Yes Virginia, Employers ARE Hiring
What You Need to Know to Land a Job Before 2017
Every year as the holidays approach, I hear the same myth repeated over and over: “No One’s Hiring.” Which calls to mind that famous Henry Ford quote: “Whether you think you can or can’t, either way you’re right.”
Sound familiar? If so, what’s the conversation taking place in your head? Do you subscribe to the glass as half-full or half-empty? Is the voice inside your head echoing “you can” or “you can’t”?
Whether you are gainfully employed and contemplating a strategic move or actively looking for work, I strongly advise opting for the half-full glass and the belief that Yes, Virginia Employers ARE Hiring. Because in my 12+ years of recruiting experience, I’ve learned that they really are.
The key to success is blocking out the noise (the news, nay-sayers, social media, etc.) and all the excuses that will distract you from FOCUS (Following One Course Until Successful*).
Especially when that FOCUS is securing your next place of employment.
“How do I do that?” you ask …
- Start by reading my article titled: 7 Steps to Evaluating Career Happiness
- Create a brag book or inventory of your top strengths, accomplishments and skills. I recommend a spreadsheet, however, use whatever will be easiest and most manageable for you.
- Review and develop a library of past performance reviews, letters of reference, and/or feedback from prior managers featuring your contributions and how you brought value in your past roles. Zero in on how you were perceived by former managers and what they valued most in your performance and contributions. Being grounded in one’s own sense of self and value is critical to success. The process of inventorying the feedback of mentors and managers will prove invaluable – I promise.
- Compose your resume(s) and cover letter(s) based on the role you are targeting, and, when necessary, customize both for each position. It is rare that one-size-fits-all. Employers want to see evidence that your background mirrors the position they’re trying to fill and that you’ve taken time to effectively present your qualifications.
- If you don’t have a target list of companies, create one NOW. Depending on the urgency of your search, you may have two lists. If you are actively looking for work, the first list may be companies and/or recruiting agencies offering immediate openings (temporary and/or full-time) that match your background and past performance. The second list may be companies that represent your ideal, long-term ambition, but may not have existing openings mirroring your qualifications. This second list will require ongoing networking and nurturing of internal contacts or people in your network who may be able to help facilitate a future referral (this is in the context that you are working a temp or contract position, for example).
- Create a system, schedule, and game plan for how and when you will actively work on your search daily. Are you a morning person? Or more on your game in the afternoon? As the sales adage goes: “lead with your strengths.” Figure out what works for you and stick with it.
- Follow the rules, but also be willing to persist and persevere. For example, if you applied to a position via a company website, have you sought out the company on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc. to see who may be responsible for the opening? Do they also advertise the same position on these sites? Who do you know who may have an “in” within your target companies? In this day and age, companies are far more receptive to candidates proactively and professionally contacting their HR, Talent Acquisition and/or Recruiting teams. The key is to be professional, courteous and concise when doing so.
- During the weeks leading up to and during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, maintain appropriate and consistent contact with any hiring managers, recruiters (internal or staffing agency) with active openings. This does not mean stalk. If you are working with agency recruiters, many of them are working the day before and after Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. So if they call? Answer.
- Listen, listen, and listen some more. When speaking or interacting with hiring managers, and recruiters (internal or external), pay close attention to what they ask and the feedback they give. It may not always be what you want to hear, however, I guarantee your ability to actively listen, demonstrate you have heard them and value their input will serve you. Role-play with family or friends. Have someone give you feedback that is difficult to hear and practice receiving it. The pause you take at a crucial moment in an interview, may end up making a favorable difference in your favor. At a minimum, it will demonstrate to the interviewer you embody that rare skill of actually listening and receiving what he/she has to say.
- Demonstrate gratitude and grace. Send a “thank you” email after an interview. Or if you send an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, for example, follow-up with a simple “thank you” once it was accepted. Sometimes, the candidate who goes the extra mile to send a hand-written note in addition to an email edges out the candidate who doesn’t.
So … Yes, Virginia – Employers Are Hiring! Keep your mind’s eye on the half-full glass, and make it a great New Year! To your success!