Category: Inspiration

The ‘Daily Misogi’: PREPARE First, Take ACTION! Second

Skip Freeman

By

Skip Freeman

If you are anticipating being laid off, or have actually lost your job, you are quite likely to have a very strong temptation to take ACTION! This is very understandable and a very human reaction under the circumstances. You want to pick up the phone and call a recruiter, contact people in your social and professional networks. You want to hit the job boards and start sending out resumes by the dozens, if not the hundreds! You’ve got to get something going, and you’ve got to do it NOW!

STOP! It is criticial that you take the time to collect your thoughts, to get adquately prepared and to formulate your plans. Rushing around helter-skelter without first preparing your mind and your spirit and your plan is unlikely to be very productive for you. Let me suggest a method for accomplishing this goal, the daily Misogi.

The Daily Misogi 

The Daily Misogi . . . no, it’s not some kind of Japanese soup. Rather, it’s an ancient Japanese cleansing ritual involving preparation of the mind and spirit for each new day. It’s a ritual that can serve you well in preparing for your daily job search activities.

The majority of us start each day with at least some general plan regarding the activities that we would like (or have) to undertake. But most of us don’t fully prepare our minds and spirits for the day.

Oh, some of us may start our day with prayer, reading a holy book, or even by going to a religious service. But how many of us really ever stop to think deeply and quietly about the issues of the day ahead and make a definite plan of activities?

Misogi as Practiced by the Samurai

My professional mentor and coach, Pat Scopelliti, taught me that ancient Samurai warriors, who were practitioners of Misogi, would get up before dawn every day, sit cross-legged and sharpen their swords, often for a couple of hours. Did their swords really need to be sharpened for two hours? Of course not! While it may have appeared to the casual observer that the warriors were merely sharpening their swords, actually, they were really “sharpening” their minds.

The reality of each new day for a Samurai was that, potentially at least, he lived in a “kill or be killed” world. He would therefore visualize the day ahead, and analyze the results of previous battles. He would visualize victory. He would do “success/failure” analysis. What must he do to replicate past successes? What had he learned from past failures?

Applying Misogi to your job hunt

Preparing for the “job hunt” each day requires this same kind of intense, daily preparation of the mind and spirit. And once you find your next position (or even if you are currently employed), you would do well to continue such daily preparation.

Before the start of each new day’s activities, you should quietly and deeply reflect upon and then set “drop dead” targets and/or goals, i.e., those things that you positively, absolutely must accomplish, as a minimum, for the day. Equally importantly, you should also quietly and deeply reflect upon the targets and/or goals you set for the previous day.

Ask yourself, “What successes did I achieve?” “How do I replicate those again?” “What failures occurred?” “How do I learn from those failures?”

There are two types of failure: Honorable and dishonorable.

Honorable failure means that you didn’t achieve your objective(s) for that day. However, you analyzed the failure(s), discerned lessons, applied them and simply collapsed on “the battlefield,” exhausted, having failed, but still knowing that you didn’t “surrender.”

Dishonorable failure means one of two things. Either you didn’t learn from your failures or you simply surrendered (quit) before completing the task(s) (“drop dead” minimums) that you had set.

How I practice Misogi

Here is how I practice Misogi. When I get up in the morning it is still dark. The coffee has automatically brewed. I savor the aroma. I stumble downstairs and pour a large cup, groggily make my way back upstairs and turn on the shower as hot as I can stand it. I get in the shower, sit down with my legs crossed, let the hot water flow on my neck and back, and I slowly sip the coffee. (Taking care not to let water from the shower get into my cup, of course!) I am still groggy and sleepy. I let my mind wander. I think of the known issues of the day ahead. I think of the successes and failures of the past day.

After sitting in the shower for about twenty minutes, suddenly the synapses in my brain start firing rapidly, “dots” are instantly “connected.” Ideas surface that I hadn’t previously thought of. Solutions to persistent problems seemingly occur out of nowhere. My mind and my spirit are on full steam ahead by the time I exit the shower.

None of these things would likely have happened had I merely jumped out of bed, hopped in for a quick shower, dressed, grabbed a cup of coffee and made a mad dash to get out the door and head for my office. For what? So I could quickly fire up my computer and check my email, taking the day largely as it unfolded? Or, another way of putting it: I would be letting the day seize me rather than my seizing the day!

