Create Good Luck in Your Job Search

What’s luck got to do with job hunting? Apparently a lot! Richard Wiseman, author of “The Luck Factor,” says some people actually do have all the luck, while others are a magnet for ill fortune.

Luck is not a magical ability or a gift from the gods, instead it is a way of thinking and behaving. Do you consider yourself lucky, neutral, or unlucky? Take a look at this, opportunityisnowhere.

What do you see?

Lucky people see “opportunity is now here.” Unlucky people read it as “opportunity is no where.”

Wiseman, whose best-selling book explores the lives and minds of lucky people, is a professor at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom who has gained recognition for his research into quirky areas of psychology. He identifies four principles of luck.

In reviewing them, I see a direct connection between their application and success when job hunting. Below are Wiseman’s luck principles and my interpretation of how they affect your job hunt:

#1 Maximize your chance opportunities. Wiseman says, “Lucky people create, notice, and act upon the chance opportunities in their lives.” Lucky people interact more with the outside world than do unlucky people.

Lucky people are lucky, in part, because of the number of opportunities to which they avail themselves. They strike up conversations with more people and are more curious and open to others then their less-than-lucky colleagues. In today’s world of work, the more you make yourself available to opportunities, planned and chance, the more likely that you will find that perfect job sooner, rather than later.

One of my clients has a knack for striking up conversations with strangers that have led to opportunities to network over lunch (on the other person, no less), as well as, connections to high level professionals who might otherwise have been out of her immediate reach. Is she lucky – you bet! Every day she is out there making her luck.

#2 Listen to your lucky hunches. Lucky people pay attention to their intuition. Unlucky people often have the same hunches but don’t act upon them. So when the little bell in your brain alerts you to possibilities or offers up a red flag – act on the information. Good luck favors job seekers who are paying attention.

#3 Expect good fortune. Lucky people have positive expectations about the future. This helps them fulfill their dreams and meet their goals.

As a job seeker, expect the best; pre-visualize the outcome you want to achieve. Too many times, job seekers create the outcome they most fear by focusing on it, rather than on their ideal outcome.

Identify the specific outcome you seek at each step of the job search process. When you send off that résumé, imagine the hiring manager calling you for an interview. As you prepare for the first interview, visualize being invited back for the second round interview with the operations manager. Prepare for and expect the best possible outcome. That’s what the lucky people do.

#4 Turn your bad luck into good luck. Lucky people turn bad luck into good fortune by looking for the learning in the experience and then reframing the outcome. How we see things is impacted by the frame we bring to the experience. This is true in life and in a job search. If you have experienced a recent bout of bad luck, check your attitude. Is it one of great expectations or something less?

Think back over your life. Are there events which initially seemed catastrophic but which in retrospect, led to an unexpectedly good outcome?

More than one client has come to me devastated by the loss of a job or angry about a promotion he didn’t get, only to confide to me months later that the experience turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It is the ability to learn, transform and move on with a sense of optimism that impacts the amount of good fortune in your career future.

Phases of the Job Search Cycle

When searching for a job it helps to think of the process as a cycle rather than a series of steps. This will allow you to constantly evolve the actions you take while performing the job search cycle as you need to due to going after different opportunities. Approaching your job hunt in the job search cycle way will make the sometimes daunting task of finding a job just a bit easier on you.

Basically there are five phases of the job search cycle. These five phases are broken down further below:

1. Get prepared: In this first phase you will need to first asses yourself and your goals. You need to figure out exactly what your skills are and what you want to do for a living. Once you have decided on what type of career you would like to peruse then you need to find out what employers in that field are looking for and what the current job market for that career filed is.

2. Get job leads: Phase two in the job search cycle is finding qualified job leads to go after. This phase requires you pulling out all the stops. You will need to network, look online at sites such as Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com, and you will also need to look in the newspaper. The more job leads you drum up the higher your chances of landing a job.

3. Apply for jobs: Phase three is the one that requires a good amount of time an effort on your part. Here is where you will be applying for all of the job leads you found. This phase requires you to create great looking cover letters, revamp your resume, and take the time to fill out any applications or online forms that may need to be completed.

4. Prepare for interviews: The fourth phase of the job search cycle is getting ready for all of the interviews that you will hopefully have coming your way. To do this you will need to practice what you will say and how you will say it. Interviewing yourself in front of a mirror is always a great exercise. You also need to prepare your reference list and your thank you letter ahead of any and all interviews.

5. Follow up and decide: Once you have gone through the first four phases of the job search cycle you will need to finish with the fifth phase, which is following up and deciding. Never wait too long after you have been interviewed to follow up as you may be forgotten. On the other hand, don’t call every ten minutes as you may come off as a bit annoying or pushy. Once you get a job offer it will then be up to you to either accept the job that a potential employer wants to give to you, or begin at the first phase of the job search cycle and keep going until you find what you are after.

Following the five phases of the job search cycle will not only make your job quest easier, it will also keep you better prepared no matter what comes your way.

How To Structure Your Job Search Stories To Get A Job

In this article, I will be revealing formulas in the form of acronyms developed by professional career counselors that will help you to frame your job search stories. These formulas while varied generally invoke a common theme.

Typically, you will identify a problem or challenge that you faced on the job, the hindrances you encountered while trying to fix the problem, what actions you took to overcome the hindrances, the results of your actions to fix the problem and what impact your solution had on your department or company.

Here are five of the most popular acronyms used when creating stories:

PAR: Problem, Action, Result

SAR: Situation, Action, Result

SHARE: Situation, Hindrance, Action, Results, Evaluation (by Fred Coon)

SOAR: Situation, Obstacle, Action, Result

STAR: Situation, Task, Action, Result

You can pick any of the formulas above to use as the framework for structuring your stories. All of these formulas follow a logical sequence making it easy for you to present your stories in an organized fashion. Stories created using these formulas are most often used when interviewing. However, they can be applicable to other aspects of the job search such as resumes, cover letters and portfolios which will all be discuss later in the report.

Hint: When detailing the results that you obtained in your particular story always try to quantify them by using numbers, percentages etc. Remember to keep the stories short and memorable.

Use adjectives and verbs that will help the interviewer visualize the story as you tell it. If there are any negative aspects of the story always end on a positive note and let the interviewer know how this experience impacted you and made you a better person.