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Secrets of Success


Assumptions are a necessary part of life. You can’t go through the day without them. You assume your car will start. You assume the light will come on when you touch the switch. Without assumptions, our lives would be filled with too much uncertainty.

For the job hunter, assumptions are another matter. Assumptions are often the enemy of the job hunter because assumptions cut off options. Here are some of the assumptions job hunters often make and some ways to avoid them:

ASSUMPTION #1 – I can’t do the work I love and earn a living.
ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW: And you believe this because…
This statement is often made by people who have done little if any research. The fact is, there are very few ways of earning a living that someone out there hasn’t thought about and figured out a way to make happen. If you ask around enough and do enough research, you should be able to find someone who at least is doing something very close to your fantasy job.

ASSUMPTION #2 – If I don’t get hired, I know the reason why.
ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW: Not unless you’ve suddenly become telepathic you don’t.
You’re in your own head all day, and you probably don’t know what you’re up to half the time. Rest assured, you don’t know others’ thoughts. You have to ask. Even then, the asking is problematic because some employers either can’t articulate why they didn’t hire you, are afraid of some kind of legal ramifications if they do tell you, or don’t want to hurt your feelings. Try asking one of these questions and see if it helps. “As I continue my job search, do you have any suggestions as to how I might be more effective?” “Are there any skills I need to improve or knowledges I need to acquire?” “If you were me, what would you do to enhance your chances of getting hired?”

ASSUMPTION #3 – The things employers dislike about me are issues over which I have no control, such as my age or my experience.
ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW: You may as well focus on the size of your little toe or shape of your ear lobes.
You have no control over those either. More often than not, this is a conclusion born of frustration after one has failed repeatedly to land a job. The solution is not to make assumptions but rather ask some of the questions suggested in ASSUMPTION #2.

ASSUMPTION #4 – If someone does not call me back, it means they are not interested.
Maybe they’re terribly disorganized and don’t get back to people in a timely manner. Or maybe they lost your phone number. Maybe they are interested but have had to put off making a decision for budgetary reasons or because of a personal or professional emergency. Who knows??? The answer is, “Certainly not you.” Call them and ask.

If you feel like they are giving you the runaround, ask them directly if you are being considered for the position. If they say you are, ask them their time frame for making a decision. P.S. If they really are interested, they won’t say, “I don’t know.”

ASSUMPTION #5 – There are probably numbers of people who are more qualified than I am.
ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW: There are also numbers of people who are less qualified.
So? The issue is not who else they are talking to; the issue is what you can do. What unique set of skills, qualities and experiences do you possess? Have you told the interviewer how you can solve a problem, meet a need, make or save them money?

ASSUMPTION #6 – If I change jobs, and definitely if I change careers, I’ll have to take a salary cut.
ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW: And you arrived at that conclusion based on what research?
The fact is you may have to take a salary cut. Before making that assumption, make sure you’ve done enough homework by reading, using the Internet and talking to people about salary ranges. Also make sure you’re assumption is not based on a “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” belief system. That is-“I’ve finally found work I really love, I can’t possibly expect to also get paid well.”

ASSUMPTION #7- I have no idea what I want to do for a living.
ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW: Let’s see. You know what kind of people you like; you know what kinds of food you like; what kinds of movies, music, clothes, houses, sports, dogs, like. But you have NO IDEA what kind of work you might like?
You have never seen, heard, read or talked to ANOTHER HUMAN BEING who had a job you might like? Do you live in cave on a remote mountain range? If not, the problem may be caused by something else. Maybe you can describe what you like to do, but don’t know what people who do those things are called. Perhaps you have an idea but you feel it is unrealistic, impractical or not financially viable. Or you feel you are “too “ or “not enough.” All these assumptions will require you to find out more. None of them, however, mean you have no idea what you might like to do for a living.

ASSUMPTION #8- Once I’ve exhausted my list of contacts, I’m in trouble.
ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW: That’s doubtful. Two of the job hunter’s greatest fears center around their contacts.
One fear is that they will run out of contacts. The other fear is that the contacts they do have will not provide them with much useful information. Most likely you have not exhausted your supply of people. Most job hunters assume certain people are not worth pursuing because they probably don’t “know anyone.” That’s a dangerous assumption. It’s a small world. Nobody knows all the people you know. And vice versa. The very people you need to talk to may be friends, relatives, neighbors or ex-classmates of people you would never suspect. In addition, we are constantly meeting new people. Today’s stranger could well be tomorrow’s contact.

ASSUMPTION #9- Everybody knows it’s not “What you know but who you know.” Since I don’t know enough “whos,” I won’t be able to get a very good job.
ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW: You probably need to rethink the word “know.”
“Knowing” someone in a business sense is much different than knowing someone personally. You need not know someone well or have known them for a long time to talk to them about employment. Most of the time all you need to know is someone they know and trust. The way an “outsider” becomes an “insider” is to know another insider.

ASSUMPTION #10- I can either have a career or have time with my family, but I can’t successfully have both.
ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW: Why not? Believe it or not there are people who are successful doing both.
If you assume, however, that that is not a possibility, you won’t bother to find such people. You can’t have it all, but you can have more than you think.

Hopefully you are doing work you enjoy and have time for the other parts of your life. However, should the time come when you do need or want to make a change, these hints could come in handy.

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CTS Consulting, Inc

3126 Berkshire Road

Baltimore, Maryland 21214

phone 410-444-5857

cell 443-286-2488