You must be living under a rock not to know there’s a job search frenzy going on right now. For me, the only thing worse than the number of people looking for work, is how many of them are going about it the wrong way. It pains me to watch this new influx of job seekers end up in the same position as a hamster on a wheel: on a road to nowhere. Let me share a story to illustrate my point... A gentleman contacted me recently who had been running a small IT department for several years. His company had announced that everyone’s hours were being cut and layoffs were coming. He had been looking for jobs, applying to anything and everything that he felt qualified for. In an effort to connect with as many employers as possible, he had applied to over 200 job postings, but had yet to get a single response. Feeling frustrated and concerned, he wanted me to give him feedback on what he was doing wrong. After a brief discussion, I learned he hadn’t completed the strategic phase of his job search and explained that until he did so, he would continue to have dismal results. He immediately became defensive, “That’s ridiculous. I’m about to lose my job and need another one to pay the mortgage. The last thing I should be doing is taking my time figuring out who I am and what I want. It’s simple: I need a job. That’s it.” So, I gave him a challenge to prove my point. If he could, without hesitation, answer five questions for me, I would declare I was wrong. He agreed. I began:
- “What are some examples of how you are more successful than others in your field with similar experience?”
- “How do you use your professional strengths to add money to an employer’s bottom line?”
- “What industries or professions that could make good use of your skills in this economy?
- “What are your minimum job requirements and how have they affected your approach to your job search?”
- “Who are the companies you really want to work for and why?