2 Things You Need to Dig Yourself Out of a Job Hunting Hole

Wanna know what 2 things you need to dig yourself out of a job hunting hole? 

First, here’s what it’s not:

  • A new CV (it can make a huge and immediate difference, but there are more important things.)
  • Another recruitment agent (you probably have tried many already.)
  • Someone generous to give you a chance. (If someone does, great! But you’re not going to bank on it.)
  • Another degree, diploma or course. (Always good to learn, but it’s probably not your ‘missing link.’)
  • The government to create new jobs. (They need to, they should. But let’s be real.)
  • A clean credit record.
  • To be a black male and a CA (SA)

Surprising, because those things come immediately to mind in the current job market. These things matter, sure. But there are more important things.

THE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS 

Take my son, Ethan. He’s 7. When we’re on the squash court, I’m teaching him how (limited though I am in my ability in the game). Ethan needs to know how to hold the racquet, how to stand, etc. Learning “how” is important. In anything.

And it’s true in your job hunt. There are things that work. And things that don’t work very well. Why keep doing things poorly or in an ineffective way? It’s frustrating. It’s enfuriating. It yields poor results. It takes too long.

So that’s the first way to dig yourself out of a job hunting hole. Do it right. And at this point I want you to make 100% sure you have a copy of my 100% freely available book: “12 Breakthrough Job Search Secrets – end your stalled and frustrating job search now.” It’ll tell you some ‘breakthrough’ truths about the job market, provide practical lessons and exercises, and give you a good shot of motivation. Just send a blank e-mail to 12jss@getresponse.com to get it – I’ll send it to your inbox immediately.

BUT … what about the 2nd thing you need to dig yourself out?

WHAT’S THE 2ND THING? 

Aha! It’s actually the main thing. And I’m going to make you work for it. Only if you work for it, will you understand it. And it’s the very first of the 12 ‘breakthrough’ secrets in the book.

You could say, the secret revealed is a secret to life of Biblical proportions. And the associated exercises: “How to Practically Apply Secret #1” will kick your rear.

So send an e-mail to 12jss@getresponse.com and get it. Or search your e-mail / hard drive and you’ll find it from a previous occasion.

PLEASE, forward this post to anyone who you think may benefit. You are cool if you do.

IN CONCLUSION

Services I offer Job Hunters:

I write “guerrilla” CVs (ie. CVs that hit hard for you, that help you separate yourself from the masses, distinguish and brand yourself) (visit www.wowcv.net/guerrilla-cv to read more about it);

I offer interview coaching; and

I offer you membership to my Career & Success INNER CIRCLE – a member’s only website and the only place you can find my book: “Job Search Fast Track, Dynamite for Job Hunters.”

If you’d like to know more, ask. I’m at gerard [at] jobsearching.co.za

“But it’s the end of the year… not great for job hunting?!”

The client said:

 “But it’s the end of the year … not a great time for job hunting.”

Did you know there are things you could be doing to land a job even during the holidays? Or are you planning to just goof off and pick it up next year? Can you afford that approach?

The client is in the supply chain field. He’s very well qualified and has good experience. He’s just completed his Honours and wants a job after working for himself for 2 years (while studying).

Here’s my reply (sent yesterday):

Consider this: somewhere out there there’s someone (let’s call him Jack) heading up a big supply chain intensive operation. And it’s not going well. His holiday period is going to be more about his ulcer than his kids. Sleep will be fleeting. He will not rest.

You may well be the solution he needs.

He hasn’t advertised for anyone, he’s too busy and he’s been burned by agencies who don’t deliver. And he’s struggling to define exactly what he needs anyway. He’s not sure himself.

All he can think is this: “I need someone with fresh ideas, someone youngish, strong, hungry.”

Now, if you knew that during the holidays, a close friend of yours was going to spend an evening with our Jack here, and a good chunk of it is spent discussing how difficult he’s expecting 2012 to be and how he needs someone with ‘fresh legs’ – wouldn’t you want your friend to introduce you?

