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Are You Doing All You Can???

image Many people are struggling through a tough job search these days and it’s not likely to get dramatically easier very soon. So as the days, weeks, and months drag on without an offer in hand, I’ve got a tough question to ask you… be honest with yourself…

Are you doing all you can?

I teach an 8-week course in job transition skills. Each week everyone gives updates on what they did that week. However, as much as each of them know all the things they could be doing… very few actually execute much from week to week. When the job search drags on, it’s very easy to blame the economy, some liability in their job history, discriminatory factors, time of year, or any number of other reasons. Some are legitimate. However, virtually any obstacle can be overcome with enough time, energy, and effort applied to the search each day.

Are you doing all you can?

For every reason someone might give as to why they can’t get a job, someone else with similar circumstances can be found that overcame the challenge and got hired.

Are you doing all you can?

It may seem like a harsh question for someone that is down and discouraged because so far none of their effort has seemed to work. Their heart is in the right place and they have a daily ‘routine’, however, nothing so far has paid off. Isn’t this kicking someone while they’re down?

My hope is that the question prompts people to kick themselves to get up and put in the focus it takes to get a new job in this market. You can’t get a job as easily as you used to during better economic times. It does take different tactics and much more time and effort than it did before.

Are you doing all you can?

Most people have heard the cliche’ that looking for a job is a full-time job. However, very few people treat it that way. Most people at best put in a couple of hours of concentrated effort into their search each day (in this market, surfing the internet for hours looking at job postings is not concentrated effort). In their job, most people have a schedule and expectations to meet. They work diligently throughout the day because they’ve done it enough to just know what they need to do next. Out of that work environment, on their own, they’re left on their own to create a routine and generally have no one setting expectations other than… “Get a job!”

Are you doing all you can?

For many people, they don’t do most of the things in their job search that they need to because those tasks are far outside of their comfort zone. Certainly it’s difficult to have to do things day after day that don’t come naturally to you. However, before you even begin, you need to decide whether it’s more important to you to operate only within your comfort zone, or to get a job! My guess is that getting a job is a higher priority, so you’ll simply need to get over your fears.

Are you doing all you can?

Most people’s job search consists of surfing for relevant (and often irrelevant) job postings, applying into a database, and waiting… hoping… wishing for a call. VERY few ever get one. Networking, following up an application with a phone call, being ‘Pleasantly Persistent’, sending Thank You notes, seeking informational interviews, being prepared with scripts, having an agenda to your calls and meetings, planning your time effectively… are all critical to getting where you want to go faster!

Are you doing all you can?

Many people don’t do what they can because their attitude has taken a beating and their confidence has drained. It’s hard to go after things more aggressively when you’re down on yourself. Doing whatever is necessary to keep your attitude up during a job search is one of the most critical things you can do. Eliminate the things that bring you down!

Are you doing all you can?

Examine your schedule and how you spend your time. Are you focusing your efforts on things that are productive? Do you feel like you gave your best effort at the end of your day or your week? Or is there room for improvement?

Look at yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself. Adjust your attitude if necessary. Then start fresh. Get out your planner and create a schedule for yourself. Fill up your day just as you would do in your career. Determine what activities deserve the most time. Determine to be the most professional candidate in your field.

Your job search is bound to become more productive, and if then, you can look in the mirror and be able to say: “I’m doing all I can!” You will have more confidence and sleep better… it becomes a matter of time.


Anonymous said...

Harry - this is a wonderful "tough love" piece. Sure, it may seem harsh, but clearly you're just trying to help, and job seekers really need to ask themselves this question! The economy is bad, but people are getting hired every day - if you want to be one of them, you need to do everything you can. Thanks for saying it out loud!

Ed Han said...

I am in complete agreement, this is absolutely necessary. It's an uncomfortable but important truth.

Anonymous said...

If I have to:

A) be under 30 and look like a model (I am currently 58 and was not deemed a loser until I reached 57).

B) Have the over-the-top aggressiveness of Glengary Glen Ross type sales people (one of the worst facets of American life is that there are so many A holes taught to NEVER TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER...BECAUSE THEY WILL NEVER GET A YES OUTTA ME..

C) Learn and memorize every single piece of knowledge known to mankind (and I mean everything) in the hopes that there is a one in 275 Million Chance that I may use this one thing in an actual job. [I say this facetiously, because actually it makes less sense to spend 700 years learning EVERYTHING, when I could simply spend 5 minutes learning the one thing I need for the job. But most people think we are too dumb to do that].

D) Be flawlessly perfect in every way. Never made a dumb typo in your entire life. All this, even when you write and speak pretty well. You don't look like a bag lady and you are not fat --- because unlike 90% of Americans you are not shoveling donuts and bagels in your face every five minutes.

Yes, I know the advice to NEVER GIVE UP BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE GETTING HIRED. Well, people are also winning the lottery. And the people who buy those lottery tickets are admonished to stop it because it is dumb and you have no chance of winning [although I am not convinced, because your odds of winning are better than your odds of getting a job].

When getting a job is as hard as winning the lottery, I don't want tough love because I am already better than most people. I don't know what I want other than a stupid job.

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