Business

Job seekers do have power

Once the strongest emotions have waned, the job seeker is able to see that there are many aspects of the job hunt they c
Once the strongest emotions have waned, the job seeker is able to see that there are many aspects of the job hunt they can directly control. (Associated Press)
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Unexpected job loss, sudden or forthcoming, can be one of life’s most stressful events.

It often creates a strong emotional response. Anger, fear, worry, panic, sadness and feeling a lack of control are common responses.

Based on our personal experiences, and in working with our clients, we know that few good decisions are made in a state of panic or while under the influence of strong emotion.

Acknowledging one’s emotions can help put things in perspective more quickly.

Once the strongest emotions have waned, the job seeker is able to see that there are many aspects of the job hunt they can directly control.

Taking control of these aspects will get the job search moving in a productive direction.

First, the job seeker can control the messaging around her or his job loss, who gets told about the job loss, as well as when and what will be shared.

When explaining one’s job loss it is important to remain on the high road. Don’t disparage a former employer or anyone’s personal reputation.

Friends and family members need to know what the job seeker would like them to say about the situation.

A friend or family member might not understand that there is a difference between using the term “fired,” which implies wrongdoing, and using the term “laid off.”

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Using the wrong terminology will cause damage to the job seekers’ reputation rather than helping.

Messaging about one’s current job status is something any job seeker can and should control.

Next, one of the most controllable but overlooked areas of the job search is how much networking activity the job seeker will generate.

From our experience, more than 70 percent of jobs are landed through some type of networking activity.

Those who maximize their networking activity uncover more of the hidden job market and move into a new job more quickly.

Networking does not need to be scary or intimidating and is something that everyone can do.

At its core, networking is simply having conversations with others who have similar interests, asking advice of former colleagues or joining a professional organization that resonates with you.

Some job seekers will reach out to only a few people, but others will talk to about 20 people a week.

How much networking one chooses to do is a personal decision and is in the job seeker’s control.

When communicating with prospective employers and networking, the job seeker controls the degree to which they come across as professional.

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Documents or emails filled with spelling errors, email addresses that include nicknames, voicemail outgoing messages with rude comments create a negative first impression.

Interview preparation is another area in which the job seeker has control.

Researching the employer and learning as much as they can about the open opportunity will allow the job seeker to answer questions such as, “What do you know about our company?” or “What is your greatest strength?”

Interview preparation gives the job seeker a chance to think about how they will match their skills and experiences to the needs of the employer.

Saying those responses out loud gives the job seeker further practice which will increase their confidence. While the job seeker does not control what an employer will ask in the interview, preparation will help them control how they respond.

The choice to have a good attitude is also something a job seeker can control.

When job seekers are meeting a prospective employer, that employer can tell immediately whether the individual has a good attitude or not.

Part of cultivating a positive attitude is to be aware of negative thoughts.

Another key component of maintaining a positive attitude is for job seekers to surround themselves with positive people — whether it’s virtual visits with supportive family or taking a walk with a neighbor who can lend an ear.

Job searching can be very isolating and there will be ups and downs. A positive advocate to provide encouragement is critical.

In the quest for new employment, there are many things that the employer controls — if they post a job, if they read a specific resume, who is interviewed, who gets the offer.

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However, even when so much in our world feels very uncontrollable, job seekers do have a lot within their own control, if they choose to exert it.

Jennifer Lawrence is the owner of Corridor HR Solutions, a career transition and consulting firm; jennifer@corridorhrsolutions.com

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