Your Most Important Tool in Finding Work, with Nella Barkley

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Transcript

Find Your Dream Job, Episode 146:

Your Most Important Tool in Finding Work, with Nella Barkley

Airdate: July 4, 2018

Mac Prichard:

Hi, this is Mac of Mac’s List. Find Your Dream Job is presented by Mac’s List, an online community where you can find free resources for your job search, plus online courses and books that help you advance your career. My latest book is called Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. It’s a reference guide for your career that covers all aspects of the job search, including expert advice in every chapter. You can get the first chapter for free by visiting macslist.org/anywhere.

This is Find Your Dream Job; the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your host and publisher of Mac’s List.

I’m joined by my co-hosts, Becky Thomas, Jessica Black, and Leila O’Hara from the Mac’s List team.

This week, we’re talking about your most important tool in finding work.

Here’s a pop quiz. Is your most important job search tool your resume, your LinkedIn profile, or your cover letter? The answer, says Nella Barkley, this week’s guest expert, is none of the above. Nella and I talk later in the show about the job hunting tool that matters most of all.

Say the word “networking” and two things likely come to mind: small talk and big, social events. Because of this, you may think that only extroverts succeed at networking. However, Becky has found an article that says introverts make the best networkers of all. She tell us more in a moment.

You’ve just your bought tickets and made reservations for your next vacation. You’re also looking for a job. How do you tell an employer, in an interview, that you may need to take time off right after you start work? That’s our question of the week. It comes from Shelly Milos in Beaverton, Oregon. Jessica shares advice shortly.

First as always, let’s check in with the Mac’s List team.

And now for the final time, Becky Thomas returns from her searches through the nooks and crannies of the Internet. She’s been looking for websites, books and tools you can use in your job search and your career. Becky, it’s your swan song, we’re going to talk a little more about that, but what have you uncovered for our listeners this week? I know it’s going to be great.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, there’s a little bit of pressure, this being my last official resource. I do really like the resource that I’ve found this week.

Jessica Black:

I do, too. I’m excited.

Becky Thomas:

Okay good.

Mac Prichard:

I am, too. It was a surprising one for me, kind of counterintuitive.

Becky Thomas:

Right. I think that’s the reaction a lot of people have when you mentioned earlier that networking is just like big social gatherings and small talk and connecting with so many people. Speed networking, all of that stuff. There’s always people that react to that and say, “Oh I hate networking because I’m introverted. I don’t don’t like small talk”, etc., etc. I really think that networking should be thought of in much broader terms. I came upon this article on Quartz by professor and author David Burkas who’s making an argument for introverts being the actual true networking masters.

His central argument is two parts: first, that networking is much more nuanced than most people think about. A lot of people still think networking only happens in those crowded event spaces, you have to drink watered-down cocktails, and small talk with stiff corporate types, and talk about synergy or whatever.

Mac Prichard:

Those are my people, Becky. You know I go to networking events for fun.

Becky Thomas:

I know. Do you feel like that’s the vibe that you get? You’re having these really shallow connections with lots of new people?

Mac Prichard:

It can happen with people who don’t know how to network well. I know you’re going to talk a little more about that, but what you’re describing, I have definitely seen it.

Becky Thomas:

Right, but there are lots of ways to get beyond that small talk and Burkas’ argument is that getting beyond small talk and making it personal is much more valuable and makes you a more connected person in more real, relevant ways that actually will help your career. He shares a bunch of research in the article as well to back it up, so that’s really cool.

The second part of the argument is that introverts may not get excited about meeting tons of new people, but they do crave and enjoy those deeper conversations. Social science is showing time and again that humans crave multiple points of connection in interpersonal relationships. They call these multiplex ties, which is very fancy and scientific. This supports advice we’re highlighting all the time in our podcast and on resources at macslist.org, about asking open ended questions, finding things in common besides work when you’re networking with people. That is a nice double-edged sword in a good way, in terms of introverts can have those deeper conversations in the right setting. You’re building trust and revealing more interesting and relevant opportunities that’s going to help your career.

