Showing Up As Your Best Self in Every Interaction
Most of us who are looking for our next career move are not thrilled about the idea of “networking” with others. Even those of us who are extroverted and love interacting with people hit glitches when it comes to reaching out to people we don’t know and even people we do know.
Looking for a job and networking to find out about a company, department, and job position makes many of us feel like we did during that dreaded process of choosing sides in sports in middle school (unless you were a star athlete and even those friends had “stuff” they felt squirrely about too!)
Two tools that you can use right now, but that may seem counter-opposed to each other are to be authentic and “act as if”:
1. Being authentic means you show up to every interaction you have with another person(s) as the best version of yourself you can be.
The idea is that although we are all “works in progress” our intention is to learn how to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly about ourselves and that we don’t want to put the blame on anyone else. Often when we show up authentically, others experience us as humble which relaxes them so they can trust their interaction with us. Seems simple, doesn’t it? Being fully authentic is very attractive to others. They may not know exactly why they want what you have, but they’ll want it in most cases.
2. Acting “as if” can seem the opposite of being authentic.
Another way you can think of this tool is to be your authentic self and step into the shoes of the person you want to be someday. For example, I know a woman who spent decades growing and cultivating her thoughts and actions so that she would become the person that the people she respected and admired would want to know. Today, she shows up as a very down-to-earth, friendly, and poised person.
If you asked her what this process felt like as she was becoming the version of herself that we see today, she would tell you that she often felt like she was a little kid walking around in grown-up shoes. She continually acted as if she was comfortable inside of herself even if she wasn’t. She also paid attention to her thoughts, beliefs, and values and used them as guiding points on her road to becoming who she is today.
Take out a piece of paper and write/type the three top actions that you most don’t like about searching for a job. Your list could look like this:
- Applying to an endless black hole of rejection.
- Feeling super awkward sending out connection requests on LinkedIn.
- Talking with someone you don’t know about a job (organization) that you want to work at!
Let’s tackle your top three. More than likely, you’ve pushed the top three things you don’t like to the bottom of your to-do list. The thing about those three things you don’t want to do is they will constantly be bugging you and making you think about them, coloring every article, conversation, or podcast you hear.
A. Let’s take the first action. What steps can you take to create a vacuum of acceptance?
Is your resume updated, and does the first half of it identify what your expertise is, what your top skills are, and how you are qualified for the type of position in the field you are considering? Have you read over the job description thoroughly and made sure that you have examples of your experience to very clearly show that you have what they need? Do they use specific words and phrases that are in the requirements that you have experience with? Use those words and phrases to make it easy for hiring managers to get it about you.
B. Sending out connection requests to people you don’t know on LinkedIn can feel about as comfortable as walking into a stadium filled with people and yelling, “HERE I AM!”
When you reach out to people on LinkedIn, be specific about what you want and state your purpose for wanting to make a connection. The first place you can start is by inviting Executive Recruiters in your specific field (healthcare for example) or who focus on your skill set (such as Operations). Your invitation is where your polite authentic self can shine through such as:
- “Hi Tom, Trevor Canfield here. I’m very interested in Strategy and Operation roles in the healthcare arena, preferably in the Denver, CO metro area or remote. Let’s connect! Would love a brief chat about what you currently have open and how I may be a fit. Thanks, Trevor.”
You can apply the same strategy to reach out to Talent Acquisition Managers and HR Managers at companies you’re interested in working at (if you applied to a specific position, then let them know that) which leads us to the third action.
C. Talking with someone about a company or job that you want when you don’t know the person, and you’re asking for information feels awkward, which is natural.
A mentor told me years ago that almost everyone we meet puts on their pants one leg at a time, so stop comparing my insides with another’s outsides. When we’re looking for a job, sometimes we can feel that we’re bankrupt when it comes to our self-confidence. This is when you can “act as if” you feel confident and put on your professional hat.
When you reach out to a manager or possible colleague in a department at a company where you want to work, show up congenially and professionally. They need someone to do for them what you have experience in and can do for them. Reach out to them with a short note acknowledging that you know they’re busy and respect their time and, if possible, would welcome a brief chat. Tell them which position you applied for and that you’re interested in learning more about the department (that the position is in), their role (if it is like yours), and the company culture.
The first ten or so times you reach out to connect with someone you don’t know may feel like you’d rather do just about anything else, but with time and practice connecting will become easier. After each connection you send, stand up and shake out any fear or anxiety you may be holding in your body. If you have friends or family whom you can reach out to before you start sending connection requests, do that! Having someone to be accountable to assures that you won’t stuff this thing you don’t want to do way back inside of your hamper of neglect.
Remember the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz? That’s who we are when we begin the job search process (stiff and awkward) and every action we take to help us obtain the job we want is exactly the oil we need to get that unused muscle to move. When you think about it, looking for a job may be just the opportunity you need to become your best self and show up as your best self in every interaction you have both personally and professionally.
Written By: Lynn Kindler, Senior Career Strategist
Lynn Kindler is one of our dedicated Career Strategists. She has been in the career transition industry for 15 years and she believes this work is what she was born to do!
She loves how this job connects her to new industries and what people are doing in the world. She encourages others that behind titles, jobs, and companies are what matter most…the PEOPLE!
What really fills her up is when a client gets enthusiastic about their process and gets after finding jobs they’d be interested in.