Focus on Your Search System … Not the End Goal

by JJ Grob on April 11, 2015 Comments Off on Focus on Your Search System … Not the End Goal
Will you focus on where you are going or enjoy the journey?

Will you focus on where you are going or enjoy the journey?

The best salespeople have a thick skin and know how to handle rejection.  It is said that you can achieve anything if you are willing to hear no enough.  In the job search we are all in the game of sales, but the product we are selling is a little more personal so the sting of the rejection can be one that hits close to home.  It can be hard not to take it personally when you make it through multiple rounds of interviews and don’t get the job, or worse yet are not scoring any interviews in the first place.  It is important that you remind yourself not to take it personally.

A job search, or maybe we should expand that to “any goal worth achieving”, is an exercise in perseverance.  So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and resolve to redouble your efforts.

The key to staying motivated is to make consistent, measurable progress.  That is your task … to build momentum.  Whether you are talking about personal momentum or professional momentum or business momentum–forward acceleration is the most important dynamic you have control over.  Momentum creates a sense of purpose and builds on itself. It is an unbelievable feeling to be in the vortex of a momentum-driven journey.  Being productive is a great thing.  It increases your self-confidence and sense of well-being.  It makes you more effective.  The ultimate reward for keeping your focus and being productive will be the step ahead into a great new job.

You want to focus on your processes and not your end goal(s).  Focus on process will keep you in the moment and motivated.  It will also keep you from a paralyses of overwhelm – ie when the end goal seems so far away (the mountain is too tall to climb, the weight is too heavy to lift, etc etc).  You need to increase your level of self-efficacy and accountability to yourself in attacking the tasks at hand and keep moving that needle forward.

So how do we increase our levels of self-efficacy?


Remember, big tasks are just a bunch of little tasks piled on top of each other. Use what you know about getting small things done. Start small, and take it task by task.

Understanding is a giant step to overcoming.  Consciously tending to your self-efficacy and realize it is a driving force behind your actions or inactions will open up your whole life and jump-start your progress. Few things are more satisfying than doing exactly what you set out to do.

What are your priorities?

Organize them into a hierarchy and break them down into subtasks.  Crossing things off a list has a mental effect and you will feel accomplished with tangible actions that you’ve taken.

It will keep you focused and motivated.

Selling it


Now here’s where I want you to think like a sales person.  If you are in sales you usually have a quota to meet every quarter.  As part of your system I want you to have a quota as well, but I want your quota to be a quota of no’s.  Every week set a target for yourself (ie, “I will make 20 calls to hiring managers”, “I will connect to 50 people in my intended industry”, etc) and I want you to keep pressing and getting used to hearing no.  Be polite. Be professional. But be PERSISTENT.  I spoke in my last blog post about your elevator pitch.  This is where you want to use it.  Push the sale.  What is the value you could add?  How has something you’ve done in past roles inform any challenges of the person on the other end of the phone?  Have a plan for when they say no, but also have a plan for when they say yes.  I want you to think about this as a game of numbers and get used to hearing no so that you toughen that exterior and stiffen that resolve.  Every no is one more step toward your quota and you are continuing to build that all important momentum within your system.

Your career story is ultimately one of which you are the author.  Own it and make yours an interesting story, one you want to tell and that propels you throughout the trajectory of your career.

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb


read more
JJ GrobFocus on Your Search System … Not the End Goal

Reaching out and making those connections

by balki on April 10, 2015 Comments Off on Reaching out and making those connections


So you’ve done your company research.  You’ve defined your targets and done your due diligence on the ins and outs of the organization.  You have a feel for the industry, organization, and the role(s) you want to pursue.  What now?

Your goal in your career search is to talk to as many people as you can.  Talking to people is the key to your success in your search.  Here’s the formula:

Four Steps to Success:

  1. Identify a job you would like to explore
  2. Find someone doing that exact job right now
  3. Talk to them
  4. Repeat

For some this is the hard part.  What I’d like to do is to take some of the anxiety out of the process and give you some guidelines for your conversations when you reach out to make those connections.

Preparation is key.  It helps bolster your confidence and keeps you sharp when navigating these unfamiliar waters.  In the Meet Up you did your research on the companies.  Now you must look inward.

As a job seeker you are marketing your talents and skills.  Whether you like it or not you are in the business of sales and you are the product.  The sooner you embrace this the more fluid this process will be for you.

The first thing to understand is that everyone’s time is precious.  You want to be respectful of that and if a contact is granting you an audience you need to be able to seek their advice and communicate your value in as clear and concise a manner as possible.  How do you do that?

You need to have an elevator pitch.  The elevator pitch is a short summary about yourself which contains the most valuable reasons why you offer something others do not.  What are your proudest achievements?  What can you speak most passionately about?  Do some critical thinking about what makes you an exceptional candidate for your target industry/position.  Your elevator pitch should be 25-45 seconds long and should be something you have well-rehearsed and at the ready should you ever need it.  Hopefully it goes without saying that these passions and skills should be tailored to the industry you are seeking.  Knowing your audience is an important part of this process.

Here’s a script you can follow when reaching out to new contacts:

Explain (a) who you are, (b) how you know them, © why you’re contacting them, and (d) what you want to happen next. Be straightforward, be direct, and remember to push hard for referrals, people you can talk to next. Broken down, here is the skeleton of a typical script for a thirty-second introduction:

Hello, __________. My name is __________. I was referred to you by __________. I’m interested in learning more about __________. I wonder if you would have a moment to share with me any advice, ideas, leads, and referrals.

Have questions prepared to jumpstart your discussions.

Here are some examples:

  • Who succeeds in this job?
  • Can you describe a typical day in this type of role?
  • What challenges are people in these depts facing?
  • What are ideal candidates doing? What talents do they possess?
  • What are a few things that really drive results for the company?
  • Is there anything you wish you knew going into the role that you’ve since learned that makes you better at your job?

It’s important not to be too rigid in your conversations.  At the end of the day if someone is doing you the favor of giving you their time you want to make the experience as enjoyable for them as possible.  You want them to like you and nobody likes someone who is just focused on themselves and their own needs.

Follow these rules for contacting people in your job search:

  1. Don’t ask them for a job.
  2. Know precisely what job you’re curious about.
  3. Favor open-ended questions; avoid yes-or-no queries.
  4. Assume everyone has some information that will be useful to you somehow.
  5. Remember that you want to connect to people with information, whether or not they have any power.

Hopefully this is helpful for framing the conversations you need to have in your search.  Please feel free to comment and discuss.

read more
balkiReaching out and making those connections