Friday, December 12, 2014

15 Ways to Boost Your Job Search Mindset in 2015


By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

When it comes to job searching, is your mind in a bind? Do fears and insecurities kick in when you apply for jobs? Do you feel as if you’ll never get hired? Do you stop short of applying for dream jobs because you’re sure you will fail in job interviews?


Job searching is a mind game. If your attitude is poor, if you fear rejection, or if you can’t take steps that are uncomfortable, you most likely will be looking for a long, long time.

15 Ways to Boost Your Job Search Mindset in 2015 [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
So in 2015, make up your mind to improve this situation. I’m not saying you have to change completely, which can be difficult and may set you up for more disappointment. But I want you think about taking a few steps to develop a better attitude about yourself in relation to job hunting. Doing so can make a huge difference in getting hired sooner rather than later in a job you want.

So here’s my list of 15 ways to boost your job-hunting mindset. Jot down the tips you’d like to put into effect.
  1. Be single-minded in your job search. Focus on your job hunt as if it’s the only thing in your life. Spend as much time as you can seeking the right jobs, researching employers, reaching out to contacts and employers, and rehearsing job interview responses. Spend less time watching TV, hanging out, shopping, following Facebook, reading, checking your phone, sleeping, and doing chores. You can catch up on all that stuff later, after you get your dream job.
  2. Think like an employer. Make your job hunt about your next employer, not about you and your needs. In every communication, resume, cover letter, phone call, email, meeting, social media post, and job interview answer, be ready to show the employer you are what he or she needs in an employee. Make sure you give examples that tell the employer you are qualified, hardworking, dependable, trustworthy, competent, friendly, efficient, and more. 
  3. Wake up ready to take action. Before you get out of the bed, create your job search plan for the day. Think about the actions you want to take, what you need to follow up on, what new opportunities you will pursue, and how much time you will put into your job search today. Don’t wait until you feel like taking action in your job search. Be methodical and consistent in your approach.
  4. Put some good feeling into it. If you plod through your job search, it will be tortuous. Instead, decide to bring energy and enthusiasm to every task. Have an “I can’t wait” attitude when you need to apply to a new opening, tailor your resume and cover letter to a job, schedule a job interview, and follow up with an employer.
  5. Believe. Never waver in your belief in yourself and in the fact that you will get a job if you are conducting an active and diligent job hunt.
  6. Get a little uncomfortable. Sometimes in your job search you need to make a phone call or reach out to someone you don’t know. For shy and introverted people, these actions are especially difficult. But you need to face the discomfort and fear, take a deep breath, and take action. Writing down what you want to say and rehearsing the situation may help build courage. Remember that even the most uncomfortable job search step will probably be over in a few minutes.
  7. Don’t give up. It’s easy to throw up your hands during a job search. You will not hear back from employers. You will not get an offer after a great interview. That’s how, unfortunately, the job search process works. But don’t raise the white flag and stop searching. Don’t give up incrementally and find yourself in the cold world of a half-hearted job hunt. Vow to keep going to get the job.
  8. Don’t take it personally. You will get rejected in your job search. Reframe rejection as a good thing—you don’t want to work somewhere that isn’t as good a fit as you thought. Move on.
  9. Consider everything you do to be progress. Every day you spend job searching is one day closer to your next paycheck. Job searches take time. Know it and consider everything you do to be progress toward getting a job.
  10. Pat yourself on the back every day. Review what you did in your job search at the end of the day. Congratulate yourself on every job application, every person you talk with, every new opportunity, and every follow up.
  11. Remind yourself of your strengths and skills. Know that your skills and background will be a great fit for the right job and the right employer. Make a list of your best skills and traits and review it to remind yourself of everything you offer.
  12. Don’t complain. Never let a discouraging word cross your lips. OK, maybe one or two, but then get back to your job hunt and keep your energy and attitude in a positive place.
  13. Be accountable. Find someone who will help you be accountable in your job hunt. Tell this person what you are going to do, and then make sure this person asks you later if you did it. By committing to job search activities and sharing them with a friend or mentor, you will be more likely to do what you say you will. This person will most likely be positive and supportive, which is very helpful during a job hunt.
  14. Show you want the job. Some job candidates act is if they could care less whether they get hired. Sad but true. Maybe they are petrified. Maybe they don’t really want the job. Their lack of interest in an opportunity is an opportunity for you. Be enthusiastic and be sure to tell the employer you want the job. Your passion will be very persuasive when an employer makes the hiring decision.
  15. Reflect. Take some time to reflect on your job search. What is going well? What can you do better? In what areas do you need help? Where have you made progress? This reflection time can help keep you on course or adjust your course.
As you embark on 2015, I hope you’ll put these 15 job search tips into action. Just think: They may lift your job hunt attitude and help you get hired. Now that’s an easy thought to wrap your mind around.

