How to Make Sure Your Job Search is More Treat Than Trick

Halloween is a holiday that has as many advocates as it has opponents.  But whether this year finds you donning a costume or simply reminiscing about those October 31sts of your youth, there are key professional lessons to learn from the age old All Hallows Eve:

  • Be creative. Studies show that the most popular costumes continue to be of the witch/pirate/vampire varieties. Those looking to stand out from the Halloween masses should choose a costume that is creative — not your run-of-the-mill princess or physician — and you might just win that coveted “Best Costume” prize. How does that translate that into your job search? Avoid the generic options and opt not to follow the crowd. Consider how you can adapt your resume, your blog, your style to best represent your personality and goals. In “Be Your Own Best Publicist,” we encourage people to consider their signature style and to leverage it to stand out from the rest.  As entrepreneur Peter Shankman said in our book, “Don’t be afraid to be different.  Everyone remembers the Lamborghini, not the Ford Focus.”

  • Be current. Some of the most successful and talked about costumes are always (as Law & Order says) “ripped from the headlines.” From YouTube sensations to celebrity scandals, there’s a lot of fodder out there. Be relevant, see the hook and make it happen. Same goes for your job search. Keep up on trends and news stories to help guide your conversations and help formulate your personal pitches.
  • Be flexible. Preconceived notions abound when it comes to selecting that every important costume. You may go into a store in a Charlie Sheen state of mind, only to be attracted to a sports figure selection. It’s good to keep an open mind and be flexible when it comes to what roles you want to take on in your professional life as well. Experts estimate that people today will change careers between three and seven different times in their work lives. To be a real MVP in your professional life, try on as many hats as possible. Consider your options, be flexible and aim to be well-rounded. That will make you a better conversationalist and subsequently more attractive to potential employers.

  • Lead the pack.  One of the main lessons learned in the “Trick or Treating” effort: You don’t want to be too late in hitting up the houses on your block, lest you be left with the dregs of the candy drawer or worse. (Necco Wafers, Bit O’ Honey and grandma’s hard candy and pennies, I’m talking about you.) Timing is everything in your career; don’t delay decisions — and more importantly, action — when that is required.
  • Keep moving. And, if you do get “rocks” (like Charlie Brown) or those previously mentioned hated handouts, know that there’s another house down the road that likely has the coveted candy you crave. A great metaphor for your career: If you keep coming up against less-than-ideal situations, don’t give up. Your dream opportunity could be just next door — or right around the corner.

  • Don’t be afraid. Last but not least, even you’re surrounded by the most frightening figures and figments, remember that it’s not always as scary as it seems. Keep your head about you (unless, of course, you’re going as the Headless Horseman) and remember that it will all look different tomorrow. Similarly, times are tough and it is quite unsettling out there in the work world. Put it in perspective: Even if there seems to be danger around every corner and you don’t know what could be coming out you next, know that things are every changing. Something tricky today could easily translate into a treat tomorrow.
How else is Halloween similar to your job search (other than it being scary, of course)? Share with us here, on Facebook or on Twitter.

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