Tag: career goals


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

It’s an Employee’s Job Market. Here’s How to Take Advantage of It.

The “Great Resignation” is in full effect due to the disruption of the pandemic, which has dramatically changed the job market. Workers, especially mid-career employees, are re-evaluating their careers. This re-evaluation has led to many employees resigning from their current jobs for various reasons.

The biggest reason is due to burnout. Other reasons include organizational changes, under-appreciation of employees, insufficient benefits, and no support of well-being or work-life balance.

In fact, I’ve been working a lot lately with clients looking to leave their current job. This is because they don’t want to lose the flexibility they had when working from home. They’re looking either to start their own business venture, or to join a company continuing to allow remote work.

As a result, the jobs people are leaving are now coming open to other people looking for something new or different. Because of this, job seekers and potential employees are in more demand. Therefore, they can demand more from potential opportunities and contract negotiations.

Taking advantage of the current job market

Because of the Great Resignation, you may have noticed an increase in the number of recruiters reaching out to you for job opportunities. Perhaps even for ones in which you have no interest or qualifications. Because it’s an employee’s job market, you can decide which ones to give consideration to and which ones you don’t.

Whether you’re seriously considering recruiters’ offers, or are actively looking to make a career change, here are some tips to help you take advantage of the job market created by the Great Resignation.

1. Re-assess your personal and professional goals

It’s important to take an inventory of your personal and professional goals to see how they’ve changed since the pandemic. You can do this by going back through the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

If you haven’t already used this plan, you can receive a free download of it by subscribing to the paNASH newsletter. Clarifying your goals can help you to know which opportunities are worth pursuing and which ones aren’t.

While working through this plan, discuss your thoughts with your family. It’s important to have their input and support when considering any kind of career change. This is especially true if you determine your own resignation is part of your goals.

For tips on leaving your current company, check out my post entitled, “How to Plot Your Escape From the Golden Handcuffs.”

How to Plot Your Escape From the Golden Handcuffs

2. Update your résumé

I’ve always said it’s important to update your résumé every six months, even when you’re not looking for a job. It’s much easier to remember your results and accomplishments from the past six months, than waiting until you need a résumé to try to remember them.

But now especially, you need to update your résumé to reflect the skills and adaptations you’ve developed during the pandemic. These skills might include crisis management, remote teamwork, digital collaboration, and process development.

I recently added a bonus downloadable handout entitled, “Post-COVID Résumés: What your résumé should look like in a post-COVID job market,” to the online video tutorial on résumés. This tutorial is a great resource in helping you bring your résumé up to current standards, and getting it through résumé filtering software.

3. Brush up on your interview skills

Specifically, you’ll want to be prepared to answer questions about how you adapted during the pandemic, and perhaps even how you spent your time if you lost your job due to COVID. I address how to answer such questions in a previous post entitled, “How to Answer These Important Pandemic Interview Questions.”

How to Answer These Important Pandemic Interview Questions

Also, you’ll want to update your own list of questions to ask the employer in the interview. In addition to the questions I’ve previously suggested, you’ll want to ask:

  • How has your company changed for the better since the pandemic?
  • How has it changed for the worse?
  • Which pandemic-related adaptations have you kept in place?
  • What is the projected outlook for the company and this industry based on the effects of the pandemic?
  • How have you supported your employees during the pandemic?
  • What is your company’s definition of company culture?

This last question is becoming increasingly important. One of my clients who’s gone on several interviews lately, has noticed when she asks about the company’s culture, the employer asks her to clarify what her own definition of company culture is.

The reason they ask for clarification is because they’ve seen a trend where job seekers are defining company culture as being able to work from home. But companies don’t see work from home as a cultural aspect. They see it more as a logistic.

So be ready to explain what you mean by company culture, and then ask what their definition is, to ensure you’re both on the same page.

4. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and 5. develop good salary negotiation skills

It’s these two tips I want to discuss at greater length in next week’s post. Stay tuned for “Reverse Job Search: How to Deal With Unsolicited Job Opportunities.”

Related posts

How to Deal With the Fear That Wreaks Havoc on Your Career

When most of my clients first come to me, they express a lot of fear about their career. The fears shared include fear of…

  • Being rejected by hiring managers
  • Not finding the right job
  • Making the wrong decision on multiple job offers
  • Failing at a new career endeavor
  • Not making enough money to provide for their family
  • Staying stuck in the wrong job

A lot of these concerns boil down to deeper fears, such as fear of…

  • Losing control
  • Losing approval or influence
  • Change
  • Being wrong

You’ve probably experienced at least one (if not more) of these fears in your own career.

Steps to dealing with your fear

The first step in dealing with these emotions is to acknowledge them as normal, common, expected, and sometimes healthy. But letting them take control of you or paralyze your decision-making is when they become unhealthy.

By acknowledging your fears instead of ignoring them or denying them, you can make a conscious decision to take the next steps in dealing with your fears.

For some people, baby steps work best. One baby step you might take is to consider the worst-case scenario, and then ask yourself what the likelihood is of it ever happening, especially given your strengths and problem-solving skills.

Maybe you haven’t ever really taken an inventory of your strengths and skills. If this is the case, then you might want to take this baby step.

Perhaps getting help from a career coach is the best way for you to deal with your fears. An example of a baby step would be to set up an initial consultation just to gather more information on how the career coaching process works.

Other baby steps would be to start first with an online tutorial, or by following the tips in these two blog posts:

1. How to Overcome Your Fear of Risk and Improve Your Life

How to Overcome Your Fear of Risk and Improve Your Life

In this post, I share seven ways to gain control over your fear and improve your career.

2. Five Common Fears (and Myths) of Quitting a Job You Hate

5 Common Fears (and Myths) of Quitting a Job You Hate (Re-post)

This post is for those who may find themselves in a place where they can’t continue to stay in their current work situation, because it’s negatively affecting their health. There are times when some people may have to quit their job without another job lined up. This isn’t the answer for everyone, but if you find yourself in this situation, there are some tips in this post you can implement to survive the period in between employment.

Also in this post, I’ve provided some ways to challenge your fears and assumptions to help you be more realistic about your career. These tips are also and especially helpful for those who don’t have the option to leave their current job yet.

Start today

One thing to keep in mind is the fears you’re feeling will likely never go away. You’ll always experience them to some degree. The goal is to reduce the degree of your fear by doing those small things you have control over.

Taking small action steps will add up over time, therefore subtracting the amount of fear you feel.

What’s one step you can take, or one tip from the referenced posts you can implement today, to begin dealing with your fears?

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

 

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question we all got when we were children.

My own answers to that question were all over the place and would change pretty frequently.

In trying to remember what my answers were, I’m sure I probably said any of the following on any given day: a teacher, an author, a businesswoman, an artist, etc.

But the only one I distinctly remember being the most sure about was a fashion designer. That was after my grandmother gave me some Fashion Plates for Christmas one year.

 

I loved my fashion plates and enjoyed the creativity of them. They made me want to learn how to really sketch clothing designs by hand. 

Ask yourself:

What did you want to be when you grew up? What do you still want to be?


So when I got to high school I decided to take art all four years to learn how to sketch. 

That is until I got into my first year of art where I ditched the idea of becoming a fashion designer (or an artist) after my art teacher made my life a living a hell. 

She was such a rigid woman, too rigid to be teaching anything that’s supposed to be creative. Her teaching methods and personality made me never want to take another art class again.

Ask yourself:

Has there ever been a person or an experience in your life that was so negative it turned you off from what you wanted to be when you grew up? How did that affect you?


So next I looked to the subject I was enjoying the most at the time…beginner-level Spanish. I really loved it and thought I’d like to eventually major in foreign languages once I got to college. 

But then came Spanish II, which was really difficult for me, much more than Spanish 1 where I was making all A’s.

Ask yourself:

Have you ever lacked the skill or ability to be the thing you wanted to be when you grew up? How did you shift your focus?


Finally, I discovered psychology…which changed everything for me.

I found psychology so interesting, and my understanding of it came naturally to me. It was becoming my passion.

Ask yourself:

What comes naturally to you? What are you passionate about?


But when I announced to my family I was going to study psychology as my college major, they weren’t as enthusiastic about it as I was.

I kept hearing, 

“Oh, how in the world are you going to make any money with THAT kind of degree?”

My dad said I should major in business (his passion)…because I’d make more money.

My mother said I should be a nurse…because I’d make more money.

Even my brother chimed in and said I should be an accountant because, again,… I’d make more money.

Ask yourself:

Did anyone ever try to discourage you from becoming what you wanted to grow up to be? How did you respond?


So why didn’t I listen to any of my family members? Several reasons:

  1. I can’t stand the site of blood. And I can’t stand the smell of a hospital. Hearing people talk in detail about their surgeries or ailments literally makes my skin crawl.
  2. I’m completely bored with math and number crunching. While other people find numbers fun and fascinating, I do not.
  3. Business didn’t interest me at the time. At least not enough for me to have done well in business classes.
  4. I get good grades when I’m studying something I find interesting. If I’m the one who has to take the classes and do the homework, the material has to keep me awake.
  5. Loving what I do is more important to me than making a lot of money.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why choosing a career path that paid well over choosing one I loved was important to my parents. 