Monday, December 1, 2014

American Job Centers: Not Just the Old "Unemployment Office"

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog 

I’m sure you’ve heard of unemployment offices. But are you familiar with American Job Centers? If you’re like most job seekers I know, you probably haven’t. But unemployment offices and American Job Centers are the same thing. With the pervasiveness of online unemployment insurance filing, many laid-off individuals don’t visit their local American Job Center. More than 2,000 American Job Centers, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, are located throughout the United States. These centers offer completely free career and employment-related help, courtesy of Uncle Sam, to job hunters, the unemployed, laid-off workers, and anyone seeking to improve his or her career prospects.


No matter what they call themselves, American Job Centers seem to be increasingly using this graphic identifier. [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
No matter what they call themselves,
American Job Centers seem to be increasingly
using this graphic identifier.

Part of the reason I think most job seekers are unfamiliar with American Job Centers is a lack of branding and promotion and the fact that different states may call their centers something other than American Job Centers. Many of these centers were known as One-Stop Career Centers. But within the last couple of years, I think in an effort to more clearly identify and unify all the One-Stop Career Center services, the U.S. Department of Labor changed the name to American Job Centers.
Yet many states call their unemployment/reemployment offices by other names, including—stillOne-Stop Career Centers, Career One-Stop Centers, CareerOneStop, or some variation. Other states use completely different identifiers, such as WorkOne in Indiana, CareerSource in Florida, and Michigan Works in Michigan. The centers often append a geographic identifier to the name, such as CareerSource Central Florida. Within some other states, the American Job Centers are each called by a different name with no unifying thread. Recently the U.S. Department of Labor sought input on the American Job Center name from the workforce development system, so perhaps the name will change yet again!
    I tell you all this so that you know that these useful centers are the same entity, no matter where you live in the U.S. and no matter where you may move to in the U.S. Interestingly, although American Job Center is the official name, the U.S. Department of Labor still defines them as “One-Stop Career Centers” in the following definitions, found at www.careeronestop.org, of the two types of centers:
    • Comprehensive One-Stop Career Centers provide a full array of employment and training related services for workers, youth and businesses. 
    • Affiliate One-Stop Career Centers provide limited employment and training related services for workers, youth, and businesses. 
    Basically this means you’ll get more career and job search services at a comprehensive center than at an affiliate center. Before I go on, let me list the types of employment services and other help available from American Job Centers. Keep in mind that the services vary by location but can include the following:

    • State unemployment insurance information
    • State job bank access
    • Resource room with free phones and computers with Internet access
    • Job training information
    • Resume and job search assistance 
    • Employment workshops
    • Career counseling
    • Skills testing and other career-related assessments
    • Labor market information
    • Employer information
    • Job fair and hiring event information
    • Job clubs
    • Supportive services (which can include information about food stamps, financial assistance, Medicaid, child care, and emergency funds)
    Comprehensive American Job Centers often offer specific programs for certain populations, such as youth and military veterans.

    The number of American Job Centers has shrunk over the years in response to less federal funding and consolidation. During the federal budget sequestration, some job centers ironically laid off the very staff members tasked with helping laid-off workers.

    Most centers are open only during regular Monday through Friday business hours, so if you are currently working or have other workday responsibilities, it may be difficult for you to visit your local operation. The quality of service at American Job Centers, no matter what they’re called, varies widely. Many are professional, helpful, and efficient, and others are less so, based on my personal experience, the experiences of people I know, and comments on social media. At American Job Centers, you are usually considered a customer, and the staff should treat you as such.