So, the question becomes: what are you doing within your circle of influence to make sure they know what you’re up to (in terms of job hunting and what a brilliant solution you are). Do they have your mini-CV – a hard hitting one or half pager or your ‘guerrilla CV’?

Have you told them exactly what you’re looking for … with energy, focus, enthusiasm. Do they know you for your excellent career so far?

That one random contact could provide you with the opportunity you’re looking for. Your 2012 could start with a big bang – instead of a deathly silence.

Be careful of the “nothing happens in Dec/Jan” approach!

Just by the way: in my Career & Success INNER CIRCLE, I detail a process (with examples, samples, scripts and exact instructions) of how to do all of the above – including how to write your own very, very smart “mini-CV”.

Want to become a member? E-mail me and I’ll send you the application form – gerard@careerandsuccess.info.

On a Personal Note: 1) Sent out the first “Gerard’s Marketing Monthly” yesterday – if you’re in business, own a business, want to start a business, in the newsletter I outline some low cost, critical, highly effective marketing ideas. Want it? Get it at no cost. Just send an e-mail to mkting@getresponse.com

2) My daughter Zoe, is having her prize giving tonight. Grade 3. She’s a candidate for the “top student” award. But I’m torn. Does an award like this matter? If she doesn’t get it, what then? Are awards like this actually good? What message does it send to everyone else? Is competition like this at this age a good thing? What should be rewarded – hard work, effort; or natural ability? I don’t actually care what happens, I think she’s great. Hopefully she knows that no matter what happens.

Also, remember I have a special deal on my “Guerrilla CV / Resume Writing” for December. Either visit the Facebook page for more: www.fb.com/guerrillaresumeandcv or just drop me an e-mail request to gerard@jobsearching.co.za

Jailbird Job Search Secret

I took this from a site specializing in advising jailbirds how to find jobs.

I figured that if they can find a job … anyone can. And there’s something to be gained from how they do it.

From the JailtoJob.com website, the advice is simple, and universally true.

Here is the Secret

1. Show up – If you just show up, you will be in the top 25% of all job seekers

2. Show up with a plan – If you show up with a plan, you will be in the top 15% of all job seekers

3. Show up with a plan and work it – By showing up with a plan and working the plan, you will be in the top 10% of all job seekers!

So, do YOU show up? (In what shape?) Do YOU have a plan? (Is it working for you?) And, do YOU work that plan? (Or does it involve sitting, waiting, hoping?)

It reminds me of this quote:

“With practice and attention, we can learn to put ourselves right side up regardless of external circumstance.”

Yes, even a jailbird can go get a job. It takes showing up, a firm plan, and the willingness to work that plan. But if he does eventually he’ll find himself “right side up.” Why? Because he’s learned to own his job hunt. He’s responsible for the results.

You’re probably not a jailbird. You have more going for you. Don’t get discouraged. Things will will work out well if you follow the 3 steps above. Learn to own your job hunt. Master it. Make it your bold magnificent mission. Do it as if the whole world was judging you on it.

See how the results will flow in.

If you need a plan see www.jobsearching.co.za/jobsearchfasttrack

The CV How-Much-Detail-is-Enough? Dilemma. 4 Insights.

Y’know, the dilemma, more detail? Less? How much is enough?

So, yesterday I wrote a CV for a General Manager, working in a JSE listed Group, GM of a division with a Rkazillion turnover. And he had included tons of detail in his old CV. And it made me think.

By the way, the principles I’m gonna share here apply equally if you’re an Admin Clerk or MD. So ‘lissen up’. One of his points – in his 13 page, 25 year career long CV – was this detail (to take a simple example):

“Prepared and coordinated the annual budgets on a zero base budget method”

Now for what he’s aiming at (GM, Managing Director, etc type positions) is that going to help him get where he’s going? I don’t think so. It’s too much detail – going down to that level of detail across his last 10 years would require many tedious pages – which would have an overall uuugly effect on his ‘impact – boom, boom’ rating. Yep, maybe he wouldn’t make the impact he could have with a more punchy, concise document.

