Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Earth revolves around the Sun.

I was watching a program on the DVR about astronomy. It was a fascinating show that walked through the history starting with the Greeks and Romans, working through Math and Science all the way through to today’s techniques.

When they were talking about Galileo, and the compromises he had to make in order to save his own head, I was astounded. Though he wasn’t the first to suggest it, he is quoted as saying “The Earth revolves around the Sun.” For this, he was subjected to the wrath of the Church and all that goes along with that.

My immediate thought was, “Of course the Earth revolves around the Sun.” That makes perfect sense. If you really think about it, it is kind of easy to see, but at the time, it was not so obvious. Science to that point still pointed to the Sun revolving around the Earth.

The thing that struck me is that until someone points something out, it seems impossible and inconceivable. Until we send someone to Mars, we haven’t, but we have sent several people to the Moon. Think about that! The history of the Earth changed in what we call December 1969; a pivot point in time when everything that comes after it is in a new paradigm.

Like the notion that Gravity didn’t exist until Newton figured it out. Of course Gravity existed! We just didn’t know how to explain or measure it. Now we do…

The point I am trying to make is that you have the ability to create a pivot point in your own timeline. You can make a paradigm shift in your thinking.

When you are out looking for your next job, think about the way you behave. Your facial expressions, your posture, your personal presentation, clothing, hair, accessories, etc…, all say something about the type of person you are. It is a reflection of your intentions. It is time for you to be deliberate. Don’t let something fall into your lap, go out and get it. It is feeding time, and employers are looking for value for their investment. Value comes in the form of Character.

There are a lot of people that are good at your job. You have to differentiate yourself with a value proposition. You must develop your Character as the foundation to build everything else upon. You must align your intentions with your behavior. Make sure you are doing the things you mean to do. If you are not, then you must be doing the things you DO NOT mean to do. That is a recipe for disaster.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

So, what do you do?

Having a great resume is one key element of landing your next job, but the interview is really your opportunity to present your talents. Recently a candidate was submitted for a position and the hiring manager loved her resume. It was well written, clear, concise, and it expressed all the value she brings to an organization. On paper, she was a rock star.

An Interview was scheduled, and both seemed excited about meeting the other.

Are you fully prepared for your first interview? Are you fully informed about the person and the company you are going to see? Well, in this case, the candidate went into the interview well dressed, well groomed, with a bright attitude, and sat down with the hiring manager. They went through the obligatory rapport and a series of questions. The last questions the manager asked was, “Do you have any questions?” And her reply…

“SO, WHAT DO YOU DO?”

It wasn’t long before that interview came to a polite end.

The point is you have to do your homework. You have spent all this time working up your story, figuring out what you want, writing your resume, and then you go into your interview excited because you feel like you finally made it through to a win, just to be unprepared… That I don’t understand. It is not that hard to find out a little bit of information. If you are working with a recruiter, ask them! Most likely they have worked with this manager before and can give some good advice. If you found this position on your own, then look up the person on LinkedIn or Facebook. Look up the company’s website and find out what product or service they sell.

When this woman asked the question, “So, what do you do?” she was really saying, I am just like everyone else who’s come in here. I didn’t take the time to even see if I was a good fit for the company or the environment. In fact, I am just interested in landing a job, anywhere…

The hiring managers you are trying to reach are looking for a diamond in the rough. They are looking for the most qualified, and the most polished. If you are not taking the time to do a little research, then you won’t be able to differentiate yourself from your competition. Be fully prepared to ask intelligent questions that lead an opportunity to talk about your strengths in those situations.

Remember, an interview is an opportunity for you to interview them too.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What you think of me is none of my business.

When I was a teenager, a homeless man approached me in the subway under Downtown Chicago. I was simply waiting for the next train to take me Uptown and, out of the blue, in a very animated voice, he said, “What you think of me is none of my business!” I was taken by surprise, mostly because I wasn’t sure I thought anything of him until that moment and secondly because it was so unexpected. It took a long time for me to digest his words, and it finally occurred to me that he was absolutely right.

As important as it is to consider others in your quest for purpose, at the end of the day, you are the one that has to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I proud of what I did today?” If you honestly feel good about what you did, that it was in the best interest of your family, your friends, your employer, your clients, and your community; that you treated everyone with respect and dignity, then you don’t have to worry about what others think of you. They will have no reason to develop a negative opinion.

What others think of you is completely and totally within your control. You are in charge of the opinions others form of you. Every day, every moment, you make decisions that shape your life and have an effect on the relationships you choose to develop. If you choose to make decisions that build trust, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship, then people will have no choice but to think positively when you cross their mind. On the other hand, if you make decisions that damage your character, then people will form negative opinions. If you are concerned about what others think, you must examine your behavior and make some modifications.

You see, when you do what you say you are going to do, and you develop the pillars of character, you will be in a better position to do some self-examination. You can reflect on the areas of your life where you need to make changes and develop your personality further. And, you will find, that others will be more willing to help you in that effort. People like people they can trust, and they can only trust people who are true to themselves.

So, what you think of me is none of my business starts to make sense when you know that you have done nothing to cause another to form a negative opinion. If you focus your energy and your efforts on making good decisions and doing what is right all the time, and someone still finds something negative to say or think about you, then who cares? You can’t take that personally.

In the context of finding a job, it is essential that you have strong relationships. You have certainly heard the cliché, “It’s not what you know, but who you know that counts.” In so many ways this is true. Most people find their next job because they know someone, and not because they are the most qualified. In fact, many positions are posted with someone already pre-identified as the person that will get hired, but because of the labor laws, companies are required to make the position public. If you are looking for the best job, you have to have relationships with people that are more than skin deep. No one wants to help you more than people who consider you a friend.