This isn’t magic, of course, or any kind of strange “voodoo,” but it has proven to work remarkably well, time and time again for me, and it can also work for you, although it wasn’t until just the last couple of years that I learned that the practice (now a habit!) actually had a name—Misogi. (Some “purists” may debate me on this and say that I am not actually doing a Misogi. But again, the point is not what we call it. The point is that we do something each day to prepare our mind and spirit for the day ahead!)

Remember: Misogi—a Whole New Way of Preparing for the Day

Again, Misogi is different from praying, reading a holy book or a “how-to” or motivational book. This is a practice of intensely focusing on the day ahead and the specific tasks that must be accomplished, in light of both the successes and failures of the previous day, in order to develop creative solutions.

So, whether you do what I do or get coffee and just go sit in a swing or rocking chair on the porch, find a way to spend about twenty minutes waking up slowly, keeping your eyes closed and truly, thoroughly contemplating the day ahead. Consider some “hard” questions/issues such as these:

  • What interviews do I have today?
  • If I don’t have any interviews, what must I do to start getting them?
  • How do I best follow up on the ones I have had?
  • How do I identify new companies and hiring managers to contact?
  • What can I do today that is unique versus the other “job hunters” out there, so that I will be perceived as adding value to a potential employer?

This is how I have uncovered the secrets for hiring: I would ask myself questions such as, “Why didn’t the candidate we represented get the job?” Or, “Why was the offer so low?” “What happened to enable the offer to be so high?”—higher, actually, than any of us imagined? By letting the brain ponder such things in solitude and quietness, solutions and answers come together that you probably would never think about otherwise.

The power of the human spirit, coupled with the human brain, is boundless. Overlay that with knowledge and you are ready to begin your job search!

______________________________________________

Skip Freeman, author of “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever!, has successfully completed more than 300 executive search assignments in just seven years. Specializing in the placement of sales, engineering, manufacturing and R&D professionals in industry, he has developed powerful techniques that help companies hire the best and help the best get hired.

A distinguished graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point, he is a lifelong student of leadership, people and the principles of success. While serving in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Chemical Corps, he also earned a Master of Science degree in Organic Chemistry from The Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing from Long Island University.

 Visit or contact Skip at his book website, http://www.headhunterhiringsecrets.com

STOP Applying for a Job and START Competing for One!

By

Skip Freeman

Skip Freeman

Are you still applying for a job instead of competing for one? In today’s brutal job market, where there are many more job seekers than there are jobs, you better be doing the latter or you’re going to end up missing the boat entirely! Still, many job seekers apparently either don’t want to believe this, or simply choose not to believe it!

Reading comments across the Internet (such as comments on blogs or news articles), quotes in the media, callers on talk radio, etc., the laments I regularly read/hear from many, though certainly not all, of today’s job seekers go something like this:

  • Hiring companies are no longer “playing fair.”
  • It’s almost impossible to contact a hiring manager or company directly about a job these days.
  •  Hiring companies don’t really seem to care if you have a job or not. The only thing they want to know from you is, “What can you do for them!”
  •  The whole job market seems to have been “turned upside down”! What worked just a few years ago when it came to getting a new job doesn’t seem to work at all anymore! What has happened? What can I do?! Does anybody care anymore?!
  •  I am so desperate these days . . . why doesn’t somebody give me a job?!
  •  And the one that was most interesting was a comment to one of my recent blogs: “Congress should make it illegal for companies to lay people off. All companies want to do is make money. They don’t care about people.”

And, you know what? Such fears, anxieties and laments are hardly without foundation. If you are feeling this way, you are not being paranoid! This is precisely what is happening in the job market today. This precisely describes today’s job market. And, to add insult to injury, there is little chance that things are going to change for the better in the job market anytime soon, if ever.

So, it seems to me—and I hope it will also seem to you!—that today’s job seeker has essentially two choices: Revert to the “fetal position” and continue to obsess about the dismal state of affairs, blaming “them” for not “giving” you a job, or, learn how to adapt to changing circumstances, learn the NEW rules of the “hiring game”—and, yes, that’s what it is, a “game”—and then learn how to “play” by the NEW rules and effectively compete for the jobs that are available today. (Yes, you read that correctly, people are still being hired every single day, even in this extremely challenging job market!)

You Must Compete for a Job in Today’s Market!

At best, only 50% of all jobs are ever posted and those, of course, are the ones that 80% of all job seekers focus on. How to go after companies and not just jobs is covered in depth in my book, “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets, and in the other book I always recommend to job seekers, David Perry’s Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0. (David is also a sponsor of this site, Put America Back to Work.)