So where do you draw the line in terms of how much detail goes in a CV? A couple of things come to mind:

1. Is the specific detail really that special? Or is it assumed? Take our GM – budgeting is pretty much an assumed function/skill (especially considering his Financial background). That he did budgeting is unlikely to impress anyone. That he applied a certain methodology is perhaps even more un-important. It’s not going to twist anyone’s arm into calling him in for an interview. Right? It’s not a deal-breaking detail.
2. It’s about results. One makes decisions about what to include or not based on what the position being applied for asks for and will ask for in the way of results. Again take the GM. He’s being – no doubt – asked to increase revenue, improve efficiency in service delivery, reduce costs, etc. So really focus has to be on that stuff – how he’s performed those tasks/challenges before. And the results achieved. One doesn’t want to dilute those aspects of the message by detail that may be 2nd or 3rd tier in importance.
3. But (there always is one) – but perhaps in a certain profession knowledge of certain methodologies, practices or legal frameworks IS of critical importance. They’re fundamental to whether you’re a suitable candidate or not. That’s another clue to whether detail should be included or not: if it IS fundamental (tier 1) then it should appear.
4. A good clue – what is your tier 1 detail? Look at the job ad for clues. Years of experience, qualifications, and job titles are big ones. Do they stand out on your CV – or do they kinda get diluted, buried, lost in pages of detail. Your tier 1 detail should be page 1, paragraph 1, line 1. Seriously. Not stretched out over 10 pages.

Sometimes in a CV – I see it in my CV writing Clients all the time – the response of the writer is to pack in the detail, sometimes desperately giving the impression that “this little detail may tip the scales in my favour”. But usually it won’t. Recruiters are influenced by simpler things.

As in the case of the GM at the start:

“10 Years as GM in a R300ml pa Company; Recent Achievements Include Turning a Division around from a R5ml loss to a R2.1ml Profit; BComm Hons Degree etc.” (the “etc.” is not advised – but you get the drift, right)

For the right position, that alone will have a recruiter scampering for the phone. Will adding “zero base budgeting” make them run faster? No. (BTW : I wrote a great CV for him. And I can for you too. Ask for the info – send me a mail gerard@jobsearching.co.za or visit www.wowcv.net.)

Job Application Response Within 10 Minutes? How? [April 2 eColumn]

A reply within 10 minutes of sending job application? How?

Last year I wrote a CV for a South African living and working in the Middle East. She’s into IT system integrations and Finance etc. So yesterday she e-mails me in a panic: she’s applying for a job in Singapore and is trying to put a cover letter together, “can you help?”

She’d written a letter but she wasn’t happy with it. And when I read it, to me, it was a bit clumsy and didn’t do much to convey the value and high quality that she represented.

So I rewrote it in about 10 minutes and sent it back to her, and went out to an appointment. When I got back there was an e-mail from her:

“I just sent off your cover letter version & got a response within 10mins.”

What was it that helped get that kind of response? 3 Things, I think.

1. A recruiter who could read. And who received the e-mail at a convenient moment. And who received the e-mail at a time when the position being applied for was on his/her mind, or something of a priority.

[From this you’ll see there is a lot that’s left to chance. It’s NOT like “if you do it THIS way – you’ll get a certain result” – although there are good and bad ways of doing things, there are many uncontrollable factors, which is why persistence is so important.]

2. Our job applicant was actually great for the job – that always helps! She has the experience, qualifications and has been trusted by good companies in doing her job.

[BUT – what so many good people do is to hide their ‘great’ profile away. They do so by never actually saying that they’re great for the position. They spread their message over 8 pages of CV, 2 page-long cover letters, 10 line paragraphs – just too many words, too many pages. Never really getting to the point.]

