8 Ways You’re Sucking The Life Out Of Your Job Search

8 Ways You’re Sucking The Life Out Of Your Job Search

I meet new job seekers all of the time in the course of my work as a Career Transition Coach. The ones who just got laid off or just decided to go back to work after taking time off for whatever reason, start out thinking that they can handle the job search process on their own. After all, they have found their previous jobs with little trouble, so they have the attitude of “I’ve got this and I don’t need anyone’s help.” RELATED: Need some job search advice? Watch these tutorials! On the flip side, I also meet people who have been looking for a while, and they are feeling pretty dejected. They have lost their sense of enthusiasm for the search, and they don’t know what they are doing wrong, but they know something isn’t working. Whether you are just starting out or you have been job hunting for a while, here are eight ways you’re sucking the life out of your job search:

1. You don’t know what you don’t know.

If you haven’t been involved in job hunting for the last few years, you really can’t be blamed for this, but the fact is that job hunting isn’t what it used to be. Everything has changed from the days when you read through the wanted section of the newspaper, circled the jobs that sounded appealing, and set off to find a human that you could talk to about the qualifications you might need for the job. Like many aspects of modern life, the Internet has changed how people job hunt today, so you need to bone up on the basics of job search strategy as soon as possible.

2. You don’t recognize when you need help.

Too often, job seekers think they can navigate job boards, write their own resumes and cover letters and slap up a profile on LinkedIn and that’s all they need to do. The job hunting landscape of today practically requires that you seek help from a qualified professional. Consider…if you were sick, you wouldn’t think it a sign of weakness to go to a doctor for treatment, would you? Why, then, should you consider that hiring a Career Coach who can offer assistance and actually ease some of your pain and discomfort as a sign of weakness? In today’s landscape, it is foolish to think that you can find the job you want (and deserve) without some professional assistance, and you don’t have to break the bank to do it. Many coaches offer special group rates to help make their help affordable to those who are on a limited budget. Seek them out and get them to help you.

3. You are passive and don’t have a realistic job search strategy.

Even if you hire a career coach, they can’t and won’t actually find your job for you. That is up to you! Too often, job hunters get lazy about their search strategy, especially as it drags out over several months. Indeed, they don’t really have a strategy…they are just applying for jobs willy-nilly and then wonder why they aren’t meeting with success. The successful job search strategy includes your owning your plan and working it daily for at least a few hours a day.

4. You don’t know what you want to do, and therefore don’t know where to find what you want.

This problem shows up frequently, especially with mid-career professionals who find themselves suddenly at a career crossroads. These folks have been in the work force long enough to have learned what they like to do and what they don’t like to do and would rather never do again. This is important information, but often the job seeker who isn’t focused on what they want to do just sends applications out for any old job that sounds like what they have done before or something they could do if they had to. In my opinion, this is the wrong approach. You need to know what you want and then become laser focused on locating it. Otherwise, you run the risk of taking a job offer and finding out in just a few weeks or months that it is not a good fit for you. In the end, you are right back where you started.

5. You also need to know what your strengths are, and you need to be able to articulate them clearly.

Far too often, when I meet with a new client, I ask them what it is they bring to the table with regard to their skills set, their aptitude, their natural talents, etc. Too often, they look at me blankly. Or, worse, they shrug as though they haven’t given it much thought. You need to know how to explain to a potential hiring manager why he or she should take a chance on you. You need to be able to sell yourself. I don’t mean to sell yourself in a braggadocios way but in a way that clearly and concisely lays out who you are and what you do well. More importantly, you need to be able to communicate how what you do well is why they need to hire you ASAP!

6. You spend too much time behind the computer looking at job boards and not enough time networking in person.

A lot of job hunters make this mistake. They think their next job will come from one of the dozens of job applications they have spent hours filling out. The fact is that only about 20% of the jobs that are being filled today are filled from random job applications. Eighty percent of the jobs that are being filled today are being filled by introductions to people who know someone who knows someone who met you at a networking event--or at a party or over coffee--or somewhere out and away from your computer.

7. You hate networking and you find every reason not to do it.

Unfortunately for you, there Is no getting around the need to get out of the house and talk to real people when you are job searching. You need people now. You need them to know about you. You need them to know that you are on the market. The trick is to get out there and talk to people and not let them sense your fear or your desperation. You should also not make the mistake of thinking that networking is all about YOU. The successful networker also reciprocates by offering tips or introductions to people who might help their counterpart.

8. You let your mojo go.

No one enjoys being around someone who is a sad and depressed all of the time. When you lack confidence in yourself, it is hard to convince a hiring manager that they should have confidence in you. You must work at building your own self-esteem and recognize that work is only one part of who you are. Don’t lose sight of the fact that even when you are not working, you are talented, you are capable, and you are simply in a transitional period. This too shall pass! You must continue to believe in yourself, however, and you must believe in your own capabilities. It is easy to get down and to get down on yourself when you receive rejection after rejection. A colleague of mine once said, however, that every “no” just gets you closer to “yes.” In addition to staying on top of your job search do things that you enjoy during this transitional period. It is also important to remember to stay healthy during this transitional phase by taking care of your physical self. Remind yourself that this is just a temporary phase in your life. It does not define who you are any more than a job title defines you as a human being. Use this time as a learning experience. You will then be able to help others sometime in the future. In the meantime, find people who can motivate and inspire you to stay on track and stop sucking the life out of your job search. Write a great resume in 15 minutes!

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Time Management: 4 Keys To Avoiding Work-Related Stress5 Time Management Tips When Juggling Work And School5 Job Search Time Wasters To Avoid Kitty Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT is a former educator turned Career Transition and Job Strategy Coach specializing in working with teachers who are experiencing the painful symptoms of job burnout. She also works with mid-career professionals from all walks of life who find themselves at a career crossroads either by chance or by choice. Learn more about Kitty at TeachersinTransition.com or at Boitnott Coaching.com.   Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.   Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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