The moment I walk through the door, my heart begins racing at an unusual pace. My innate reaction to the looming cloud of pressure builds a slight sweat on the nape of my neck. It’s like someone pulled the trigger on the starter pistol.
I’m networking and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Moments like this have happened at least a dozen times since I’ve set out on this path towards professional success. There’s so much noise and so many people, it’s as if I’ve been swallowed inside the hollow mouth of a piñata without any escape. Networking has always made me nervous because I’ve never been sure of how it works. Thankfully, I’ve managed to walk away from my personal experiences with strong lessons to build off of until the next one.
Have you ever left a job interview and said to yourself any of the following, “Wow, that was really ugly”, or “Whew, that was pretty bad”, or “Man, I just went down in a blaze of glory”? If you have, then you are certainly not alone. Talk to the best standup comedians, entertainers or entrepreneurs and they will share their stories of how they bombed on stage or screwed up an investor pitch. Here is a three-step process for moving forward after a bad interview: first deconstruct the event, second, come up with a take-away message and third, relish the silver lining.
I’ve gotten just about all of my jobs through networking. I literally have spent enough time meeting and greeting at Starbucks to qualify for an honorary barista degree. These meetings, however, are about a lot more than lattes and cappuccinos. You should think of every person you meet on an informational interview, as a travel agent who could hold the ticket for your next job. Below, you will find my short list of reasons why these sessions will be beneficial for finding your next job.
Every interview is different, but after a while you begin to hear the same questions. Each interview I’ve had presented its own challenges. Luckily, there was some consistency within the questions that gave me a slight advantage. For this post I’ve compiled a list of three questions to expect during your job search.
1. What experience do you have that makes you suitable for this position? Some variation of this question will be presented to you regardless of the position. For me, transferable skills are gold. Working in retail in the beginning of my work career gave me a staple within my skill set. Customer service has helped me in my journey from student radio to my current post in event planning. I handle any tasks required of me and I do it all within a reasonable time frame. Isn’t that what most employers look for anyway? Think about your past experiences, even duties that seemed mundane, and cross reference them with the skills required of you in new opportunities. The point is to not just sell an idea, but the fact that you’re there asking for the position for a reason.
If you’ve read any of my other blog entries, you might be able to tell that I have a certain affinity for quoting hip-hop and RnB tracks. It’s not just because the songs are catchy but rather, the hooks and lyrics have greater meaning behind them. I’ve titled this week’s entry, “No More Drama” because when you’re embarking upon a new voyage, just like Mary J. Blige, you want to say no more drama to the world you’ve left behind! More importantly, when pitching yourself to companies and prospective employers, you have to realize that they don’t care about the drama of why you left. They want to know what you bring to the table now.
Hello, my name is Emiley Mallory and I am a serial interviewee. Between starting college and completing my Master’s program, I’ve had my fair share of Q&A’s. I’ve had a consistent record with getting jobs I’ve needed at the time, but I’m not a stranger to rejection. Those moments of taking a loss to a “more qualified candidate” have provided me with clarity and a pretty bitter dose of reality. Sometimes a shiny resume simply doesn’t cut it! So what does? Over time, I’ve learned to keep something in mind as I hit the pavement from one office building to the next.
I love the Tupac Shakur classic, “Keep Ya Head Up” because the chorus is so universally uplifting. “Keep ya head up, oooo child things are gonna get easier, ooooo child things are gonna get brighter.” When you’re out there in the midst of a career transition, if there’s one thing you gotta do, it’s keep ya head up!
Regardless of whether you’re waiting for that email back from your college friend’s ex-office mate who’s now the CEO of a hot, new startup or if you were just rejected from the one place you had your heart set on, it’s inevitable that doubt will creep into your thoughts. Whether it’s triggered by downtime, rejection or boredom, there is no fool-proof method for preventing the uncomfortable feelings associated with doubt during times of uncertainty.
Here are a few tricks for staying positive and breaking out of the funk:
As someone who is undergoing his very own career shift, I am privileged to share my thoughts along my journey with the readers of the StrengthsInsight blog. Making a clean break with a career that provided me a good six-figure salary, stability and prestige is not an easy financial or emotional decision to make. In my opinion, it requires three key steps: introspection, research and advocacy. **Please note that as an attorney, I am trained to qualify everything: to this extent, I am not a career “expert” and I recognize that there may be any number of smaller steps in between.
Introspection = Soul Searching
In my post last week, I blogged about the importance of the pivot. Pivoting, or changing course can only occur after you’ve had a gut check moment with yourself. It requires introspection, that is looking inside ourselves and asking some basic questions about our emotional well-being. Am I happy? If not, then, why? Will this career path satisfy my core values for the long term? What alternatively would make me happy and why? For the record, these types of questions are neither easy to frame or answer and require amongst other things, time, list-making and cataloguing past life experiences. In my case, I was fortunate to have the assistance of an inspirational career coach to help me frame these questions and who furthermore questioned my responses to those very same questions.
Are you searching for advice from a professional but don’t want to pay a professional fee? The 5 websites below, provided by experts, professionals and psychologists, can guide you through common and not-so-common dilemmas that you may be facing right now!
1. Brazen: Brazen Careerist, co-founded by Penelope Trunk, author of bestselling career advise book, The New American Dream, is a site for career tips and job opportunities. It connects to a blog called Brazen Life that offers entertaining but helpful articles presenting career advice and tips on finding a job. The articles cover an array of topics, the majority of which are geared toward helping you to find your success. Brazen also has a Pinterest account with 16 boards that conveniently categorize the type of advice you need.
In the words of Robert Schuller, “what would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?” This is the kind of question that stirs those bubbling aspirations that refuse to dissipate. An aspiration is the stuff that precedes every great idea and thrives among those willing to let it take over. Probably the most likely to benefit from such thinking are young entrepreneurial spirits. Young people like Shama Kabani, who founded a social media marketing firm called The Marketing Zen Group at the age of 24. Yoav Lurie and Justin Segall (both 29), are two friends who aspired to mend the “broken relationship between people and their energy consumption”. These guys created Simple Energy, a web platform using social game mechanics to get consumers to save energy. The likes of Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie are crowned by one of today’s youngest milliners and at 25, Gigi Burris shows that her innovative hat designs didn’t come with age, but with genuineness and grace. We have change agents, thought leaders and tastemakers guiding the next generation into a new consciousness and many of them are under 30. It’s never too early to begin pursuing entrepreneurship. If more is what you want and you’re inspired to take the lead, here are three tips to get those wheels turning and possibly spinning gold: