Is there any stressful or frustrating experience for than job-hunting?
Between submitting resumes, asking for informational interviews, networking at industry functions, and then the job interview and salary negotiation process … I don’t think so, and if you’re an introvert (like me!), it just ups the ante exponentially.
Having now reached a point in life and my career where I’ve been through the job-hunting wringer and made it to the other side where I now interview, mentor and advise a whole new generation of job-seekers, I’m often asked for job-hunting advice now.
Those requests usually sound something like this, “Well, Lisa, I’m an introvert and job-hunting is really hard for me. Do you have any advice?”
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Having probably made every job-hunting mistake in the book, I have A LOT of advice, but if I were boil it down to one essential secret, it would be this:
ASK FOR HELP.
What?!?!?!… You may be saying. If you’re an introvert that’s anything like me, you like processing experiences on your own, away from pushy, loud people all trying to give you conflicting advice. You NEED to process those experiences on your own, so you can work through your own thoughts and feelings.
And is there any more emotionally draining experience than the job-hunt with its inevitable ups and downs, re-evaluations and inevitable moments of self-doubt. Why would anyone want to share that experience, let alone start asking for help? Isn’t it the textbook experience that we introverts want to work through on our own?
For so many years that’s exactly what I did, answer job postings, and submitting resumes all on my own, avoiding discussing my job hunt with anyone at all costs. My job hunts were solo missions, long and painful and the results were… okay.
As time went on, though, I eventually came to understand that job hunts didn’t have to be that way. So with more than a few job-hunt battle scars under my belt, now I tell my students, ASK FOR HELP.
One of my favorite pieces of life advice is, “Life is a team sport. Surround yourself with people you like, respect and trust.” From beginning to end, your job hunt is undoubtedly the most important place you will ever need help from your team.
Sure, you can try to find a job on your own, sending out resumes to cold leads and job postings. The reality is that that that will take a LONG time to get to you a job, since more than 80% of job openings are filled before they ever get posted. That means you and everybody else who is relying on job-postings are fighting for a shot at just 20% of the jobs out there.
More importantly, in my experience if the job has been posted, it means that it’s a job that no one wanted for some reason. In all likelihood, the job is overworked and underpaid, and involves unrealistic expectations and quite possibly, a boss from hell.
Believe me… you don’t want that. Moreover, your friends and trusted connections don’t want that for you either. Whether you realize it or not, they WANT to help you, so let them.
Ask for help during every step of your job hunt:
- If you are unsure what kind of job you should be hunting for, ask for informational interviews that can help you understand your options.
- Build a network of contacts that you like, respect and trust, and tell them that you’re job-hunting and ask them to send you leads.
- Ask trusted friends and former colleagues to look over your resume before you submit it for a job.
- When you’re asked in for job interviews, ask your network for any intel they may have on the company and/or the interviewer(s). The more information you have going in, the better prepared you will be!
- When you get that job offer, go back to your network and get a sense of what market compensation is. Know your worth, so you are in the best position to negotiate a compensation you will be happy with.
Yes, asking for help may involve taking a step (or two!) out of your comfort zone. It may make you a little nervous at the start, but take a deep breath! Once you ask for help, you will realize how open and happy people are to help you and how big a difference in can make in your life.
Be sure to pay it forward. After all, with a little help from your friends, you will soon be in a position to help others!
You got this!