Takeaways from the June ICT workshop:
Steps for reinvigorating your job search
By Edith Moricz, MBA
Job searches can severely strain one’s self-esteem. Bottom line, job seekers – particularly those who have been “looking” for months or longer — often fault themselves for being out of work, rather see their situation as related to problems with our employment system.
That’s the view of Ofer Sharone. Dr. Sharone is the UMass-Amherst associate professor who founded the Institute for Career Transitions, and was the featured presenter at an ICT workshop last month in Cambridge — “Beyond the Basics: Work & Well-Being.”
Sharone confirmed what many have observed: that the longer job seekers are out of work, the more their self-esteem takes a battering, and the less likely they have the fortitude to overcome age, race, and gender discrimination, acquire new skills, and find decent-paying professional jobs rather than short-term contract or “gig” jobs.
I can relate all too well to this predicament. I went through it. And so I’d like to report on this excellent workshop, and also share my own observations on how to reinvigorate a job search.
Sharone shared a comprehensive update of his current research on job-seeking in today’s employment landscape. He stated that outdated strategies for “winning” the job-search process not only don’t apply to the plethora of obstacles faced by today’s talented professionals, they also can be self-defeating if pursued long term with little or no positive results.
Those familiar with ICT know that it was created to address these challenges, and to create job-search support groups to sustain a job seeker’s morale while using the group’s ability to maximize networking possibilities to help members land a job.
Of course, ICT can’t eliminate bias in the job-search process, or create millions of decent paying jobs. But my observation is that it can make a huge difference for individual job seekers.
In 2013, Professor Sharone published his book “Flawed System/Flawed Self: Job Searching and Unemployment Experiences” (University of Chicago Press). Amy Mazur, a career development specialist who reviewed the book in Tikkun Magazine, made some particularly insightful comments. She said Sharone’s findings identified the “damaging effects of a fundamental premise behind most job search assistance: the idea that unemployment was not so much due to remediable failings in an individual’s job search strategy, rather than a systemic failure created by the structure of our economic system.”
My own job transition several years ago was due to an organizational restructuring. I experienced a series of disappointments, frustrations, and stresses. It was a situation I hope no other talented professionals ever have to go through. However, the frustrations and disappointments of my job search led me to start my Fasttrack2YrDreamJob Career Coaching Program. In so doing, I transitioned from a full-time position as Director of Development/Marketing to a private practice as a career coach (for professionals seeking to land their dream job) and a fundraising coach (for non-profit leaders and their staff eager to build a sustainable non-profit).
(I’m proud to say that I have helped many professionals land their dream jobs. I recently was recognized as LinkedIn Pro’s Best of 2017 Career Coach.)
So here, I’d like to blend my own observations as a job seeker and as a career coach with ideas Dr. Sharone shared at the ICT conference and offer what I believe are three of the most important ways to experience job-search success:
1. Join a job-search success team or support group
Groups enable you to share ideas and experiences within a support team of like-minded professionals. They provide you with the opportunity to engage in helpful discussions about searching for a job. They also expand your networking possibilities.
Meanwhile, by connecting with a group, you’ll gain the motivation to get away from your computer and go out to meet people who could hire you, or perhaps refer you to someone who can.
I recommend groups led by an experienced career counselor who can inspire, motivate, and help guide you through the emotional and practical challenges of the job search.
2. Give back
During a job search, most of us are short of cash. But we have more time — because we aren’t working full time. This provides an excellent opportunity to share your talents and skills with others, positively impacting their lives. You’ll feel better and so will they. My own experience as a mentor at one point enabled me to land my dream job.
During my job transition, I began coaching (toward reentry into the labor market) a group of the underserved within the Boston homeless community — people who were long-term unemployed and were transitioning into stabile housing. I worked with them in a number of areas, including money management and career development. It was a great joy to help others rediscover their career path and land secure, stable jobs after long-term unemployment.
3. Respect yourself
Don’t buy into the self-disparagement that happens during a job search. Learn about positive psychology. Take pride in your skills, talents, expertise, credentials, and accomplishments. Be ready to share these with others.
In particular, make a dedicated effort to challenge your inner voices branding you as a failure. Create a positive brand for yourself in your marketing literature and on LinkedIn. Highlight your skills and talents.
Don’t let the lengthy job-search process affect your self-respect. Don’t minimize the accomplishments you’ve made in terms of attaining your academic and professional goals.
You’ve already earned the respect of others. Cherish the experiences and skills you bring to the table. If you don’t respect yourself, and your skills and accomplishments, hiring managers and recruiters won’t either.
Edith Moricz, MBA, is Founder & CEO of FastTrack2YrDreamJob and Founder & CEO of Rocket Your Nonprofit. She is a career coach, fundraising coach, adjunct business professor, speaker and author. Edith began her career as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch. Desiring to directly impact the community, she became a philanthropic advisor. For 13 years, she advanced local and national non-profit missions. Combining her Wall Street training with her front-line fundraising achievements, she began privately coaching non-profit leaders and their teams to build sustainable non-profits. She currently provides on-site and remote coaching to talented, motivated professionals and non-profits around the country. Edith can be reached at 617-755-1772, on LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/edithmoriczmba or by Skype: Edith.moricz