Finding and getting a job, especially in New York City, can be a stressful and anxious experience. Here are some tips you may find useful in helping you stand above the competition and get the job:
1) See the Job Search as an Adventure
Remember when you were a kid and seeing the snow for the first time was a magical experience? Well, while you may not bound out of bed everyday and say, "Woo-hoo, today I get to look for a job!" when you bring the spirit of curiosity and adventure to the job market, you will not only be more efficient, but you'll have more enthusiasm. Guess what, enthusiasm is contagious, and that's what the interviewer will experience when you walk through the door.
You can face "not knowing what's next" with gloom or doom, or seeing it as an adventure. It takes practicing an "open and curious" mindset on a daily basis to do that. Keep going back to something that caught your wonder and applying that to the job search.
2) Commitment to Vision, Flexible with Form
One of my greatest mentors told me that early in my training and it was the best advice he gave. Focus on what your greatest strengths, skill sets and passions are, you may find out that it can look many different ways. For example, often many careers like sales, and business development, can be parlayed into a myriad of different industries and positions. Stay true to your gifts and passions, but flexible the different fields and industries that may find your background unique and refreshing.
3) One Inch Wide, and One Mile Deep
While it may sound contradictory, once you do find the area you want to focus on, allocate a certain amount of time, on doing the research, forging the relationships and networking to get seen in front of those decision makers. I suggest a minimum of 90 days to really focus on that one area. It's so easy to be scattered and overwhelmed and try the "throw it all against the wall and see what sticks," which usually lands you with dirty walls and no job prospects.
4) Guess what, the Interview is All About THEM
It's often called the WIITFT, "What's in it for them factor?," which means every question you answer in the interview has to have a pay off for them. Talk about yourself ONLY in the way it supports them understanding what you bring to the table.
When they say, "Mary, tell us about yourself," they are saying, "Mary, tell us how you'll be making a difference in our company, so we can monetize the salary we are paying you. So an answer like "I'm hard working, organized and blah blah blah," is absolutely white noise for them. Instead bring in the facts right away, but frame it with your pizzazz and personality. "Thanks for asking, actually, I have a passion to educate people on how they can free up their time from challenging yet important tasks, so that they have more time available to be with their loved ones, and other high priorities.
That's why your position as a customer service supervisor really speaks to me. With 10 years of experience, I can take a very complex issue like having to navigate their new smart phone, and using it as a tool to have so many features available, that they get off the phone excited versus overwhelmed, in less than 10 minutes. Plus I love to teach other team members how to do the same. It's really exciting to me." That tells the interviewer so much more than a list of adjectives that are really meaningless to them.
5) Culture is Just as Important as Skill Set
Knowing the culture you're walking into is just as (and in some cases more) important than the skill sets you bring. People want to feel "at home" with the people they work with, and that they all fit in, while bringing their individual gifts and talents. Go on sites where they review different companies from an employee's perspective, read articles, look at their website. If everyone on the website is wearing a t-shirt, don't come in with a formal suit, but don't make assumptions either.
Maybe a more casual pant and a nice shirt with a quirky tie that serves as a conversation piece to let them know you're creative and an outside the box thinker. Come early to the job interview by at least 15 minutes, and hang out by the reception desk and hear the ambient conversations and how they treat the front desk person. That tells you everything. Do your research, and gear everything you say to how it will benefit them.
Lois Barth is a human development expert with more than 20 years experience as a speaker, NYC Business Coach, trainer and industry expert. She helps people close the gap between where they are and where they want to be, so they can thrive both personally and professionally. She is a regular source expert for the Wall Street Journal, and the "Stress Less...Thrive More" Lady for CT Style (ABC Affiliate).