I just want to read a quick quote from the article where he says, “Compared to those with more uniplex networks, individuals and organizations with high degrees of multiplexity in their total network are better able to validate ideas, they have access to greater resources, and they can think more critically and gather more diverse information.” Cool.

This theory checks out for me, because I’ve found that a deep, personal network is way better than having thousands of LinkedIn connections that you maybe met one time and you’ve never actually talked to in a real way.  So, if you’re an introvert, read this article. Don’t discount yourself as someone who just can’t network. You can, and you can probably do it better than most of us extroverts, who want to just talk about the weather. Use that strength as an introvert to get conversations going and actually build those connections but do it in a way that aligns with your style. Maybe don’t go to those big mixers that are not fun for introverts and go for the one-on-one informational interview, casual coffee chats. I think that you will blossom into a networking master, all you introverts out there.

Jessica Black:

Yay, I love this for so many reasons, Becky.

Becky Thomas:

What’s number one?

Jessica Black:

Oh, I don’t know. I can’t put them in order but I will start with the fact that I like what we’re talking about…And you guys know that I’m such a personality nerd but I think it’s really important to squash the preconceived notion that introverts don’t talk or don’t like to meet people. That is not true at all. It just means that they get drained by a lot of talking a lot quicker or a lot of stimulation generally. I think it is good to bring that to the forefront like you did.

I liked your points about how introverts can use various networking tips for anyone to their advantage based on their own personalities and their own strengths. Because I hate small talk. I really hate small talk but that’s also the way that you start to be able to get into those deeper conversations. You have to have the small talk at the beginning to get a gauge about what people are interested in talking about then you can get deep. But a lot of times people don’t know what to do, they get awkward about meeting people they don’t really know. “How much am I allowed to talk to them? How long do I stay on this surface level?” I do think that a lot of introverts tend to go to that deeper level conversation space and want to be there. I think that using that small talk, even if it’s large, crowded spaces, using those opportunities to meet new people, have just a bit of small talk to get to know them, and then start talking about the things that you want to talk about.

Becky Thomas:

Being okay, and giving yourself permission to go deeper, and not just feeling like, “Oh, I’m at a networking event. I have to be super businessy.” It’s okay to be like, “What are you excited about this week?” Something more interesting that will hopefully get a deeper conversation going. You can really be in your element at that point.

Jessica Black:

Totally. I love all of that.

There was one more thing that I wanted to say that I can’t remember now. Otherwise, I just love this resource in general.

Becky Thomas:

There was a bunch of research and studies and stuff that were linked in the article too. People should check out the link.

Mac Prichard:

I also love this resource because sometimes when I talk to people they think if they are introverted it’s a liability but the point that you’re making is that it’s a strength.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, it’s not a discounted…you’re not less than an extrovert. It’s a different thing, and actually, there’s lots of skills there.

Mac Prichard:

Good. Well thank you, Becky, and we have our newest Mac’s List team member Leila O’Hara with us today. She is our new marketing coordinator and you’re passing the baton to her, aren’t you?

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, I’m passing the baton over to Leila. I think it’s a really good thing in terms of getting her comfortable in the job search advice world, and learning all of the things that we talk about every week. I’ve learned so much in the past year of being on the podcast, just like what’s going on in the career development world. I think it’s a good opportunity for you, Liela, to learn and get comfortable with the team and meet the guest experts that we bring on. It’s really fun.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, hi everyone. This is my first time on a podcast, so I’m very excited to be here. Happy to be here. Yeah, it’s a brand new adventure. I’m really excited.

Becky Thomas:

She has a great radio voice.

Jessica Black:

I was just going to say that.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, it is a good radio voice.

Leila O’Hara:

I’m glad that you guys are saying that, because it’s my first time hearing my voice, like what it sounds like to other people, because it sounds different in your own head.

Jessica Black:

Of course.

Becky Thomas:

Well, it sounds good to us.

Jessica Black:

It sounds great. You’re going to be a great fit.

Leila O’Hara:

Thanks.

Mac Prichard:

Good. Well Becky, I have to ask, do you have a favorite resource? Because you’ve done about fifty episodes, more than fifty actually.

Becky Thomas:

It’s so hard. I hate the favorites question because I love so many things.

