Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Advice for the hunt!

Excerpted from an article by John Cox, editor of Classified advantage for Cynopsis Media:

Anyone who says practice makes perfect is a bad job seeker.  Write all the bad resumes you want, it isn't going to help.  

Perfect practice makes perfect.  If you can't write the perfect resume, show it to your friends. You have friends that are better writers than you, you have friends who are better business people than you and you have friends that are just plain old smarter than you.  Show each and everyone of them your resume and cover letter.  Show them each new copy you write, incorporate their suggestions, write it again, and show it to them again.  This process can take a while, be patient but understand, your finished product will be much better than what you started out with, and you'll learn to be a better writer.

Find the meanest friend you know as ask them to mock interview you for a job.  Why the meanest, ask a sports coach.  Most good coaches want game day to be the easiest day of the week.  Every practice should be harder than any game.  Its what brings the joy and the enthusiasm to the game, or the interview.  Plus you'll be ready for anything.  Isn't that what a good coach does?  Prepare you for everything?  If you have a nice person do the mock interview, what have they really prepared you for, and won't your nerves be just as bad?  Have a son of a b**** mock interview you, not only will you be better prepared, but your poise and confidence will be evident.

And what if the interview starts out badly?  What would the coach tell you?  Keep doing what you're doing. Companies interview for a reason, the same reason why athletes play games.  Because paper can never tell the whole story.  So stick to your game plan, keep plugging away, never give up, you may have to throw a Hail Mary, you might not get the job, but if went down swinging, and even if that means nothing to the interviewer, it should mean something to you.

All coaches run drills to improve your skills, but great coaches keep this at a minimum, great coaches fill their practices with game situations, at game speed.  Great coaches never need to run sprints at the end of practice, because their athletes have sprinted in every drill, during every practice.  Why would you walk through a drill, when you have to run during the game?  Same with looking for a job, you cannot lack the intensity needed, just because you're not in an interview.  You want an interview? Write, call, talk, email, network and work with all the intensity you can muster.  

Nobody wins every game, nobody gets every job they interview for, but the secret to both, is to never quit, not for one second.  Every second you're in the running, you have a chance, so you give it your all, especially when it seems pointless.  And make an impression on those who can make important decisions about your life.

The greatest thing a coach ever told me, and the best piece of advice I have for job seekers is this, "What did you do today to become better at what you do, that your opponents did not?  When you can answer that question in a positive manner, day after day, good things will come your way."

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