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Out of the Box Job Search Strategies

(Originally published on Sunday, July 11, 2010)

Been rejected over and over? Maybe you’re looking in the wrong places

Not everyone who began a job search last February has a job now, and chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’ve been rejected, or want to find a better job than the one you have. We looked over the Classifieds’ archives over the past two years and picked out the best strategies for you that go beyond the usual job search strategies.

  1. Don’t let panic overwhelm you. If you allow yourself to develop a negative mindset—no one will hire me, I’m not qualified, I’m not good enough—then you condition yourself for failure. You need to prepare yourself for success, mentally and physically.
  2. Use your head! Too many jobseekers blindly send resumes everywhere without any thought for what they’re doing or any aim in mind; we’ve received our fair share of misdirected mail at the Classifieds, resumes from people who think we can find them jobs. No one will find a job for you; do it yourself. Also, do an intelligent job search: read job ads in the Classifieds, online, in flyers, and in brochures carefully. Nothing gets your resume tossed out faster than not following directions; in fact, some companies give complicated directions to weed out those with poor reading comprehension.
  3. Leave no stone unturned. Jobs won’t come to you. Search everywhere, use your network, advertise yourself. Make your Facebook or Multiply work for you; let people know you’re looking for a job. Scour the Classifieds (naturally), haunt Internet job listing sites, look at trade websites for your chosen career field, and check out the “Careers” section of the websites of the companies you want to work for. Just look for that hyperlinked word usually seen at the top or bottom part of the website that says “jobs” or “career” and click away. If you don’t know how to use the internet, you should learn now, because that’s a crucial skill if you want a good job. Just be careful as to what you post; if your Facebook has racy photos or questionable comments, open a ‘clean’ account for jobseeking. Sometimes, it’s not only the people you already know but the people you get to know. Public transportation is a good place to find opportunities. Weird as it may seem but you might be sitting next to your future employer. All those long journeys can lead to conversations and those conversations may lead to job offerings. Plus, some employers post job ads in the MRT, in jeeps and in buses; be sure to be ready to take these down.
  4. Put out the word. Tell these people about your job search or ask them if they know of available jobs: online social network friends (Facebook, Friendster, etc.); your school career counselor and alumni office (even if you are a graduate!); parents, friends, and relatives; “orgmates,” fraternity brothers or sorority sisters; former teachers; and the company you did an internship for.
  5. You want a job? Get more aggressive. There are hundreds of fresh graduates, thousands who were laid off, and those looking to change careers competing with you. Revise your resume; visit companies personally; do your research.
  6. Be prepared to walk a lot and move. Attend job fairs; there’s usually one going on in malls and schools every week. Some companies prefer to see the people who apply for them and can be better inclined towards those who’ve taken the time to apply in person. Be sure that while your clothes are comfortable, they are also presentable enough just in case you’re interviewed on the spot. Be sure to bring a towel and a change of shirt/blouse.
  7. Keep an open mind. Be flexible enough to accept a job offer outside your chosen field; say, if you want to be a call center employee, and you get an offer from a small firm, remember that your chances of upward mobility are higher in a small firm even though the pay may be smaller. You can use that job as a stepping stone to what you really want, or create your dream job from there.
  8. Be polite. A lot of jobseekers get their resumes tossed out when they act like prima donnas (“You be careful with my resume ha?” said in a condescending tone to a recruiter) or are just plain rude (“Hoy, dito ba ang HR? [Hey you, is this the HR department?]” asked of the HR receptionist). First impressions last, and there is no excuse for behaving like a brat at any point in your career—whether jobseeking or when you’re already in a job. Say “please” “po” and “thank you” whenever necessary—those simple words go a long way.
  9. Make sure you are available. Keep your phone on; check your email daily. If you ignore a text message or an email from an employer, remember that there is always someone more eager than you who won’t.

10. Look in the places people don’t normally look for jobs. These include your barangay hall and church bulletin boards. Even if jobs are not posted there, they often have free seminars you can take advantage of to improve your skills.  (Compiled and edited by C. F. BOBIS)

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin and C.F. Bobis. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

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Work Life: Dealing with Workplace Bullies

(Originally published on Sunday, July 11, 2010)

by JHOANNA GAN-SO

Workplace bullies come in all shapes, forms and sizes. You’ve most likely encountered bullies at some point in your life, maybe at work or way back when you were still in school.

Remember the screaming boss that everyone in your office feared? Or the terror professor who gave everyone low grades when he had a bad day? What about the office gossip who spreads malicious rumors about co-workers. Then there’s that customer who curses. And let’s not forget that smooth-talking colleague of yours who acts friendly but continuously puts down people with well-camouflaged words that actually cut your heart into pieces.

