Tried Everything in Your Job Search? Here’s What’s Next

Woman working on laptop

In this virtual session, career coach Melisa Liberman asks three critical questions about your job search: What’s going well, what’s not going well, and what will you do differently moving forward? Watch the video below to learn how to self-evaluate your job search and land your dream role.


Melisa Liberman is a 20+ years tech leader, career coach and entrepreneur, who's helped 100+ get exactly what they want in their career. She also hosts a weekly Tech Leader Power Lunch where she shares actionable tips and strategies to accomplish specific career-related goals including the job search, managing your career after 40 and more.


  1. Diagnosing what's going on in your job search
  2. Audit #1: No Interviews
  3. Audit #2: Interviews But No Offers
  4. Audit #3: Thought Audit 
  5. What most people miss in their diagnosis
  6. Get into massive action 
  7. Clearly set you goal
  8. Failing on purpose
  9. Be the person who already has the result
  10. Q&A

0:00 Melisa Liberman: There we go. Okay. Alright, so today's topic, as Hiba mentioned, is that we're gonna talk about when you've... the situation where you've tried everything in your job search and you're not getting the results, what can you do next? So I'm gonna walk you through a process. Number one, I'm gonna just give you a sense of what I hear in talking and working with hundreds of job seekers, just to give you a sense of what I'm hearing from other people. Because sometimes we feel like we're the only one, and I will tell you what's. so common out there and ask you a question about, and dive into a little bit more detail about, have you really tried everything? 

And then we're gonna get into this powerful three-step process to help you really dig into the detail and figure out what you've tried and what you haven't. And then I will take Q and A at the end. So if you have questions, I think you can ask them as we go, and the moderators will keep track of those and will compile them. So,  look forward to this being an interactive process. Hiba already introduced me, so I'm not gonna go into this detail, and we're gonna just dive right into the topic. 

1:16 Melisa Liberman: So the first thing that I wanna do is just talk with you a little bit about what I hear so often. I hear things like, my resume is professionally written and it's really good. My LinkedIn is on point. I'm finding jobs and applying, I'm networking, but I'm not getting interviews or I'm not getting offers or both. And it feels like the reason oftentimes is outside of us, it could be Covid and the economy. It could be the time of year, whether it's people saying, well, no one's hiring because of the election, or no one's hiring as we move into the holiday season, or there's so much more competition out there, that's why I'm not getting interviews or offers or in my age or the fact that I'm a mom or I'm lacking something. 

Some people are lacking a degree, some people are lacking a certain set of experience, others are lacking, think they're lacking something on their resume or a certain company that they should have had, or a certain title that they should have already had. And so this is what... So often I hear and it, and if you're in the same boat, I would love for you to just share in the chat, what do you feel like you're hitting up against right now? Are you in the place where you feel like you've tried everything and it just feels like there's all these roadblocks and the conditions aren't in your favor? So it feels really out of control and almost like a dead end, and that really the solution, that the only solution that could be available is that there's more...

2:58 Melisa Liberman: It's gonna take longer. Or that somehow Covid goes away. And what I wanna walk you through today is it doesn't have to be these external things that get fixed that we can work on the approach to your job search, even if you feel like all of those things were dialed in, in order to help you break through that lock-down. 

So the first thing I'm gonna ask you, have you really tried everything? So as we go through this process, can you just get yourself out, if you're not driving, so you're in a safe place, get yourself out a notebook or a pen and a paper, and we're gonna do some actionable work here. I want you to walk away with some of this work already having been done, and I'll give you a link at the end to subscribe if you'd like the slides as well.

So we're gonna audit your process and we're gonna figure out if that's really true that you've tried everything. So keep an open mind as we go through this because there could be very well be areas where it feels like, Oh, I've done it all, but there's some tweaking that can help you get through wherever you're stuck and move on to the next level.

Diagnosing what's going on in your job search 

4:11 Melisa Liberman: So with that, we're gonna walk through the first step, which is diagnosing what's going on with your current job search, and we're gonna look at this in two different dimensions. So the first thing we're gonna do is why ask yourself about your job search, these three questions, What's going well, what's not going well, and what will I do differently moving forward? And looking at each one of these buckets, what is my branding and positioning? What is going well? It's always good to get into that frame of mind when you're trying to solve a problem. 

So many of us wanna dive into what's not going well... I know I have a tendency to do that. My coaches yell at me when I do that. Look, get into the perspective of there are things that are working, so figure out what is working first and then what isn't working, and then ask yourself, What will you do differently looking at it from just these buckets, right? It's a very simple four-step process.

Branding and positioning. So those are things like your resume and your LinkedIn profile and your elevator pitch. What's going well, what's not going well, and what will you do differently? What about your go-to market strategy? Which means, finding roles to apply to either online or with your network, and getting interviews booked for those roles that you're uncovering, and then once you're in the interviews, selling yourself and then closing.

5:56 Melisa Liberman: Those are really the four. If we were just to boil this thing down, those are the four steps. Quality of thinking goes along with this, and we're gonna dive into all of these in more detail here in a moment. But the first question is just from a high level, as you're auditing your search, go through those four buckets and ask yourself those three questions. 