    To help laid-off workers better connect with American Job Center services and get back to work faster, many states require these unemployed individuals to come into a local office for a Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA), during which a staff member may review the individual’s job search efforts, provide information on the center’s services, make sure the individual is registered with the state’s job bank, refer the person to local labor market information, provide skills testing, make career training referrals, and help the individual develop a job search plan. REAs are also designed to cut down on unemployment insurance fraud, so if you are called in for an REA, you must go or risk losing your unemployment insurance benefit.

    No matter where you are in your job hunt or career, it’s worth checking out your nearest American Job Center. Consider participating in a workshop on job searching, resume writing, or using social media in the job hunt. Also look into interviewing and networking workshops, which may be especially helpful for shy people and introverts. Ask about career counseling and career assessments if you aren’t sure what you want to do. The price is right, and you have nothing to lose.

    Have you recently visited an American Job Center? If so, please share how it went.

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    10 Grim Gaffes of Job Searching

    By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog 

    It takes effort to conduct a successful job search. If you jump into your job hunt without thinking, or if you get lazy in executing your job search, it may take a long time for you to get hired. Although a lot can go wrong while job searching, some job hunt blunders are deadly to your progress. What are these mistakes? I'm here to help! But rather than take the easy way out and call the following list the “10 Deadly Sins of Job Searching,” I instead am calling it the “10 Grim Gaffes of Job Searching” to be more original. So here they are:
    10 Grim Gaffes of Job Search [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
    Avoid these 10 grim gaffes of job searching.


    1. Not knowing your skills and what you want to do. If you don’t know what type of work you are qualified for, are good at, and enjoy, spend some time thinking about it. What type of activity have you liked in the past, even if it wasn’t paid work? What type of work is easy for you? What can you do better than most people? Try to define what you want to do so you can focus your job search and emphasize your best skills in your resume, cover letter, and job interviews. Also try this free online tool from the U.S. Department of Labor to help you figure out your best career options: http://www.mynextmove.org.
    2. Procrastinating. Do you want to find a new job but keep putting it off? Procrastination is natural to many people, but it will weaken your skills, your motivation, and your network. Your job search may take a long time, so don’t make it longer by waiting to get started.
    3. Being disorganized. How much time will you put into your job search every day or week? What will you do with that time? How will you keep track of jobs you’ve applied for? How will you know when to follow up with employers? If you can’t answer these questions, use a calendar and create a checklist to help you plan your job search activities, which should go beyond applying for jobs online endlessly. What sort of activities? You want to talk with people who can connect you to employers, research potential employers and jobs, refine your cover letter and resume for each opportunity, build your job skills, practice interview questions, and follow up with employers. The more time you spend on these activities, the sooner you will find a job, so get organized and methodical in your approach.
    4. Making errors in your resume and cover letter. Please reread your resume and cover letter forward and backward—literally. Reading your job search materials backward may help uncover missing words, misspellings, and other mistakes because you are looking at everything with fresh eyes. Be sure you’ve used words correctly. Confirm that you have changed the employer’s name and other details in your cover letter. Run spell-check but also get a friend or two with good writing and proofreading skills to check your job search correspondence if you’re not good at this yourself.
    5. Applying for everything. Please don’t apply for every job opportunity because you think more is better. You are wasting your time. You are wasting employers’ time. You won’t make it past automated job applicant tracking systems that search for keywords on job skills and qualifications. Focus, focus, focus.
    6. Using the same resume and cover letter for every job opening. If you want to get job interviews, make it easy for employers to see how your qualifications fit their needs. Don’t use the same resume and cover letter for every opening. Instead, take a little time to explain how you can meet their specific needs. Analyze job ads and discern what an employer’s problem is and how you can be solve it. Sometimes ads will repeat the need for candidates to possess certain skills. This is a sure sign that you must have this skill. It’s possibly a sign that someone who held the job previously didn’t have the skill or failed in that area. So reassure the employer in writing that you can do it by giving examples and statistics (such as number of years, dollar amounts, etc.). 
    7. Not researching employers. By learning about employers and their needs and plans, you can more effectively prove you are the best candidate for a job. For example, if Company Z is expanding its call center, you know it will be interested in someone with solid customer service experience. You will stand out if you clearly express your skills and knowledge in this area.
    8. Not contacting employers directly. You don’t always have to wait for a job to be advertised. If you like a certain company, learn about its needs and call or write the organization and express your interest in working there. I once got a job this way! Some people still knock on doors and get hired the old-fashioned way, especially in smaller organizations.
    9. Winging it in job interviews. Be prepared for job interviews! Think about what employers may ask you. Be ready to answer questions tough questions, such as “Why do you want to work here?” and “Tell me about yourself.” Make a list of questions for the interviewer. Dress professionally. Don’t just go in and see what happens. Be clear-minded and focused on the fact that you want to get hired. Be ready to prove to an employer that you are the best person for the job.
    10. Forgetting to follow up. Be sure to thank the interviewer and send a thank-you note or email. Then contact the employer again and restate your interest in the job. If you don’t follow up, the employer may think you don’t care.
    Be sure to avoid these 10 grim gaffes in the job search. Otherwise your job hunt may take forever, and that would be a sin.

