I was chatting with my friend today who has been out of work for a while now. She’s one of the sharpest people I know, but she’s still been struggling for a few months in finding a job in tech.
In the beginning, she loved the unemployed life. A life-long overachiever, it was almost a relief for her to be laid off from what was sure to become the fast track to burnout.
Suddenly her day was her own: She had time for hobbies, for exercise, for friends. She still had the afterglow of being employed, which made her desirable. She wasn’t worried about getting a job right away.
She enjoyed the freedom… Until she didn’t.
At some point, the freedom became suffocating. She was waking up purpose-less. The hobbies weren’t fulfilling. And meeting up with friends had become a painful comparison game as even the ones who started off unemployed along with her were finding their place in their careers.
I’m an entrepreneur, so there was no comparison game between us. Were were playing totally different games. Which made it easy for her to open up to me.
“I know I’m not a loser,” she said to me as we walked, “but I’ve been in my head for so long that I can’t think of anything that even excites me about going back to work.”
She leaned against the traffic light we were waiting at and said, “You know, it’s really exhausting to spend time with yourself.”
Boy, do I know about that.
When I set out to build my business, I was the same way -- crazy afterglow, sought-after, exuding confidence, sweating and spitting the certainty of my inevitable success. It’s easy when you’re starting out.
And then at some point you realize, it’s going to be harder than you thought.
You start getting glimpses of what you’re REALLY up against, and it ain’t pretty.
There are so many moving parts, there are so many things that could go wrong at any given moment, and making the wrong move could cost you the client (or in my friend’s case, the interview or job offer).
It’s tough to know what to spend time on, which of the things you’re doing ACTUALLY make a difference and which are just a waste of time, designed to keep you busy.
But most of all… It’s hard to spend time with yourself.
When you’re job searching for a long time (just like when you’re trying to get a business of the ground for a long time), you get to meet parts of you that you’d rather not.
Despair, fear, shame, anger, helplessness, guilt, desperation. Just a handful of the places that were my emotional default, and I know are the emotional default for some of you.
I know how much it hurts.
It’s enough to make apathy sound extremely appealing.
But apathy is not the solution. When you cross the line to apathy, you’ve virtually guaranteed your failure. Because you’ve lost the fight in you. You’ve given up.
There are ways to overcome these incredibly ugly, weakening, unproductive emotions. To move through them and emerge as a winner on the other side.
I was fortunate enough to discover those, so that today I live in victory, in possibility, in gratitude, in joy.
And if you’re dealing with any of what I’ve described… Then I want to help you live here, too. Please don’t hesitate to reach out: grab a spot on my calendar and we can talk about where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there.
Did you know that 2020 is less than 50 days away?
About 4 months ago, I made a mistake.
I was doing a presentation for this group of entrepreneurs I work with, and I was teaching them how they can take Q4 and make it their biggest quarter ever. The only problem was, Q4 hadn’t even started.
I was a whole month early, and I was talking about it as if it’s already here.
I could tell the math wasn’t adding up as I was talking, but only later did I realize why.
The reason this happened, is because I felt so keenly aware of my time ticking until the end of the year. I had set a big, aggressive goal for my own business, and wanted to lay down the strategies I was using to achieve it. And because I was so obsessed with this deadline, I felt that it was so near, even in the middle of summer.
I felt really dumb about it after it happened, but I quickly realized this is actually a good thing.
You see, I had so many projects in the past where I just didn’t see the end of the year coming until it was literally RIGHT THERE. For example, I had a food blog where it would have made a lot of sense to have healthy-eating content ready to go at the turn of the new year. But I was always too late.
This time, I was too early.
But the nice thing about being too early is that it adds up. It’s a competitive advantage that keeps compounding. Here's why:
I’m not saying this to brag. I’m saying it because you can take this exact attitude and adapt it to your career:
Most people say this is a tough time for hiring. That means most people are going to be waiting around for Jan 1st before they put real effort into the search. You have an opportunity to beat them to it.
Most people have already given up on this year, and are just planning next year. They think they’re ahead because they’re putting together their resolutions now. But you could be setting things in motion now so that instead of just a list of resolutions, you already HAVE 2-3 offers in hand by Jan 1st (if not starting your dream job itself).
We’re talking about the end of 2019, but REALLY we’re talking about your whole life.
The end of the year makes tangible for us what we cannot possibly be aware of at all times -- that things have an end. Just as there’s not always gonna be “tomorrow” in this year, there’s not always gonna be “Someday” in this lifetime.
If you’re DONE waiting and you’re ready to start living your goals today... Feel free to talk to me about how you can do that. Grab a spot on my calendar.
Future-You will thank you.
(PS- Yes, the call is free).
One sticking point the people I help come up against against all the time (ALL. THE. TIME) is their resume.
Either it's not impressive enough, it has weird gaps that need to be explained away, or it just doesn't come together in a way that makes them seem hire-able, especially for a role in high tech.
The truth is, your resume has about 3 seconds to make a first impression on the person who's gonna be sorting through all the applicants.
If it doesn't grab their attention (in a good way), it's off to the "Nope" pile.
It's not that they're trying to be mean or purposely not give you a chance; they've just got SO many candidates on their hands, and the process is SO time-consuming for them, that they HAVE to have an efficient way of selecting the top few that will make it to the next step.
So they use the process of elimination.
But for you, not having the attention-grabbing, mouth-watering resume means you're back to square one.
Maybe you'll have better luck with the next company you apply for... But maybe not.
