job search

Sunday Slowdown

Link up below and say hi!

Transition

  • Tons of great advice in this article about tailoring your resume to communicate to employers that you’re the obvious choice.
  • Pivot by Jenny Blake is getting a lot of hype right now. After listening to her interview on the Good Life Project podcast, I’m jumping on the hype train and borrowing her book from our local library.
  • Are you open to serendipity?

Adventure

Growth

  • I’ve been researching how to develop workout programs to put on muscle, and came across Adam Bornstein’s site, Born Fitness. I can’t recommend it enough, he has a gift for taking science-based research and translating it into actionable strategies.
  • Undated Passion Planners are on sale right now, perfect time to snap one up if you’re thinking about experimenting with how you schedule/organize your time.
  • I had a taste of what it would be like to commute to work on a plane this week, flying in and out of town on the same day, and I wished I had read this article first. I had Tip 7 down, but completely failed at Tip 6, eating once at 530am, and not again until 630pm.
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Overcome Resistance + Defeat Fear of Failure

Do you remember the movie Girl Fight?

I watched it when I was 16 and was fascinated by this girl, this woman, who wanted to fight for a living and was willing to defy other peoples’ expectations to make it happen. What made her want to stand in a ring and get hit? Who told her she could do that?

For someone so entranced, it seems natural that the next move would be to sign up for a martial arts or boxing class of some sort and find out what this whole thing is all about. And that’s exactly what I did…

…18 years later. My first Krav Maga class is in two weeks.

What took me so long?

Two things.

The first is what Steven Pressfield calls resistance in the The War of Art. Resistance is that little voice in your ear whispering, “Don’t do it”, when you’re tempted to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.

From an evolutionary standpoint, this voice has given us an advantage. Those who stayed safe spread their genes, resulting in today’s society. But now, instead of keeping us safe, this voice can keep us from exploring new hobbies and passions.

The second thing is a fear of failure. The older we get, the less often we get put ourselves in situations where we’re beginners. And the less often we experience the failures all beginners experience, the more we worry about getting something just right the first time we try it.

How to get past resistance + fear of failure?

Take action.

It’s really that simple.

It doesn’t have to be a huge leap or cost a lot, and it doesn’t have to be a fully formulated plan mapping your progress from A to Z. Just one concrete step, one bold decision to move a little bit forward.

Thinking about quitting your job and pursuing a new career path? Find one person working in a field you’re interested in and ask to buy them a cup of coffee to learn more about what they do.

Have a guitar lying around that you’ve been meaning to learn how to play? Put it where you can’t avoid it and commit to 5 minutes daily or learning your favorite song.

Want to paint but think you’ll never get past the stick figure phase? Get a piece of paper, a kid’s set of watercolors, and find a short, easy Youtube tutorial.

But what if I fail?

Good! Great! Contrary to popular belief, failure is not a bad thing.

The older we get, the more we’ve learned to avoid failure. And sure, it can be uncomfortable and maybe even embarrassing to fail. But that’s why you should fail fast!

The faster you fail, the more opportunities to grow. Each failure provides valuable information that allows you to adjust your approach and try again, or move onto something else that you like more.

If you learn to embrace it, failure will feel less like, well, failure, and more like opportunity.

Still need convincing?

CM Punk, a prominent WWE wrestler, made his debut as an MMA fighter in the UFC this past weekend. He spent 2 years training in preparation, earning a white belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, but went into the Octagon with no actual fight experience under his belt. And, it should come as no surprise, that he was easily defeated in round 1 by his opponent, Mickey Gall.

But that’s not where the story stops. In his post-fight interview, CM Punk said,

“In life you go big or you go home. I just like to take challenges. This was a hell of a mountain to try to climb. I didn’t get to the summit today. That doesn’t mean I’m going to give up, that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop…I will be back believe it or not… Listen, life’s about falling down and getting up.”

CM Punk didn’t just embrace failure; he embraced it in front of thousands of viewers. And he didn’t allow it to defeat him. Instead, he immediately recognized it for what it was: an experience that provided invaluable lessons to help him continue on his path.

So, what can you fail fast at today?

Sunday Slowdown

Link up below and say hi!

Transition

Adventure

Growth

  • Raises hand
  • I recently started using a Bullet Journal myself, though it’s a rather loose interpretation of the system, and I love it! Instagram has lots of great inspiration that lured me into countless hours of browsing helped me get started.
  • What if we seek failure instead of fear it?

“What was I actually trying to do? I was trying to make a bold attempt at something new every single day, for an entire year.” – Jon Westenberg

Three Copywriting Principles to Use in Your Next Cover Letter

Selling yourself is one of the most awkward, frustrating tasks when searching for a job. You know the value you bring to employers – but how can you best articulate that?

Copywriters face this challenge on a regular basis. They must create content that connects with the reader’s emotions and spurs some specific action. To do this successfully, copywriters often utilize specific frameworks and principles that have proven effective.

Applying these same frameworks to your cover letter will not only help you better sell yourself, but will also help ease the frustration of figuring out exactly how to say what you need to say.

Features vs. Benefits

Often times, we identify jobs to apply for by matching our set of skills to the position’s set of skills. These skills may be things like time management, attention to detail, organized, proficient in WordPress, etc.

