The right attitude is the key to job search success.

More than anything else, it is your attitude that will determine whether or not you get the job you want.

Richard Branson has been quoted as saying: “At Virgin, we hire for attitude. If they’ve got the right attitude, we can give them the skills. If they’ve got the wrong attitude, it doesn’t matter how skilful they are, they will be a liability.” He’s not alone. Employers are looking for the right attitude, for ‘fit’ with corporate culture, for the motivation to be part of the team. To most employers, attitude is the single most important factor in choosing the right applicant for the job.

Research published in Science Daily[1] last year demonstrated that job seekers who were proactive were almost six times as likely to be successful as those who weren’t and those who set themselves goals nearly five times as likely. If you are motivated and conducting an active, full-time job search, the likelihood of success is high.

This is why I encourage my job seeker clients to consider themselves to be self-employed, the CEO of Yourself Inc, a micro-business currently without clients. Thinking of yourself as self-employed is much easier on the ego than being unemployed. As someone who is self-employed, you are in control of your life and your career whereas someone who is unemployed is sometimes seen as a victim. Victims are by definition losers; employers want winners.

As CEO of a micro-business currently without clients, what do you want your Chief Sales Rep to be doing? That’s right; proactively seeking prospective ‘clients’, 9-5, Monday to Friday. The clients are, of course, prospective employers. And, yes, job search is a full-time job, or as full-time as you can afford to make it.

Successful businesses don’t try to market to everyone; they identify a market niche and then concentrate all their marketing efforts to meet the specific needs of that niche. Successful job seekers do the same. They identify just two job leads and they focus all their efforts on them. They research the positions thoroughly, so thoroughly that they can start planning their first few weeks in the job.

That’s a big ask. It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it. Firstly, the applicant who gets the job is usually the one who puts in the best overall application – that includes résumé, interview, research and networking. The more detailed your research, the better you will be able to tailor the résumé to the specific requirements of the position and the more effectively you will be able to answer interview questions.

Importantly, the better your research, the easier it will be for you to envisage yourself being successful in the job. This will significantly boost your confidence in your ability to do it, and to do it well and, as a result, your motivation for the position.

Yes, it’s a lot of work for just two job applications but, in the long run, it’s better to put lots of effort into a few applications and get one of them rather than spreading your time more thinly over a number of applications and end up with nothing. Focus on positions that really suit you well, positions that will bring job satisfaction and success. And then be proactive in your job search, consider yourself to be self-employed and work full-time in marketing yourself to your chosen market niche. This is the way that will bring you success.


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