In the next chapter, we'll take a look at some of the fears you too are going to leave behind starting your job search, but before we explore the rest of the techniques I've told you about, I'd like to tell you a little bit about how I became a career coach and how I came to write this book.
I became a career job search coach in 1989 for many reasons, but there's only one reason that really counts. I simply love talking to people about their work! Even before I was a counselor, I had a sort of innate sense that every person has a certain career destiny.
I was absolutely fascinated by people's career choices-how they started doing what they were doing, if they liked their work, and especially if they had a secret dream about what they'd really like to be doing. For some reason it seemed just as natural to me to talk about people's careers as it was to talk about their pets, their gardens, or a movie they had seen.
But even though talking about careers seemed to come naturally to me in my job search, becoming a career counselor wasn't nearly as easy as that. I faced many of the same feelings of rejection and frus- tration as other people sometimes feel in interviews. Shortly before I took up career coaching as a profession, I decided to ask a few professional career counselors whether they thought I was suited to the occupation, what I could expect from being a career counselor, and what the job prospects were like. All 10 of the people I talked to said I would "never make it" without a mas- ter's degree in counseling or education. I didn't have one, and I didn't plan to get one soon.
One said: "None of the agencies are hiring-the economy's too soft. There's a waiting list of over a thousand people from all over the world trying to get the one job at the local community college." (Sound familiar?) Still another professional warned: "I'd hate to see you waste your time trying to conduct your employment job search and build a career coaching business in this town. It's too small, and I've never known any counselor to succeed at it."
After 10 of those less-than-inspiring "pep talks," I was ready to move out of town-and get a job doing just about anything else except career counseling! But I didn't. Somehow their warn- ings posed a challenge for me. I had broken into other difficult ?elds when everyone said it was impossible. I knew I could do it again.
I immediately started browsing job search web sites and offering free talks to all sorts of orga- nizations on goal setting, self-esteem, and résumé writing. I attended some professional seminars and conferences on career development. I read every single book I could get my hands on about careers and jobs, and I took some graduate courses in career development and counseling. Within 6 months of deciding to become a career counselor, Ihad appointments booked for 2 months with a waiting list!
I worked with clients in industries as diverse as publishing, biotechnology, semiconductors, sales, the arts, entertainment, telecommunications, medicine, law, computers, defense, Web design, engineering, hospitality, foods,, the ones doing the federal job search, and even wine making. I taught workshops and worked individually with people in all walks of life-students and executives and entry-level employees and Ph.D.s.
One day, in one of my classes, a woman exclaimed, "You know, you should write a book!" I liked the idea, mostly because it represented another challenge and because I realized that indeed, I could keep teaching job seeking skills to 10 or 20 peo- ple at a time, or I could reach thousands of people busy with job searching all at once!
I wrote the ?rst chapter of the book you're reading right now and submitted it to the top literary agent in San Francisco. I was sure he would love my idea and see it as an instant success. Two weeks later, I got a generic rejection letter, without even a real signature. When I called and asked him about it, the edi- tor said, "Good title, but who would read it? I'm sorry, we can't represent your book."
I was crushed; but I refused to let the rejection stop me. I was convinced that I had a valuable message for job seekers doing either online job search or the real one, one with important tools that would ensure their success. After a few more disappointments from other literary agents, I decided to take matters into my own hands and publish the book myself. Sure I went into debt. Sure I was scared. But soon-after I'd ?own all over the country giving Fearless Interviewing seminars, appeared on radio and TV, and been written about in magazines and newspapers-my efforts paid off.
One morning while I was going through my usual routine, I picked up the phone, and it was the beautiful voice of a New York editor! She told me that she had seen an article written by me, and that she was interested in my book. I was so stunned after she said "hello" and introduced herself that I said, "Excuse me. Would you hold on for just a moment? I've got to ?nd my body and then get back into it." The motto? Perseverance. Maybe interviews 1, 2, or even 3 didn't go as well as you liked. But with the ammunition in this book, we'll turn numbers 4, 5, and 6 into offers. I know you can do it!