Thus, the competition is 2-3 times heavier (and more intense) for the “posted” jobs. To effectively compete in today’s market, you must “reinvent” yourself, as well as ensure that you maintain and project a good, positive attitude. Chances are, if you’ve been unemployed for any length of time your attitude quite probably has taken a “dive.” Whatever it takes to “mask” such an attitude—if in fact you have it!—you absolutely, positively must do! Nothing will turn off a recruiter or hiring manager more than a job candidate who obviously feels sorry for himself/herself, is desperate, etc.

Let me briefly digress here to illustrate how different attitudes are among job seekers today by sharing with you two, very representative reader comments posted to an article that recently appeared on America Online about “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed Forever! (Article can be found at this link):

 http://tinyurl.com/2axgfv9

Here is the first comment, apparently from a job seeker:

“I miss the good old days. Today you have to jump through hoops for companies. Maybe it’s the red tape, maybe it’s just THEM, who knows. I’m sick of stupid tests (I get the highest scores possible and STILL don’t get the job!), drug tests, credit checks and providing my driving record for a lousy 8.00/hr job with no benefits. It is truly an employer’s market these days.”

And here is the second comment, apparently from a hiring manager:

“Getting a job is really not rocket science . . . As a former Hotel manager and now CEO, I can assure you that a hiring manager’s goal is simply to place the best candidate into any position. This means that even when a company is not officially hiring they are always looking. This is especially true in industries of high turn over. This means that individuals need not focus on getting a job, but really on constantly improving and perfecting their skill and knowledge. If you approach an employer as a charity case they will direct you to the Red Cross . . . they’re in it (business) to make money and usually age, education and experience are associated with spending it. This does not mean that you should try to appear young, stupid and less experienced, it simply means that you must illustrate how these factors will translate into saving the additional money which they may have to spend on you.”

I think you will agree that the attitudes implicit in these two comments are about as diametrically opposite of each other as it’s possible to be. Still, they are very typical of comments posted across the Internet by job seekers today in response to the many articles now appearing on the job market. Which person do you believe has the greater, better chance of being successful in finding a new job—even in today’s awful job market?

Contrary to popular opinion—and as so well and succinctly expressed by the second person’s comment—companies are not in the business of hiring people! They are in the business of making money! That means they are looking for potential employees who can either make them money or save them money, and ideally, be able to accomplish both of these things! One more thing: No company “owes” you (or anybody else) a job. A job is something that has always had to be earned in America, regardless of the state of the job market.

‘Magic’ Words? No.

Effective Tactics and Strategies? Yes! 

 Am I suggesting that, merely by having a good, positive attitude, you will be able to succeed in today’s job market? Of course not, but certainly having a good, positive attitude is essential to succeeding in any endeavor. Are there any “magic words” or “magic tactics and strategies” contained in my book, “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets, or, for that matter, in David Perry’s book,  “Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0”? No “magic words,” and, while there are no “magic” tactics and strategies featured in our books, there are, however, effective tactics and strategies!

Both David and I are professional “headhunters,” and we’re in the job market every single business day. We see, very, very clearly, what’s happening in the job market today—what works, what doesn’t work. (Think about it: If we were wrong in our assessments . . . we would soon be out of business!)

Let me give you a couple of quick simple examples.

Recently I posted a job on the Internet for a position I was contracted to fill for a Fortune 500 company. I received 34 voice mails in one day. This is critical to understand…I use my voice mail as a screening tool. I never answer my phone. A candidate has to earn the right for me to call them back. My job is to find the best candidate for my client and the message the candidate leaves is actually the first step in that process—the first step in competing for the job, not applying for the job.

This is the “exemplary” way most people leave a message (that will not get returned):

“I saw your posting online and I have some questions. Please call me at 123-456-7890.”

First, which posting did you see? (I generally have over 20 positions posted at any given time.) And though you have some questions, I don’t have time to return 34 phone calls and just answer questions. Are you qualified? Do you have anything to offer my client? You are competing for my time, so you have to give me a reason to call you back.

Here is another very typical voice mail I receive:

“I saw your posting online. I have researched your company and I would like to go to work for you. Please call me at 123-456-7890.”

Well, if you “researched” my company, then you would know we are a recruiting firm and not the hiring company.

 And, unfortunately, the list goes on and on. There wasn’t a single message among the 34 that I returned. And, yes, I filled the position within a month, so a lot of people wasted a lot of their time (as well as my time) for absolutely no return.

