Monday, January 26, 2015

4 Resaons Why You're Not Moving Forward In Your Job Search, And Why You Won't


Every week, I receive scores of emails from job hunters all over the world who find me online and reach out to ask for help.  Their situations vary in detail, but the gist of many messages I receive is this:

“Kathy, I’ve been looking for a new job for X months, and I just can’t land one. I’ve been interviewing in my field (which I don’t really like but it’s where I have the most experience), and I’ve been applying online for jobs where I can, but nothing seems to work. I’m really discouraged, and feel I’m at the end of my rope.  I’m seriously considering changing directions in my career, but don’t know where to begin.  Can you offer any advice?”

I personally know what this feels like. I lost my job after a brutal layoff in the days following 9/11, and I took months to regroup.  I also struggled to find work after my first career reinvention (from corporate VP to therapist), and I know how disheartening it can be when, try as you might, nothing comes to fruition.  Clearly, times are tough.  But I’ve also seen that there are certain steps we can take to positively impact our job search outcomes.  Often, those who remain stuck are relying on outdated methods of finding work that won’t yield positive results today.  Here are some commonalities:

1) They’re approaching it in the wrong way.
The majority of unsuccessful job seekers I hear from are approaching the process the wrong way.  If you are focused on submitting your résumé online only or sitting at your computer looking at LinkedIn LNKD +3.24%, you’re not going to have the success you long for.  Today’s job search requires that you “bring yourself to market” in ways that will open new doors, build great connections, and get your name out there as someone who will enhance an organization.  It requires in-person connecting and making your mark, not just online submitting. (Recent studies have shown that 80% of jobs are found through networking.)

Get out there in the world and start making waves (the good kind). For example, reach out to all the colleagues you’ve ever enjoyed and respected, and reconnect, and ask how you can be of service to them.  Go to every industry or association meeting in your field and share in a compelling way what you love about the work you do (don’t go just to say “I need work.”) Volunteer to support a fabulous project in your community that will further your connections and demonstrate your talents.  As Forbes writer Susan Adams recommends, start your own networking group where you meet weekly or monthly to support each other’s efforts.   In short, stop “hunting” for work, and start being a source of positive energy, wisdom and motivation to others, and doors will open.

2) Discouragement and confusion (and paralysis) have set in.

When you’re looking for work, you need to understand that you’re facing very stiff competition, for every position you’re exploring.  Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager.  She wants the best match she can get for the money she’ll pay, and today, employers don’t have to compromise on what they want.  What do hiring managers want? They want someone who not only has all (or most) of the skills, experience, and background that match the job perfectly well, but they need to see excitement, commitment, energy, a can-do attitude and an upbeat personality from the candidate. If you can’t find a way to muster those qualities, you’re going to struggle.  (If you’re finding depression has set in and you feel you might benefit from outside help to navigate through it, don’t hesitate to explore some therapeutic support.)


Reasons 3,4, the solutions, and the complete Forbes article

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