One of the things I always wish for my clients is that they find careers to enjoy as much as I do mine. I love working with people, but especially in this field, it is so rewarding to know you have helped someone find their way through the career maze.
While I was in school studying for this field, I became fascinated by the classes that assessed skills, attitudes, personality, values, and preferences of the inner person, all of these being factors that contribute to a client’s understanding, and mine, of who they are (strengths, weaknesses, career preferences), what they want (what type of a career and work environment captures their interest and skill sets), how they prefer to work (the environment most conducive to their success), and, also, how they will run their job searches.
A friend recently asked how I anticipate how a client will work with me, and I mentioned a model I have used for years, one that gives me immediate clues about attitudes and traits critical to decision-making, risk taking, and motivation.
Using this information gives me the ability to tune in quickly to the client and understand what help will be needed to resolve their career issues. Some statements I hear might be I want to leave but can’t quite bring myself to it or I can’t stand it another minute but don’t know how to leave my job or I don’t know how to begin looking for a job besides looking in the classifieds, or, I haven’t interviewed for a job in years and wouldn’t know what to expect. Or, one I like is I can’t figure out why I haven’t left before now.
Facing these issues is no small task. My job is to help people through, but some will take control of their decision-making and job search in a much bolder fashion than others. Here are some of the types of clients I deal with and their traits, which come into play in the job search. Go get ’em clients usually have a lot of energy and drive. This affects their patience. Some left jobs precipitously, without planning for what is in front of them. Some are more cautions, but actively forming the connections that could lead them to a job. In most cases, this type of person is thunderstruck when they are let go, not believing they weren’t one of the most important people in the place. They are usually competitive so don’t resist the job search too much. They like to network and already have some good contacts and leads established. They are aggressive in getting another job. They can’t believe someone wouldn’t hire them, so they go out with a lot of confidence that carries them through this period.
People lovers are very natural networkers, something essential for the job search. But they are very sensitive and easily hurt. They fear hearing no, so many procrastinate when thinking about leaving, or they procrastinate doing job search tasks, or maybe they do the parts of the job search that are fun and leave those parts they don’t like for last, which means they may never them done at all! They might try to avoid situations that could hold rejection. They have many contacts because they network so much, but since they have more interesting things to do than file, they may not be able to locate the phone numbers they need. But, they do try hard and their strong people skills make them interesting in interviews.
Patient and true individuals are usually quiet by nature, very people-oriented, unassuming, and are excellent team players. They stay around until retirement or until leaving has been forced upon them in some way. They will talk about wanting a better situation, but they will last out the one they have until the bitter end. They do a good job of career planning, when they decide it is finally time to do it. They don’t like networking because they don’t want to bother other people and they are also too proud to let others know they are out of a job. They are solidly organized and follow our job search plans religiously, with the exception of really giving the networking piece as much time as the other forms of finding a job.
Planners are very quiet also, precise and calculating. If they feel they are unrecognized or that their work-which is always very exact-is unappreciated, they quietly make plans to leave. They do so when the time is right. No one really knows they are unhappy because they continue to perform faithfully at their present place of employment and don’t complain. When planners come in for services, they will be rigorous in following a plan. They love the order of it. They have an I’ll show ’em attitude, knowing that the next job is out there waiting for them. Networking is not the planners favorite thing to do, but they will do enough to satisfy me!
I know you saw yourself in there somewhere. These are general descriptions, so don’t think something is wrong if you identify a little bit with this one, then a little bit with that one. But these descriptions may give you a handle on some of your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to making the move you are reluctant to begin. This kind of appraisal helps change those habits of ours so that the job search can become more enjoyable and ultimately successful.