Mary, a client in transition recently commented that job search behavior is a practiced behavior. This immediately captured my attention and I asked her to elaborate on her comment. Mary went on to share that as she attended the seminars at OI Partners Promark Company, she was seeing three behaviors stand out as she tried to make sense of her sometimes perplexing, always urgent and seemingly endless transition. So, I’d like to share with you what Mary is practicing on a daily basis to help her navigate uncharted opportunities. I continue to be impressed with her practice and believe that these behaviors, when used consistently, WILL shorten her search significantly, help her capitalize on unadvertised opportunities and make her competition irrelevant.
Be Positive –This is advice given freely, YET the hardest behavior to practice. Not everyone can be a Pollyanna. The critical difference is how your internal feelings of frustration, sadness or defeat SHOW up in your behavior. I invite you to:
- Try powerful questioning – what does it feel like to be fully enjoying a day you are controlling? – the results might surprise you and shift your perspective from hopeless to hopeful
- Imagine you are being interviewed by your local newspaper about your legacy. What would you say about your life? As you look, both backwards and forwards, what matters to you the most? – this might help you “see” your past with an eye to the future
- Surround yourself with “nourishers,” people who will listen, allow you to vent, YET firmly remind you of your natural talents – use their feedback to begin writing stories of success
Be Helpful –People are energized when what you say and do helps them achieve their goals. According to Stephen Covey, “being understood by others is the greatest need of all.” I invite you to:
- Suspend egocentric thinking and assumptions and the need to have the “right” answer– what behaviors help you create a space for open and heartfelt listening?
- Cultivate a sense of curiosity about what makes the person tick – what communication practices such as paraphrasing or mirroring might build trust and credibility in a conversation?
- Be generous and intentionally find opportunities to share your expertise. Complete the sentence, “I am the one people come to for…..” – who might benefit from your knowledge/skills/aptitude? Create a networking tree to explore conversation pathways
Be Likeable – Why bother? Because most people hire people they like and want to be around. So, how can you show warmth, sensitivity and humility while sharing your confident self? I invite you to:
- Be aware of your distractions and how it shows up in your behavior. When you listen carefully, with complete attention and no interruptions, you can hear the heart of a conversation with all its nuances, hidden meanings and overt messages – can you identify what might interfere with your actively listening to someone? What ideas might help keep these diversions at bay?
- Pay attention to your personal presence. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, Blink, suggests that it takes less than 5 seconds to make a first impression. So, whether it is 5 seconds or 30 seconds, there isn’t much time to make that first impression, is there? – what impression does the way you dress and groom yourself give about your competence?
- Remain genuine and authentic in all your interactions. Ask about what matters to people and look for a connection between your values and theirs – what questions help you initiate a conversation with strangers? What do you personally do to make someone comfortable in a conversation?
I agree with Mary that these behaviors do take on urgency in active transition. However, it is easy to make a case for leveraging these practices in everyday career management. Today’s world is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (V.U.C.A). Our response to this world need not be volatile, uncertain, complex or ambiguous. What do you think?