By JENNIFER SHRYOCK
Job seekers are often shy. Or scared. They might be skilled in many social situations, but when it comes to networking and their job search, many become verklempt. You’ve heard me coach job seekers to tell everyone they know that they’re in the market for a new job. I often meet resistance.
A Case Study
Recently, one client I’ll call Jesse couldn’t imagine talking with her friends and connections about her job search. As she considered it, she froze.
Jesse recently moved and most of the people she knows are through choir. When I asked her what she might say to them, she slumped. She didn’t want to confess to them how frightened she was. She imagined saying something like, “Somehow I have to support my family! I’m thinking of leaving my husband and I’ll need a job that will provide benefits and income. I’m desperate.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa!
While we’d been speaking (right up until the moment I suggested she network) Jesse had been confident, funny and engaging. She was concerned about her job search, but I was impressed with her skills and demeanor and could see she’d be a great employee.
Jesse has a successful work history, although for the past several years she’s been a stay-at-home mom, homeschooling her kids. They’ve integrated into the school system now and she needs work. At her former jobs, Jesse always became the go-to person managing a variety of critical tasks, and even while teaching at home, she evolved into the backbone of her home-schooling system, providing much needed organizational support to the provider and other home-schoolers.
She needed to convey these positive traits when introducing her job search!
How to create an effective introduction even if you’re scared or shy
It is no surprise that the job search is laden with emotion. Seek emotional support from your close friends, family, or other job seekers. Then put on your game face and approach your job contacts and networks and show what an ideal job candidate you are.
1. Announce your Availability
Rather than confessing your unemployment, an enthusiastic or matter-of-fact statement will be much more effective. In Jesse’s case, “I’ve decided to re-enter the workforce,” would be a great start.
2. Tout your Title
Be specific about what you’d like to do. Jesse decided to say, “Most of my work has been in administrative assistance and office management. I’m an organizer. I love to jump in and solve problems.”
3. Ask for Information
“If you hear of anyone who might be looking for administrative support, I’d appreciate hearing about it.”
Jesse had been so weighed down by her fears that it was a huge relief for her to learn a straightforward, truthful and positive approach to announcing her job search. As soon as she said her script aloud, she felt more optimistic. Her choir contacts were pleased to help and are sending her job leads as they learn of them.
Does this scripting technique work for you? What do you say when you tell others you are looking for work? Please share your own suggestions and networking stories in the comment section below. Thank you!
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Jennifer Shryock is a resume writer and interview coach with Rainmaker Resumes. Her blog features Missoula job hunting tips, covering everything from the employer perspective to networking ideas to interview-winning resumes to keeping your sense of humor, whether you’re working or working to find work. For answers, send your work related questions to Jennifer@rainmakerresume.com. Make her blog a regular part of your job search.