3. My version of the cover letter got to the point and used the following formula:

  • Clearly established the job being applied for [I used a bold heading for this]
  • Used a 3 point bulleted list then to present the ‘hard’ items that would impress. Started the list with the word “offering”. Makes sense … the reader wants to know, “what are you offering me?? tell me now or go away”
  • I went completely without the following: promises to “revolutionize” the company and bring in “higher profits”. Those may well be the end result – but come on, it sounds too much like sales talk. Sometimes its appropriate. Absolutely. But when there are ‘hard’, good skills, qualifications and experience then that’s what needs to feature strong. It’s about establishing credibility. That’s what gets the calls and quick response.

[Reality check – remember what I said earlier – “there are many uncontrollable factors” – just because you’re the best person for the job, doesn’t mean you’re going to get the job! Just because you have a great cover letter, doesn’t mean you’ll get the quick response. There’s all sorts of ‘stuff’ that goes on. So again, persistence is crucial – it’s the big equalizer! (For “persistence” read, “keep trying, keep improving, keep targeting”)]

Here’s the actual letter (without the frills, etc)

Application for Position: Great Plains Consultant – Singapore

Offering …

  • 9 Years International Experience in ERP Consulting and Implementation Roles – Delivering Projects and Reporting in at CFO and SVP of Finance Level
  • In depth knowledge of Great Plains Dynamics and Microsoft Business Solutions – Certified Great Plains Consultant, and MCSE
  • Strong Management, Technical, Business and Training Skills Supported by a BComm Accounting Degree and Advanced IT Training and Knowledge

Now, don’t try to copy this letter – it was right for her, it won’t necessarily be for you. But pay good attention to the principles outlined above. Then tailor your letter to suit if you have a similar situation. One other thing was that I had the advantage of seeing the job advert first – which gave some insight on what they were looking for.

So there are some ideas on how to get quick response from your job applications. Hope it works for you. “Keep trying, keep improving, keep targeting.”

Interesting Things

www.debtcounsellingsa.co.za – if you’re under debt pressure go here. On the site it says: “No more letters you are too scared to open. No more phone calls you are too nervous to answer. Dealing with the problem rather than ignoring it gives you an instant feeling of relief.” They can help.

Get Comfortable in Your Own Skin – How to and Why it’s Important in Your Job Search [March 26 eColumn]

Just smiles. Seriously – that’s what I’ve been noticing as I accompany my father through the SA healthcare system. Man, there are a lot of people who enjoy what they do – or at least they enjoy helping other people.

Okay there are negatives – like, yesterday, being made to wait 4 hours for a 10 minute appointment – but from the hospital staff, admin staff and pharmacy staff to nurses at the private old age home/frail care facility, there are a lot of good people. Actually the only person with no smile was the private doc/specialist. Just shows money only goes so far in putting a smile on one’s face.

The job searching lesson? A lot of our success or failure in life has to do with how we connect with people. How we come across. Whether we come across as ‘open’, friendly, accommodating and nice to have around. Or not. Landing your next job, believe me has much to do with that – frequently more than your experience and qualifications.

So, are you comfortable in your own ‘skin’? Are you ‘okay’ with yourself?

Years ago I remember thinking of this feeling of being ‘okay’ with yourself as something like an anchor. Despite the knocks, pushes and shoves in life, basically you like who you are, you know you have value – so you shake off the inevitable job market rejections and the ‘difficult’ job interviews and interviewers (y’know, with that brainless recruiter!). You maintain your equilibrium or stability.

Do you believe in yourself? No-one should completely I don’t think – I mean we all need support, we all need to improve somehow, we all make mistakes. And most often there’s someone out there who’ll be faster, better, cleverer than us. But still, do you have that core of confidence in and comfortableness (there’s a new word!) with who you are and what you can do? ‘Cause if you are, then you’ll come across better. And be in line for better interviews and better job search results.