These are just some of the typical bullies that walk among us. But because of the many types of personalities and situations we encounter at work, it’s not always easy to identify bullies. For instance, if your boss gets angry and raises his voice at you for an error you’ve committed repeatedly, is that considered bullying? If an irate customer screams out of exasperation for being passed around, can you say that the customer is a bully? No, not exactly.

So who are workplace bullies? And when can we say that a person is a bully?

Workplace bullies use direct and indirect methods to coerce, intimidate, and get their way. They repeatedly use subtle or overt manipulation tactics which give their victims feelings of powerlessness, stress, inferiority, and fear. Basically, bullies make you feel like a loser.

The Art of Dealing with Workplace Bullies

The truth is, almost everyone will experience being bullied, but not everyone will be bullied. Here are some practical ways to help you deal with bullies:

A Protector

Though I’m demure and all, my family actually prepared me well for handling bullies. Before I started school, I remember my mother specifically tell me, “Pag may manakit sa iyo o may nagtangka, sumbong mo sa titser (If someone hurts or threatens you, tell the teacher).”

True enough, on my first day at nursery school, a scary classmate of mine was playing “teacher”. She was ordering people around and lining them up. If someone broke the line, she put them in ‘jail’—a small table where some of my poor classmates already were. Well, I broke the line and so she wanted me to go under the jail-table. Flashback: I remembered what my mom said, then cried my heart out.  My real teacher came to the rescue. After consoling me, she scolded my scary classmate and released her victims. And the silly game ended.

This episode became a powerful lesson for me. It showed me the power of “telling the teacher” or finding a protector who will guard you against bullies. In the course of my schooling, career, and life, I find that I don’t get bullied much.  That’s because people know that I have someone backing me up: a boss, a teacher, a mentor, an influential person at the office, a courageous mother, or a strong husband who will fend off any perceived threat.

So your first line of defense against bullies is finding a protector. 

Distancing

This is the technique I use for malicious office gossips. You pretty much know who the office gossips are. They will befriend you at first and bring you in the loop. They seem to know a lot about other people’s dirty little secrets. Unsuspectingly, you’ll enjoy the “information” they are feeding you and you begin to bond with them. Then things progress into backbiting and before you know it, it turns into people-bashing.

Whenever a gossip tells me other people’s dirty little secrets, my self-preservation instinct immediately steps in. I know they can easily turn against me. If they can do it to other people, who’s to say that they won’t do it to me?

So when faced with a bully who uses gossip to attack people, I just listen and keep quiet…and slowly, inch by inch, step away from that type of bully.

Protect yourself by avoiding these types of bullies.

Find the Bully’s Soft Spot

Bullies are often insecure people. They are obviously hurting inside, so they tend to take it out on other people. When I taught public speaking to a bunch of high school students during one summer, I noticed a boy who was acting in an obnoxious manner. He made his classmates feel bad with his snickering and side comments.

So what I did was get to know him. I found out that his OFW dad was settling permanently in the Philippines. Since they hadn’t bonded as father and son due to the years of distance, they were having difficulty adjusting and his father was quite harsh in correcting him. This made him feel bad, so he made others feel bad. To help him, I made him the leader for a class project where he needed to be responsible for his classmates. This simple act changed him instantly.  Instead of being a bully, he became a protector.

Bullies are tough on the outside but tender in the inside. Find out what their soft spots are and you’ll be able to help them change. If you befriend the bully, the bully may even become your protector.

Secret Power

But the most important lesson I have learned about dealing with bullies is best captured in the words of a very wise woman, Eleanor Roosevelt. She says, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Wow!  Read it again and again until you get it.

The real secret is finding the power within you. If you let this guide you in your everyday life, you will soon realize that you can become your own protector. If there are things that hurt or bother you at the office, you will know how to calmly speak up and assert your rights. You will know how to say “No” politely to bullies and people with other types of toxic behavior. You will not become a victim and you won’t allow yourself to act like a martyr…because you own your self worth.

About the Author: Jhoanna O. Gan-So is president of Businessmaker Academy and the managing director for HR Club Philippines.  Her company conducts seminars on Human Resource Management and Corporate Skills Development.  They have also recently launched the Instant HR Toolkit, a service that provides HR practitioners with over 100 ready-to-use downloadable, customizable and printable HR manuals, contract, letters forms and templates.  To know more about HR seminars that they offer, you may visit www.businessmaker-academy.com or call (632)6874645.  To know more about the Instant HR Toolkit, you may visit  www.hrclubphilippines.com.  You may email your comments and questions to:   mbworklife AT gmail.com (replace the AT with @).

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin and Jhoanna Gan-So. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

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