How to Find a Job by Asking Better Questions
- Article by: Kevin Donlin
- Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
- January 12, 2006 - 3:37 PM
What if you could train your brain to pull job leads almost out of thin air, and see employment opportunities where before there were none?
Well, you can.
The secret is found in your brain's Reticular Activation System, or RAS.
Here's the story:
Our minds can focus on only one or two things at a time. If we paid attention to every bit of input coming in through our eyes, ears and sense of touch, our brains would melt down. To keep us sane, there's a screening device in our heads to filter out the 99 percent of unimportant data and feed the remaining 1 percent to our conscious mind.
That filtering system is called the Reticular Activation System (RAS). It's found at the top of the brain stem (in case you're looking).
What does this have to do with your job search, you ask? Plenty!
Have you ever suddenly recognized something you hadn't noticed before, yet it was there all along? Example: you buy a black Saturn SUV and suddenly every fourth car on the road is a Saturn SUV -- in black. This is your filter system (RAS) in action. When something becomes important to us, we notice more of it.
It's the same with your job search.
When your target job becomes clearly defined and important to you, you'll start to see more opportunities where none appeared before, like black Saturn SUVs. Example: you'll turn a casual conversation into a networking interview. Or a relative will call with a job lead. Or your dream job will suddenly leap out of the classified ads.
Now, here's the good part. You can train your RAS to recognize more and more job leads every day. How? Simply ask yourself better questions.
"The questions you ask yourself will determine how the Reticular Activating System will respond to your search," according to Mark A. Wigginton, an Austin, Texas-based personal development coach (www.focusingonresults.com).
For example, if you ask yourself, "Why can't I seem to find a job?" your brain will hand you a list of seemingly valid reasons why you aren't moving forward.
"As you bring the reasons you can't progress to the forefront of your mind, your RAS will automatically seek out reinforcement. 'I can't make progress because of conflicts with my schedule, my family responsibilities, I don't know the right people, etc.'" says Wigginton.
But if you ask yourself, "What one thing can I do today to move my job search forward?" or "How can I find 30 minutes for an informational interview tomorrow?" your RAS will lead you toward the results you want. And you'll get hired faster.
So, take a few minutes today to start asking yourself better questions about that job search. Soon, you'll find employment opportunities popping up all over, like people driving the same car as yours. Try it and see!
Now, go out and make your own luck.
Kevin Donlin owns Minnesota based Guaranteed Resume and writes a biweekly column providing job search and resume writing advice. Reach him at the Guaranteed Resume Web site: http://www.gresumes.com.
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