Jessica Black:

I can never choose a favorite either.

Becky Thomas:

I really liked the article about the gendered keywords and job descriptions, from like a month or two ago, I can’t remember what episode it was, but that was super interesting. I’m really into women in work right now and how women are building their careers and being awesome.

Jessica Black:

We’ve had a lot of really good conversations about lady power. It’s been great.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah. Keep it going, ladies.

Jessica Black:

Oh, we will. Don’t worry.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, we’ll keep that going.

Mac Prichard:

I think the show is in good hands and I do want to say, Becky, you’ve been terrific and it’s been such a pleasure having you on the show. I know you’re not going anywhere.

Becky Thomas:

Nope, just down the hall.

Mac Prichard:

Just down the hall and I know you’ll be coming back as a special guest host from time to time.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, you won’t be able to keep me away. I love the microphone.

Mac Prichard:

Okay. Yeah, you do.

Jessica Black:

Yeah.

Mac Prichard:

Thanks for your great work and we look forward to having you on the show Leila.

Becky Thomas:

Thanks.

Mac Prichard:

If you’ve got a suggestion for our resource section, just write to Leila. Move Becky to a different place in your database.

Becky Thomas:

You can still email me. I’ll send it to Leila if you’ve got a resource.

Mac Prichard:

Leila’s address is leila@macslist.org. She would love to hear from you and we would love to share your idea on the show.

Speaking of you, the listeners, let’s turn to Jessica, who’s here to answer one of your questions. Jessica, what’s in the mailbag this week?

Jessica Black:

This week we have a question from Shelly Milos, in Beaverton, Oregon. She says,   

“I’ve been looking for a new job for about four months and finally – FINALLY – I’m starting to get some interviews. Here’s my problem: my husband and I have long-planned (and paid for) vacation coming up this summer. If I get a new job in the next month or so, I’ll need to take some time off, shortly after getting hired, for this trip. How do I best broach this topic in an interview? I don’t want to lose a job opportunity OR the vacation. HELP! “

This is a really excellent question because I have definitely had this conundrum myself, in my job search in the past. I think that is a stressor for a lot of people.

Mac Prichard:

It is.

Jessica Black:

Oftentimes, your job search takes a lot longer than you think or even just the interview process with one employer takes a lot longer than you anticipate or whatnot. You don’t want to sacrifice either one and you can’t really put your life on hold while you’re job searching; you still get to take vacations and you’re allowed to do that.

What I would suggest to Shelly is to move along and don’t really think about it too much. Keep doing what you’re doing; don’t cancel your vacation but bring that up in, I would say, the second interview. Get through that first interview process and make sure it’s the right fit; you don’t have to bring it up right away in the first interview. I know that has always been something that made me feel really uncomfortable because I feel like I’m hiding something or misleading them in some way but it’s not. There’s no need for them to know that quite yet and you don’t know what time-frame they’re thinking of or how long the interview process will go either. That’s something, that the bridge doesn’t have to be crossed right away. I would get to that second or even third interview and feel out the vibe of the interview process and if you feel like you’re a very strong candidate and they’ve talked about, even in the second interview, “We are really excited about you and we would like the candidate to start at a certain time.” At that second interview conversation, that is maybe where you would bring that up.

It’s okay if you have a vacation. Again, you’re allowed to have that. I would be very candid about it and say, “My husband and I have been planning this vacation for a long time, since before my job search process. Here are the dates that I will be gone. If I am hired, I will work before and after, but these are the times I’m going to be gone.” Just let them know that and if it’s a problem for them, that’s their problem. Unfortunately, I would say it’s not your problem because that means it’s not the right fit, if they’re not going to be respectful of your need to take a vacation that has been planned for a long time.

Those are my thoughts about that. I would love to hear, Becky, what do you think?

Becky Thomas:

I totally agree. I would also just add, the worry of bringing it up too early, if you bring it up in your phone interview, they might see you as being a prima donna in a way, “Here are my needs, blah, blah, blah.” You have to wait and make sure that they really want to work with you.

Jessica Black:

Totally. In the early stages, they’re looking for anything that is going to be a deal breaker.

Becky Thomas:

Let them get to know you.