But it’s not the skills themselves that appeal to employers; it’s the benefits that are derived from those skills. If you’re skilled at communication and problem-solving, what does that mean to an employer? Are you able to develop win-win solutions because you listen for the things that aren’t being said and can determine underlying motivations?

Make a list of your skills, everything under the sun, and let it sit for a day. When you come back to the list, translate these skills into benefits targeted to each specific position or employer. Convey these benefits in your cover letter.

The Rule of Three

Our brains instinctively search out patterns to process the world around us. We want to see patterns, and when we see them, we’re satisfied.

The magic number for pattern creation is three. Three components create a simple, easily identifiable pattern, and allow you to establish rhythm.

  • The Three Musketeers
  • Just do it
  • Veni, vidi, vici
  • I’m lovin it
  • 3 Men and a Little Lady
  • Snap! Crackle! Pop!
  • Taste the rainbow

Appeal to your reader’s bias for patterns and give them a sense of satisfaction by using the rule of three to discuss your qualities and the benefits you bring to the table.

“My experience with conducting research, analyzing data, and developing cohesive messaging ensures I’ll be effective from the start.”

AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

AIDA is a framework frequently used by Gary Halbert, hero of copywriting.

The idea behind AIDA is that first, you catch the reader’s attention. Next, you get them interested in whatever it is you’re offering. You build their desire by describing to them exactly how they’ll benefit, and then you tell them what you want them to do – in this case, hire you!

Of course it’s not as simple as that, otherwise every job seeker using this framework would be hired immediately. But this is a great technique to use when you have an example of a successful project that is directly targeted to the position you’re interested in.

Grab their attention with the deliverable you achieved (saved company $5M annually!), tell your story, and end by letting them know if you’re hired, you have the proven ability to deliver.

 

If you’re interested in learning more copywriting techniques, I highly recommend this Skillshare class. Good luck!

The Worst Thing You Can Do When Searching for a Job

You find yourself unemployed. Maybe you were laid off, maybe you quit out of desperation, maybe you casually sauntered out of the office and never looked back.

Regardless, here you are. Butt in a chair, staring at a screen. Alternating between endlessly scrolling through pages of job ads, firing off resumes, and refreshing your email to see if the last five companies you applied to have replied.

I’ve been there, caught in the mind-numbing loop. I know the sudden inability to articulate your skills, and the creeping doubt that conveniently shows up just as your head hits the pillow. I’ve been torn between the familiar and the possibilities, overwhelmed by indecision.

I’ve seen the dark side, my friend.

And I’m here to tell you, the worst thing to do when looking for a job, absolute worst, is to spend all your time looking for a job.

Here are three things to try instead.

Go on an adventure

Take a look at a map. Find somewhere you haven’t been. Aim for somewhere an hour and a half away (any shorter it’s too easy to say it’s not worth it, any longer it’s too inconvenient to go). Drive there. Take in the sights, absorb the ambiance. Meet some people. Love beer? Sample a pint at a craft brewery. Be open for anything.

Too tame for you? Go on a whitewater rafting trip. Volunteer on a trail-clearing backpacking trip with the nearest parks agency. Set off on a two week road trip and see the states.

Whatever adventure means to you, do that. Break your routine and make time for play. You’ll come back with a refreshed mindset, and a story to share during your next interview.

Take a class, learn a lesson, join a meetup

On a lark, I signed up for a plant identification class, which was as far away from my then-profession as you could get.

The morning of the class dawned drizzly and cold, and we traipsed through mud for hours. I was so fascinated by what we were learning, I hardly noticed. I didn’t decide to dedicate my life to botany, but to this day I still point out milk thistle and miner’s lettuce to whoever will listen.

If you know you want to change career paths, but aren’t quite sure what path is for you, use this opportunity to explore. Pick a hobby that’s always been on your to do list, or something random that catches your eye. Use an online learning platform like Skillshare to learn more about a career of interest. Listen to other people talk about their passions and let it inspire you. Challenge yourself and follow your curiosity.

(P.S. This class was fun and completely helped me overhaul my cover letter.)

Reconnect with yourself

Each month, around the time I paid bills, the intensity of my job search jumped a few notches. Visually seeing my money dwindling and having to acknowledge that another month had passed was hard. The devilish little voices telling me to apply for anything remotely similar to what I had been doing got louder and louder, even though I knew I was ready for something different.

As corny as it may be, every ending is the opportunity for a new beginning. Take some time to reconnect with your values, passions and goals. Define what success means to you, and then pursue it even if it’s the unknown.

Pick a day five years from now and write down in vivid detail what you’re doing and what your life is like. If it’s continuing your current line of profession, that’s great! Move forward with confidence. But if it’s not, this is your opportunity to take control and reset.

Need some inspiration? Check out Live Your Legend, or Good Life Project, or Level Up Your Life.

Too often, fear drives the job search. Fear of the unknown, fear of not having enough or being good enough, fear of not being able to provide. Be bold! Step away from the computer. Take time to play, to learn, to remind yourself what success means to you. And, when you’re ready and refreshed, opportunities will be waiting.