Wednesday 27 October 2010

Job Search Sound Byte Number 4: How to get keep your job or land a job - Staying employed in tough times!

We’re 2 years into the global financial crisis and nobody seems to know who to blame for all the mess. Some say it is investment bankers, some say government. I must admit to finding it confusing that the investment bankers are taking the flack when the two banks that led the UK into the banking crisis both specialised in mortgages. But that is another story!

Suffice it to say, a tsunami of job-losses is about to hit! The long-awaited ‘Comprehensive Spending Review’ produced by the UK’s coalition Government arrived last Thursday and it spells out a lot of doom and gloom for public sector workers with many people expecting more than 400,000 civil servants to lose their jobs in the next year.

The idea is that, according to traditional Conservative ideology, these newly unemployed masses will be soaked up by a resurgent private sector. How likely is this to happen in reality? Many of my dyed-in-the-wool enterprising friends would struggle to justify hiring a worker with an entrenched public sector mindset due to the damaging stereotype prevailing in society.

Sadly, the latter-day British civil service worker is tarred with a quite toxic reputation of hiding behind red-tape and never being accountable for anything they do in the workplace. Rightly or wrongly, many British citizens have been on the wrong end of this experience and the toxic reputation looks like sticking. Beware of the image you present.

So if the job-loss tsunami is going to hit the public sector workers the most, and you are one, then your best strategy is to market yourself as a very dynamic worker with a demonstrable track record of productivity.

Many of the public sector workers I have assisted through the redundancy nightmare feel a gaping hole when asked to give quantifiable measures of their success; often because they are a cog in a much larger machine and laying claim to a number describing productivity which is their own can be very difficult.

The fact remains that hirers in the private sector do not hire generic workers as a first resort. They hire proven track records. They hire energisers. They’re looking for producers, deliverers and value generators who can contribute directly to the bottom line. Alongside which we mustn’t forget that it IS a dog-eat-dog world out there; especially when times are lean.

The Magic Ingredient:

For years, and years, and years I’ve talked to career professionals about what it is that makes a job candidate outstanding - truly outstanding. What is the one magic ingredient that makes the one interviewee stand out from the crowd? The Answer: Purpose and Conviction - they both amount to the same thing - attractiveness.

What is Purpose and Conviction?

I’ve written for many years about these two vital components in a well-planned job search campaign. The difficulty is that it is almost impossible to put your finger on exactly what Purpose is. The same applies to Conviction.

Both Purpose and Conviction are intangible commodities. Like the 5 Senses, they are relatively easy to describe. But when asked to describe the 6th Sense, that's a different matter! Yet these words find a way to be incredibly attractive qualities when seen in a person. They help the beholder omit a powerful sense of confidence. The person gives off a sense of understanding and a sense of direction in their lives which 90% of the rest of the population don’t have.

Very often The Hirer is threatened by this innate sense of purposefulness and sureness. Many of us can feel intimidated by someone who has an innate sense of knowing where they are going in life. Some people feel threatened and jealous. So once you’ve worked-out how to implant this fantastically attractive quality in your life, you’ve got to know how to handle it - it's a bit like your own version of Kryptonite! As many people are frightened by it!

How to harness your conviction and not intimidate people:

Imagine a pressure gauge on a steam train. Picture the needle hitting bursting-point and the need to get out of the way of a boiler which is just about to explode. Picture the gauge saying that there just isn’t enough pressure in the boiler to move the train forward and the scramble to shovel more coal into the firebox. We can see that there is a happy medium between too much power and not enough.

The same applies to conviction and purpose in a person. If we are overly confident people will tend to feel intimidated and possibly even resentful. On the other hand people can also get a clear sense of when a person does not have very much confidence with the metaphor being that their pressure gauge is too low; they lack self-esteem and a sense of direction in their lives.

Self-assuredness is the happy balance, neither not overly confident, nor lacking. If I go to see a doctor I’d like to be made to feel by their body language, demeanour and the tonality of their words that they knew exactly what they were doing and they exuded a sense of self-assuredness. 99 times out of 100 we can tell whether a person gives off this all-important sense of Purpose and Conviction the very moment we meet them for the first time. We can even detect this when the person is on the other end of a telephone!

Some people call this the Law of Attraction. Whatever it is, when the going gets tough, and you need to get going to find another job or prove your worth in the one you are in, dig deep and identify what your purpose is in life. And get hired for doing just that! Everyone I have ever met has an innate skill in their life, the only problem is that some people haven't found it yet!

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