    Here’s something practical regarding this – it’s going to be something I expand on in future: when you’re going on a job interview, in preparation, take a blank sheet of paper and make some notes in answer to the following questions:

    • What’s the job I’m interviewing for?
    • What kind of company is it for (if you know)?
    • What department is it in?

    Then …

    • From my previous experience what are the 5 (or 3) most common challenges, problems in that kind of company, department, position? What are the daily problems someone like me is expected to solve?
    • Now, have I ever faced any similar situations? [Think of the 3 toughest situations you faced.]
    • What are some things I did really well? And what did I do to get that result?
    • How do I feel having done that?

    Remember the good things you did, the good results you achieved. Focus on your value. Remind yourself.

    Repeat this exercise considering your life in general:

    • What are some basic things that I’ve achieved that I’m proud of? [Forget about the fact that others may also have achieved what you have – just be happy that you did it. It proves you have ability and value.]
    • What are some things I COULD be proud of, if I let myself?
    • What improvements am I making or will I be making soon that I’m proud of?

    Here’s the idea: get your mind on a positive track – start building that anchor, make it a big one – not to be full of yourself – but just to be comfortable with who you are, and therefore solid, stable, able to smile, laugh easily … and come across as someone who is reasonably confident, ‘nice to have around’ and who fits in easily (as opposed to edgy, tetchy, scratchy, uncertain and porcupine-ish!)

    Some people appear to have this whole ‘effect’ naturally – and frequently we’ll find they’re in jobs they are suited for and like and they do well. It’s like “maturity” – y’know, reaching a point where you’re comfortable, stable. But it’s also something that can be cultivated.

    [For much more on this topic, getting to know yourself better, discovering ‘who’ you are – join the www.careerandsuccess.info community. You’ll get immediate access to resources like “Wishcraft” by Barbara Sher (see quote in right sidebar) and Tony Robbins’ “Awaken the Giant Within” (abridged version – really cool because the original was, like, 500 pages).]

    Quick update – last week I sent out a short questionnaire about starting your own business – whether you’d like to one day. There was an unbelievable response – 680 responses so far. No surprise actually. So I’m starting a new website called something like Gerard’s Small Biz Ideas – just to share some of the ideas I’ve used over the years.

    A lot of people are scared to start a business – and rightly so. But you have to ask – “what am I building for myself?” Or am I just always building for others? Also, in an economy that’s losing jobs – increasingly, we have to look at starting our own show. And success isn’t so difficult. But it is important to get the basics right – especially when it comes to marketing. More later.

    I’ll also be expanding my CV writing service to writing business profiles, sales letters, newsletters etc for small businesses, consultants, etc – helping them get more interest more quickly from their customers and clients. Contact me directly on gerard@jobsearching.co.za re. this service for now.

    On a Personal Note:

    Do you allow dogs in your bedroom? This morning this was our family scene (as usual): Olive (in her xy ‘jamas), Ethan (4) and Zoe (6) in bed sipping their tea. Me sitting on the couch with my coffee. Bella (mostly Alsatian) lying at my feet, Molly (a Boerbull of Great Dane proportions) lying in the doorway with her pathetic stump excuse for a tail wagging side to side. It just struck me as cool. Oh, and there probably were a couple of cats hiding out in there somewhere too. Now, I don’t dig the dogs in the house really. But there are some simple things in life that just give one a good feeling. We were all having a chat (ok, not the dogs, they were just wagging their tails in contentment). It was early. No rushing for a few minutes. Nice. Good to have times like that.

    That’s it. All the best.

    A Malema Inspired Job Search and Life Lesson [March 19 eColumn]

    Hi – So what are you born for? In last week’s Sunday Times the headline of a profile article on Julius Malema read something like “Born for Politics”. Ja, well some may agree, some not. That’s not the point.

    Here’s the point: you – rightly – may wonder what career, job, life course you were ‘born’ for.

    But does it make a difference, you ask? I mean isn’t life just a struggle, you just have to get through each day? Enjoying yourself is for weekends. What’s your belief on this?