 So, if you are among the millions of unemployed seeking to “get back in the game” today, I have some advice for you. Forget all about how the job market “used to be” because it isn’t like that anymore and it’s unlikely to ever be again, at least in the foreseeable future. Quit blaming “them” (whoever “them” is) for your not having a job. Prepare yourself to get back in the job market by competing for a job and stop applying for one.

Learn as much as you can about the NEW rules of the “hiring game,” and more importantly, how you can successfully reposition yourself to effectively compete in the game. Get your hands on either my book or David’s (ideally, both) because contained in our two books are tactics and strategies that, when properly learned and then effectively employed, give you the very best chance you can have of succeeding in today’s challenging job market! Plus, visit this site often and substantially benefit from the wisdom and experience being shared by other experts on the job market.  By doing this, you have everything to gain and virtually nothing to lose! Guaranteed.

2011 Job Market to Become Even More Competitive!

Skip Freeman

If you thought last year’s job market was tough—and it certainly was!—then brace yourself for the 2011 job market because it could shape up to be a whole lot tougher! To effectively and successfully compete in the 2011 job market you’re really going to have to “up your game”!

You’re probably familiar with the applicant-to-job-opening ratio most often cited in the media today, about 4.5 workers vying for the same finite number of job openings. While that number is ostensibly true, it nonetheless is also somewhat misleading. Actually, the number of job seekers versus the number of job openings, at least potentially, is closer to 40 to one! Yes, you read that correctly . . . 40 to one. Let me explain.

At the end of each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes a report called the Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). This report shows how many positions were filled during the previous month, i.e., “hires,” and how many positions went unfilled. For example, in December 2010, 4.1 million positions were filled in the U.S., while over 3 million positions remained unfilled at the end of the month. (Most people are either not even aware of this “unfilled” number or, if they are, don’t realize that each month the number is as high as it is.)

At the end of January 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 139 million employed people in the U.S. and nearly 14 million unemployed people. And it is the interplay between these two key numbers that results in the oft-cited 4.5 applicants for every available job opening figure, i.e., 14 million (number of unemployed) divided by 3 million (number of unfilled positions).

What this figure overlooks, however, are the number of currently employed people who are also competing for these same job openings!

Manpower, Inc., one of the largest staffing firms in the world, does a routine survey of “worker dissatisfaction.” In the latest survey (December 2010), they reported that 84% of currently employed workers say they are ready (and willing) to “jump ship” for another position at the first  opportunity. LinkedIn did a similar survey and reported a finding of 78% who said that.

So, just for the sake of simplicity, let’s round off the percentage of currently employed who say they seek a new position to 80%. That means there are 111 million currently employed people who would like a new opportunity, i.e., 80% x 139 million = 111 million. So now, there aren’t just nearly 4 million unemployed people competing for a finite number of current job openings, there are 115 million competing for these same jobs, or nearly 40 applicants for each open position!

Sobering, alarming statistics, huh?

Why are so many of the currently employed so thoroughly dissatisfied? They say they are sick and tired of having to work virtually “24/7” doing multiple jobs for the price of one. Many, if not most, have received either miniscule raises or none at all during the last several years. They are weary of seeing their friends and colleagues laid off. They have become numb with fear themselves for their own chances of survival.

Now granted, not all will jump ship at the same time and some never will have the courage or will to make a job change—regardless of what they say.  But, as the economy strengthens (and it is) and people gain more and more confidence (and they are), more and more will begin to brave the waters and explore new career opportunities. (In the recruiting business we call this “the churn!”)

The end result, of course, is that this phenomenon doesn’t create any net new jobs. It does, however, create a much more dynamic and much more brutally competitive job market. That means that NOW is the time to carefully examine and update/refine to perfection and an unprecedented level of excellence virtually every aspect of the “product” you will be marketing in the 2011 job market—yourself. Otherwise, I can guarantee you that you will not land that new opportunity when it (or you!) knocks at the door!

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Just do it.

Of guerrilla tactics and job hunting. Some “dirty little tricks” to improve your search.

Posted in career advise by jobsdbsingapore on August 31, 2010

Remember our cool jobs post? We like challenging you by throwing interesting but insightful questions once in a while on this blog. A way to induce breathers? You can call it that, but we do this primarily to get you to share your insights with us, much like our goal for headlines that matter and survey discussion. The same goal but in a different approach of getting results, get it? Here’s another one.

