your current lifestyle of a fancy car or the latest big screen TV, that’s another thing. Working for such things is what’s keeping you in your golden handcuffs, and keeping you from a more fulfilled life.

Speaking from personal experience, when I left my job to start my own business, I had to cut out A LOT of things I thought I couldn’t live without. This included both big things and little things. And guess what? Not only do I not miss those things, I feel freer without them.

My life has become more simplified, allowing me time for more important things in life. Plus, making short-term financial sacrifices has led to a more secure financial future. I’ve been able to pay off my debt and put myself on a more solid financial footing.

Serving others

Don’t get so enamored with financial success and making more money that you can’t see a new career move as a means to a great life. Sometimes you have to sacrifice more in the short-run to have more in the long-run. But if your goal is only to serve your bank account, you won’t find fulfillment in your current job, your next job, or your own business.

Although no one starts a company or changes careers without the goal of making money, the ultimate goal should always be, first and foremost, to serve others. As you do, you’ll find the fulfillment you’re seeking, even if you’re making less or more than you currently are.

I love serving my clients and people like you who want to have more balance in their lives and career. This includes not only providing you one-on-one career coaching services, but also online resources available on-demand.

Resources to help you escape the golden handcuffs

You can start with the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan, free with any paNASH subscription option. In addition, you can purchase the Personal Branding book for as little as $9.99. Or, you can get it free with your purchase of the Personal Branding on-demand course.

In addition, I’ve listed below some books and classes helpful in escaping the golden handcuffs and starting your own thing.

  • Book – Escape From Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur, by Pamela Slim
  • Book – Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time or Money, by Pat Flynn
  • Nashville Community Education Commission virtual class: Start Your Own Business
  • Nashville Community Education Commission virtual class: How to Write a Business Plan

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