I don’t know about you, but I like to take advantage of a day on the links to demonstrate my team loyalties and fly my team’s colors. I have polo shirts and hats for most of my favorite teams. I’m a huge football fan, so it’s frequently either the Crimson and Cream of OU or the Orange and Aqua of the Miami Dolphins.
As a fan of the NFL, this strike/lockout debacle is really starting to piss me off. I needed new head covers, and for me the decision was easy: NOT the NFL.
Instead I picked up these sharp Sooner covers.
Keep’em in the short stuff.
This is alpha and omega, both for the purpose of having a successful job search and for your own personal health. Nobody wants to hire someone who’s down, and if you don’t think your attitude shines through in an interview you’re fooling yourself.
Being positive on a daily basis isn’t always easy, but it’s a hell of a lot easier than trying to dig yourself out of the kind of a hole you might auger yourself into if you let your negative feelings dominate.
Fake it if you have to. Science has proved that if you display the outward signs of a positive outlook for long enough you will eventually genuinely get that attitude back, even though your feelings were not authentic at the outset.
SMILE ON THE PHONE
People can hear the difference even if they can’t see your face or your posture.
To me this goes hand in hand with a positive outlook. Be strong. Be confident.
APPLY, APPLY, APPLY
A couple of years ago I applied to over two hundred postings on line and only got two automated receipts in return. These days it’s been my experience that more companies are doing a better job of monitoring who’s applying to positions, and some are quite prompt in getting back to the candidate. This includes large companies like Chase Paymentech.
POST, POST, POST
Put your resume out there in as many places as possible. Another recent trend I’ve noticed is that rather than posting a job a recruiter just goes out to try to find a good resource from online resumes. This is actually how I got the position I’m in now.
FEED YOUR EGO
While money is obviously a factor when you’re out of work, there are still small things you can do to make you feel good about yourself when you’re heading into an interview. Get a haircut. Get your nails done. Buy a new tie. Get your shoes polished. Dye your hair. You should know yourself what makes you feel better about yourself.
BE PREPARED TO ANSWER THE “SO TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF” QUESTION
Early on I would just more or less reiterate what was on my resume; my job experience in reverse chronological order. I found that the conversation went a lot better after I decided to not stick to this “script” as much. I grouped my experience into three areas (IT Compliance, Technical work, and IT Generalist work), and summarized it that way. Then I went on to outline three personal traits that I would bring to the new position (problem solving, customer service, writing). I found that this flowed a lot better and gave me a much greater sense of energy than just starting “Well, in my last job I …”.
SHORTEN YOUR RESUME. THEN SHORTEN IT EVEN MORE.
Managers just don’t read them. Make sure the right keywords are there. I had a recruiter complain that I hadn’t highlighted my certifications enough in my resume. They were a standalone bullet in the second paragraph.
MAKE YOURSELF BETTER
Job-related training is obviously ideal, but there are significant benefits to your attitude even in non-job efforts. Watch the Spanish channel an hour a day and see how much more you can pick up this week compared to last. Sit down at your kids keyboard and see if you can pick out a song from the dusty stacks of sheet music. Work on your golf game.
WRITE THANK-YOU NOTES
Common courtesies aren’t all that common any more. It’s another way to make yourself stand out. One of the job offers I got was a direct reply to the thank you note I had written several weeks earlier, after my interview. It may or may not have made a difference, but at a minimum it made it very easy for the hiring manager to contact me.
KEEP A JOURNAL
I kept a blog where I journaled every job I applied for, every email I received or sent, every call I made or received, every time I updated my resume online and every interview. I found this to be very helpful for a number of reasons:
>President Obama delivered his “State Of The Union” address this week. And Tiger Woods is making his return to professional golf. And the kilted one had done what I hoped never to do, allow myself to fall completely off the radar into the ethereal ether.
So I’m going to try to wrap my head around golf and life once again, focusing on the state of my game and the state of the tour. Some golf writers focus strictly on their own game, and tips and techniques to improve it as much as possible. Some write strictly about the tour, but as a reader I’m somewhat left to wonder about what kind of a golf game that writer enjoys on his own weekend. The good ones cover both.
>Well, the Kilted one has been in a bit of a slump for a few months here. It’s mostly job related. Got laid off, and I’ve been busy selling my soul to the highest buyer. I’ve been keeping a very positive attitude, but it’s still a drawn out and challenging time in one’s life. I think men have a harder time being laid off, as on an instinctive level we feel like we’re inadequate if we don’t provide for our family. Sure, friends and relatives are all very nice, saying all the right things, but we still feel like sh*t.
As with most everything else that happens in my life, there’s a tie to golf. Several ties, actually.
Firstly, I just haven’t had enough time, energy, and mostly peace of mind to write about golf.
Job hunting in the internet age is almost a 24/7 proposition, and it takes every bit as much of your time as having an actual job. The difference is, you leave a job to come home. You’re never far away from another jobhunting step.
