With the unemployment rate down and the jobs report exceeding expectations, news about unemployment has taken a backseat.
The current focus includes the Middle East Crisis, terrorists threats with ISIS and Boko Haram, the danger of Ebola becoming a pandemic, and the border predicament as 56,000,000 unaccompanied children pour into the U.S. And then there are the upcoming elections that cause countless crops of “election litter” to mushroom onto every lawn and billboard …as far as the eyes can see. Did I mention TV commercials? I don’t own a TV, but I can imagine what it’s like…sorry about that.
The stats don’t take into account the reason for the low unemployment rate. They don’t focus on the cause—perhaps we are so tired of bad news that we are willing to ignore the jobless reality.
The reality is that the unemployment rate is down partially because so many jobseekers have dropped out, stopped looking, took a part-time job that doesn’t meet their needs, or are temporarily out of jobsearch mode for other reasons.
The job numbers don’t take into account that the 248,000 jobs that were created are primarily low-paying, entry level and part-time positions. The news reports give us the good news and quickly move past the facts that might damper the excitement that “all is well”…a message that we have learned to accept just before elections.
There is very little focus on the fact that the “labor force participation rate is down.” As a matter of fact, it is at an all time low since 2004. This is not good news considering the number of Millenials who are entering the workforce and the long-term unemployed who are still looking for work. It means that many have given up hope.
The reality (and if you are a jobseeker then you know this) is that it is still extremely difficult to get a job. Earlier and during the Great Recession, at least there was sympathy.
Jobseekers are no longer getting much sympathy.
How does that make you feel? Left out? Insignificant? Without value?
Jobseeker: How much pain are you in—right now? Your demographic is no longer the center of attention. Do you feel alone? Do you feel that while you are in severe anguish, you have become invisible as others gawk at the news?
Stop it! Stop it now…and never go back.
Your emotions set the stage for your attitude. A poor attitude will destroy any chance that you will get a job. I’ve asked over 50 hiring professionals, “What is the number one reason that you don’t hire someone with the right skills and experience?”
Their answer, “Attitude! If a candidate is bitter, frustrated, desperate, angry, depressed…any of those —then they aren’t ready to come back to work.”
Are you angry? Are you frustrated? Feeling hopeless? It’s reasonable! However, to conduct a successful jobsearch, you will have to deal with these emotions in a positive manner. Professional help may be needed. Don’t wait. Get help and get back to work. This is critical!
Jobseeker, I don’t know how it happens, but our attitude permeates our cover letter and résumé. I’ll prove it to you. I bet you’ve opened an email and thought, “Wow, that person is upset!” …even before you’ve read it! Somehow those vibes come through. (It’s a bit creepy, but it happens all the time.)
Hiring experts read people extremely well. They have this remarkable “people sense” when they read a résumé— and they are right about 99% of the time. They trust their gut reaction about people.
Therefore, I make my case that you do not have the luxury of negative thinking. (Besides, it doesn’t bring any value anyway. We’re ALL better off without it!)
Jobseekers: Do this instead:
In today’s job market, with competition at an all time high for every job opening, differentiation is critical. Differentiation is your ability to “distinguish” or separate yourself from all the other candidates.
- In your application (cover letter and résumé).
(You are successful when you are invited to interviews for jobs that are a good fit and grow your career.)
- In the interview—so you get an offer that represents your skill level, education, and your long-term value to the company.
- Identify how to differentiate yourself,
- Communicate those attributes on your cover letter and résumé, .
- Present yourself in your interviews so people know why they should hire you over every other candidate.
- Get others to help you identify your unique attributes.
- Think carefully about how to communicate this information on your cover letter and résumé. “Demonstrate” your attributes in the bullet points in your experience section.
- Create a clear, air-tight communication plan for your interview strategy: begining with the phone interview, and including the face-to-face with HR, and the hiring manager.
Every person is unique—this is not news. Yet this concept is so important in the jobsearch that it has given birth to a focus on personal branding which in turn has saturated the job search market. I believe the concept falls short.
I suggest taking the concept of personal branding to a higher level. Creating and articulating your personal brand is not enough for the job search. Each jobseeker has to be able to articulate how his or her uniqueness translates into value for a potential employer.
“Articulate how your uniqueness translates into value for the employer’s business.”
You ask, “How?”
The essence of differentiation:
Many people confuse differentiation with their brand. Your brand includes your skills and may also include your experience. The essence of differentiation is about your personal attributes. Your attributes are about “who” you are NOT about what you’ve done (your experience) or what you can do (your skills).
It is your unique personal attributes, when applied to the specific problem that you will solve when you are hired that will differentiate you. This one concept, expressed clearly and succinctly on your résumé is key to getting an interview.
Almost every jobseeker makes this mistake. It’s not about your skills and experience. It’s about who you are. When you “differentiate” yourself—it’s about how you are unique.
Interviewing? Remember: They already believe you can do the job!
Remember this if you have an interview: the hiring professionals already believe you can do the job. If they didn’t believe that, why would they be interviewing you? So during the interview, it’s important to spend time discussing your unique value rather than talking about your skills and experience. Every person being interviewed for the position has the skills and experience needed to do the job. Differentiate yourself!
Don’t do this yourself!
Trying to understanding your unique value by yourself? That is a mistake—a BIG MISTAKE! Most people don’t see how they are different from someone else’s perspective…how could they!
Example: I have a client who comes up with unique solutions that are practical and applicable. And she also has a winsome way that gets buy-in from those who are involved. People easily adopt her ideas and promote them (and her!). THE PROBLEM: she doesn’t see these attributes as unusual. She’s always been who she is so for her, these attributes are just her usual, everyday self.
So this is why you can’t do this for yourself! You need input from others or some kind of outside source to help with this.
At Forward Motion, differentiation is at the heart of everything we do. The purpose of the Differentiation Workshop is to:
If you can’t take the Forward Motion Differentiation Workshop then: