Today’s post is one of many from members of the Career Collective community I co-coordinate with my colleague Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter. I encourage you to visit other members’ responses, which are linked at the end of my post! Please follow our hashtag on Twitter: #careercollective. This month’s question?
- What do you do when you’re really, really, really discouraged about your unsuccessful job search?
- How do youÂ overcome the negative aspects of job search?
It breaks my heart when I hear from a job seeker who reaches out to me after hunting unsuccessfully for a job for months – even a year or more. More often than not, it is clear to me why the person’s job hunt has gone on for so long. Either the resume and job search materials are not up to par, the job seeker’s strategies are dated and not optimized and/or the person has simply been paralyzed by uncertainty and unable to present him or herself confidently and competently.
If you have been searching unsuccessfully, it is tough not to be discouraged and give up. It takes a lot to avoid approaching with a bad attitude or a defeated outlook. However, take heart, as there are probably a lot of things that will help your prospects that you have NOT done yet!
Talk to people you DON’T think can help you with your search.
Expand your net of networking contacts. You never know when a connector is in your midst – someone who takes pride in knowing a lot of people and introducing them to each other.
In a recession, it is even more important to expand our circles whenÂ job seeking.
Never underestimate the possibility for really interesting common ground.Â Some of the meetings I’veÂ least felt like getting up atÂ 6 a.m. to attend have been the most productive in terms of what I’ve learned.
Open your eyes to the opportunities!Â Seek out places to meet new people.Â Join an organization, a new health club or take a class.Â Google “networking opportunities, (your city)” and see what comes up!Â Â Then, don’t just attend, be an active participant.
Just because someone isn’t in your field doesn’t mean they don’t have useful information for you.Â (Or you for them.) Our lives intersect in so many points.Â Think of someone you considerÂ least likely to be able to share good information with you for your search. Meet for coffee. You may be surprised!
I challenge you to engage – ask questions…be able to explain who you are and what you do.Â Â Don’t underestimate the value of every connection.Â Everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows something.Â Inserting yourself as part of the chain is a great step in the right direction!
Search for Companies Instead of Jobs
This is crucial advice that many overlook. Instead of searching online for job descriptions of interest, start to target organizations of interest. Research them and the people who work there. Recognize that the majority of jobs are never posted – they are filled via networking. So, network! Figure out who works in the places where you want to work. Infiltrate via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and via connecting in person at events, including professional meetings and organizations. You may be surprised how easy it is to connect online and befriend people who are impressed by your interest and enthusiasm.
Target Your Materials and Your Approach
Have you been giving the kiss of death answer to people asking what you would like to do? “I can do anything.” “I am flexible.” “I can’t afford to be picky.” Stop and TARGET your search. Focus your resume, your pitch and your goals and engage with people by demonstrating that you know what you offer and that you are a strong match for what the targeted job needs.
If you haven’t started, dive into social media and Web 2.0 applications!
Yes, this can take some time if you are going to do it full force. But, you have time, so go for it! Start searching for blogs in your niche. Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop list is a perfect place to find blogs in an array of topics, but you can certainly use Google to find current information in your field of interest. Spend some time researching and exploring. See if you can identify the stars in your field. Use online mechanisms to connect to them!
How? Post smart comments on their blogs. See if they use Twitter and follow them. (Read more of my suggestions about using Twitter for the job hunt HERE.) Make sure that you are using LinkedIn effectively. You may be amazed atÂ how quickly you can connect and “befriend” people online.
Consider authoring a blog. If you are a strong writer, there isn’t a better way to influence your Google rankings and demonstrate authority in your subject matter. If you have the time, why not try? You have nothing to lose. Ideally, you will start a blog at www.yourname.com, but if you just want to dip your toe in the waters, consider writing for Examiner.com. I am the National Career Coach Examiner and would be happy to help you get started if you are a strong writer with a niche topic in mind. (For example, maybe you want to be the “Seattle PR Examiner” or the “Miami Accounting Examiner.” Contact me if you are interested in learning more!
Stop and think about what you really want to do
Use your time to assess yourself, your goals and plans for the future. How often are we forced to take a moment to really think about the future. This is your chance. Do you like the way your life is going? Are you happy with your path? If not, consider a coach to help you figure out a new direction.
Learn a new skill
Have you been thinking about taking a class in something that will help you with your job? Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to knit? This is a good time. Doing something new and learning a new skill is good for your attitude and will help you in multiple ways. If you can be excited about something that you can obviously control (since your job search SEEMS less control-able), it should help your outlook.
There is so much information and opportunities to learn new things online for free. High-profile and talented people are offering free teleclasses, webinars and seminars all of the time. If you plug in, you’ll learn about these opportunities and benefit from them. Take advantage of your public library as a resource for information. Check in with the librarian for information you might be missing!
Don’t be afraid to pay for some great content as well! Once you know and trust a source for information, invest in yourself and your plans and learn something new.
Expand Your Reading List
Have you considered reading books written for the HIRING side of the desk? It could help you to know what hiring managers are thinking. Also, be sure to spend time expanding your interests and expertise. Read things that have NOTHING to do with your job hunt. Keep up to date on current events, sports, cultural arts, entertainment…
Of course, no list of things to do would be complete with suggesting volunteering with an organization you support. I’ve already shared great reasons to volunteer if you have some free time. You never know when you might meet someone influential for your career and/or learn and use new skills. Volunteering is an amazing opportunity to do some good while helping yourself as well!
What ideas do you have?
Need some help getting started with any of these ideas? Learn more about how I can help you get a job.
How did members of the Career Collective respond? Follow us on Twitter with our hashtag #careercollective and read these posts:
@MartinBuckland, Job Search Made Positive
@GayleHoward, Job Search: When It All Turns Sour
@heathermundell, Help for the Job Search Blues
@heatherhuhman, 10 Ways to Turn You Job Search Frown Upside-Down
@resumeservice, Don’t Sweat the Job Search
@careersherpa, Mind Over Matter: Moving Your Stalled Search Forward
@WorkWithIllness, Finding Opportunity in Quicksand
@ErinKennedyCPRW, Dancing in the Rain–Kicking the Job Search Blues
@DawnBugni, It’s the little things
@ValueIntoWords, Restoring Your Joy in Job Search
@jobhuntorg,Â Just SO VERY Discouraged
@barbarasafani, Making Job Search Fun (Yeah, That’s Right!)
@GLHoffman, How to Overcome the Job Search Negativity
@ExpatCoachMegan,Â Dealing With Job Search Stress: Getting to the Source of the Problem
photo by fiveforfun