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

    How 10 Seconds Can Improve Your Job Search, Career, and Life

    By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog 


    How 10 Seconds Can Improve Your Job Search and Life [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
    There’s a simple and fast way to enhance your job search, career, and even your life. Best of all, it takes 10 seconds or less. It’s to say “thank you” in a sincere and meaningful way. Although this action seems to be common sense, in my experience it is not so common.

    For example, a past employee has listed me as a job reference on more than 25 job applications over the past eight years as she continues to change jobs and fields. The first time, she asked me to be a reference and thanked me sincerely when I said yes. But since then, she continues to use my name even though I never hear from her any longer. It’s bad job search etiquette to continue using a reference for years without asking. But it’s even worse not to say 
    occasionally “thank you—I appreciate the time you put into my job references.”

    In another example, I work with business people who request information and project quotes from me. I spend time putting together and sending the requested information in a clear, accurate, and thorough way. Rarely do I get an acknowledgement or a thank you. Sometimes someone will respond in a terse manner, which to me can be worse than no response. Even rarer are the people who respond in a polite way, perhaps commenting on the helpfulness of the information or mentioning their next steps in making a decision about the project under consideration. Although I may not end up doing business with this last group of people, I feel as if I have dealt with professional human beings. I estimate that it takes the kind, professional responders about 10 seconds to type an email that would make me want to go out of my way to help them if we end up doing business together.

    Just the other day, the tables were turned, and I asked a vendor, Steve, for a complicated quote that needed to be done quickly. When Steve sent me the quote, I didn
    t just type a haphazard “thanks.” I took about 10 seconds and replied, “Thanks, Steve. This information is very helpful to me. I appreciate the time and research you put into it. I will be back in touch soon.” I hope Steve sensed my sincerity and gratefulness. I may need to knock on his door again for information, and I value his assistance.

    Many employers report that job seekers rarely send thank-you notes after job interviews, even though it’s such a fast and simple way to stand out. I recall interviewing job candidates who didn’t thank me for my time at the end of the interview.

    I’ve learned that a genuine thank you has another benefit: in respecting and appreciating others by saying thanks, I feel better about myself and happier at work and in my life. I’m not saying you need to roll out an obsequious thank-you red carpet. But the next time you need to thank someone in your job search or life, take 10 seconds and make it a little special. Be sure to use the person's name and add specific, relevant details to your thank you. Giving a special thank you should be painless for introverts and shy people while job searching and in everyday life.


    Thank you for reading my blog. I enjoy writing it and hope it helps you in your job hunt. 

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    5 Simple Tips for Organizing Your Job Search

    By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog 

    Organize Your Job Search [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
    Organize your job search to focus on getting hired!

    Do you lose track of where and when you have applied for jobs? Do you waste time trying to remember which version of your resume you have used with which employer? Do you neglect to follow up with potential employers because it slipped your mind? Then you are a disorganized job seeker.

    Being organized and being introverted often go hand-in-hand because introverts like to focus on details. But this is not always the case. Some job seekers apply for jobs without keeping track of what they are doing. Before you know it, they have a mess of resumes and cover letters, scraps of paper with cryptic notes, and an unknown number of missed opportunities.

