Q: I hate using the telephone. I’d rather see a person face-to-face. On the phone I’m so uncomfortable that I can’t think on my feet or I’m tongue-tied. How can I job hunt with this problem?
A: Ask a person to practice being an employer on the telephone with you. Before you begin, stand up and take some deep breaths. Then exhale.
When you’ve practiced enough, determine when you’re most disciplined. Remove the clutter from your desk; center yourself; and, if it helps, put a photo of a person you really like next to the phone. Make the one or two calls you set out for yourself.
If this method doesn’t work, try job hunting in person. You’ll stand out. You’ll also discover that it’s a lot of work and takes a great deal of time. Is it the lesser of two evils?
If not, try the original exercise again. You absolutely can do this if you commit yourself to it, even if you score depressingly high on a telephone aversion test. Motivate yourself to understand that it’s only one part of the process and that it’s temporary. You can work through it for a limited period of time.
Q: I’ve been job hunting for about a year. Several employers haven’t been nice to me. I’ve listened to sarcasm and I’ve been asked illegal questions.
My industry doesn’t have a good reputation, but I like the work I do in it and I feel I contribute a little to improving it. Because I’m likely to find more employers like this, what should I do?
A: If you’re convinced that this is the industry for you, save yourself time and trouble by ending an interview the minute it starts going downhill. There’s no point in wasting your time listening to personal attacks and internalizing negative experiences unnecessarily. No matter what you do, you aren’t likely to turn the employer around. You’re also not likely to work with one like that.
It sounds as if you didn’t find the troublesome employers from referrals. You’re much more likely to find good employers if you work with your contacts rather than use impersonal techniques. You also might find people to contact in trade journals. While a person who’s decent to a writer might not be decent to an applicant, you’re likely to find the best the industry has to offer there.
(Dr. Mildred Culp welcomes your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2013 Passage Media. The opinions are solely those of the writer.)