Enjoying the Journey: How to Travel The Long Road

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Hobbit"

By Katie Corbett

 

The journey of entrepreneurship or career change can be daunting. You might not get there as quickly as you might like. You might know where you want to go, and have no idea how you’ll get there.

 

I have read the first chapter of “The Hobbit,” by J. R. R. Tolkien more than once. This is because it is LONG. It’s one of the longest chapters in the book, and at almost 50 pages, it’s pretty long for a starting chapter. Here are some takeaways I’ve gotten from pushing through it multiple times:

 

In this book, as well as in entrepreneurship and career change, you might be getting those feelings you got as a kid on a road-trip. Your parents probably told you to sit back and enjoy the scenery every time you asked, “Are we there yet?” I would agree. Enjoy the journey.

 

Everything will be answered in time. You no doubt have questions that can’t be easily answered. That’s what it felt like reading that first chapter. Will Bilbo go on the journey? Where will everyone sleep? Why did Bilbo have so much food? Why didn’t everyone do their breakfast dishes? You know, important questions like that. Some questions will be answered in the future, and others will not. I think being OK with that helps me be OK with spontaneity and carry onwards.

 

You might have to slog now, but it will be worth it. Getting through that first chapter was a chore, and I’m so glad I did it. I got to read so many other enjoyable chapters after that and would have had no clue what was going on if I hadn’t read that first chapter. So while you’re applying for that job that asks you to fill out your life history, or reading boring legal articles to try to figure out how to file the paperwork necessary to start your business, keep in mind that the best is yet to come. Every step you take now will get you closer to where you want to be in the future.

 

In what ways do you push yourself to succeed? Did you slog through something that took forever, but you’re proud you did it? How has it paid off? Drop it in the comments.

 

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Generating Referrals and Recommendations Takes a System

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Referral Engine"

By Katie Corbett

 

When I was a senior in college, one of my professors recommended me for a job. It was an exhilarating experience to have someone recommending me, since I hadn’t worked a full-time job yet. I interviewed, did quite well, and I was in the top five candidates. While it was flattering to be recommended and get so far along in the process, I soon learned that such opportunities are not commonplace. Often times, to get a recommendation for a job, it is helpful to have a system in place to ask for recommendations from the people you know.

 

I recently read the book, “The Referral Engine,” by John Jantsch, and it talked about how a good system brings in referrals. The same applies for job recommendations.

 

Developing a system that is personalized to you is important, because you will be more likely to follow a system you enjoy doing. Here are some questions that could help you develop your system:

 

  1. How do you like to communicate with people?
  2. How often do you feel comfortable doing reach-outs?
  3. Do you communicate better in writing or verbally?
  4. How many times will you follow up with people before taking them off your list so you can avoid constantly following up with the same individuals?
  5. What reminder systems will you put in place to help you track your progress?

 

The most important aspect of this system is that it is tailor-made for you. Remember to account for your needs, life circumstances and the type of job you are seeking as you develop your system.

 

What questions do you have about devising your own job recommendation and job hunting system? Let me know in the comments.

 

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How to Set Yourself up for 90 Days of Job Seeking Success

Katie Corbett holds the book "Fanatical Prospecting"

By Katie Corbett

 

“The prospecting you do in this 30-day period will pay off in the next 90 days. ” I read that advice in a book about sales and have found it to be applicable in my own business. It could work for job hunting as well.

 

In “Fanatical Prospecting” by Jeb Blount, this rule is touted as a major success principle that, if ignored, can spell trouble in the future. Here are some tips to make the next 30 days of reaching out easier.

 

Tip 1: Think about your current life load and decide on a reasonable number of reach-outs you want to do each day or week.

Tip 2: Remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint.

Tip 3: Track your progress.

Tip 4: Make sure results are something you can control, such as the number of people you will email each day.

Tip 5: Set a time and a reminder in your calendar to do reach-out activities.

Tip 6: Have a script to make the process more automatic.

Tip 7: Develop a follow-up plan.

Tip 8: Decide on a rewards system to keep yourself motivated.

Tip 9: Do your job hunting activities early in the day.

Tip 10: Do job hunting only on weekdays to give yourself a break.

 

Talking with people consistently will help you share about what you do. These tips have helped me find jobs, and make networking and sales just another thing I do in my business. I hope you find these tricks helpful, too.

 

Have a tip that you plan to work on? Let me know in the comments.

 

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Objectives for Prospecting, Job-Seeker Edition

Katie Corbett holds the book "Fanatical Prospecting"

By Katie Corbett

 

Last week, I wrote about the importance of creating a job hunting activities list. The next question that naturally arises is: What counts as a job hunting activity? I’ll break that down in this article.

 

In “Fanatical Prospecting,” by Jeb Blount, objectives are clearly defined relating to sales conversations. Since job hunting is essentially selling oneself, I wanted to list objectives related to job hunting. Here is the list:

 

  1. Learn about open positions. This can be done by conducting a brief online search, talking to employees, and attending job fairs. This could also happen through cold calling, informational interviewing, or setting a job search alert on a job board.
  2. Informational interviews. These are a great way to learn more about what it is like to work for a specific company or the ins and outs of doing a specific job. This is not the time to ask if the company is hiring, although that might come up naturally throughout the conversation (but only if the person you’re talking with brings it up). I once had an informational interview with the CEO of a company and she was so impressed with me that she followed up a few days later and ended up getting me a job.
  3. Update on progress. After you have started conversations with people at various companies, you will want to update them on the progress of your job search. This is particularly important if they put you in contact with someone else at the company. You’ll also want to update the rest of your network on a regular basis if you’re job hunting.
  4. Build familiarity. Continuing to follow up with people and have conversations in a friendly and non-pestering manner will grow your know, like, and trust factor. People help those they know, like, and trust.

 

Each of your job search activities should fall into one of these categories. Before having a conversation, consider which objective it fulfills. Is it a conversation to gather information about openings? Will you be emailing to update this person on your job search progress? Your conversations will be more fruitful once you have established an objective.

 

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Know Your Numbers: The More You Prospect, The Luckier You’ll Get

Katie Corbett holds the book "Fanatical Prospecting"

By Katie Corbett

 

When I was job hunting, I discovered that the more activities I did that related directly to talking with people and following up on job leads, the more likely it was that I would land a job. This might seem like common sense, but it can be easy to get caught up in the false sense of accomplishment that comes from filling out job applications, so I wanted to stress this point. There is an entire hidden job market that is based on who you know and who you talk with, and I have heard of people landing jobs without filling out a single job application. I’ve done this four time in my career, so I know it’s possible.

 

I read a book called “Fanatical Prospecting,” by Jeb Blount, and this idea applies in sales, too. To help me stay on track, I made a list of all my job hunting activities. Here are some tips if you want to create your own job hunting activities list.

 

  1. Count the number of weekdays in the next month.
  2. Write down three job hunting activities you want to do each day.
  3. Make sure each activity involves interacting with a person.
  4. Remember to include follow-ups in your list.
  5. If you have items on your list that make you nervous, schedule an appointment in your calendar to get them done early in the day.
  6. As you get job interviews and informational interviews scheduled, add them to your list.
  7. Choose a way that you will reward yourself each day as you complete the three tasks.
  8. Once you accomplish the three job hunting tasks for the day, give yourself the rest of the day to relax.
  9. Find a friend who might be willing to serve as an accountability buddy; you might find it helpful to call, email, message, or text that person when you have completed your three daily tasks.
  10. At the end of the month, make a list for the next month.

 

I hope you find these tips helpful as you create your job hunting activities list. I found this to be the quickest way to land a job. It works especially well when you have a specific type of job you are aiming to find.

 

Was one of these tips particularly helpful? Let me know in the comments.

 

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Get in Opportunity’s Way: Where are the Places you Need to Go?

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Proximity Principle"

By Katie Corbett

People often talk about getting an opportunity because they were in the right place at the right time. What if you could increase the likelihood of that happening to you by putting yourself in the places where opportunity would likely come knocking?

“The Proximity Principle,” by Ken Coleman, suggests doing just that. Here are some ideas and examples of places that could put you in touch with opportunity.

• Join industry clubs.
• Show up at conferences.
• Go back to school.
• Get a job at a large company that is in the industry you want to work in.
• Visit meetings of networking clubs.
• Read trade or industry publications.
• Sign up for email newsletters pertinent to your desired field.
• Job shadow with someone you know who works in that industry.
• Volunteer with an industry organization or event.
• Attend community events where those in your desired industry might hang out.

I have gotten several jobs through networking and being in the places where I met people who hired me. While at events, I also met people who told me about the job opportunity so I could apply. It might take time, but this process works.

I have my current writing job, for example, because the photographer at a company where I was temping introduced me to his wife. I got her card, followed up and scheduled a coffee meeting with her. She became my boss a couple months later.

It might take some getting out of your comfort zone, but hopefully it will be enjoyable. Something might come from it, or something might not, so it is important to remember to enjoy the experience.

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What is the Proximity Principle, and How Can it Help?

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Proximity Principle"

By Katie Corbett

If you are trying to switch career fields, learn a new skill or move to a new state or country, it can be helpful to talk to those who have gone before you and accomplished what you wish to accomplish. Putting yourself in the places where you can learn and with the people you plan to learn from is taking advantage of a principle known as The Proximity Principle.

I have encountered this principle many times in my life, but didn’t give it much thought until I read “The Proximity Principle,” by Ken Coleman. The book encourages readers to think about what goals they wish to achieve and where they need to be to achieve them. I’ve put together a list of questions to help jump-start your brainstorming so you can decide what to work on next. After you make the decision, you can use the proximity principle to make your dreams happen!

1. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
2. If money was of no concern, what would you do with your life?
3. If you had all the time you needed, what would your goals be?
4. If you knew you only had one month to live and could spend that month doing any career you chose, what would it be?
5. When you introduce yourself to people, what do you wish you could tell them you do for a living?

Taking a shot at answering questions like these might help you get a start thinking about your plans. I still use questions like this when I’m deciding on my goals for future career and self-improvement goals.

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To Get More Done, Track Your Time

Katie Corbett holds the book "Coach Yourself to Success" by Talane Miedaner.

By Katie Corbett

If you don’t already have a job when you are looking for your next one, job hunting can involve huge swaths of time that will get away from you. You might intend to apply for jobs, only to discover you spend your whole day watching videos on YouTube or going down the rabbit hole that is Thought Catalog. How can you know when is the best time to apply for jobs or when to schedule interviews so you will be at your best mentally? And if you do have a job when you are looking for your next one, how can you keep yourself from wasting the limited time you do have to fill out applications so you can find work that is a better fit? For me, the answer came when I decided to track how I spent my time.

In her book, “Coach Yourself to Success,” Talane Miedaner says that the best way to determine what you do that wastes time, as well as to find your most productive hours of the day, can be deduced by writing out how you spend your time during a typical week. I did this by creating a spreadsheet with the hours of the day running across the top, and the days of the week running down the side. I kept track of what I did during each hour of the day. (You can create a template and print it out, or find a time-tracker app for your phone, or order a journal with the time blocks already mapped out. Do what will work well for you.)

If you are thinking, “But, Katie, that sounds super tedious and boring,” you are right, it kind of was. But what I learned from this exercise has made any frustration I felt totally worth the effort. As a result, I learned:

• How Much Sleep I Needed: I discovered that I usually slept for seven hours within a 24-hour period.
• I Can’t Take Short Naps: When I conk out, I’m asleep for at least 90 minutes–if not three hours.
• I prefer to Problem-Solve in the Morning: I made it a point to schedule job interviews in the morning, because my brain was most fresh and ready to meet challenges at that time.
• I Slow Down in the Afternoon: This time was great for taking a break, either to relax with friends or to bake or read alone.
• My Best Creative Solutions Come at Night: I would sometimes lie awake at night and get a great business idea, think of a contact I should reconnect with to help with my job search, or get some inspiration to write a fiction piece or start a new hobby.

After I learned these insights, I did my best to act according to them. I stopped calling myself lazy when I laid down to sleep, since I knew I would be up in about seven hours. I scheduled interviews, cold calls, and cover letter writing in the mornings, made plans for relaxation in the afternoons, and kept a notebook or my phone handy late at night so I could jot down my ideas.

What could you discover if you tracked your time for a week? You never know until you try it. Be sure and pick a typical week, free from vacations or business trips. Jot down what you are doing during each hour and note how much energy you have. What are you waiting for? Grab your spreadsheet or journal and get to tracking.

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Have More Fun: Install Ten Daily Habits

Katie Corbett holds the book "Coach Yourself to Success" by Talane Miedaner.

By Katie Corbett

When a person has almost total control of their time, and nothing concrete that needs doing, it can be easy to become bored. Job hunting can be a time with little structure and not very much fun. I found a tip in “Coach Yourself to Success,” by Talane Miedaner, that was a game-changer for me during my search. This tip involved developing a list of ten daily habits.

The trick in sticking to this list is that the habits need to be fun. It should not be just another list of things you need to get done that day. Some of the items on my list included:

• Trying something new
• Reading fiction
• Spending time with a friend either in-person or on the phone
• Praying at specific times of the day, which served to keep me on a more set schedule
• Flossing my teeth. Admittedly, this is not very fun, but it only takes a minute and I always feel amazing afterward.

What fun things could be added to each day of your life if you made a list? Could you take up a new hobby? Rekindle your love of an activity you set aside in the rush of your daily grind? How could you impact the lives of others? And I repeat: This isn’t meant to be a list of the things you “should” do. It has to be fun, make you feel good, or bring a smile to your face. If it doesn’t, then it’s not on the list.

Whether you are on the job search or already work, this tip will likely brighten up your day and make life more fun and interesting. So give it a try. What’s on your list?

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You Know You’re Awesome, So Give Yourself a Pep Talk!

Katie Corbett holds "The Magic of Thinking Big" book

By Katie Corbett

 

Do you work in sales? Do you wish you made more money or had more responsibility at work? Are you job hunting? No one will know what you’re up to if you don’t tell them about it and ask them if they will help accomplish your goals. Striking up conversations with strangers, picking up the phone and making cold calls and putting yourself out there in general can be really scary. Instead of dwelling on the possibility of rejection or the thought that something might go wrong, why not give yourself a pep talk to pump you up?

 

I read about this strategy in “The Magic of Thinking Big,” by David J. Schwartz. It made difficult conversations much more bearable. Here’s one example.

 

While I was job hunting, I realized I wanted to learn more about what it was like to work as a recruiter in a staffing agency. I didn’t personally know any recruiters, so the best way would be to call staffing agencies and talk to complete strangers. Scary, right? Of course! I kept the pep talk strategy in mind, though, and was able to make those cold calls.

 

Before each phone call, I told myself things like, “I’m just calling to get information. I just need to focus on the script I wrote. I’m prepared. I’ve got the list of questions already. I can do this!”

 

I would consider all the cold calls I made to be a success. No one yelled at me; no one slammed down the phone or spoke to me rudely. Did I get an appointment with everyone I called? No. Did some phone calls result in job interviews? Yes! Did I realize that a staffing agency wasn’t the right fit for me? I did. It was great knowing that without having to actually work the long, competitive hours required. I learned everything I needed to know in order to make my decision just by talking to people in the field. I never would have gotten this knowledge without making the cold calls, and I never would have had the courage to make those calls without first giving myself a pep talk.

 

So no matter if you’re goal is to tell a potential customer about a product you sell, to ask your boss for a raise or to follow up with a lead for a potential new job, list all the reasons you’re awesome and give yourself that pep talk beforehand. You’ll get a lot more done and you’ll overcome your fears. Even if that customer doesn’t buy, your boss says “no,” or you don’t land the job, you’ll have put yourself out there and asked. And there’s no better way to stand out from the crowd and find opportunities for the future!

 

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