    So if you are losing time, energy, and job prospects by being disorganized, here are five easy tips for cleaning up your job search so you can focus on getting hired.
    1. Create an email address just for your job hunt: By taking this step, you’ll be able to manage and respond to job search-related emails more quickly. By the way, be sure the email address you use for job searching sounds professional.
    2. Create a schedule and record everything you do and need to do: Create a schedule each day so you are looking for new openings, following up with people as promised, reaching out to potential employers and networking contacts, and researching possible jobs in your target companies and industries. If you create an active job search routine, you are less likely to miss opportunities as they arise. Also spend time each day recording your activities, adding appointments and tasks to your calendar, and saving copies of everything you send to employers. Use your favorite system to track activities and develop a calendar, whether it’s a paper-and-pencil format, a Word or Excel document, or an online tool like Google Calendar. If you are receiving unemployment insurance, this record keeping will be very useful when you report your job search activities to the state.
    3. Create folders on your computer: Use company names for your folders. Be sure to put everything you send and receive from an organization into its folder. Then you’ll never wonder, for example, which version of your resume an employer received.
    4. Avoid little paper notes everywhere: Put all your paper notes into your calendar, your to-do list, or your activity-tracking system. Little pieces of paper are easy to misplace.
    5. Take notes: When you talk with a contact, go on an interview, or learn information about a company of interest, consider taking notes about what a person said, what happened, and what you learned. Put those notes into the online folder named for the company or into your contact records. Also be sure to add follow-up actions to your calendar.
    The organizing activities I have described here may sound like a lot of work, but they soon will become second nature and hardly take any time at all. 

    One final thought: If you organize your job search but don’t continue to organize, you’ll be right back where you started. Vow to get—and stay—organized in your job hunt.

    Friday, October 3, 2014

    Plan Your Best Career Path with the OOH


    By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog
     

    OOH Home Page [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
    Use the Occupational Outlook Handbook online
    to learn more about jobs that interest you.

    Don’t let the drab look of a career information website by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) put you off. 

    Although it has a plain blue wrapper, the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) site is a rich (but free) online career guidance resource with hundreds of pages of current, useful information on jobs in the United States. In addition to detailed facts on familiar jobs like teachers and accountants, the OOH profiles lesser-known occupations, such as genetic counselors and wind turbine technicians.

    Updated every two years, the OOH allows job seekers, the unemployed, students, and others to explore different aspects of occupations. With the OOH, you can access valuable occupational data that can help you make a career choice, career change, and education/training decisions. As you plan your career moves, you owe it to yourself to spend some time with this high-quality tool to learn about your target occupations. The OOH is the most popular publication by the BLS (part of the U.S. Department of Labor) and has been around for many years.


    Navigating the OOH Home Page

    To get started, go to the OOH home page. The most obvious way to search for an occupation of interest is to enter it in the search box at the upper right. You can also do an “Occupation Groups” search by clicking on an occupation cluster listed on the left side of the home page. If you have certain pay, training, or job growth requirements, search for occupations by using the “Select Occupations By” dropdown lists. You can also do an “A-Z Index” search for job titles or “Browse Occupations” by highest paying, fastest growing, and most new jobs. 

    Understanding the Information in Each Occupational Profile

    When you get to a page featuring an occupational profile, you’ll see eight tabs: a summary page highlighting key characteristics of the occupation and seven additional tabs, each describing one aspect of the occupation, such as pay or the job outlook. Following is more detail on each part of an occupational profile.

    Summary Page

    A “Quick Facts” table includes the following information:
    • Median pay
    • Entry-level education
    • Work experience in a related occupation
    • On-the-job training
    • Number of jobs
    • Job outlook through 2022
    • Employment change through 2022

     

    What They Do

    • Definition of the occupation
    • Typical duties
    • Specialties within the occupation
    This information may provide good wording to use in cover letters and resumes.