Jessica Black:

Absolutely. Let them know that you’re the right person and they’ll be able to make that work. Who knows, the interview process may take so long that you are going to be on vacation before you even get the job offer anyway. Again, bring that up when it comes to that point.

Mac Prichard:

I agree, and as an employer I would say this comes up about twenty percent of the time, when I’m talking to finalists. For me, it is, as an employer, another item to be negotiated, like the start date, salary, and other benefits.

I think you’re right about the timing, Jessica, and to your point, Becky, I think that the more they get to know you, the more they want to work with you, the more likely they will be to say yes.

Becky Thomas:

They’ll be more flexible about that.

Jessica Black:

That’s why I suggest don’t bring it up till that second interview or even third interview depending on the vibe that you get.

Mac Prichard:

People have even waited until there’s an offer on the table; you have to follow your instincts.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, but it’s sounding like she wants to be very transparent and authentic. I would suggest to definitely wait until they get to know you but yeah, have that conversation.

Becky Thomas:

And enjoy your vacation.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, that’s right.

Mac Prichard:

Yes. That sounds great because summer is almost here, when we’re recording this.

Jessica Black:

Yeah.

Mac Prichard:

Great, well thank you, Jessica, and thank you, Shelly, for the question. If you’ve got a question for Jessica, she’d love to hear from you. Her email is jessica@macslist.org. You can also call our listener line; we got a recording the other day, didn’t we Jessica?

Jessica Black:

We did, yeah.

Mac Prichard:

There are people out there who know this number, it’s area-code, 716-JOB-TALK. You can also post your question in the Mac’s List Facebook group.

However you do it, if we use your question on the show, you get a free copy of Land Your Dream Job Anywhere.

We’ll be back in a moment. When we return, I’ll talk with this week’s guest expert. It’s Nella Barkley and she and I are going to talk about your most important tool in finding work.

I meet with thousands of job seekers each year. People who struggle to find meaningful, rewarding work that matters. I find that many of these people make the same simple mistake in their job search. It’s a fatal error that makes the hunt for work longer and harder than necessary.

What’s this critical mistake? People don’t have a clear job search goal.

You might think it’s wise to apply everywhere. But the more you narrow down your job search, the easier everything gets and the happier you will be in your next gig. Stop chasing every lead. Instead, put all your energy into the opportunities that you really want.

Of course, setting your goals is easier said than done. Especially when all you know is what you don’t want to do! That’s why I created a new resource that can help. It’s called Finding Focus in Your Job Search. This free step-by-step guide will help you figure out what you want in your career and in your next job.

To get Finding Focus in Your Job Search, visit macslist.org/focus.

Now, let’s get back to the show!

Now, let’s turn to this week’s guest expert, Nella Barkley.

Nella Barkley is the president and co-founder of the Crystal-Barkley Corporation which helps people find their own personal career and life paths. She is a sought-after mentor, public speaker and coach. Her counsel is sought by Fortune 500 corporations, career changers, and international media.

Nella is also the author of two books: The Crystal-Barkley Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career and How to Help Your Child Land the Right Job: (Without Being a Pain in the Neck).

She joins us today from Charleston, South Carolina.

Nella, thanks for being on the show.

Nella Barkley:

It is fun to be with you.

Mac Prichard:

It’s a pleasure to have you.

Now, our topic this week is the most important tool in a job search. You know, when I say the phrase, “job search tool”, I think that a lot of listeners think of a resume, maybe a LinkedIn account, or cover letter. But you say, Nella, that the most important job search tool is not a product, it’s something else. Can you tell us more?

Nella Barkley:

Your most important tool in looking for work is your knowledge about yourself and your knowledge about potential employers. LinkedIn is certainly a very good tool these days but we don’t advise being quite so passive as to put something out on LinkedIn and wait for someone to be in touch with you. Resumes fall into that same category. Resumes, in fact, are your least effective tool when you’re looking for work.

Mac Prichard:

Nella, why is that? Because I know that you talk to a lot of job seekers, and employers as well, and both parties spend a lot of time writing resumes and in reviewing them. Hiring managers make decisions about who’s getting interviews based on resumes.

