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, 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.