    Work Environment

    • Work setting, including potential hazards and physical, emotional, or mental demands
    • Work schedules, including information on hours worked and seasonality of work 
     

    How to Become One

    • Typical entry-level education requirements
    • Typical on-the-job training needed to attain competency in the occupation (if relevant)
    • Licenses, certifications, and registrations (if relevant)
    • Work experience in a related occupation (if relevant)
    • Other experience (if relevant)
    • Advancement (if relevant)
    • Important qualities and skills that are helpful in performing the work 
     

    Pay

    • Median annual or hourly wages
    • Chart showing median annual or hourly wages in the occupation in comparison with median annual or hourly wage for all occupations
    • Benefits and union membership (if relevant)
    The information in this section may help you in salary negotiations. 

     

    Job Outlook

    This page covers projected change in level and percentage of employment, including a discussion of factors affecting occupational employment change, such as industry growth or decline, technological change, demand for a product or service, demographic change, and change in business patterns.

    This page also gives job prospects and the expected level of competition (if applicable) and factors that may improve your job prospects.

    A table shows employment projections data for the occupations covered in a profile. 


    Similar Occupations

    This page lists similar occupations with summaries of their job duties, typical education level needed to enter the occupation, and median pay. Similar occupations are selected on the basis of similar work performed and, in some cases, on the basis of the skills, education, and/or training needed to perform the work at a competent level.  This information helps you target occupations related to your past jobs and to find opportunities that may use your transferable skills.  

    More Information

    • List of associations, organizations, and government agencies that offer career information for the occupation
    • Links to O*NET (Occupational Information Network), which provides comprehensive information on key characteristics of workers and occupations
     

    Spend Some Time with the OOH for a Better Future

    Be sure to include the OOH in your career research! It is very helpful and eye-opening for anyone--even the shyest job seeker--who desires and wants to plan a successful future.








    This article was adapted from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Teachers Guide.



    Wednesday, September 10, 2014

    Don't Wait to Start Your Job Search


    Don't Wait to Start Your Job Search [Shy Job Seeker Blog]Don't Wait to Start Your Job Search [Shy Job Seeker Blog]By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

    Waiting is part of the job search. Some of it you can't control. Some of it you can. For example, perhaps you want a break between jobs, so you wait before starting your job hunt. Then you submit your resume for job openings and wait even longer. Perhaps you get an interview, and then you wait to hear whether you’re hired.

    For many people, this waiting time is full of anxiety. If you wait too long, your skills atrophy, your bank account shrinks, your network weakens, and your confidence and motivation lag. Research shows the longer you are unemployed, the longer it takes to get hired as employer interest in you fades. For many shy and introverted people, time alone and away from interacting with people on a job is a heavenly respite. But waiting has a price because you aren’t collecting a paycheck when you wait.

    Following are some areas in which you can control the wait in your job search.
    • Starting a job hunt: It’s important for anyone who has been laid off or fired or is in transition to start a job search immediately to get employed more quickly. Employers like to hire people with fresh, sharp skills. If you wait even a month to start looking, your application may go straight to the trash.
    • Creating a perfect resume: Don’t wait to create a perfect resume before starting your job search. Take some basic steps to create a good resume, as outlined in one of my previous Shy Job Seeker Blog posts. Then get to work using your resume. If you fool around too long trying to write a flawless resume, time and opportunity will pass you by.
    • Waiting for employers to call: If you are holding your breath while waiting for employers to contact you, be prepared to pass out. A better course of action is to contact employers—either directly or by a networking referral—and let them know you are interested in the job. This step is difficult for introverts and shy people, but it is critical and can have a big payoff when you are trying to stand out.
    • Getting the perfect job: Avoid waiting for the perfect job. If you turn down good jobs to wait instead for that perfect opportunity, you may kick yourself as time drags on. Instead, make a list of your ideal job requirements, and if you get a job offer that meets your key needs and wants, go for it.
    When I was growing up and told my Dad that I wanted to wait for something, he’d respond, “That’s what broke the wagon.” Don’t let “wait” break your job search.

    Monday, September 1, 2014

    Exert Extra Effort to Enhance Employment Edge

    By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog 

    Exert Extra Effort to Enhance Employment Edge [Shy Job Seeker Blog]Applying for jobs takes effort. For each job application, you may need to complete a lengthy online questionnaire and then transmit your resume and cover letter. If you are tailoring your submission to the job as I recommend, it takes even more time. Many people get exhausted by the process, which they liken to a full-time job.