They were both born in the late 1930s, still early enough to have felt some of the long-term effects of the Great Depression. 

Their parents drilled into them the importance of being financially secure in the event of another depression, so they were just doing what they thought was best for me by trying to encourage me into fields considered more lucrative.

My brother is a lot older than me. In fact, he’s closer in age to my dad’s generation than he is to mine. Therefore, his mentality has also been “get a job that pays well regardless of whether you like it.”

Ask yourself:

Is there something you’re passionate about even though it may not make you a lot of money? Which is more important to you?


I stood firm in my decision to major in psychology (and minor in sociology), did well in all my psychology classes, and made the dean’s list several times.

It wasn’t until the summer between my junior and senior year that I knew what I wanted to do with my degree.

That summer I had been an orientation leader at my alma mater and had also been working the previous two years in the Provost’s office as a student worker.

I loved the college atmosphere, loved working with incoming students, and had developed a strong understanding of the organizational structure of a university.

I decided to ask my Dean of Students how do I get a job like his? (This was my first time conducting an informational interview and had no idea at the time that was what it was called.)

He explained I would need a master’s degree in a field I had no previous idea existed. I started researching graduate programs in higher education administration and student personnel services. 

Ask yourself:

Have you explored a career path that was previously unknown to you? What is it? What have you learned about it? What else do you want to learn about it?

The more I found out, the more I realized my psychology degree was the best foundation for what I would study in graduate school. 

In fact, much of what I learned in grad school was just an extension from undergrad.

Unlike my fellow grad students who came from other majors like finance and business, I already had familiarity with a lot of the theories and material.


Once I had decided on higher education as a career path, I still had to narrow down what area of higher ed I wanted to go into. 

My degree was readying me for so many possibilities.

I could go into financial aid, housing/residential living, Greek life, admissions, orientation, career services, academic advising, first-year programs, student activities, study abroad, international student services, and on and on.

Ask yourself:

Do you sometimes have so many career options or career interests you find it hard to narrow down your choices? 

I narrowed my choices down into three areas based on the ones that interested me most: orientation programs, freshman year experience programs, and career services. 

I delved into those three areas by gaining practical experience through internships, volunteer work and special projects while finishing my degree.

It was while volunteering in the university’s career center I knew I wanted to help students figure out what they wanted to be “when they grew up” based on their own interests and passions instead of their parents’ wishes.

Ask yourself:

Has a previous personal experience inspired you to a career helping others facing the same experience?


After earning my masters, I went on to be a college career adviser at various universities and even held the title of director of career services at one time. 

I also got to teach some college level courses.

I loved what I did. 

My job even allowed me to use my creative side in developing career-related programs for my students.

But when my creativity began to be stifled, I decided to make a bit of a career change and started my own image consulting business (click here to read the story on how that happened).

Ask yourself:

Have you ever felt so stifled or burned out in your career you knew you were ready for a change?


For 8 years I worked independently as an image consultant but in that time I also continued to do career coaching on the side. 

The image consulting fed my childhood interest in fashion since it included some wardrobe styling work. 

And I even became an author when I released my first book, an Amazon #1 bestseller about image and style.

Then, after 8 years of image consulting, I was ready for another career change, but also a bit of a return to my roots.

I became an independent career coach with a focus on helping people discover and pursue their passions.

Ask yourself:

Have you ever had a yearning to go back to something you once did before?


It’s an interesting story how I shifted my image consulting business back to a career coaching focus (click here to read that story).

I knew I wanted to go back to career coaching but I had two requirements for myself:

  1. I still wanted to work for myself, so I avoided applying for jobs at college career centers. Instead I re-structured my business’s mission.
  2. I wanted to work with people going through mid-career transitions with a focus on helping them pursue their passions and the things they once wanted to be when they grew up.

My background and own personal experiences have served me well in accomplishing those two goals. 

Ask yourself:

What are some of your career goals? What are some of your “must haves” for your work? How has your background prepared you for your goals?


Unlike most other career coaches, I didn’t just decide to be a career coach after having worked in another industry. Career coaching has been part of my entire career.

It has evolved out of a combination of childhood interests, natural gifts and talents, and passion. 

And it has taken some exciting twists and turns along the way.

I’m thankful there’s been more than just one way to pursue my passion. 

I’m also thankful my current situation allows me to combine some of my other passions like writing and stand up paddle boarding with my work as a career coach. 

And I love helping others find unique and creative ways to pursue and combine all the passions they have, helping them become some of the things they always wanted to be when they grew up.

Ask yourself:

What are some ways you can pursue your own passions? How can you combine your passions? What steps will you take next to do so?

Subscribe to my newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan to help you start taking the next steps to becoming what you want to be when you grow up (again)!

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