Apr 18

Slaying Your Dragons in 10 Easy Steps: A Job Search Tutorial

Our images of dragons have two possible sources: Mythology or an actual incident that by the game of gossip has been exaggerated into the fire breathing monsters we see in movies. Contributors to Wikipedia give several possible sources of the story of Saint George and the Dragon. Looking for a logical explanation for the legend other than pure entertainment of the masses, the story from Wormingford in Essex, England sounds the most plausible. “A dragon, now believed to have been a crocodile that escaped from Richard I, was slain in the River Stour. There are differing accounts, including different dragon slayers, however one popular account tells how Sir George Marney (of Layer de la Haye) killed the dragon with his lance.” True or not, these stories give us examples of how courage in the face of our demons helps us to overcome obstacles on the road to achieving our goals. The road traveled by a job seeker in search of employment is terrorized by dragons.

It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him. – J. R. R. Tolkien

There is no instruction manual for the destruction of job search dragons, but intuitively we can derive the best path toward success.

  1. Be prepared for combat. The war against this type of dragon means being at your best throughout each day. Diet, exercise, sleep and recreation are a few of the rules of life that are magnified when stressful situations rear their ugly heads.
  2. Start looking for dragons early in the day. If you are truly prepared to meet them, confidence should begin with the first opening of your eyes in the morning. Wash away the leftover sleep from your face, look in the mirror and growl. There is nothing like a good “Arrrrgh!” before breakfast to set the tone.
  3. Since there are multiple roads to the objective of your quest, continuing to study dragonology becomes part of the rules of engagement. Each obstacle has its unique characteristics. Being blocked by one company because of an internal hire is not the same as being non-competitive for another one. The lance of reason and logic win battles, not emotional daggers.
  4. The tactics for defeating a dragon often involves trickery. Rushing into the fiery end of the beast is not advisable, so a flank attack is more productive. Applying to a job through an online posting may get results, but opening doors through networking is preferable. Being an employee referral slays multiple dragons with one blow.
  5. Let everybody know that you are a dragon slayer and be a protector of others as well as an individual combatant. Mutual assistance in a quest leads to new ideas and a greater force to overcome anything. Draw courage from the confidence others have in you and give more than you receive from your network of warriors.
  6. Get the support of a knight in shining armor. They don’t always arrive at the proper moment on their noble steed, so you may have to look for them. Recruiters, career counselors, resume writers, and even spiritual advisors are possible allies in the quest and most are more than willing to help. Social media contacts may be more powerful in eliminating dragons than you might think.
  7. Don’t waste time on make-believe dragons. Being cautious at every turn in the road doesn’t mean slowing your progress out of fear of obstacles. There are enough real problems that will happen to impede your job search without imagining evils that don’t exist. A company ATS is not a dragon… the people behind the scenes may be a real problem.
  8. Conserve your ammunition. Some dragons must be killed and others may be simply brushed aside. One of the most powerful demons is the misuse of resumes, cover letters and other tools that were meant to be targeted toward a goal and not just thrown into the wind. Applying indiscriminately to every job you see will dilute your arsenal from the viewpoint of many.
  9. Celebrate successes no matter how small the victory. Sometimes sticking to a goal means that multiple dragon carcasses will litter the roadway before you have arrived. Each step along the way is one more battle that must be won before the end of the war. Empower yourself with the confidence that you are on the right path… or that you must choose another one.
  10. Write about your dragon slaying experiences. A private journal documents progress and helps to solidify thoughts that may have been disjointed from battle. Sharing the legend of YOU will be an inspiration to others. Face-to-face conversations, blog posts, and social media participation strengthens your resolve and builds your network of allies.

In an age of Hobbits, Fairies, Orcs and Wizards, we need to separate fantasy from real life. Are our dragons real? Of course they are.

Image credit: desssphoto / 123RF Stock Photo

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