Let’s face it–it’s tough out there. If you’ve been looking for a job for a while, it’s easy to let the depression, fears, self-doubt, and other negative self-talk to set in. Each time you hear yourself making a statement that doesn’t make you feel positive or powerful, ask yourself this question, “Did what I say just help me–or hurt me?” You know what the answer is…it’s hurting you. We all get in our negative grooves–it’s human nature. However, if you find you’ve been in the negative groove for a while and you’re having a hard timing coming out of it–ask yourself, “Why?” Could it be that you are continuing to try to find the same type of job, in the same type of industry, and you’ve just not been successful? It could be that you have continued along the same route that so many others are on that your route has a lot of company…Kind of like rush hour traffic… everyone’s trying to go to the same place. An example of this is in the financial sector: commercial real estate, construction mortgage banking, etc. Not that you can’t be successful in landing a job in these fields, but rather these fields (connected to housing) have taken some of the hardest economic hits. The old saying “If you keep doing what you’re doing…you’re going to get what you always got” can apply to this. What that means is that if you continue applying to similar positions you’ve held, in a field(s) that have actually contracted as a result of the economy, and in a job market flooded with other candidates with experience, skills, and credentials just like you–you’re trying to swim upstream with a lot of other fish… And, it may come as no surprise that you’re growing frustrated by the process–and allowing negativity to set in, self-doubt, and even mild panic.
So, what to do? First thing you have to do is to take charge of your own situation. Stop blaming the company that let you go… stop blaming the economy…stop blaming your parents, former boss, spouse, the recruiter who didn’t call you back, the receptionist who wouldn’t put you through to a decision maker, etc. Just stop trying to pin the blame on others for the circumstances you are in. Only then can you move forward! The next thing you need to do is sit down with a blank notebook and get some work done. Begin using your notebook to do the following:
1. What strategy have I used in the past (x) months to find a job? Jot down the titles of the positions you’ve applied for. Are they almost identical? And, if they’re almost identical in title, are they close in industry? In the jobs you’ve applied for, have they been above or below your skill level? If you’ve applied below your skill level, have you revised your resume to “fit” the lower level job? Or, vice versa? Have you cranked up the intensity of your resume to “fit” the higher level? Important note: if you’re only shooting for higher, Director level and above jobs…here’s a newsflash–you have a ton of competition out there for those jobs right now. The job market is like a pyramid. Heavy base, or foundation jobs, such as entry-level, individual contributor role jobs. Important yes, and plentiful, yes. The farther up you go in the pyramid to mid-management and the professions, the pyramid begins to shrink in size at that level, meaning fewer jobs. And, the higher you climb, the fewer the positions there are. So, if you’re a professional who has continued to apply for more senior-level jobs, simply by finding the postings on a big job board and applying online…you have about a 96% chance in never getting a response! For the more professional or senior-level jobs, it requires networking–and a lot of it–both online and offline.
2. Evaluate your strategy. What has worked? What hasn’t worked? If your resume is getting you interviews (beyond a phone screening), then at least you’ve got a document that’s getting your foot in the door. If you’re not making it past the initial interview stage, there are other parts of your current strategy that are holding you back from being moved to the next step. A couple of reasons why your strategy may not be working: 1. You may not be marketing yourself properly during the interview. HR people and recruiters have a limited amount of time to screen applicants, and if you’re “rambling” and not succinct in translating your portable skills–to their company…the recruiters don’t see the value in you. This works very similarly to how consumers buy a product. If you don’t immediately see the value in a product…why buy it? Recruiters are the consumers for organizations. It’s their job to select the candidates–at the right price and who will add value and benefits to the company. For you, you may be the right product–but wrong product packaging. We’ve seen that happen time and again with great products that go on the market and fail because the branding image and product benefits just weren’t powerful enough to stimulate sales. So, evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in interviewing, and be honest. 2. The second reason you may not be getting traction in the job market is also that “product packaging” in how you actually look to the recruiter. It may be time for you to change your brand image. I’ve seen a lot of folks who look great on paper, sound great on the phone–and simply don’t look the part when they’ve walked into my office for an interview. Know the company’s culture–and look the part. If you’re not sure how to do that–call me.
3. Get a new strategy. In other words, evaluate your resources and plot a new course to find a job. Now may be the time for you to go back to school. Get some new job training. Improve your MS Office skills, learn how to use a particular type of project management software, learn a new language, get a certifcation… you get my drift. However, before you begin to put these action steps in place, you first have to admit to yourself that your current strategy isn’t working… Once you get over that hurdle, you’ll find the job search process will become easier and more focused for you. The other thing I recommend is getting some professional help if you feel stuck.
So, keep your chin up, your thoughts positive, and catch yourself every time you say something negative and self-defeating. Taking shots at yourself isn’t helping you get where you want to go–so stop it.
You deserve to have the career you want–so, GO GET ‘EM TIGER!!!