achievement“The happiest people I know are always evaluating and improving themselves. The unhappy people are usually evaluating and judging others.” Lisa Villa Prosen

As a professional life and career coach, I often hear “I’ve done EVERYTHING to find a new job, but I’m not getting anywhere!” Although finding a job or new career today can be challenging, it is not impossible. It takes persistence, patience and a good deal of courage. It may feel like you are doing everything you can, but usually there is room for improvement!

Think audit! I like the concept of the energy audits we can do on our homes; figure out where the cold air is getting in and the hot air is getting out. Then we come up with a solution to fix it and get better results. Consider conducting an audit, a systematic review or assessment of your job search strategy.

–          Audit yourself

One powerful method for improving is to conduct a performance audit on yourself! Approach it as if you were evaluating someone who works for you. Remember that no one is perfect and knowledge is power! Examine the strategies and processes behind your current efforts. Shining a bright light on what’s been working well, and not so well, is the first step to building a successful strategy.

–           Audit your job search

Ask yourself hard questions that will force you to evaluate how you’ve been doing so far, and what you can do to up your game. For example:

On average, how many jobs do you apply for in a week?

How many of these companies respond or send interview invites?

Which actions (sending emails, attending industry events) generate the most leads?

How much in person networking am I doing?

–          Audit the companies you are applying to

In addition to researching company details, consider what YOU can offer them. Prepare a number of talking points on how you would improve or add value to the company, their initiatives or the specific position.

–          Audit your messaging

A recent poll found that 30% of people have surfed the net to research people at work or potential business contacts. The reasons varied from simply looking up an address to researching a potential boss or preparing for a business negotiation.

The implications of this statistic are huge for anyone looking to advance their career. If you’re searching for a new job, it’s safe to assume that at least some employers are running an Internet search before they call you. If you’re currently employed, you can bet that some of your employees, peers, and business associates are looking you up online.

Here are just a few reasons why having and managing your message is crucial for career advancement:

–          Your employees, peers and superiors will research you online.

–          Recruiters and HR executives may look you up before deciding to interview you.

–          Former colleagues may try to find you in order to offer you a great opportunity.

–          Recruiters may, and often do, search online to find potential candidates for a new vacancy.

Last, but not least,

–          Audit your personal brand

What kind of first impression are you making?  Does your outward appearance, wardrobe, grooming, styling, etc., convey the message you are trying to send? I’m sure you’ve heard it said that first impressions are the most important. People make immediate judgments about a person’s ability, knowledge, attention to detail, etc, based entirely on their appearance. You have just a few seconds to make a good first impression and it’s almost impossible to change it. So it’s worth giving each new encounter your best shot!

Job searching is a tough business. Accept the fact that it will take some time, effort, patience, and self awareness. Keep track of your efforts and compare them with your results.  You may have to audit and recalibrate your tactics multiple times. In sales, it is well known that only 5-10% of your initial contacts will lead to an opportunity.  Keep in mind that every “no” gets you closer to the “yes”!

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