Audit #1: No Interviews

6:15 Melisa Liberman: So let's dive into this in even more detail now. And I'm gonna walk you through three very specific audits. Number one: If your problem is that you're not getting interviews, here are some questions that you can ask yourself. Are you uncovering opportunities? This is things like networking, finding openings online or word of-mouth or recruiters. Give yourself a rating from 1 to 10. You can see that a rating of 1 to 10, and then answer yourself... Why did you give it that rating? If you're not getting interviews, then it shouldn't be a 10, right? Ask yourself, Am I under-selling? Most people I talk to, especially women, are under-selling themselves. They look at a job description and say, Well, I only have 50% of that. Which isn't actually true.

7:14 Melisa Liberman: They usually have a lot more than 50%, so I'm not gonna apply. Versus I have 50%, I'm going to apply and work through it. As I work through it step by-step, how am I going to get an interview for this? Even if I have 50, only 50%. So where are you under-selling yourself? And in some cases, you might be over-selling yourself, and by that, I mean, you're just limiting yourself to individual contributor positions because you feel like there's something that you're missing or the economy or whatever, and you really could be going for so much more. 

Are you making yourself known? So are you literally pressing Easy Apply all day long on LinkedIn? Or are you finding a way to make direct contact with decision makers, finding referrals, both by your existing network and also new network. So many people, I think, discount the fact that there are people out there right now, especially, who are willing to help, who are willing, even though they've never... They just met you, willing to help you get your foot in the door. But a lot of times, we just don't ask... We don't even try because we feel like we're putting someone on the spot or we're asking for something that...

8:49 Melisa Liberman: You know...we would never wanna do so, we don't think anyone else would. And are you treating applications as more of a formality versus the thing you're relying on to get your next role... By that I mean, are you just applying online over and over again without really making these direct contacts with the decision makers or getting people to refer you and you're just playing this game of How do I get through the applicant tracking system process? 

So again, rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 of making yourself known and why, and then thirdly, are you differentiating yourself? What does your elevator pitch sound like? Have you recorded it? Have you listened to it? Does it sound powerful or tentative? What does your resume look like? What does your LinkedIn profile look like? It's crazy how many times I hear people say, Well, I haven't... My resume is amazing, but I just haven't put out on LinkedIn... That's a bad plan. Don’t do that, go put it on LinkedIn as well. In your cover letter, are you even doing a cover letter so many people avoid that 'cause it's painful. Right? What is it differentiating you, or are you just kind of doing it because you feel like you have to?

10:13 Melisa Liberman: Or when you have to? Are you having discussions with decision makers and differentiating yourself, whether it's an informational interview... and notice as you go through this audit, where is it that your brain goes to things like, I can't or I shouldn't, or it's hard, or it's too much work, or say, this doesn't work for me, those are such good flags for you to just make note of and to notice where you're just shutting yourself down ahead of time. So that's the first step in the audit. I would love to hear from you in the chat, anything that comes to your mind for this first audit, if you're not getting interviews, that you feel like this is an area where I might be missing an opportunity. Which of this resonates with you? 

Audit #2: Interviews But No Offers

11:05 Melisa Liberman: So let's move on to step number two of the audit. You're getting...for those of you who are getting interviews, but no offers, let's dive into and be... You could be on both sides a little bit, right, let's dive into the focus areas for this. What could be the root cause of why you're getting interviews, but no offers? And before I dive into some of these bullets, I just want to share with you, I think generally speaking, what I see the mistake being made when people are approaching interviews is approaching it from their own perspective, how are they going to describe themselves, how are they going to describe why they left their last position, how are they going to articulate their experience, and the thing that they miss out on is understanding why is the company hiring in the first place? 

What are they looking to pay someone to do and what value and benefit would that person deliver? What is the problem that this role is trying to solve? We just think if we put our message out there, then they'll match it up to what they need and then hire us, but if we can see that bigger picture, that's what differentiates us. Being able to understand their requirements, if we put it in technology terms, understand their requirements and then match our experience and our... the way we deliver and explain the results we've created in the past and the questions that we asked in a way that's so different than how most people are coming into interviews and articulating...answering questions. 

12:48 Melisa Liberman: So with that lens in mind, the four buckets from to look at as you're auditing your job search, are number one, are you offering that value? Do you understand the problem that they wouldn't want you to be solving, and are you explaining and mapping your qualifications in a way that helps them to see that you would be delivering that benefit and solving that problem and not expecting them to figure it out for you. 

A lot of times I ask people, Why is X, Y, Z company hiring right now for this role? And they say, Oh, there's just too much work. They need more people. That's not a reason. They're looking for some kind of value and benefit beyond just workload. And if you can figure that out, then you can approach this interview much more strategically. Positioning yourself. So again, how are you positioning yourself? How are you showing up in interviews, are you showing up hesitant... Is there like a tinge of self-doubt, are you kind of having two talk-tracks going on where on one side you're answering the question and on the other side you're evaluating what you're saying and trying to constantly figure out and adjust, right? How are you coming across and positioning yourself?

14:10 Melisa Liberman: Are you knowledgeable? Are you the subject matter expert? Are you confident? Do you come across as someone they wanna work with? A rapport with them, like the connection that you're creating is equally as important as what you know. Are you having... Trying to create this interview scenario into more of a conversation or more of a Q and A type of a scenario situation where they're asking questions and you're answering back and forth back and forth, that's the general gist of this... Right? The general structure of this. But the more you can turn it into a conversation, the more success you'll have in moving on to the next rounds and getting an offer. 

And spending time on that rapport. A lot of times, especially as women, I think we think we follow the rules, like this person is in charge of the process, and I should react. But question that. Say, How could I... Even if they are, that interviewer is diving into the question and answer, how can I also take partial control of this and develop some rapport? Where can I fit in a personal question for this interviewer in a way that makes them open up a little bit? And then how much are you judging yourself and quite frankly, them. 

A lot of times I hear from people, Well, that person was disrespectful of me, or that interviewer did this or this, and it shuts them down because in the moment they're judging the interviewer for how they're behaving or how they're treating them, and it ends up shutting them down in the interview versus just going in and saying, You know what, I'm gonna deliver my best, not judging myself or the interviewer, and then figure out what happens next.

16:00 Melisa Liberman: And the last area here is sufficiency, so coming into...what that means is coming into the interview process knowing you have exactly what they need and believing that versus... Well, I don't know, but I'm gonna try. Self-doubt is so insidious right? How you go... And I'll teach some of these techniques, but getting yourself into the place of How am I exactly what they need and not letting those self-doubts and second-guessing bring down your energy, bring down your ability to communicate what you have to offer, make you hesitate or water down your answers. So those are the four focus areas that you'll wanna rate for your job... for your job search if you're getting interviews but not offers or getting a phone screen, but not moving along in the process, for example. 

And then just answer why. Again, this is not a judgmental process. We're just trying to look at this really in much more of a mathematical way, we'll call it... Where we're just trying to figure out where are the areas that you need to work on. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you. It just means this is the area where you can shore up this process and start moving through the cycle to the place where you're getting an offer.

Audit #3: Thought Audit 

17:25 Melisa Liberman: So then the last step here, so we've talked about interviews and offers, and the step that most people miss is the quality of their thinking all throughout the process, like that first slide that I showed you with the quality goes all the way up and down the process. And there's really three ways of thinking, if we were just to kind of make it a simplistic model. The first is unproductive thinking. How much time... The audit here is how much time are you spending in unproductive thinking? 

And for most job seekers, it's a lot, 'cause this is a painful process, it's kind of like going to the dentist sometimes, what are you thinking about yourself and the process that's sabotaging your results? Things that are causing you to procrastinate or feel overwhelmed or under-apply or under-sell yourself or avoid the thing in the first place right? How much time are you spending in that kind of unproductive thinking that's creating these results of procrastination? Not even moving forward. And why do you think that is? The next bucket might surprise you, how much time are you spending in positive thinking? Most people think positive thinking is good, but it isn’t, if you don't believe it.

18:50 Melisa Liberman: So this looks like things like, Oh well, it's just a matter of time... It’ll work out. I know it's just a matter of time, I'm just gonna keep doing what I'm doing. It's just a matter of time. Everything is gonna work out. It'll be fine. This is what I call the “hope is not a strategy” bucket. I know we all do this, I do it too, to make ourselves feel better, but it's not productive. It's not helping you move the needle forward, it's just like putting lipstick on a pig, as they say. We're just wanting to get down to the place where you can get into effective thinking.

Asking yourself things like, how is this working? How is what I'm doing working? And I just need to tweak these areas from those first two audits, for example. How am I the perfect person for this role or for this company or for the hiring manager? So it's asking yourself questions like that, how much time am I spending thinking things like this, how is my background... Exactly what they need. 

Most of us spend very, very little time in effective thinking, and we spend most of our time in unproductive thinking or even positive thinking. So ask yourself just out of 100%, what would you put in these three buckets, and why do you think you're living in this zone or this zone, and why do you spend time and how do you spend time in the effective thinking zone, so you can do more of that and less of these other two.

What most people miss in their diagnosis

20:22 Melisa Liberman: So let's dive a little bit more into the mindset side, because this is something that is not talked about as often. Why... I just wanted to give you another flavor of this idea of the ineffective mindset versus the positive mindset versus the effective mindset, and give you some examples of what that looks like. An ineffective mindset would be things like...landing a new role is impossible now in Covid or this time of year, no one's seeing my resume... There's so much competition, I don't have the right network. My last job ended so badly I’m tainted. 

Just put in the chat, how much of your time do you think you're spending in that kind of ineffective mindset? These things feel like facts for a lot of us, right? Especially now, it's hard to find a job. There's so much competition, it feels like a fact. And we kinda dwell in that zone, but it locks us down from actually accomplishing anything or moving forward to figure out and address what we could optimize and do differently. The second bucket that we talked about a moment ago is the positive mindset, right? Those examples I gave you, I'm sure it'll work out.

21:37 Melisa Liberman: Someone's gonna help me. I'm sure they're not gonna find out about how my last job ended, those kinds of things, where we’re just kind of putting the rug over…. over the situation, how much time you are spending there, and then the third bucket, just to give you another flavor of this is the effective mindset, this is where we wanna be asking yourself questions like, How can I meet the right people? How can I learn from my last role and build upon it versus... Oh it ended so badly I’m tainted forever. 

So this is the area that most people miss when they're trying to figure out what's going on or wrong in their job search or why they're not getting more interviews or offers. So I really wanted to dive into this and give you several different types of examples here. And sometimes people say to me, this guy looks like one of my children, so it made me laugh. But sometimes people say to me like, Oh, Melisa, the mindset thing is great, but it's not gonna make me a job offer, but what I wanna say is feeling constrained by the system and feeling like the economy or the competition or whatever those external things are, is really simply just arguing for your limitations. And it is a short-term fix because it makes us feel better, it creates relief and makes us feel like, Okay, we''s not us, that's the problem, it's the economy, that's the problem.

23:09 Melisa Liberman: But the real fix is to figure out and spend as much time as you possibly can in that effective mindset zone and not blaming those external things that feel like they're holding you back. And I'm not saying they're not holding you back from a macro perspective. Obviously, the economy has been impacted, and there's so much from a macro perspective that I 100% agree with you, if you're feeling like this, but it doesn't have to be your constraints. It doesn't have to be the thing, the economy or the election, or the... Or your age, or the fact that you're a mom, none of that has to be your constraints. It can just be a macro economic number. Right?

Get into massive action 

23:58 Melisa Liberman: So, now that we've done the audit, and maybe you can share in the chat, what's your number one takeaway from the audit that you might not have thought of in looking at your job search and figuring out what could be going wrong or preventing you from getting an offer? What is that number one takeaway for you in step one? Now let's move on to step two, which is taking massive action. And you might be nervous, I'm not gonna tell you to spend 20 hours a day, that's not what massive action means, I'm gonna explain this in much more detail.

24:35 Melisa Liberman: So you know what it really means. It doesn't mean more time. None of us have that. Right? Okay, whoops my slides...Here we go. So, in order to create this massive action plan, the first thing you're gonna wanna do is finish out step one, and then you're going to wanna create a plan that addresses each of those areas in our audit that wasn't a 10.

So anything that you identified as you went through that audit, or if you wanna finish it out later, what you identified that isn’t a 10 and then look at those and say, What do I wanna do differently? And ask yourself it from what you wanna do differently, from the perspective of what I call empowering questions, like, How can I do this, or how will I do this, or what if I try this versus... Oh no, this isn't working. What am I gonna do about it? So it's just taking a little twist on the way you're asking yourself the question in a much more effective way to get an answer that you want versus an answer that you don't want. And then we weren't work on getting into massive action once we've got all of that in place.

25:47 Melisa Liberman: So in order to get into massive action, it really includes three components, Number one, clearly setting your goal, knowing where you're headed, Number Two, failing on purpose, and then number three, I'm gonna give you an approach that we call D.I.E. So... Let's talk through each one of those in more detail now. 

Clearly set your goal

26:06 Melisa Liberman: Clearly setting your goal. most of you, I'm sure know what your goal is at a high level. I wanna land a role that's the VP of Technology or Director of Professional Services. Whatever the thing is that you're pursuing. The twist that I'm gonna give you here is that I'm gonna encourage you to say, I'm gonna land this role by this date. And I'll tell you why I want you to do that here in a second, but we're just planting a flag. And ask yourself, how long are you going to continue pursuing it until you revisit your plan? Most of us are kind of revisiting our plan every single day, like, Oh no, is this gonna work, is it not... What should I do? Just that mental chatter is so exhausting. One thing that's really beneficial to start relieving that mental exhaustion is just to say, You know what, for 90 days for the next 90 days.

27:11 Melisa Liberman: So let's just call it December 31st, I will land the VP of Professional Services role by December 31st, and I'm going to continue pursuing it until then, and then I'll re-visit. And what I'm not gonna be doing in that time is indulging in second guessing or questioning or wondering if this is a good plan. Putting my head down, going for this role, and I'm not gonna keep revisiting that decision. 

I'm planting the flag. And I mentioned to you, I would tell you why I want you to put a date there. The dates helps you figure out where you don't have confidence that you're actually going to accomplish that goal, so Where are you arguing with yourself? Because if I gave you a goal, let's say you put down the goal of I will land a VP of Professional Services role by next December 2021, it probably feels a lot more realistic. You might say, Yeah, I'm gonna do that. But when we say I'm gonna land that role by December 31, 2020, then it brings up all the stuff right? All the ineffective mindset, all the ways that you're thinking, this is never gonna happen for me.

28:25 Melisa Liberman: And that's so powerful because then you know what your work is, where you don't believe in yourself and therefore can't sell yourself or take the effective action because you don't really believe that it's possible for you or that you're the person who’s qualified to make that happen. So that's the first step of the massive action plan is planting that flag and clearly setting your goal. 