Being out of work is tremendously tiring. On the days when I have an interview I’m just shot for the rest of the day. Science has proven that being out of work is more stressful than ANY job you can have.
Then there’s the peace of mind bit. Writing about golf is a luxury for me, and without having the lower rungs on my hierarchy of mental needs in place I just haven’t been able to get myself to the point where it was even possible for me to put words on paper (figuratively speaking, of course).
I go back to a partial round of golf I played back in 2003. I was deep in the throes of buying a new house, and my buddy was expecting his firstborn any day. We got about as far as 12 holes, and then we had to walk off the course. Our heads just weren’t in the game, and if they’re not 100% on the next shot there’s just no way to either have fun or play well. I remember my dad saying the same thing about a couple of instances where life got in the way of a good round.
I mean, that’s what we love about golf, right? It’s not that it’s relaxing, in and of itself. Are four foot downhill putts relaxing? Are long water carries relaxing? Are plugged lies in the bunker relaxing? Of course they’re not. The key is that while you worry about all those ups and downs of a round of golf you don’t worry about anything else that’s going on in your life. You don’t, because you can’t.
Then my mind swings around to some of the professional tour players who have had extra-curricular things on their mind this year. Tiger and Phil are the obvious ones, but there are many many pros who have life’s strikes and gutters threaten their mental 300. I’ve never dealt with a loved one having cancer, but I have gone through a divorce. The fact that these guys are even able to be basically competitive at all is a tremendous testament to their innate talent and strength of will.
I’ve been very lucky through my rough spot here that it was by far the nicest time of the year in the Dallas area, and I was able to spend some time on the range and on the course. My game is actually in pretty good shape. The OU – Texas challenge in the beginning of September was the highlight, again dominated by the Sooners. After that I made a move back one tee, to the blues from the whites, and I started walking and carrying my sticks. It took a bit to find a new rhythm, but my game has flourished. I have finished the season with a couple of rounds in the low 80s, and my handicap is at 12.2.
I still think about golf all the time, quite literally. I’ve been watching a lot of the tournaments at the end of the year, and I think the pro game is in very good shape right now.
Right now I’m on a short-term consulting gig, and even though it’s not permanent it’s enough to stop the financial bleeding and let things break even for a bit. I’m hoping to get back into my writing. I’ve also read some significant golf books, and those of you who know me know how much I love golf lit.
I look forward to re-acquainting myself with my old friends in the golf community. Until then, keep’em in the short stuff.
>One of the first new terms I learned when I first came to this country as a 17-year old attending High School in Goddard, KS was “Bummer Summer”. I think my buddy Alan was referring to someone who had to work all summer. Well, it’s been that kind of a summer for me. I won’t get into all the gory details, but it’s been a combination of kid stuff and work stuff. On the upside I’m very lucky to have my health and to have the love of my live by my side through these chellenging times.
I’ve still been watching a lot of golf, and practicing and playing a fair amount as well. I just haven’t had the peace of mind to sit down and write about it. I’m making an effort to get back into it, as I realize that it’s as good for my mind to write as it is for my body to exercise.
I’m hoping to be able to catch up with assorted commentaries over the next couple of days. I have enjoyed some of the great play I’ve seen on tour over the last month and a half. I have also enjoyed some of my best play personally in this time, and I have had some interesting swing revelations in my time on the range. In addition I have had the pleasure of reading a very significant golf book in this period, and I look forward to writing about all these things very shortly.
Right now it’s Monday afternoon, and I wish everyone a happy Labor Day. The Deutsche Bank is on from Nawton, Mass, and I will be tweeting as I watch the rest of this tournament.
I look forward to reconnecting with all my online golf friends.
Keep’em in the short stuff.
>You would think a Martini based on the British Open would have Gin in it, and I can see your point. But I think that what we’d drink at Royal Liverpool and what we’d drink at St. Andrew’s are two completely different things. Gin is the official drink of the British Empire. Gin is wonderful. On a hot day, a Gin ‘n’ Tonic or a Gin Pixie (Gin and Sprite) is a perfectly wonderful beverage.
But it’s not Scotland. Everybody knows about Scotch, but this concoction intends to introduce you to a quite marvelous Scotch-based liquor called Drambuie. It’s thick and sweet and syrupy, and absolutely awesome on a cold day. The most popular cocktail using it is a Rusty Nail, which is half Drambuie and half Scotch.
I was all geared up to celebrate Seve’s return to St. Andrews this year. The Golf Digest feature last month brought tears to my eyes. Growing up in Sweden, we claimed Seve as our very own world-beater, and the stories of his shots and accomplishments were nothing short of legendary in every sense of the word. He was “El Hombre” before Tiger got out of diapers.
Then sadly, his health has prevented him from attending this year’s celebratory event. Knowing what I know about Seve the man, that tells me he’s close to death, because there are very few things that could have prevented him from going north this week.
So, here’s a tribute to Seve the best way I know how: A Martini. Like Seve’s game it’s strong and surprising and sweet and unpredictable, all the while combining the flavors of Scotland and Spain.