Go back to Job Search Prep Syllabus.
Note from Willy: We originally intended to start with an audio introduction, but Jason sent me this video and I thought that it did such a good job of capturing Jason’s personality and passion for the topic, that I had to include it.
The question is, do you know what your problem is?
It’s not that you lack a job. It’s that there is something about you that has prevented others from engaging you. It has stopped them from calling you to ask, “Hey, want to come work here?” It’s causing them to send you dink letters instead of offer letters. You may bemoan your fate as the result of a bad economy or a “numbers game,” but that’s not entirely true. Companies are still operating, still looking to cut slack, still trying to bring in top-drawer talent. You constantly meet people… who among them is offering you work, offering to help, or asking about your interests?
If you’ve had a job, your problem is what allowed (or maybe even compelled) someone to put you on a buh-bye list. To weed you out. To ask you to pack your bags.
In short, your problem — whatever you think it is — is bigger than your lack of a job. It’s the source of your lack of job. And it stems from a “broken” attitude.
Whenever I ask a group of people what they think determines whether or not someone “gets the job,” I nearly always get a list that does not include attitude. People think “attitude” is too soft. Not measurable enough. Too new-agey.
Never mind that hard-core survivalists and military personnel know that a “Positive Mental Attitude” is such an important determinant of success under pressure that they put it at the very top of their survival checklists!
So when I ask what’s most important to a job search, I might get something like this:
Right about now is generally when I tell the group that they’re full of donkey nuggets.
We all know someone who has gotten a job without one or more of the above elements. Generally, we attribute that person’s success to luck or good timing, and while it’s true that luck often plays a role, let’s give credit where credit is due. After all, “luck favors the prepared mind,” as they say.
We may lack the science to quantify attitude, but that makes the concept no less important. In fact, it is difficult to overstate the importance of cultivating the right attitude in generating success. Especially when we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you need an attitude adjustment. (Maybe not an overhaul, but definitely at least a tweak.)
Anyone who needs a job has room for improvement, even if it’s just a little. People with perfect attitudes don’t ever need jobs. They get pulled into them. They are constantly in demand, ready for opportunity whenever it strikes. If your life isn’t the perfect blend of hard work, serendipity, and nothing else, then you have room for improvement.
You need to make sure you’ve got this part right if you’re going to be able to take full advantage of the following coursework. Your attitude is what’s going to compel you to put one proverbial foot in front of the other. We’ll give you the road map, but you’ve got to provide the forward momentum. Without forward momentum, the map is useless. You’ll have spent all this money, you’ll go through the motions of doing what we tell you, and nothing will happen.
To help you, we are going to provide the road map in manageable bites, a little at a time, and give you ample time to practice before moving on to each new step.
We are also going to ask that you…
No kidding. Forget it.
First, job searching is stressful. And although a little stress can be useful in providing focus, too much stress can make it difficult to maintain a positive attitude. For most people, watching the bills come in without knowing how they will get paid causes “too much” stress.
Second, most “job searching” skills are transactional. They are useful for a discrete — and hopefully short — amount of time, then they get discarded. For instance, the skills needed to write a resume do not prepare you to be able to write a briefing memo or a politically astute email.
Finally, it’s difficult to get support when trying to develop job searching skills. Other job searchers won’t share their secrets if they see their skills as the source of an advantage over you for a potential job… people at the companies you are applying to won’t want to help because they would see you as asking for an unfair advantage… and friends won’t want to help (for long) because they’ll get nothing from it.
So stop. Stop stressing yourself out because you have no job. Stop developing skills that have no future value. Stop pestering people.
Start focusing on things that help you stay relaxed, that provide future value, and that draw people to want to help you. Engage in activities that improve your confidence and make you attractive to employers. Do things today that not only get you the job, but prepare you for the job you will get.
Instead of developing skills that you will use only when you are looking for a job, we are going to help you develop skills that will help you during your job hunt, your transition into your new job, and everyday during your career thereafter.
To us, your job search is the case study. The laboratory. The playground. It’s where you can practice and develop and experiment with critical skills without recourse. (It’s not like anyone can fire you!) It provides everything you need: ample opportunities for feedback, a good reason to meet people, an opportunity for a new beginning… scary stuff, for sure, but also exhilarating and exciting if you have the right attitude.
For these reasons, we want you to look at your job search as a case study, where the goal is to learn core project management and professional behavior skills. I’ll list the specific skills we will cover in a moment. The benefit to you of our approach is that while you expand your professional abilities, you will also develop your confidence, self-awareness, professional maturity, and your ability to achieve results… all while under extreme pressure.
In “learning parlance,” everything you are about to learn constitutes a set of “transferable skills” that can be applied across multiple areas of your life, and that make you more marketable to potential employers.
There are seven core skills you need to master to get that job you want. The first is attitude. You need to bring that one, at least a little bit. Attitude cannot be learned. The other six skills can be… and thankfully, developing in these areas will help reinforce your positive attitude. These skills include:
There is an additional core skill, too, which you will learn by going through this program, but we’re going to wait until the end to tell you what it is. If we tell you now, you won’t be able to develop it. All we can tell you is, it’s a very real skill that will help you in absolutely any job.
Most Found Your Career lessons will come with a relatively lengthy homework assignment because that is where a lot of your learning and progress is going to be done. In the spirt of “First Day of Classes,” today’s homework assignment isn’t lengthy, but it’s also not easy. In fact, it’s kind of hard. Watch the video below to get your homework.
If you have any questions regarding this lesson, please use the box below to ask it. If you have a private question or one that is not related to a specific lesson, you can use our Ask a Question page.
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