Failing on Purpose

28:50 Melisa Liberman: The second part of the massive action plan is to fail on purpose - to plan for failing. And most of us think this is a terrible idea. We all want to avoid failure, right? I know I used to say I've never failed in my life, I'm not planning to now, but first of all, that wasn't even true, I thought it was, but it wasn't even true, I'd failed before. But then also it ends up causing us to play so much smaller because we want to avoid failing. So the shift that I recommend that you make is literally embracing the failure, like planning ahead to fail. And by that I mean actively failing. Things like, I'm gonna contact the CEO of the mid-sized company that I applied to, he probably won't reply back to me, maybe he'll tell me that I shouldn't have contacted him I’m outside of the process versus passively failing, which is pressing, easy-apply. And then nothing happens and saying, Oh, I failed, I didn't get an interview.

30:01 Melisa Liberman: I have one client who created a plan for herself that was, I'm gonna fail 100 times this month. And she wrote out what are the failures, like what constitutes a failure? And it felt so much more liberating because she was much more focused on How do I fail forward then, oh, I better hunker down and avoid failure and play it safe. So put that into your plan. Include this, what I'll call a Fail Plan in your strategy. And ask yourself some of these questions: How will I measure failure? What is a failure? Write it down. How many times am I willing to fail? What do I want to think and feel when I fail? And decide that ahead of time, 'cause you get to choose, and how am I going to keep going after I fail? And how am I going to avoid that failing ahead of time that I just described to you. 

So include this failure plan and in the overall plan that we've been talking about, that comes from your audit and shift you're thinking about the failure side of it, so that you can be so much more creative and figure out ways around the system that before were not available to you because you were feeling like, Oh, I shouldn't do that, or that's against the rules, or I'm going to...someone's going to reject me.

31:33 Melisa Liberman: And then that brings us to the last component of the massive action plan, which is the D.I.E technique. So number one, D.I.E, the first letter of that part of the massive action plan is again, Deciding in advance that you're going all in on your plan, and that means cutting off all other options and second-guessing. So I noticed in working with job seekers, a lot of times, are always thinking about What's plan B? That's wasting their mental energy and their cycles and their ability to be effective in their job search by constantly wondering about, what am I gonna do if this doesn't work out? It should not be an option that it's not going to work out. Going all in and not kind of thinking through all of those other scenarios to protect your energy and to make sure that you're showing up in the most effective way. 

And the I is implement. So tackling your job search, and I'll go into this in a little more detail in a moment, but tackling your job search as if you already have the role. How are you thinking and operating and describing yourself and networking with people if you already have that VP of Professional Services role? It's very different than approaching the job search as like, Oh, I'm unemployed, and I hope I can get back into my career path. It's a very different mindset and approach to every element of the job search, if you feel like I'm already that person who has the role and I'm the actual company that I work for, is catching up to me, right? 

33:24 Melisa Liberman: And then the last component of that D.I.E process is evaluating your results, evaluating your process. Evaluating the results. So number one, what are you celebrating? Always asking yourself, what is working? Even if it's a little thing, what is working? Getting yourself into the zone of, You know what, 80% of my job search is working because I'm getting interviews, or I'm having networking calls or recruiters are calling me...that is working 80%. I just gotta figure out the other 20% that isn't working and adjust for that... 

That's a very different way to think about this then like, Oh, none of this is working. 'cause I don't have an offer. So getting yourself into that zone of what is working? And then next asking yourself how confident am I on a scale of 1 to 10 that my process is working? Or you can even drill this in a little bit more, how confident on a scale of 1 to 10 am I in my interviews? Or in my networking? You can kind of fill in the blank here and ask yourself then why did you rate it that number?

34:35 Melisa Liberman: And then this is where I do this almost every single day, this little questionnaire for myself, how could I make it a 10? And you get so many ideas that you would never have thought of before, how do you get yourself in front of the decision makers at the company that you wanna work for? That kind of answer comes right here. And then you're not at the mercy of kind of the process as most people play the game. You start becoming so much more creative in finding ways to get yourself in front of the decision makers and giving them a compelling reason to hire you. So that is the components of the massive action plan. 

Be the person who already has the result 

35:20 Melisa Liberman: So now we've diagnosed what might be holding you back from getting interviews and offers, and then we put together a plan of attack to refresh your job search, and the next step of this process, as I already alluded to, is to be the person who already has the result. To show up as the person who is the VP already versus the person who's like, Please, I really want you to believe in me, give me a chance.

35:50 Melisa Liberman: That's such a different energy. And this is... the more time you can spend in the zone, the more effective you're going to be. So let me tell you what that looks like. If you're the person who already has the job, who's already landed the job, you're someone who's taking action from that place of the effective mindset. Asking yourself and answering the questions like, How can I make landing my dream job inevitable? How can I meet the right people? How can I get someone to sponsor me into this company? How can I... Even if I don't know anyone right now, How am I gonna meet the right person who is going to refer me to this job that I found... That's like my dream job?

And the concept here in the coaching world is called Be, Do Have. You're visualizing yourself in that role, and you're already that person who has the job, and now we're just kind of match you up to the right company. Right, so two of my favorite questions that I love asking myself when I'm doing this or for my clients is, if I was sought after in the scenarios, you've probably been in those sometimes where people are coming to you and recruiting you...