And as you keep getting rejected (or worse, just not hearing back from them), you might start to wonder if there's something wrong with YOU. You start believing that there's something flawed about YOU, and that's why you're not getting hired.
It can be a VERY frustrating, dark place for someone so hell-bent on making a career transition.
The good news is, that for most of you out there -- it's got nothing to do with you. You ARE enough. But your resume, and the job-seeking process it's a part of, are lacking.
To be honest, there's so much more to getting the job (at the right salary, with the right conditions, and at the right company) than just a great resume.
But it definitely helps.
So keep in mind that these tips will take your resume to the next level, but a career transformation doesn't happen with a resume edit alone (I could do a whole training on this as this is SUCH a big and fatal misconception).
But keeping that caveat in mind, here's the framework I use to make sure a resume really, truly shines:
Again, even the best resume is just a tiny piece of the puzzle. But now at least that piece can shine. ✨
If you want to let me know what resume woes you're dealing with, just drop it in the comments below.
By the way... I run a Facebook group that is ALL ABOUT breaking into high tech. Almost every day I share tips and lessons learned. And once or twice a week I go in there and give a live training. It's a great place to engage with like-minded people in the same situation. If you'd like to be a part of our community, you can request to join here.
Have you ever heard the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”?
There’s a lot of truth to that statement.
After all, the right network can open up LOTS of doors for you. The right recommendation, from the right person, at just the right time… Can be the difference between getting invited to the interview and being written off as a poor fit.
And it goes beyond just getting your foot in the door. When there’s someone there vouching for you and your competence, that door will be WIDE OPEN. They will invite you in with the implicit expectation that you’re going to rock their socks off.
This could work against you if you fail to wow them, but here’s the thing -- when the person interviewing you already has a certain view about you, they will carry that view with them into the interview process and it will taint every interaction with you.
Before you’ve even had a chance to open your mouth, an assumption has been made about you that will affect the way they hear what you then say.
I’m not here to talk about whether that’s right or wrong; it simply is. And because it just is, you can either ignore it -- and hinge the future of your career on a bet that someone will come with a GOOD pre-assumption about you…
Or you can understand and utilize the power of a good introduction, to influence that pre-assumption and make sure it’s one that stacks the odds in YOUR FAVOR.
As one of my mentors once told me once when I complained to him about office politics -- that game is being played whether or not you acknowledge it and no matter what side you align with. So isn’t it better to win?
That’s the power of a good, strong network. That’s the power of “Who you know.”
There’s this trend I see that I think needs to be called out.
I’m talking about people using the fact that they DON’T have a strong network as an excuse to not get their dream job.
“It’s all in WHO you know,” they shrug and proceed to watch Netflix and hoping that something will change in their lives. Every once in a while they get really frustrated with their situation, and they go on a resume-sending rampage. We all know how that turns out.
Then when that (obviously) doesn’t work, they sit back and go “See? I tried. But I can’t get the same results that X has gotten, because I don’t have the kinda network that she did.”
You know what? I call BS.
Did you ever try anything other than those resume-rampages? Than that spray-and-pray strategy that got you exactly where you are today, and isn’t taking you any further?
Most people have more influencers in their network than they realize (real influencers, not the instagram kind that review hair products for freebies. People with influence where it matters).
But you know what? Let’s play along with this story. Let’s say your network really is as feeble or non-existent as you say it is. Is it not possible for someone like you to BUILD UP a strong network?
Finally we get to the meat of the issue. Look, I’m not trying to be mean. I’m really saying this because I care. I care too much to be having these conversations again and again with perfectly capable people, who are literally keeping themselves in place… And why?
Simply because they can’t fathom their tomorrow being different than their today.
Do you see why this is a HUGE problem, for someone trying to break into a new field???
By definition, you’ve never done this before. By definition, this is brand new.
If you want to succeed at this -- not just do it, not just “give it a try,” but really, actually KICK SOME ASS and get that DREAM JOB that has you jumping up and doing bells with your feet… That has you using your skills and getting recognized AND compensated for them… Then you have to internalize this: everything you’ve done until now does not dictate what you do from here on out.
I know we’re getting a little fluffy here, and I promise we’ll get to the “tactics” real soon. But if you’ve been paying attention then you know that landing that dream job is like 90% mindset and 10% tactics. You need both to succeed.
Most people focus on just the 10% tactics, but without the right mindset behind them they will just not be able to IMAGINE themselves in that role they’re gunning for. And if THEY can’t imagine that, why would anyone else be able to?
So before I share with you that simple strategy for developing your network into something that can work and make life easier for you -- I need you to make sure that YOU believe it’s possible to do that. That it’s more in your hands than something that’s just handed to you.
The “Secret Weapon” for strengthening you network is… Curiosity.
Find people who are strategic for your job search. Think beyond just the CEO and the hiring manager. Think about people doing a similar role in a different compay; people who would be your colleagues if you were hired; people who used to be where you are now and are now crushing it.
Meet with them. Get them a coffee, or lunch, or whatever... And then be genuinely curious about them, their path, the choices they’ve made. Go deeper than just questions you can Google. People love to be around people who ask smart questions. And they love feeling like the expert. Give them those gifts.
And always ask for something at the end. Usually it should be “is there anyone else you know who [is doing X / in company Y / has come from background Z] that you think I should talk to and you can introduce me to?” or “can I keep you posted about what I’m doing?”
It should NEVER be “so can I have a job?”
Do this, along with following up, and you will see a DRAMATIC growth in both the size and relevance of your network… And landing those interviews where people are pre-conditioned to liking you for the job will start becoming your new normal.