There are tons of articles and material on how to enhance various skills and professional attributes so that we can allegedly become better professionals. All these hacks and productivity tips are geared around gaining efficiency of our working days or are based on how super successful professionals handle various challenges. Another very interesting point is that most of these articles also refer to the attributes of waking up really early. If you are anything like me and enjoy pressing the snooze button, that is a serious deal breaker. Some are great reads and a lot of tips DO work, however, we rarely talk about how people who are job hunting and more specifically people who do not work at the time of job hunting, become actually better professionals. Unemployment paired with job seeking can actually become a learning process with astonishingly positive outcomes.
I understand that the aforementioned phrase may sound unorthodox but I have been working with outplacement participants for more that ten years now and I have witnessed some fascinating career transitions. Having had the opportunity to work with all these people through the phase of losing a job (non voluntarily) and becoming a job seeker while unemployed, made me realize that this process made each and every one a better, stronger and wiser professional and person. I know it is somewhat paradoxical and we all tend to look back at the job seeking phase as something we would like to forget or most likely as something that we would like to get over with the soonest possible. And I can not recall having ever met a person who enjoyed being a job seeker while not working. But if we could really reflect on the experiences that turned us around and made us stronger, which would we pick? Successes or challenges? In that sense, the job seeking process is a challenge and a very powerful one.
If you need more data, these are the three main areas that transformation occurs:
seek feedback & process it
No matter how great you are at receiving constructive criticism, you will most probably agree that no one enjoys failing, nor not being selected for an interview or not being selected after one. For most people job seeking goes hand in hand with minor or major failures hence a job seeker will eventually seek feedback and learn to process it in a meaningful manner.
re (gain) career focus
As job seekers go through various phases of preparation, rehearsing for interviews or drafting CVs, will reflect deeply on their careers. As a result they become more conscious of who they really are, what they have accomplished, which are the areas they will need to improve and what they should look for in a future endeavor. Having had that knowledge on one's self, capabilities and desires, they will embark on a new job with a clear understanding of their unique value proposition.
Undoubtedly resiliency is a key competency,linked to professional success as it affects our capacity to endure and cope with challenges. An outplacement participant has by default dealt with an involuntary loss of employment and in many cases a very unexpected one. As a result he embarks the job hunting journey with already a lot on his plate. But at the end I can assure you, the gains in his capacity of resilience are substantial. We tend to learn from challenges and we develop coping mechanisms while doing so. These patterns will be reproduced with less effort in other circumstances.
While every job seeking journey is unique, statistics and experience agree that it is a time consuming process with bumps along the way. It is most probable that a job seeker will face some form of rejection and even more than once. However I can assure you that the job seeker will exit this phase being humbler & stronger & wiser. As an alternative epilogue of sharing these thoughts, I would like to invite hiring managers to consider those aspects when assessing candidates and of course congratulate all these fantastic outplacement participants who trust us.
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