37:14 Melisa Liberman: If you were the person who was sought after, who's getting... fielding all these calls and just telling recruiters I’m not interested...what would you be thinking and feeling and doing? Another great question that I love asking or having my clients ask themselves is, If someone offered me a million dollars, if I landed this role in the next 80 days, what would I be thinking, feeling or doing? Like... Make the stakes so high, it opens up this whole other realm of thinking that you probably haven't even considered yet. If Oprah was gonna give you a million dollars to land a job by the end of the year, what would you be doing or thinking and feeling in order to land that job?

It's very different than probably what you might be thinking and doing right now. So ask yourself those two questions to get into that effective mindset. So driving into the Be, Do Have formula a little bit more: Be the person that has the job. So what are you thinking, feeling, and how are you acting? Act as if you are that person, and that's how you attract what you want to achieve. When you're walking into the room, well probably not walking now because of Covid, but when you're on the video interview and you're showing up as that powerful VP version of yourself, it's a very different energy and context from answering questions and interacting people with people, then if you were to come in as I'm an unemployed job seeker self-identity, right?

38:56 Melisa Liberman: So look at that Be, Do, Have formula and figure out how you can you adjust it so that you're already embodying who you wanna be, even though you don't have the job yet. This is the opposite of what most of us do when we're trying to approach the goal, we think if we have the job, if I somehow get lucky enough to land that VP job, then I'll start doing the things required and I'll be the VP... right? It's the opposite of that. 

One fun thing that I love to do is...and give my clients as an assignment is to name that version of yourself. Make it fun. Like Beyoncé, when she goes on stage, she calls herself Sasha Fierce and gets herself into this completely other zone... Right? Give yourself a name. Right now that I'm working toward is Melissa 5.0. I have clients that have named themselves John++ or Jane++, and these probably aren't even as fun as you can make it, right? Like Sasha Fierce. Find something that really gets you into that zone of, I am the VP and you would be lucky to hire me versus you...please give me an opportunity. Such a different twist, Right?

40:16 Melisa Liberman: So that is the three steps we're gonna keep going until... Through these three steps, iterating them over and over again until you get your result. this every couple of weeks, or at least once a month, those audit steps that I gave you. From a place of, there's nothing wrong with me, there's nothing wrong, there's nothing that's going to hold me back from getting what I want. I just need to figure out what's going, what's not working, and adjust it and keep moving, and then get... from that diagnosis, you're going to stay in massive action, which means you're embracing failure, you're committed, you're not second-guessing your plans, you're implementing, and you're evaluating. 

And then the third thing is that you're in that zone as much as you can, the effective mindset zone, the zone of the person that already has what they want and operating from that place versus from the place of, I hope I get what I want, and then I'll be the person. So we have made it through our plan for today Hiba but we'll take some Q and A now, and if you want to keep in touch, I'll leave these links on the slide here as we go through a Q and A, so that if you need more information, this gives you a few places to...a few more resources for you to check out.


41:43 Hiba Abdillahi: Oh my gosh, what an amazing... You were flying through it, but it was such great information the chat was blowing up, I'm already thinking about my alter ego name of myself, you mentioned Beyoncé, I think she’ll be my inspiration, but we had a lot of questions that I wanted to get into. 

Towards the beginning of the session, a lot of people were talking about ghosting and just from hiring managers, what do you do when you feel like you have been ghosted? What strategies do you have to kind of put in place for when you feel like you've been...just ghosting in general. I think people are just really confused of like, Do I reach out? Do I reach out again? Like, How many more times can I reach out when I feel like I'm being ghosted? So if you could talk about that for a little bit that’d be great.

42:38 Melisa Liberman: Yeah, absolutely. So, two components to the ghosting, number one, you have no idea, and a lot of us have been on the hiring side of this process, right? You have no idea what might be going on with that company with the budget, with the person, the hiring manager themselves... It's kind of like dating. I haven't dated in a long time. I don't know how many of you have been dating in a long time, but, it's like, Oh, is he gonna call me back? And all of this mental weight that is create... That is created from this process, so I wanna address both of those. 

From a tactical and strategy perspective, what I'd like to recommend is, let's just say you have the interview, you send a thank you note, you follow up a week later, and then you just get yourself into a cadence. What I like to do is say, you follow up the week later, then you give yourself two weeks of a break and follow up again, and then put that person on a monthly list. And not from a perspective of, I'm gonna obsess over the situation until I can email them again a month later, but literally, I'm gonna put that away, and when the month comes, I'm gonna email them. 

Because a lot of times... it's crazy how many times companies will come back and say, Whatever happened and things shifted and we're ready to bring this back up again, and it's two months later. I had a client the other day who had been ghosted, had gone all the way to the final interview and was ghosted for six weeks. And he just followed this cadence, and they called him and said, Thank you for keeping in touch, we wanna bring you in for one last round of interviews and he got hired. So...

44:24 Melisa Liberman: You just really never know. So number one, I would recommend setting yourself up a cadence like that, and then number two, managing the mental side of it as best you can. Number one, it doesn't mean anything about you. Number two, so many of us spend a lot of cycles thinking about the way hiring should work and how people should act and how much more humane this process should be, and I don't disagree with that, but I will say it's not doing you any favors to be spending your time and energy thinking about that stuff. 