Nella Barkley:

You know it’s amazing that there’s still so much currency because resumes are basically a tool to screen you out, not screen you in, and most of them are read electronically anyway. It’s keywords that pop up or don’t pop up that are going to get you into some place. The percentage of getting you into someplace with a possible employer is dismally low.

But that’s not the worst thing about resumes. The worst thing is that by the time you get your resume all beautifully tuned and broadcasted, what do you do? You sit at home and you wait, you wait, and you wait, for someone to pick you and to get in touch with you. That has put you in a very passive mode which is exactly where you don’t want to be. You want to be out there seeing people.

Mac Prichard:

Let’s talk about that. What I’m hearing is, you probably have to have a resume but you can’t stop there. You have to get out. You mentioned at the start, Nella, that the two most important things are to know yourself and what you have to offer and to know something about the employer where you want to work.

Let’s break that into two parts. Let’s start with ourselves and what we have to offer. Why is that such an important job search tool?

Nella Barkley:

Well you know, if we can’t advocate for ourselves, then who’s going to? We can’t advocate very well unless we know what it is we have to offer and that means being intimately familiar with your foremost skills and being able to giving evidence of  using them in a productive manner. That means drawing from your own history, stories from your life, what you have done, in order to illustrate, “Let me tell you why I know I can do these things. Because in 2005 at such and such company, this is what I did for them.” Being able to give the evidence that you can perform a certain skill is enormously important.

Mac Prichard:

So many people struggle with this, Nella, in their LinkedIn profile or a resume. They’ll describe their responsibilities of a position but they don’t talk about their accomplishments. What’s your best tip about how to provide that evidence to an employer? How should people, when they reflect back on their career, collect that information and present it?

Nella Barkley:

We advocate writing little stories for yourself, about things you’ve done in your life. Not only in your work life but in your recreational life and in your private life. Not only in your adult life but in childhood. Nothing is quite as convincing as hearing a potential engineer say, “Ever since I was a child, people were bringing me the broken radios to put back together.” Then you pick up little tidbits throughout your life that demonstrate not only what you can do, but what happened because you did it. What did you accomplish with it?

This is where you will separate yourself from other candidates in the most convincing and dramatic way.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, as you talk, I’m reminded of something I do when I’m talking about my skills as a connector and an organizer, and I’ve worked in politics and government. “I’m the guy”, I’ll say either in a presentation or interview, “who puts together the family reunion, who ran the block party for fourteen years.” I think, for everybody, that provokes a picture in people’s minds that they can connect with, doesn’t it?

Nella Barkley:

Perfectly. You gave an absolutely marvelous illustration. As important as all this is, the most important person in the room when you’re having an interview or you’re exploring a possibility with a potential employer, is not you. It’s that potential employer. What does that person, that organization need? Because a job is a response to a need. A need that someone else is feeling acutely enough that they’re willing to pay.

So to get the emphasis off of yourself and onto the needs of a potential employer is what we need to strive to do.

Mac Prichard:

How do you see people do that successfully, Nella? Because they walk into that job interview or they see a job posting on a computer for a position? How do they find out what that employer needs before they send in the application or sit down for that interview?

Nella Barkley:

Well, a lot of our clients never go through a typical interview and the reason they don’t is because they set out researching before they decide. They decide to for themselves for whom they would like to work. In the course of doing their research, they will talk to many people and uncover needs precisely in a manner in which the employer wants these filled. The frustrations in the past because they haven’t been filled as they should perhaps. Then what we advocate is that you approach the employer, not with a resume, not for the typical interview, you make them a proposal. You propose to them what you can do for them to meet needs that you have uncovered doing your research.

If you’re lucky, you may even have seen the person, doing your research, that you’re proposing to.

Mac Prichard:

I love the approach you’re outlining. I can imagine listeners saying, “Well how can I get in to see those employers? They won’t return my calls or respond to my emails. Even if they did, why would they take a meeting?”

