Constraints are puzzle pieces in disguise

JULIE CHASE | MAY 17, 2019

Constraint: n. limitation or restriction

This may sound strange, but I love constraints. Well, let me reframe, I love knowing what the constraints are so I can create solutions and plans to overcome them—effectively and swiftly. As a child, I loved puzzles (jigsaw and logic) and games—so it’s no wonder that I embrace constraints. Because as soon as you know the rules, you can build a winning strategy.

When it comes to the job search, it’s critical to know your real constraints (the ones we can’t change). However, when I talk with our clients, they often equate challenges with constraints. So let’s dig into the difference and understand how to work through them.

REAL CONSTRAINTS or NOT

“I can’t get through the applicant tracking system.” REAL

If you check every box on the job description, then it’s not the job for you. What makes a new job thrilling is the opportunity to learn, grow and gain new skills. Even though this might feel uncomfortable, there should be a 20 – 30% gap in what they’re asking for. And the gap should be things that you are excited to do!

Rather than see the gap as a constraint, think about similar experiences and transferable skills that demonstrate your abilities and strengths. Don’t shy away from what you don’t exactly have. Acknowledge the gaps, bridge to parallel examples and share how you’d quickly ramp up.

“I don’t have 100% of the skills and experiences listed on the job.” NOT

In a perfect world, everyone would have a robust network filled with recruiters and hiring managers who are just waiting for you to raise your hand for a new opportunity. After working with hundreds of clients, there is one thing that rings true for all of them (and you): you can get into your target companies by leveraging your network.

The most likely scenario is that you have 2nd (not 1st) degree connections at target companies. You ask your 1st degree contacts for introductions to specific people. OR you can be bold and reach out to people directly (gasp), tell them you’d love to learn more about what they do and ask for a few minutes of their time. You’ll be surprised by how many will accept your invitation.

“I don’t have a strong network.” NOT

In a perfect world, everyone would have a robust network filled with recruiters and hiring managers who are just waiting for you to raise your hand for a new opportunity. After working with hundreds of clients, there is one thing that rings true for all of them (and you): you can get into your target companies by leveraging your network.

The most likely scenario is that you have 2nd (not 1st) degree connections at target companies. You ask your 1st degree contacts for introductions to specific people. OR you can be bold and reach out to people directly (gasp), tell them you’d love to learn more about what they do and ask for a few minutes of their time. You’ll be surprised by how many will accept your invitation.

“I’m too old, too inexperienced or too…” NOT

We all have sensitivities about our weaknesses and what we’re lacking. I wish I had a magic mirror that could clearly show what they truly are, but you’ll just have to take my word for it: they are actually fears and limiting beliefs—NOT reality.

In other words, you have the power to change this constraint. You can do a self-reflection exercise to understand why you feel this way. Think back to the first time you’ve had this feeling. Reach back all the way back to your childhood. What was the event leading up to this feeling and why did it make you feel this way? Once you know where it stems from, you can see how it’s affected your current self.

And once you understand the fears and beliefs are not based on reality, then you can focus your efforts on all the amazing experiences, skills and strengths you have and the value you would bring to any organization. When you believe in yourself, it’ll show through in your demeanor, body language and energy!

 

Look, I already know you’re a skilled problem solver. You make big and small things happen at work and at home—every day. Apply your know-how and determination to overcome these challenges to get what you want and deserve!

Let us know if we can help you solve your puzzle—because two minds are always better than one! We’d love to share the best practices that have helped our clients shift their thinking and achieve their goals.

Book a session with us today!