You're not gonna change how someone's behaving and all you're doing is sucking away your own mental energy, and so really protect that and know that that's in the zone of ineffective mindset. And you just gotta get yourself back into the place of the effective mindset side and not let the ghosting get to you, 'cause it really can tank you if you let it.

45:19 Hiba Abdillahi: Okay, that's really good feedback, 'cause I know a lot of people were like in arms about the ghost thing, and I think everyone kind of experiences that while you're in the job search. So another thing is you touched on LinkedIn, Easy Apply, which seems to be working for a lot of people on the job search, it's very easy to go on LinkedIn and start applying for jobs. What do you feel about LinkedIn in-mail recruiting? Do you think people should reach out to hiring managers on LinkedIn, send them in-mails, what do you feel about that kind of just in the feedback area of like... You haven't heard back from anybody. Should they take matters into their own hand and reach out via LinkedIn?

46:04 Melisa Liberman: Such a good question. Here's the thing, Easy Apply is great. I recommend using Easy Apply. However, you can't just rely on Easy Apply for the most part. I've had some clients that go with Easy Apply and have really good results.For the most part, it kind of goes into a black hole, and so you wanna take your matters in your own hands and... This is the way that I love to describe it. 

If you were a hiring manager, would you rather hire someone who's pressed Easy Apply and hopes for the best? Or would you rather hire someone who presses Easy Apply and finds you and really expresses an interest in the role, in working at the company and does it very thoughtfully. For me, as a hiring manager, when I was hiring people, it would every day be that second person, right? Because I know that when I hire them, they're gonna be just as proactive with whatever goal that they have to execute their job. 

So with that kind of thought process in mind, what I recommend is not an in-mail, but what I recommend is two-fold: Number one, sending a connection request to whomever you think is the hiring manager, and potentially even to peers or people that are in complementary type business units or departments in an organization where you could potentially be their colleague. And the purpose of that connection request would ultimately be to talk to the hiring manager about, Hey, I applied to this role, and I would love to you know...I would love to help... 

I know that so many times, great candidates go into black hole, and I would love to just make sure that you had the opportunity to see my resume, and I believe I would be a great fit for that position and would love an opportunity to talk to with you further. That's the kind of thing you would say to the hiring manager and then to the peers and potential colleagues, Hey, I noticed this role that's out there, I applied to it. I would love to get your insight about how you got hired at this organization, and any tips you might have for me. Would you be willing to chat for 10 minutes on a call or even... Or if it's easier, I would love to go back and forth over email. 

So the in-mail part has been less effective from what I've seen, but what I have seen a lot of success with is that connection approach, as well as that being followed up by you doing a little bit of sleuthing and finding out what their potential email is, which is pretty easy to figure out based on the company's email structure and sending them an email to the hiring whoever, those same kinds of emails with those messages that I just described.

49:03 Hiba Abdillahi: Yeah, 100%, and a lot of people are really busy. Some people don't check their LinkedIn in-mail, but I know a lot of people have LinkedIn questions. We are gonna have a session on just personal branding and how to do LinkedIn right...coming soon in November. So, keep in mind of what Melisa is saying, and then any other questions you have we’ll definitely answer when we do our LinkedIn session. 

So another question we had was, somebody said What if you don't have clear understanding of what roles you could be a good fit for... I have experience with marketing, acting, modeling, sales, they're kind of all over the place. And non-profit work. How do I know which roles I could be good for? They're kind of everywhere. So what kind of advice would you have for them? 

49:47 Melisa Liberman: I think that happens a lot where people... It's hard to know what the direction is that they wanna take, and so what I find is literally just diving in, like trying to decide and almost control the process upfront oftentimes just makes it take longer. So you might have three or four different avenues that you wanna pursue... they could be very similar or they could be pretty different. Go forward and pursue all of those and test it out and tailor your resume to whatever that specific requirement is for the jobs that you're thinking that might be a good fit for what you wanna do. 

Schedule some informational interviews with people who've already got that job and asking them questions about what it entails and what they like about it and what they don't like about it, and really be honest with yourself about whether or not that would be a good fit for you. And go through the process a little of interviewing and going and getting some more due diligence to give yourself options and fine-tune it that way, because a lot of times if we try to figure it out in the lab and get all the answers first we end up just not doing anything... We're paralyzed.

51:10 Hiba Abdillahi: 100% I totally agree. Sometimes you're calling really, it's like one of the things that you're doing and you just don't know. So like you said, kind of do it all and then see from there. Another question we had was on referrals. A lot of people when they are applying, they’re adding referrals. But some people feel like, why is it given so much importance? Is it better to just use social media or various job boards? Like, why referrals still... And how important are they and what do you think people should be strategizing when they're figuring out who to add for their referrals?

51:49 Melisa Liberman: Referrals are important because the company feels like if they're...they’re hiring like-minded people, a lot of times. Now, whether we think that should happen or not is a whole different conversation from a diversity and inclusion perspective and that kind of thing. But at the end of the day, companies, most companies do put some weight on a referral. And so what I like to see with clients is them... If they've got an existing referral at a company, leveraging that. If they already have someone in their network, a lot of times people shy away from that, I don't wanna ask a favor... Or, I haven't talked to so and so in a long time. So I don't wanna just reach out out of the blue and ask for help. 