Nella Barkley:

First of all, think about what you want to do. Perhaps you’re an engineer who wants to work on designing a certain kind of product and therefore you need to find out which of the firms most interested in producing that product. Maybe you know somebody who works for one of these, maybe you don’t, but if you don’t know somebody, you probably know somebody who knows someone. They say it never takes more than three people to be able to get to your target. What you want to do is you talk to people down the line, “Tell me what your experience has been, working for this firm for so many years? Tell me what persuaded you to work here. What do you know about the firm’s ethics?” Because the whole ethical structure is a big thing you need to know about, too.

You can talk to people who might be your peers on a very informal basis. They might say, “Well, why are you asking me these things? Do you want to work here?” You can respond very truthfully, “I’m not sure yet. I want to determine if they meet my criteria; if they do, then I’m going to present myself in as favorable a way as possible to them in order to meet what they need to get done.”

Mac Prichard:

Again, I think this is a thoughtful strategic approach, but I’m sure you also hear from job seekers, “Gosh, Nella, I don’t have time. I just want to find a job.” What reaction would you have if somebody said that to you?

Nella Barkley:

It seems on the face of it that it takes a lot of time to do your research first but you know, it takes a lot less time than waiting at home for messages to crop up on your computer month after month. It’s actually in seeing things, and building, and expanding your networks, but around an area of interest that you have, that you are going to meet the people who are either going to be your future employer or maybe your colleagues.

Mac Prichard:

Terrific. We’ve talked a lot about how to research an employer’s problems. We started out with a discussion, Nella, about knowing ourselves. As you say, in the end, it’s not about knowing ourselves, it’s about knowing what the employer needs, but do you have any advice for people who want to get clear about their strengths and how they might go about doing a self-assessment?

Nella Barkley:

The best way we know how to do it is to think of things that you have done and remember doing with some pleasure and a sense of accomplishment. Literally put pen to paper, and longhand is a good way to do it, but you can do it on the computer, too. I say longhand because it sometimes helps you to think things out better.

Write a little story about what you’ve done, then go back over that and say, “Now what skills did I show in that?”  Show that story to a friend and say, “What skills do you see in that?” Because a friend will see some things that you didn’t see. You can return the favor to your friend. You teach each other, in a way, by working on each other’s materials how to recognize the attributes that are priceless in terms of your future.

I’m not talking just about technical skills. I’m talking also about personality traits. Personality traits are some of your greatest attributes everybody is loaded with but they have to be cooked in the right environment. In what environment do you really work best? Wouldn’t we all love to work with people who were enthusiastic about the same things as we are? Being able to identify, not only your technical skills, but your personality traits and your wonderful adaptive skills that enable you to get along with people. They will get you far.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I agree totally, Nella, that we all want to work with people who are enthusiastic about what they do.

Thanks so much, it’s been a great conversation. Now tell us, what’s coming up next for you?

Nella Barkley:

Well, we always have our Lifework Design programs coming up. We work with people both remotely and in a three-day course. These courses normally take place in New York City, occasionally elsewhere. Much of the information is available if your listeners will look up, www.bestworkinc.com. Or they can pick up the telephone and call our number; it’s 800-333-9003.

There is a book on the market entitled The Crystal-Barkley Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career. It’s available through Amazon and also directly through us. If you call the 800-333-9003, you’d find us happy to talk to you and there’s no obligation for an initial call. We always have programs coming up that are special as well. Some are focusing on women now, as they move up through their corporations. Occasionally, we adopt a specific emphasis like people moving from nonprofits to for profits and vice versa.

Whatever the issue is, check to see if there’s some specific focus.

Mac Prichard:

Terrific.  Nella, thanks for being on the show today.

Nella Barkley:

Thank you, I enjoyed talking to you a lot, Mac.

Mac Prichard:

I did too. Take care.

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio, with Becky, Jessica, and Leila. What did you three think of my conversation with Nella? What were some key takeaways for the three of you?

Becky Thomas:

She had some really good points about that self-knowledge piece and how it’s up to you, as you’re your only person who can truly advocate and truly know what you’re doing. If you don’t know that for yourself, how is anyone else going to know it?

Jessica Black:

It’s huge.