    If you don’t have an opinion – get one, ok? And if your opinion is the one described above – you’re wrong. There. I challenge you. Argue in the “comments” below if you like – and be shot down in public!

    Here’s what I say:

    You have something special. A unique combination of interests, abilities, ways of thinking, interests, knowledge and life experiences that makes you special. And a big challenge in life is to uncover your special factors. And then the challenge is to focus on them, a lot. Because it’s in these areas that you can be most successful. It’s in these areas you can best help others.

    Problem: we get too busy with life, pursuing ‘things’, getting battered around by what others want from us, paying the bills and watching garbage on TV to focus on what we’re about, what we want, what we want our lives to turn out like.*

    (* Balancing, of course, other important facets of our life – like family, spirituality, emotional and physical well being, etc – these are responsibilities, they make valid demands on us. I’m not talking about taking a “I’m no.1” approach here – just a reasonable “I must look after the goose who lays the golden egg” approach.)

    So … following on this theme: I’m really going to encourage you – if you see some of yourself in the above – to join the Career&Success forum. There are fantastic resources there to help you.

    And there’s a new once off payment structure. No monthly membership hassles. And it’s cheaper than ever.

    Here’s an example of on book available there – it’s waiting for you – “Wishcraft” by Barbara Sher:

    “It will show you how and why you may have lost touch with your dreams, and it will give you simple, enjoyable exercises for rediscovering them. And then it will help you shape a real-world goal out of what you love.

    “So far from being “impractical” or “irresponsible,” doing what’s closest to your heart is like striking oil: you tap into a surge of energy that will propel you to the heights of success.

    “There are plenty of hard-working, responsible men and women in our society who do know how to get things done but have never felt free to explore themselves and find out what they want to do. If you’re one of them, the first half of this book will be a revelation.

    Go here now and join: www.careerandsuccess.info

    On a Personal Note:

    Listening to Springsteen’s latest release – “Working on a Dream” – brilliant (am I giving away my age?) I’ve started a ‘thread’ in the Career&Success forum “feel good music” in the “Trivia” section at the bottom – c’mon join and make your recommendations and see mine and other members. Aren’t you tired of KFM and 94.7, Metro and 5 yet?

    Suddenly turning cold here in the Cape, bit of rain yesterday and overnight. Life’s good. Just a bit behind with everything.

    By the way – yesterday sent out a survey re. starting your own business – I had around 500 replies before lunch. Thanks for your response! I’ll be following up with that soon. Many are wanting to start their own business. But find it quite scary. In future I’ll be sharing some of the tools and ideas that helped me make a success of my business. It really helps to start off with the right / best practical advice out there – clue: universities and colleges don’t teach this stuff.

    Your Job or Career in Tough Times [Feb 26 e-Column]

    Are the tough economic times making you nervous about your job? It is for many.

    But what can you do about it? Ok, so here are 3 things you can do – or at least start thinking about – in order to create more security for you in insecure times. And we’re talking career here, jobs, employment.

    1. Market your self better. Let me translate: have clearly in mind and communicate unmistakably what benefits you provide an employer. Make it concise. Give rock solid examples of how you made things better. Focus not on you, but on how an employer is better off by having you around – what problems do you solve?

    Just on this … note from employers: “don’t make us think so hard, ok?”

    Also … what new avenues of ‘getting the word out’ can you use? Instead of just applying for job online or via newspapers, what else can you do? Can you innovate, be bolder? Look for ways. You’ll find them.

    2. Be flexible. Employers are also feeling the pinch. They don’t like the risk of getting you on board and they you turn out to be just another ‘bum’ on a seat wanting your paycheck come hell or high water at the end of the month.

    Yet still they need to do business. So they need good people. Can you offer yourself on a more flexible basis – ie not as a permanent employee. Perhaps as a contractor on a part time basis. Can you offer your services to more than one company at the same time? This way you absorb some of the risk and if you do it right – ie not as a desperate measure to try to land the job, but as a well planned strategy – you’ll end up with more work.

    3. Be an entrepreneur. Can you start your own business? Can you work toward it? What gaps in the market do you see? What have you got (experience, skills, knowledge, qualifications) that other businesses or people need? Keep that in mind. You’ll start thinking of things as you go. Make a list. Get your mind in gear. That’s where it starts. Start it.

    I get a number of e-mails from people wanting to exit their small business and enter the traditional job market again – they’re looking for the stable, big company job again. My heart sinks. They may find a job like that. But it will take considerable time and effort and their search will likely demoralize and frustrate them. It may be the better option to focus on improving their business.

    Of course, good sense must prevail – but wanting that “stable, secure, well paying, big company job” sometimes isn’t where ‘good sense’ starts in this kind of market – especially if all ‘eggs’ are placed in that basket. A more entrepreneurial way of thinking is better (although persisting with a bad business idea is not a good idea!)

    It’s good advice.

    And one more thing – arrived in my inbox too late to include in my weekly e-mail – but it fits really well here – it’s a quote:

    “The money I have is in direct proportion to the value I’ve given to others. The more I give of myself, incredibly, the more economic power comes my way.”

    Tod Barnhart, Author

    So good job hunting lesson here: “What value am I providing?” If we take this approach – focussing on how we can help employers with the real problems they have, if we provide real solutions – then all we need to add is making that real clear in our CV, interviews, etc.

    Heard the one about the Irishman? [Feb 5 e-Column]

    Hi – Funny story – some friends of ours spent some time living in Ireland, in a small town somewhere. So, we wanted to know – y’know, “are the Irish really as Irishman-like as all the Englishman, Scotsman, Irishman jokes make out”?

    Not exactly, they said. But they do look at things in a funny way sometimes. Like – if you’re walking in the street and you stop someone to ask directions to a place, they’ll say something like, “sure, but I wouldn’t start from here.”

    Funny, but think about it: frequently when we want to get somewhere (usually fast) we find ourselves in a less than desirable starting point. It’ll be simpler and easier to get there from somewhere else.

    Maybe you’re looking for a new, better job. But if you’re hanging on to ‘where you are’ – clinging to old ways of doing things, fear of being a bit bolder, fear of chasing new exciting horizons, beliefs that you “can’t” or “don’t have what it takes” – then it’s true – don’t “start from here”.

    Many of us get caught up in the ‘rut’ of life – doing things the same old way. But just last week had an e-mail from a client and Career&Success community member. And she’s done something new. Despite having been ‘safe’ in a largish company as their IT Manager for a long time she feels like fresh challenges. But she can’t afford to just resign, and as long as she’s in a job, it’s like she doesn’t have time to really focus on getting that new job.

    So here’s what she’s done: resigned, and negotiated a contract where she does her old job but not as a permanent employee. This way she’ll have the flexibility to explore new horizons and still have an income. It’s similar to what I did when I started my business. I negotiated a 3 day work week. It was good – it pushed me in the right direction.

    Interesting huh? But you may ask:

    “Isn’t it risky?” What isn’t? Think you’re really so safe in your safe job? You’re not. But taking a risk, deciding to take control, taking definite steps, taking action, learning, facing the challenge, thinking more as an entrepreneur – now those are skills that when you develop them, will help you be as ‘safe’ as is possible in this market.

    On my new website – old website, with new content, look and structure – there are 8 main pages (if you’re reading this on my blog – check the left column), each featuring a key element of a successful job search. And #1 is, “Start Here (or Else!)”. We can choose to do things the same old way, with the same old mindset – and suffer the usual, mediocre or downright pathetic results (the “or Else!” bit). Or we can choose to be smarter.

    This page contains some valuable principles that really should be the foundation of your job search (will be adding to it regularly). It’ll be good for you to absorb them and think of how you can put them to work. Hope it helps. Check it out now and later.

