So, what distinguishes successful job hunts ending in the job market and those who have been unsuccessful for 12 months and are considering “dropping out?” I wish I knew the answer, one that I could or would like to share with you immediately.
To be clear, I don’t have a definitive answer, but since I’ve been around a few times, I can eliminate some of what isn’t the answer. The biggest ‘not the answer’ for me would be to respond to the ads in the desired Sunday help every week. Of course, it works for some, but I just don’t see it for most.
Generic job fairs are another. I’m not talking about a new Target opening with that group that has a huge job fair to fill positions. Target will undoubtedly hire a lot of people at that job fair. But trust me, most plum jobs have been filled long before the doors open at that Target Job Fair.
Aside from those specific job fairs for companies, most of the job fairs at the local convention center fall under my “not the answer” category. It’s a little better than submitting resumes, but if you submit a hundred resumes, along with the thousands of other applicants who submit their hundred resumes, your chances are slim at best.
Those two methods are highly questionable to me. What is not doubtful are the ten mistakes that job seekers make in my humble opinion. For your consideration:
1. Wait until you lose a job to contact “long lost friends” and ask for help. Some people are generous to a mistake and overlook that you haven’t called in 20 years. Some will not do that. Harvey Mackay calls it “digging your well before you get thirsty.” Dig your well now!
2. Do it alone. Why? If you have contacts, if you have a good network of people who support you, ask for their help.
3. Do it alone because you don’t have a support team. What? It is never as true as if you don’t have a job, no one is an island for himself. You need a support team of mentors, trusted friends, loved ones and family.
4. Not being specific in asking for help. If you are going to ask for help, do it in detail. “Hey, Jack – I just lost my job, do you think you can help me?” How? This means you need to know what you want before you approach your contacts. All my previous articles have been about research, research, and research. So use the survey to determine in detail which contacts to ask for what help.
5. Don’t waste someone else’s time. You meet and develop good business contact at a networking event or a club such as Toastmasters. You invite that person to lunch and then continue lunch failure by not having a specific idea of why you wanted to get together. Time is a commodity; do not waste someone else’s goods. Have a plan.
6. Richard Bolles calls this part of the research ‘informative interviews’. That is, your goal is to find out what it’s like to work for a particular company or industry by interviewing someone who works there. Do that. Do not have a hidden agenda to finance an interview or submit resumes.
7. Not keeping in touch with people you have worked with. Leaving a company, whether or not on good terms, is no reason to cut ties with the people you have worked with. You would be amazed at how much goodwill you generate with a simple Christmas card. Hey, did I mention that you should invite your former colleagues to a drink once a week – no – send them a birthday card.
8. Not join local hobby groups. Whether it is a ski club, a weekly chess gathering, a group of local historians or whatever your interest, there is a group for you. Find it, join it and be part of that community.
9. Don’t look for your alumni. It’s okay that you have never called your school alumni before, they are very forgiving. Reconnect to the school you graduated from and use the resources they have. It is there for you to use.
10. Don’t take care of yourself and your family. Take care of your family and yourself during all this.