    So what I’m about to say may not sit well with all you worn-out job seekers: Putting extra effort into your job search may be the reason you get hired. When an employer considers all the qualified candidates, you want to be the one he or she remembers most. You want to be the one who stands out. You want to get the job offer. If you focus your hunt on the jobs you most want and seek opportunities by networking, you often can streamline the process because you are not applying for every job opening.  


    So what does extra effort in the job search look like? Following are some examples. 
    • Seek out a contact at an organization of interest if possible. Let the person know you are applying for a job and ask if he or she can put you in touch with the right individual. Human contact can keep you from getting screened out. You can often accomplish this kind of networking via email, which makes it less daunting for shy and introverted job seekers.
    • Show enthusiasm throughout the job search process and during all employer interactions, including in your cover letter, phone conversations, emails, and job interviews. Believe it or not, many job candidates react to job openings as if they could take it or leave it. When I was a hiring manager, I had candidates tell me they just needed any job. That’s not the best way to show you’ll work with gusto for the employer.
    • Give examples of your skills and knowledge in your cover letter and resume and in job interviews. Show how you will meet and exceed the company’s needs and expectations by providing specific examples of how you helped previous employers function, improve, prosper, and grow.
    • Submit samples of your work and explain why they are relevant to your potential employer. Consider creating a website that showcases and links to your best material, if your field lends itself to that type of presentation. It’s a great way for introverted and shy job seekers to excel in the job hunt.
    • Prepare for job interviews by researching all you can about the company and the job and making a list of questions to ask, such as the employer’s biggest challenges and the traits of their ideal candidate for the job. Don’t ask about points you can learn from the organization’s website. Show your knowledge of the field, the company, and the job by making insightful comments about the organization’s purpose or products. Also rehearse answers to commonly asked interview questions, such as “Tell me about yourself” and “Why do you want to work here?” Preparation is a great way to reduce shyness and nervousness.
    • Look the part. Be sure to dress well for interviews. It never hurts to be a bit more dressed up than you will need to be on the job. Good dressing and grooming make a great impression and show you care.
    • Say you want the job. Hardly anyone tells employers, “I’d love to work here. I want this job.” Making this statement is a powerful way to make a memorable impression. Employers want you to be a committed and excited part of their team, so don’t let them guess about this point.
    • Send a thank-you note or email after job interviews. Restate your desire for the job. Most job seekers don’t send thank-you notes, and it’s an easy way to be remembered, especially if you are shy or introverted. Plus it’s good manners.
    • Make a follow-up call to the organization about a week after the interview. Let the person know you want the job, mention again how your skills fit the job, and ask if the person has any more questions for you.
    Extra effort shows you have good thinking skills, good execution skills, and good work ethic. It shows you care. It shows you want the job. And look at it this way: If you put in extra effort to get a job, you will get hired and be done with the grueling job search marathon. So remember: Exert Extra Effort to Enhance Employment Edge!

    Have you taken extra effort in your job search? If so, tell me what you did and what happened.

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

    Choosing a Job That Fits Your Introverted Temperament

    By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog 

    In my preceding post, I discuss Susan Cain's book Quiet and her TED Talk on introverts. In this post, I share a video interview (below) with Ms. Cain, where she delves more into her book and the topic of introversion. Although the video is titled, "Networking for Introverts," it covers much more ground. In particular, I enjoy Ms. Cain's discussion of choosing your career wisely. She advises introverts to make sure a job is a good fit for your temperament. She says that people looking for work focus on salary, benefits, and their office space, when they should be making sure they aren't choosing a job where they have to be "on" all day long. Watch the video here:




    I think this is sanity-saving advice for introverts and shy people. There's no better way for introverts and shy people to feel uncomfortable and drained on the job than by constantly having to interact with people, deal with angry customers, or speak publicly. As an introvert, I need lots of alone time to think, strategize, plan, write, edit, proofread, and just work when on the job. If I don't get this time, I become tired, cranky, and very eager to get away from a workplace to regroup and recharge.

    Ms. Cain's also discusses networking and advises introverts to seek just one kindred spirit at a party or event, instead of feeling pressured to come away with a handful of business cards.

    Enjoy the video, and let's give a cheer for the introvert's advocate, Susan Cain.

