Mindset matters! 9 Great tips for staying strong & positive

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”– A.A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh)

If you’re like most people, then you probably think the best place to start prepping for a career transition is to write (or rewrite) your resume. It isn’t! Boosting your mindset, shoring up your support network, and taking steps to boost your confidence is the most important place to start.

Why? Because if you don’t do that first, then thinking about a career change will start to chip away at your confidence. Your inner critic will rear its ugly head and start to undermine all your enthusiasm and confidence. Don’t believe me? Talk to a couple of your friends who have been laid off and they will tell you exactly what I’m talking about. So, let’s head all that negative energy off at the pass.

Here are a few great ways to boost your confidence & strengthen your resolve:

  • Make somebody’s day a little brighter. There are thousands of things you can do. Just start with one. Go find one person on LinkedIn today and wish him/her a happy birthday. Take some food to a neighbor. Reach out to someone you haven’t seen since college. Use LinkedIn’s notifications to comment on someone’s article and share it with others. Surprised that this is my first step for you? I know … but you’ll thank me late for the focus on connecting with others in a fun and positive way. That’s the stuff that will keep you strong through all of this. You will make their day brighter, and guess what: it will make yours brighter, too.
  • Remember: you’ve done hard things before! Write them down. Have you ever been laid off before? Great! You know you’ve got what it takes to do this. Never been laid off? No problem. I KNOW you’ve done a lot of other hard things before in your life. Write a few of them down. What was the situation? What were the biggest challenges you face? What were you afraid of? What steps did you take to stay strong and make it through? Which of those things can you use right now to stay strong and make it through this? Talk to other people who lived through that situation with you, and they can tell you right away what they admired about you in that situation.
    • Need some examples? Here are some of my “inner warrior” stories:
      • Surviving as a childhood in an alcoholic home.
      • Standing up to scary bullies in the 3rd grade, 6th grade, and 9th grade.
      • Paying my own way through college.
      • Moving to new places all by myself.
      • Caring for my parents in their final 7 years – with grit and grace.
      • Surviving a tough layoff – and landing well on the other side.
      • Surviving the Great Recession after losing 100% of my income.
      • Starting & growing my own business for 14 years – through some really tough times.
      • Raising babies into amazing young men!
      • Making friends. Real friends. You get the idea! There are my stories. What are yours?
  • Find your “champions.” Make a list of your best connections on the outside of the organization. I call it “finding your champions.” This is a REALLY important step. Job loss is hard on your confidence, and you’re going to need a few people around you who can remind you how good you are. They will also be able to help you think about what’s next. Best of all, your champions will bring you job leads! Just ask Terry. She was unemployed for 6 months and beginning to think she was too old, and nobody would ever hire her. Then she watched my video (in the Job Hunt Toolkit) about finding her champions. She made three phone calls to previous coworkers and got an interview that same day! 2 weeks later, she was at work.
  • Reconnect with old friends & coworkers. Chances are really good your next job will come through your network. 12% of people get hired by applying for jobs online. Over 80% get them through networking. So, fire up your network. Start reconnecting with old friends and former coworkers. Social media sites and professional networking sites (like LinkedIn) makes it so easy to find them!
  • Join a job club if there are any in your area. I started the Easter Job Transitions Group during the Great Recession, and it’s still going strong 12 years later! Over 16,000 people have come through our doors on Tuesday mornings. Alumni come back, and they are VERY helpful to new folks who are thinking about a transition … or already in one.
  • Find a job hunt buddy. This is probably my most important piece of advice for you. Get a buddy. The BEST way to prep for a job search, and then to go through that job search, is to do it with a friend. So, go find someone who is willing to get ready with you, and help each other every step of the way.
  • Find your local CareerForce Center or CareerOneStop. Some states (Minnesota is one of them) have an incredible network of workforce centers AND a generous budget for retraining for its unemployed citizens. Many of them will let you start taking advantage of their free webinars, classes, and online resources now … before you get laid off.
  • Do the Inner-Critic Knockdown. There are plenty of voices out in the world telling us no … but the most crippling of them all is the one inside our heads. DON’T let your silent saboteur push you down. Be vigilant about recognizing when he or she is rearing its ugly head … and actively work to put that little voice in its place. You might even want to say “Thank you for trying to protect me, but I’ve got this under control. I can do this.”
  • Remember what a rock star you are! You will need to know your greatest skills, strengths, and accomplishments to write an effective resume & LinkedIn profile. You will also need them when you start interviewing. It is SO MUCH easier to think about these things when you are still working, so do this now! Here’s how to do this now:
    • Make a list of all the things you do well at work. You will need this list when you start creating your resume and interviewing. Having them in your hip pocket will make things MUCH easier down the road, and they will help you really stand out as a candidate. It’s much easier to think about the details and successes now … before the layoff happens. Make a list of your biggest on-the-job recent SUCCESS STORIES (proudest accomplishments) right now, while they are fresh and the information you need is accessible. Then, go find the metrics & statistics to support those stories wherever possible. Here are some examples:
      • Reduced time to generate a critical report from 32 hours to 3 hrs, which saved $1,160 staff dollars per month.
      • Increased sales by 23% in 5 months by bringing in 2 new channel partners.
      • Reduced vendor costs by $23,000 in 3 months by negotiating contracts.
      • Increased staff retention by 17% in 6 months, which saved the company $370,000 in recruiting costs.
      • Reduced vendor costs by $23,000 in 3 months by negotiating contracts.
      • Increased staff retention by 17% in 6 months, which saved the company $370,000 in recruiting costs.

Statistics are the best & easiest way to stand out in a crowded field. You will get more interviews, get more job offers, AND get a bigger monetary offer. These stats/metrics will make your resume and LinkedIn profile pop (and draw in more interviews and connections), but they will also make your interview stories SIZZLE. Note: Be careful not to share your current or former employers’ confidential/proprietary information.

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