But that's not getting you anywhere, and so being... really leveraging your network is so critical in this process and overcoming that propensity to wanna not have to ask someone for help is really important in this process. And then there's the other bucket, which is the situation where you don't know anyone at a company and cultivating referrals as part of this process. And so that part is also really beneficial. I've had so many people, literally meet someone on LinkedIn on a Monday, and by Wednesday that person has already submitted them to three different roles that they're really interested in in the company. 

You can find so many people, especially right now, who are willing to help and help you put your name forward, and a lot of times it benefits them too from an employee referral bonus perspective, so that... even though we might not all agree that that's a good way that the game is played, it’s certainly one of the most effective tools for you to leverage, and so getting out of your own way in terms of feeling like you don't wanna be that person asking for help is really important as you're trying to break through any stalls that you've got in your job search.

53:57 Hiba Abdillahi: Okay, another question that came up was around positions and what if you had a senior position before, like is it helpful to apply for a more junior role? I know that everyone's circumstances are totally different these days, and just depending on they're not getting the results that they want for the positions they are trying to get. Do you recommend kind of like getting something for the time being, just depending... What would you say for that?

54:29 Melisa Liberman: Yeah, obviously, it depends on your situation. So if you need a stop gap, you could consider things like consulting or part-time work to give yourself a stop gap while you're pursuing that role. So that's one option. The other option is really asking yourself very honestly, have you really done everything that you can? Kind of using our audit from step one to land the role that is commensurate or even above where you've been in your career in the past. 

Most people I find give it a college try, if you will, and when they don't get the results that they want, they retreat back to lower-level positions or under-selling themselves more quickly than they need to. And if they had continued pursuing the role that really they are more than qualified to do and will keep their career on track, they end up missing out on that and setting their career back for several years as a result of it. 

So, be really cautious....Unless there's a really... You've gone through the process of exhausting everything that you can in your job search for the role that really makes the most sense from a career path perspective, or you need the money and can't do the consulting or some other stop-gap in the meantime. Don't sell yourself short, unless there's a really good reason that you've explicitly made.

56:12 Hiba Abdillahi: Okay, and I mean, it's already an hour, I say this every week, but honestly, they just go by so fast. Is there anything you wanna leave our community with... I mean, there are 237 people watching right now. We had so many amazing questions, I know that we can't get to all of them, but thankfully, in our follow-up we’ll be able to send you a link to Melisa's contact information and her slides, so you could do the exercises at home. 

But if there's one thing you wanna leave our community with, Melisa, today, what would that be just on... A lot of the members of our community are going through hard times of just the job search and relentlessly applying for jobs, not hearing back, if there's one piece of advice you would give them. What would that be?

57:04 Melisa Liberman: Yeah, please don't give up. Please don't give up. I can't even share with you the number of stories where people tell me like, Oh, I'm gonna... I think my career has peaked and this is the end of it, and I'm gonna have to retire or go work at the grocery store or whatever the things are, and then two months later after going through the process, I just walked you through... They're starting a new role. 

I know that it's incredibly painful to go through this process and how mentally draining it can be, but if you can get yourself into this place of spending as much time as you can in the effective mindset zone and taking the actions from the alter ego that we talked about, keeping your mental energy up, you can make this happen for you. There are people getting hired every single day, and it can be you. 

Why couldn't it be you, right? And so you believing in yourself and believing that this process will work for you and that all you have to do is figure out other ways to be creative and keep your mental energy protected, you can make it happen for you too. So I just wanna reiterate that even though it's a really, really challenging time that you can make it happen, if you can keep yourself in that zone.

58:31 Hiba Abdillahi: Please don't give up. I mean, that is something that rings to all of us, we say it at The Mom Project, we say it at these Unity Hours, I mean, things are hard, but they will get better. And at the end of the day, there was something that you said during the session that really stuck to me, which was, already act like you're the person that has the job. And when you change that mindset and you put yourself in the position that you have the job already, it's gonna change your confidence tenfold. So, Melisa, I can't thank you enough. 

Thank you so much for joining us today for this Unity Hour. You dropped so many gems, and I mean, this session could easily be four hours long, but... We're not gonna do that to you. Thank you everyone who joined us today, be on the lookout if you RSVP’d for the slides and more of Melisa's contact information, so you could attend her Tech Leader Power Lunch. I said it right this time. It’s a tongue twister there... but I mean, they're free and she does this weekly, so please join us next week for our next Unity Hour and then until then, have a great Friday, everybody. Bye!

59:42 Melisa Liberman: Thank you.

📖 Read more about keeping time on your side during the job search

Find your fit at The Mom Project.

Join The Mom Project to create your talent profile and browse career opportunities from vetted companies that support work and life integration. Sign up or log in

Recommended Articles

Subscribe to discover more resources, programs and events

Get on the list

New to The Mom Project? Sign up for our emails and discover more resources, programs and events!