Why should job hunters be like guerrillas to get the kind of result they want? What do you think? Just in case, www.dictionary.com defines a guerrilla as “a member of a band of irregular soldiers that uses guerrilla warfare, harassing the enemy by surprise raids, sabotaging communication and supply lines, etc. “ Someone with a goal and will do just about everything to get that goal, so to speak.

Here’s what the author of the theory has to say. Check if his views are the same as yours. “Conventional job search tactics get conventional results – no matter what country you live in”, David Perry, owner of Perry-Martel International Inc. and co-author of Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0 has told us when we’ve interviewed him for Career Advice. This is how we interpret his words: one needs to be different in how he handles things with his job search to get a result that’s “different” from what the majority is getting — one that actually offers a future. To catch the attention of employers right away so as to avoid frustration, in a nutshell. Have you heard of the book, BTW?

Is David implying that it’s okay to be aggressive? Yes, but this isn’t the same as making cold calls and also applying for job ads for which you don’t qualify for, mind you. There’s a big difference between making yourself more noticeable to employers and over doing it. David’s guerrilla marketing comprise of “Guerrilla Resumes, the Coffee Cup Caper, and the Trojan Thank-You Note.” Kind of self explanatory, really.

But how exactly can you make use of guerrilla tactics in your job hunting? You’re lucky because David has also shared with us these tips. If you have time, you can download an hour long MP3 on this by going to the book’s web site: www.GM4JH.com. We’re listing these points in bullet form for your easy reference (we’ve injected them with some slices of our knowledge too. Better take things easy, after all):

  • Begin with clarity. Know what you want before sending your applications. This will make your job hunting organised.
  • Network. A favorite among career experts. Communicate with former colleagues, attend career events and also join social media sites like Linkedin and Facebook. Add us a friend on FB and join our network on Linkedin.
  • Be easy to find. Make your resume viewable online. Upload it on internet jobs portals likes JobsDB.com Singapore.
  • Stop sending cover letters. According to David, send sales letters, instead ( a pumped up cover letter that can “show” [not just tell] employers what you’re capable of, so to speak). Feel free to explore the archives of this blog for tips on how you can do this or visit Career Advice at www.jobsdb.com.sg/SG/EN/Resources/JobSeekerIndex.
  • Stop sending resumes. You get the idea.
  • Let others sell you. Your references can make or break you. Only pick the one who you’ve really done business with and who knows your work ethics.
  • Do the thinking for the employer. Answer to their job ads. When writing your cover letter and resume, get to the employer’s perspective.
  • Get on Linkedin. Not familiar with this website? Join our group there and send our manager a message for help. We’ll be glad to assist you.
  • Sell money at a discount. Not the salary. Explain the employers how you can make or save them money.
  • Remember, “no” simply means “not today”. The word shouldn’t stop you from dreaming to get to that big company. You’ll get your time.
  • Target employers precisely. Go back to number one.
  • When in doubt, do the opposite. Just another way to say that positivity counts.

Sounds difficult? Don’t hesitate! Maybe it will help boost your morale if we post this here: “Doing what everybody else is doing may cost you dearly in lost income and lost opportunity. You may relegated to all but the dullest jobs – because the goods jobs were taken by those who went after them.” Don’t be afraid to embrace guerrilla tactics in your job hunting — the tactics are being sold in book form for a reason.

A career expert as he is, we’ve also asked David his views on how job hunters can uncover the hidden jobs market. If you’re a job hunter, he wants you to make yourself easier to find (joining career websites will do). And of course, he’s also up for networking. But he’s stated a reminder: “It’s better to reach the people who count, than to count the people you reach. Networking is not a numbers game.” You can read more from David at www.jobsdb.com.sg/SG/EN/Resources/JobSeekerArticle/Ask%20An%20Expert?ID=422.

‘Guerilla Marketing For Job Hunters 2.0′ is published by John Wiley & Sons, BTW, and is available in all good bookstores now. Find out more about the book at www.wiley.com.

We promise this week to be good for job seekers. What’s in store? We’re set to discuss new career seminars from LearningDB.com, for one. Secondly, we’re due to feature new interviews with career experts about job interviews and resume writing. And of course, the job updates. Great things to look forward to for the coming days. Bookmark jobsdbsingapore.wordpress.com now for easy access.

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For career tips, we recommend Career Advice. From job hunting tips to career development guidelines, get advice from experts @ www.jobsdb.com.sg/SG/en/Resources/JobSeekerIndex.