    Friday, August 1, 2014

    Viva, Solitude for Introverts!



    I finally read Susan Cain's book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. The book is a New York Times bestseller and focuses on the strengths, talents, and contributions of introverts. In her book, Cain discusses how introverts should be valued and nourished in a society that prizes extroverts. 




    Cain's TED talk on the topic is an inspiring must-view for everyone, but especially for introverts, because it is so affirming of how we are. In Cain’s talk, I love how she discusses the “transcendent power of solitude” as being crucial for creativity. “For some people,” Cain says, solitude “is the air that they breathe.” 

    “Let’s give introverts the freedom to be themselves,” she implores. I couldn’t agree more! Take 20 minutes from your job search to view Susan Cain’s talk. It will affirm you, inspire you, refresh you, and strengthen you. 

    After you view the video, please comment on how it made you feel!

    Monday, July 21, 2014

    #GIRLBOSS: Introvert Creates Job to Avoid Dealing with People—and Ends Up with $100 Million Business


    By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

    #GIRLBOSS“Though it may not seem like it from the outside, I’m actually an introvert.” This quote is by entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso, and it appears in her new book, #GIRLBOSS.

    How many of you have said this same thing? I sure have. As introverts and shy people, we can take on extroverted traits in varying degrees, depending on the people involved and the situation. For example, I can easily talk with several co-workers whom I know well. I can have an enjoyable dinner with several friends. People can mistake us for extroverts. But at the end of the day (literally), I need quiet time alone to think, get organized, and regroup.

    Amoruso is founder and CEO of Nasty Gal, a $100 million online fashion retailer with more than 350 employees. I read Amoruso’s book for her advice to women entrepreneurs. But I found myself taking notes for Shy Job Seeker Blog as she discussed her introversion and also gave advice to job seekers from the point of view of an employee (a lazy one, by her own admission) and an employer.

    Throughout the book, Amoruso uses the term, #GIRLBOSS, in all caps with a hashtag, so that’s how I’ll use it in this post. A #GIRLBOSS, as defined by Amoruso, is a woman who is in charge of her life, knows what she wants, works for it, and accepts responsibility for herself. Amoruso tells the story of how she developed her business, plus she dispenses advice on how to succeed in your own way.

    I’ve never heard of or read a story like hers. Amoruso went from a dumpster-diving, anti-establishment dropout and shoplifter to the creator and creative force of Nasty Gal, the “fastest growing retailer,” according to Inc. magazine.

    I was surprised when she began talking about her introversion in the book, because I’ve always thought introverts and shy people try not to stand out. But Amoruso, with vintage persimmon-red disco pants, hairy legs, and “crust punk” hygiene—mostly during her pre-entrepreneurship days
    certainly must have stood out. Amoruso discusses the difference between shyness and introversion. She writes that she’s not shy. But she is introverted and as an introvert is drained by large groups and needs time alone to recharge. In fact, she started Nasty Gal so she could have a job that would let her be alone and not deal with people. In a point I can relate to, she describes how she can be the “queen of customer service” over electronic communication but not so much if over the phone or in person. I liked this statement in her book: “Psychologists now believe social media is a really valuable tool for introverts, because it allows them to communicate and even network on their own terms.” I also like this comment, “No way does being an introvert doom you into a life in the shadows.” Amoruso in #GIRLBOSS points out an introvert’s strengths in business, including being persistent in the face of tough problems, being very creative, and making fewer risky financial choices.
     

    Amoruso offers a chapter on getting and keeping a job. She talks about cover letters and how she loves ones that “sing.” She discusses four cover letter mistakes. The mistakes are making the cover letter all about what you want, not explaining how your background is relevant to the job, criticizing the company, and writing poorly. Her resume advice includes being very specific about your past work to show you can navigate problems and execute ideas.

    Amoruso also provides interview “no-no’s that may doom you to unemployment.” This list includes standard interview advice about dressing and acting professionally and being prepared to answer and ask questions. Unfortunately, many people do not follow this standard advice and remain jobless.

    If you’re looking for an unusual, entertaining, surprising, and literal rags-to-riches story by an introvert
    complete with job search and career tips—take a skim through #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso.