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9 Things Effective Job Seekers Don’t Do In Their Job Searches

9 Things Effective Job Seekers Don’t Do In Their Job Searches

Are you interested in making your job search more effective moving forward? If so, then it doesn’t hurt to observe what others avoid to boost their effectiveness.

Here are 9 things effective job seekers don’t do in their job searches. Carefully read them. Upon reading them, you’ll know what habits you should avoid or remove for a smarter job hunt.

1. Effective Job Seekers Don’t Underrate The Impact of Their Attitudes.

Effective job seekers don’t proceed without attitude reflection daily. Why? Because they know their attitudes matter in their job search processes.

“Maintaining a positive attitude,” says Harry Urschel, Job Search Coach and Writer, in one of his post, “is one of the most difficult yet most important things you can do for a successful job search. It affects every other aspect of your search and will have a dramatic impact on how you are perceived by potential employers.”

So, one of the best things you can do is step back and reflect on your attitude. Are you pushing through positively or negatively? Are you allowing the frustration, associated with looking for a job, get you down?

Please know your decision influences the way you manage your job search. And, if you want to get through this process with your sanity, then you must foster a positive attitude. A few ways to stay positive in a challenging job hunt include: keeping hope alive, moving onward after rejections, and building your skills through activity.

2. Effective Job Seekers Don’t Sacrifice their Health and Well-Being.

Effective job seekers don’t sacrifice their well-being for long hours of job searching. These job seekers know they must take care of themselves, if they want to get through their job hunts effectively.

Without taking care of yourself, you’ll reach the point of exhaustion. And, you’ll stretch yourself too thin.

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Several healthy ways to take care of yourself are:

  • Feeding Your Body.
  • Quenching Your Thirst.
  • Getting the Sleep You Need Every Night.
  • Staying Physically Active.
  • Taking Breaks When Necessary.
  • Engaging in a Hobby.

There’s an urgency to land a job, but you must still take care of yourself.

3. Effective Job Seekers Don’t Focus on Full-Time Hours.

You might’ve heard the saying: “looking for a job is a full-time job.” Right? Well, effective job seekers know this isn’t solid advice.

They don’t focus on meeting so many hours a week. They know a full-time (40 hours/week) job search affects your well-being and effectiveness. There’s no way to keep going, in this way, without experiencing burnout, frustration, and inefficiency.

When you don’t set limits in your job hunt, it consumes you. It takes up your full day, if you allow it. This isn’t healthy for someone out of work and already dealing with unemployment.

What you should do instead is: put in a full-time effort as opposed to full-time hours. Designate time, your mornings or your evenings, for example, to job search activities. And, put forth your best efforts throughout this time.

Also, shut your job search down when it’s time. Set and keep time boundaries in place. Hallie Crawford, Career Seekers Coach, says:

“Establishing boundaries with your time can be another way to maintain balance during your {career} transition.”

4. Effective Job Seekers Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Break Time.

You might think setting aside a break time is a counterproductive activity. But, effective job seekers know it isn’t.

Nothing’s wrong with taking a break from your job search activities to rest, when you need it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests five minute breaks every hour.

You can do several things doing your break: read inspirational material, take a walk or stretch, recount the good things of the day, or get out of the house for a while.

Breaking is a good way to prevent burnout, stress, and overwhelm in your job search. But, you must be intentional about this time to avoid procrastination.

5. Effective Job Seekers Don’t Blindly Apply and Interview.

Effective job seekers don’t blindly apply and interview for jobs. They don’t walk around thinking:

“I’ll apply to (and interview for) as many jobs as I can to increase my chances of getting a job offer.”

They know better. They know you must be realistic in your job search. They also know time is too precious for wasting on mass job application submissions.

Instead of blindly applying and interviewing, you should bring intentionality into your search. Target your job search. According to Eli Amdur of Amdur Coaching and Advisory Group, a targeted job search includes:

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  • Identifying the Business or Occupation You’re Interested In.
  • Researching the Leading Companies by Culture, Leadership, Products, and Market Positions.
  • Determining Whether You Can Grow Within Company.
  • Figuring Out Logistical Issues, such as the Commute, Working Hours, and Extra Taxes.
  • Rating Your Potential Happiness at the Targeted Company.

You prepare your application materials based on what you learn through research. You’ll also know everything you need to know before your interview.

6. Effective Job Seekers Don’t Submit “One Size Fits All” Resumes and Cover Letters.

This relates to number 4 above, but I must emphasize it here.

Effective job seekers know quality matters in their job searches. They don’t submit a “one size fits all” resume because they know you must speak directly to the needs of the job.

If you don’t tailor your materials for every job, then you don’t show your ability to perform the job.

Instead, consider the targeted job search approach already discussed. And, prepare your resumes and cover letters accordingly.

7. Effective Job Seekers Don’t Let Employment Rejections Halt their Efforts.

The longer your job search, the more rejections you receive. And, while others tell you not to take these rejections personally, I won’t. I can’t. Why? Because I’ve taken them personally in my job search.

There’s no way you can’t, when you’re putting forth your best efforts. However, you shouldn’t let these employment rejections halt your efforts.

Employers reject you, and this rejection stings. But, bounce back from these rejections and move forward. And, when you bounce back, remember the words of Liz Ryan, Founder and CEO of Human Workplace, in her Forbes article:

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“You can’t squander it {i.e., your mojo} worrying about whether you’re acceptable to other people, or not. You learned something on each of your interviews and each of your recruiter calls. That’s magnificent. How else would you learn?”

8. Effective Job Seekers Don’t Stop Maturing Mentally.

Effective job seekers don’t stop learning. They use time outside of job search activities to enrich their minds.

They know this is a great investment and do so in many ways: reading books, journals, and (valuable) blogs. Listening to audios and podcasts. Volunteering or freelancing. Taking a class or two.

And, they build skill(s) while job searching. They know these skill(s) are beneficial, professionally and personally.

So to you: how will you keep enriching your mind? What skill(s) are you interested in learning? How will learn?

You make room for learning and skill-building, when you remove those extra hours of job searching. You have time to commit to a project of interest, learn, and apply what you’ve learned.

9. Effective Job Seekers Don’t Forget to Reevaluate Their Strategies Regularly.

Effective job seekers don’t embark on their job searches, without evaluating their strategies regularly. They know they must make improvements when things aren’t working out and do so.

They honestly evaluate their strategies and whether they’re getting any results. Reevaluating your job search approach involves: reviewing your goals, resumes, and activities. And, an effective job search strategy consists of many things discussed here:

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  • Defining Your Job Goal with Specifics.
  • Targeting Your Job Search Approach.
  • Tailoring Your Resume and Cover Letter for Every Job.
  • Putting Forth a Full-time Effort vs. Full-Time Hours.

Conclusion

Looking for a job takes time and energy, so effective job searching is vital. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what you should avoid while looking for a job. And, it doesn’t hurt to reevaluate your job search and make eliminations, where necessary.

Featured photo credit: Rachael Crowe via unsplash.com

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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