    On a Personal Note:

    Mother in law back on her feet after hip replacement op. Not home yet though. Old age sucks. Had my Dad at the doctor on Saturday and again Saturday night to deal with some crisis (which shall remain confidential – believe me you don’t want to know.) But at the other end of the spectrum – there are our kids – 6 and almost 4 – fresh, energetic, indestructible! Seeing them run around makes me want to be alive and to be able to enjoy running around with them. (And am getting inspiration to get back in that kind of shape from the resources posted up at Career&Success.)

    That’s it. All the best.
    Gerard le Roux
    CV Writer and Job Search Coach
    www.jobsearching.co.za

    Do You Watch “The Apprentice”? [Jan 29 e-column]

    So last week I was watching “The Apprentice”. The challenge was, which of the two teams could sell the most steak/food at a football game. The one team had hundreds of people crowded round, cheerleaders, an eating competition, a money grabbing game tent – lots of fanfare, lots of people. The other team didn’t. But they won by a big margin.

    Why? How? What made the difference?

    The answer is a big business lesson. And good for job hunters too. Team 2 stumbled on to something. They made an almost accidental discovery that just made all the difference. And here it is:

    They discovered that people in the football crowd would buy food if it was delivered to them. The food had to come to them. They didn’t want the hassle of queuing, leaving their seats and friends. And they’d pay a premium for it.

    And isn’t that a key to success in business? Give people what they want. Help them get what they want. It’s a guaranteed success formula. In your job too – want a promotion? Solve your employer’s problems. Want a job? Find a problem and come up with a way to solve it.

    If you develop that kind of mindset, y’know …

    “how can I make things better, faster, more profitable – or whatever”

    … then you’ll always be sought after (as long as you’re also smart about marketing yourself). Sometimes the answers will be obvious. Sometimes you’ll have to search long and hard. Sometimes you’ll ‘stumble across’ what it is that is needed. Sometimes it’ll be the strangest things – people get hired for all sorts of reasons – from having good legs (hey, girls!) to being able to create space and peace for your boss (like a PA for eg.) It’ll be hard skills – like being able to develop a new software program – or soft skills – like being able to sell and persuade – or just having the kind of personality that ‘fits’ in the team.

    Some of these things you can do something about, others you can’t. That’s the job market. But if you’re always looking to see how you can make things better, looking for a need to fill, a problem to solve – as opposed to looking just to sit in your chair, do your job and collect your pay cheque – then you’ll find you’re in much more demand.

    And think deeper, ok? Don’t just think, “well a business needs an Accountant/whatever”. It’s true but it’s not all. What kind of Accountant does it need? What style? What’s that something extra that could make the difference? Does THIS Accountant just balance the books, OR does she ALSO discover where money can be saved, inefficiencies in how much stock is being held, or expensive but non-profitable areas of the business?

    See the difference?

    Going back to The Apprentice: both teams had it right – the crowd wanted food. But only one team discovered that they wanted food more, if it came in a certain style. Delivered to them. The team adapted their offering – and they won. In every other way the other team was better. But they didn’t have that something extra – what the crowd really wanted.

    So like them, you may also ‘stumble’ across an idea that just rockets you to new heights: earnings, job offers, promotions, even ideas for a new business you can start. Make sure you keep looking.

    And Now, Check This Quote:

    “You must begin to understand that the present state of your bank account, your position at work, etc is nothing more than the physical manifestation of your previous thinking. If you sincerely wish to change or improve your results in your physical world, you must change your thoughts and you must change them immediately.”
    – Bob Proctor, “You Were Born Rich”

    This is not smoke and mirrors advice. It’s as real and true as the blood rushing through your heart right now. Unforeseen events happen. True. Bad things happen – quite by chance – to good people – that also true. But for most of us, the quote above says it all. Are you ready to make a change?

    The entire book “You Were Born Rich” is available to Members of the Career & Success community. Wanna join at R30 pm? It’s easy. Go here and get the mindset – www.careerandsuccess.info now.