We like to regard Jobnet as a website for professionals. A site that helps job-hunters who have decided to help themselves and know they're going to succeed - in a big way.

Everybody, even the most professional individuals among us, needs a bit of help and a tip or two from time to time. Therefore Jobnet experts have written the following article, based on a desire to provide site visitors added value and help them use our services in a way that will yield good results.

In other words, we wrote these tips because we care.

Why are there people who find a new job within a short period of time (a few days) while others may look and look for weeks and months to no avail?

There are several possible answers to this question, but clearly one of the answers is professionalism, i.e. the job-hunters approach to looking for work, his approach to interviews and of course his approach after being hired and starting work.

We tend to think of the professional as somebody who does his job well. A skilled person who knows what is demanded of him and comes through with the goods, both in quantity and quality. Professionalism is actually a matter of viewpoint. A professional knows the job and knows he's a professional. Not arrogance or bluster, but someone who knows himself and says to himself, "I can handle this and I know how to get it done."

Professionalism is a quality a person acquires.

Eventually we selected four people who we feel are undoubtedly worthy of the appellation "professional."
  • Gil Shwed, CEO and founder of Check Point
  • Shahar Pe'er, tennis player
  • Tiger Woods, golf player
  • Dov Moran, inventor of the Disc On Key
To read about any of these professionals, click on the picture.

At work all of us have heard phrases like, "It's too complicated," "it can't be done," we need another X and Y before we can even get started," "there's no chance we'll get this in on time," etc., etc. This is the language of amateurs. This is the way someone who feels life is too much to handle, who doesn't really know what he's doing and who by chance has found himself in a job he is expected to carry out.

Yes, sometimes our plans don't turn out as planned. We don't always succeed in receiving the pay raise we wanted. Sometimes we even get fired unexpectedly. But when this happens to you, what do you do about it? How does it make you look at things? Professionals look at life (or their job) and see problems and solutions to their problems. Amateurs see particularly problems without solutions.

This may sound mystical and overblown, but it's all a matter of perspective! When you're presented with a challenging (or even impossible) situation, do you give up? Does a difficult situation (e.g. losing your previous job) unravel you enough to throw in the towel and decide that in fact "it can't be done" and "there's no chance," or are you able to gather the inner strengths needed to look at the problem squarely and decide resolutely, "I'm gonna solve this. I can do this."

This is exactly the point where one has to conduct oneself like a professional. When everything is going smoothly it's easy to look like a professional, but what happens when things start to fall apart and go wrong? This is exactly where a person has to pick himself up and believe in himself. This is the real test for every professional. "Challenge" and "problem" are two words to describe the same thing. The first word is the language of the professional and the second comes from the amateur's lexicon. But who decides whether or not you're a professional? Think of people you know. Are all the people who have a graduate degree professionals? Are all the people who wear suits professionals? Professionalism starts on the inside and radiates outward. If you don't give yourself credit and demand of yourself that you act like a professional, who will be able to demand it of you?

What do we get paid for when we man any position? For answering the phone? For coming in to work and punching the timecard in the morning? Of course not. Our employers (or in the case of self-employed workers, their customers) pay us to be professionals.

The advertisements that bombard us infuse us with the message that "life is easy." No need to exert yourself. The experts at the bank will take care of it for you. The insurance company will look out for you. The TV show will entertain your kids. The pension fund will manage your money and the experts in the food manufacturing industry will see to it that the food in your fridge is healthy and nourishing. Everything you need to take it easy. But it's not true!

Professionals know that sometimes in life you have to make an effort. And they're prepared to do so. True, there are times when everything comes easily. But sometimes real work has to be done, requiring somebody who is willing to put his shoulder to the grindstone and do what has to be done without grumbling, explaining how impossible it is or dreaming about a vacation in Antalya.

When the company's human resources manager chooses to hire a new employee it's because he feels confident the job candidate will come through with the exchange value expected of him. He feels sure the candidate will bring about a change at the company, that he will be professional enough to get through the integration and assimilation process at the company (which is not always easy) and cope the with challenges involved in executing his tasks. In other words, he places his trust in the candidate.

