Overcoming the Pressure and Heat of Job Search

My mother always had a passion for diamonds and an offbeat sense of humor. Perhaps that’s why when I was growing up, I learned what the four C’s of diamond quality were before I learned my ABCs. By the way, I still remember them—cut, color, clarity, carats.

What I didn’t discover until many years later, however, was how natural diamonds are formed. Carbon-bearing materials must be subjected to intense pressure, ranging from 45 to 60 kilobars and intense heat, about 1650 to 2370 degrees Fahrenheit. I feel compelled to keep it real here, and tell you quite frankly that I haven’t the slightest idea what a kilobar, is but I gather it’s a significant amount of pressure, and if there’s one thing I do know something about, it’s pressure, and I bet you do too.

Job seekers are under a tremendous amount of pressure today, especially in this job market and economy. Whether you’re looking for a job to end a period of unemployment or just looking for a better job, it’s a ton of work …

• creating your job search strategy

• preparing a list of target companies

• researching prospective employers and industries

• crafting compelling career marketing documents (i.e. branded resume or resumes, biography, cover letters, thank-you letters)

• posting your resume(s)

• managing your online networking

• arranging and going to in-person networking events and meetings (friendly reminder: don’t forget to track your mileage and keep your receipts – many job search expenses are tax deductible, including my help)

• creating a strong online identity

• working with recruiters

• preparing for interviews

• going on interviews

• going on second interviews (and sometimes third, fourth, and fifth interviews)

• evaluating offers

• negotiating your salary

Phew!!! Are you tired yet? I don’t blame you. Looking for a job truly is a full-time job in and of itself… and nowhere is this more true than at the executive level, where there are far fewer jobs available at any given point in time—let alone this year.

How do the day-to-day pressures of managing your life and your job search manifest in you? When some people are under pressure, they turn up the heat on themselves or on others. Some get harder, some become blemished (in diamonds, these blemishes are called inclusions), and some people actually manage, like the carbon, to let the pressure and heat transform them into something strong, enduring, and beautiful.

It’s really easy to get caught up in wanting to be perfect, but diamonds—even flawless diamonds—don’t come out of the mine beautiful. They receive expert assistance to make them marketable. Think cutting and polishing.

You are as rare as the rarest diamond. Play to your strengths, polish your flaws, and use a time-tested system designed to let you shine and succeed now. While scientists estimate that most diamonds that rise to the Earth’s surface are between 1 and 3.3 billion years old, I’m fairly certain you don’t have that much time to find your next career opportunity.

What can you do this month, this week, or perhaps even today to take one step toward marketing yourself like the precious, one-of-a-kind diamond you are?

My suggestion: figure out one small thing you can do to let your beauty and brilliance show—in spite of your flaws, be patient with yourself and others, and trust that the universe has you and the people around you are in exactly the right spot and circumstance, at least for today. Remember, diamonds aren’t created overnight.