Becky Thomas:

It’s a hard lesson sometimes and I think it’s hard work because you have to dig in and question yourself a lot, but she was like, “You have to know this. You have to figure out who you are and what you have to offer and be able to talk about it passionately.” That’s hard work but I think some of the advice about  writing it down and giving it to a friend to get an outside perspective was really helpful. I think a lot of the time we’re too close to our own skills and strengths and weaknesses.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, I agree those are all really important points and just really helpful in the introspective journey that it is of job searching. I know some people do have that clear goal and clear path, but even if you have that clear goal and clear path, you still have to do that hard process work to be able to know what kinds of words you’re going to use about yourself and how you’re going to describe yourself and how you’re going to advocate for yourself because, I agree, that is a hard lesson to learn.

But it has to be done and you can go through the process and try to get people to read through the lines of what you’re trying to convey but it’s going to take a lot longer and it’s going to be a lot harder for people to help you. I agree, getting clear about who it is that you are, what is is that you are working towards, what it is you’re good at, all of those things. Just being as clear as possible when you communicate those and be direct. I think, like you said, Becky, getting support from your network is huge, too.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, I wanted to point out the point she made about your resume and about how it’s not your end-all be-all of the job search because I thought that that was a really valuable point that she made because I think a lot of people, myself included, just tweak their resume, edit their resume constantly, then are just very passive and sit and wait for employers to get back to you.

Jessica Black:

Yeah.

Leila O’Hara:

But I think it’s really important to be active and aggressive and not just be passive, sitting around waiting for them.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, I think that’s a really good point because I think that a lot of people have been “trained”, you put together your resume and then you’re good to go and you’re going to get all these job offers and it’s no problem; as long as you have this resume, you’re set. But that’s not the truth and I think that’s really important point that she brings up, that you can’t just put it into an ATS, or job search engine, or whatever it is you’re using, or send it to an employer and just hope that that will tell your story for you. You have to be able to make in-person connections and you have to be able to do all the rest of it. That’s a good point.

Leila O’Hara:

Exactly.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah and she laid out a process for what you can do rather than just send in a resume, which is doing this research, having these conversations, and I pressed her on that because I know many listeners hear that and they go, “That sounds hard, and it’s difficult, and I don’t know how to do that.” But her main point is, don’t wait to be picked. Do your homework, figure out what employers want, and figure out if you want to be there.

I think she’s spot on, it’s hard to do it that way but I think in the end, you’ll get better results and have a much more satisfying career.

Well, thanks everybody, for that feedback, and thank you, Nella, and you, our listeners, for downloading today’s episode of Find Your Dream Job.

If you’re still looking for guidance in your career, check out my new goal setting resource, it’s called Finding Focus in Your Job Search.

You can download it for free at macslist.org/focus.

Join us next Wednesday when our special guest will be Marci Alboher. She’s the author of The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life.

Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job!

You may think that your most important thing you need for finding a new job is your resume, your cover letter, or your references. But those are just tools that should serve a larger job search strategy. On this episode of the Find Your Dream Job podcast, guest expert Nella Barkley shares how you can improve your job search by knowing your own skills, defining your goals, and actively advocating for yourself with clear evidence of your demonstrated achievements. Ask yourself what you can point to as impressive accomplishments and how to emphasize those achievements in a job interview.

About Our Guest: Nella Barkley

Nella Barkley is the president and co-founder of the Crystal-Barkley Corporation which helps people find their own personal career and life paths. She is a sought-after mentor, public speaker and coach. Her counsel is sought by Fortune 500 corporations, career changers, and international media.

Nella is also the author of two books: “The Crystal-Barkley Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career and “How to Help Your Child Land the Right Job: (Without Being a Pain in the Neck).”

Resources in this Episode:

  • New Tool: If you’re introverted, don’t discount your abilities to connect with people on a deeper level. Read this guide on: “Why introverts might actually be better networkers” by author David Burkas on Quartz.
  • Listener Question: Shelly Milos from Beaverton, Oregon asks: I’ve planned and paid for a vacation with my husband this summer. I’ve also FINALLY started getting interviews and don’t know when to bring up my trip with my potential employer. When’s the best time to bring this up and still get hired?
  • More from Nella Barkley: Nella’s company offers regular online seminars for professionals. Check out her Life/Work Design programs here.