What gives the interviewer this feeling of confidence? Is it the candidate's resume? The fact that he was an army officer? The number of degrees he holds or his seniority in previous posts? All of these factors are of course taken into account, but in the final analysis it's all part of a set of factors coming together to form a whole. The interviewer wants to know whether the person sitting in front of him is a professional and whether he will really deliver the goods.

Genuine professionals are rare and worth their weight in gold. But professionalism is not something you're born with, but something you can develop.

The experience of losing a job, coupled with the label of being unemployed, is liable to make it hard for someone to regard himself as a professional. But in order to find a good position quickly, the job-hunter must think and act like a professional.

There are important guides, articles and tips available on the issue of "how to conduct yourself during a job interview" and "how to write a resume." We already know it's important to come "looking presentable" or "wearing a tie," etc., but being a professional doesn't just affect your choice of fonts in your resume or how you act during a job interview.

It's about strengthening your fundamental point of view. Think of finding a job as a focused project. Make an orderly list of your resources. Plan out your days and above all - know that you really will succeed, and have confidence in yourself.

When something doesn't go as planned a professional checks out the problem and deal with it, rather than despairing. Professionals don't give up. When a professional receives a suggestion he considers it himself, based on a recognition of his worth. Professionals don't bring personal emotions into their considerations, but can take a step back and look at matters objectively. Professionals know who they have to consult with and why. When you're a professional, nobody can reduce your worth. Had somebody told golf star Tiger Woods he didn't really know what he's doing and his playing is mediocre, how much would this person succeed in putting down Tiger Woods?

To get a better idea of how you can act like a professional, take the following steps:
  • Make a list of five people you know and who you think of as top professionals in their respective fields. What distinguishes these people? Find the most prominent characteristics they share in common. What makes them professionals? Are some of these qualities found in you, too? Can you adopt some of them?
  • Pick a day and pay attention to the level of professionalism in the people around you. Talk to your friends. Watch how people in the street converse. Look at the waitress at the coffee shop. Is she a professional? What makes you think so (or not)?
  • You can even call the customer service line of any major company (your Internet provider or phone company, for instance). Talk to the service representative. How do you feel at the end of the conversation? Did you receive professional assistance? Now think, why do you feel this way? What did the person on the other end of the line do to make you feel you're in good, skilled hands (or not)? Even if you're not looking for a job in providing service you can learn lessons from such a conversation.
  • Imagine yourself as a top professional in your field. The moment you do so you might start thinking, "But I'm not good enough." Put this thought off to the side for the moment and ignore it. Indulge yourself in pretending. If you were the perfect professional, how would you act? How would you dress? Who would you talk to and how would you conduct yourself in conversation? Who would you take seriously and who would you ignore? Write out a detailed description of your lifestyle as a professional. Read it. How does it make you feel? Read it over and over and be a professional. Make the things you wrote come true. Conduct your conversations the way you imagined they would be. At first it might feel unnatural. Don't be embarrassed and don't let anybody tell you to stop! Keep training, keep pretending until suddenly the act will become second nature. You'll be able to conduct a conversation with someone else and at the end of the conversation he'll know he just spoke with somebody who knows what he wants.
  • Now devote special attention to your attire. Do you have the clothes a professional needs? If so try them on. Look at yourself in the mirror. Smile. Stand up straight. That's how a professional looks. If you don't have the right clothes, think about how are you going to acquire them. (Remember, this is a challenge, not a problem.) After solving the matter of attire, move on to other matters in your life. How does your written communication look? How do you conduct conversations with other people?
  • Professionals practice. Ask a friend to prep you for a job interview. Conduct a simulated interview. Repeat it over and over again. Think about the toughest questions you might be asked or the most confounding situations you could face in an interview like this. Drill them. The goal here is not necessarily to practice the interview, but to allow you to see how a professional feels after practicing enough.
  • Examine the job market the way a professional would look at it. Which opportunities open up before you now? How do the prospects of a job search look to you now? Do things look different when you look at them as a professional who is aware of his value?
  • After you find your new job, be sure to practice the operations and tools that will be required of you on the job. Don't rest on your laurels.
  • After practicing, regard yourself as a professional and see for yourself the difference this point of view makes in your life. Undertake a new project: Approach someone who allows himself to live his life as an amateur and turn him into a professional.
Good luck.

Have these tips helped you find the work you wanted? We'd be glad to receive feedback on the article at the following e-mail address: responses@jobnet.co.il

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