In North Carolina where I live, the July 2011 statewide unemployment rate is being reported as 10.3%. Scotland County has the highest unemployment rate at 17.7% and Currituck County has the lowest at 5.2%. In reality, the true statewide unemployment rate is higher. How much higher, nobody knows. The long term unemployed who have exhausted their benefits are no longer counted in the statistics. For the job seeker who sends out hundreds or even thousands of resumes, competition is fierce; and when they never hear back from anyone, can become disheartened quite easily. So what do we do to differentiate ourselves from the crowd?
At Colonial Jobseekers, we recently held a best practice forum to help us understand what it takes to be different. First, it takes shifting your strategy. A good strategy leverages who you are and what you do well. Do you consider yourself a jobseeker looking for your next opportunity, or are you a great employee looking to partner with great company? There’s a big difference. I am a great employee looking to partner with a great company! Now go to a mirror, look yourself in the eyes and say that to yourself. “I am a great employee looking to partner with a great company!” How do you feel? Do you feel any different? Encouraged, perhaps?
Persistence coupled with staying encouraged, motivated and energetic is key to landing your next role. My good friend and colleague, Kevin Hackney, kicked off the forum with an inspiring talk about R.E.A.C.H. an acronym for Results, Enthusiasm, Attitude, Cooperation, and Honor. Here is what Kevin taught us:
Results: Essential employees consistently deliver results that matter. Key on the results that matter. There’s a difference between being busy and being productive. Job seekers seem to be very busy these days. They sit behind a computer looking at job lead and taking an important amount of time pursuing the leads, filling out web based applications, and sending resumes. Does chasing these opportunities give you the results that you want? Or, might it be better to get up, get out and talk to people face to face? Results that matter are the key; not just being busy, but being productive.
Enthusiasm: Job seekers are learning through their job searches that being enthusiastic is a key trait for attracting potential employers. When employers see that you are excited about them, they become excited about you. Enthusiasm is especially important on a phone interview where people can’t observe your body language. Do you know that people can actually tell when you are smiling over the phone? Stay enthusiastic.
Attitude: Now that football season is session, you’ll recognize that the best teams, even when they’re down, will have a great attitude about making that next score. Even when you get a rejection letter or when things don’t go the way you’d like them to, you have to maintain a good attitude.
Cooperation: A positive influence at work. You’re going to run into people that you know you know more than they do. You’re going to run into people that will be interviewing you that don’t even know the terms that they are asking you about. You still have to cooperate with them. You still have to be able to talk, to discuss, to convey to them that you know what you’re doing, you know what you want to do, and you know how to be a good partner with them.
Honor: Perhaps most importantly, essential employees have honor—unquestionable integrity. Honor really boils down to trust. Trust is that behavior, trust is that factor, that if you lose it or don’t have it with the person that you are trying to interact with, the interaction is not going to go very far. Honor or trust is really something that can’t be regained if you are discovered to have lied, cheated or stole. That person might have to work with you, but their will always be a question in the back of their mind as to, “Are they being honest with me?” Honor is something we want to make sure we maintain as an essential employee and specifically if you are out their job searching.