How Does Your Job Search Rate: Working Hard or Hardly Working?

life preserverDuring the early part of our lives, most of our needs are taken care of by parents, teachers, coaches and others who look after us.

For many of us, this becomes a habit, perhaps an addiction, as we get older. We come to accept that help is always available – a “helicopter parent” is just above us.

Then we enter the professional world, and realize that the ready-right-now assistance we’ve come to expect… is no longer there.

We feel like we’re alone. During stressful times like a job search, we feel vulnerable. The combination of job search inexperience and repeated rejection creates a powerful feeling of isolation; anxiety becomes prevalent. For some, bitterness often sets in and the response to advice becomes that of victims… or worse yet, trolls. Rejecting, or even becoming offended by, advice becomes commonplace.

Take these comments to blog posts as examples:

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Here’s an analogy that shows how I view these comments:

A job seeker, expecting a luxury cruise to white sand beaches, instead finds himself bobbing in the ocean alone for days. A fishing boat comes along, sees the plight of the desperate job seeker, and throws him one of those round life-preservers. The job seeker looks up to the person trying to help, and says, “Thanks for the life preserver. But, now you want me to swim to the boat? Don’t you have one of these life preserver thingies with a rope… so you can just pull me in?!”

No appreciation for the help. No desire to be part of the solution. Zero accountability.

Here’s the ironic part: just like the days when our parents and teachers looked after us,  job search help is ready-right-now available, nearly 24/7.

Mentors like @DawnRasmussen, @levyrecruits, @ScottKeenan27 and @JessaBarr, as just a few of many examples, are everywhere. And they don’t charge a dime for advice. No one is going to do the actual “swimming” for you, however.

You’ve likely heard the expression “A job search is a full-time job” several times… because it’s true.

But are you really working hard? Or hardly working?

To find out, take a moment to objectively complete this job search survey:

1. I researched, wrote and practiced my elevator pitch – out loud; my delivery is confident:

____ No   ____ Meh   ____ Yes

2. My LinkedIn profile is complete; I actively participate in discussions and groups:

____ No   ____ Meh   ____ Yes

3. I regularly participate in, and network through, industry- and career-related Twitter Chats:

____ No   ____ Meh   ____ Yes

4. To show I am working to become a subject matter expert, I routinely share career and industry blogs with my network:

____ No   ____ Meh   ____ Yes

5. I routinely read and absorb high-quality, job-search-related blog posts:

____ No   ____ Meh   ____ Yes

6. I regularly attend industry-related networking events and meet-ups:

____ No   ____ Meh   ____ Yes

7. I have developed a mentor relationship with at least one influencer in my industry:

____ No   ____ Meh   ____ Yes

8. I schedule and attend at least one informational interview per month:

____ No   ____ Meh   ____ Yes

9. I have prepared, and practiced, answers to some of the most common questions recruiters ask during job interviews:

____ No   ____ Meh   ____ Yes

10. I am building a strong online personal brand through social media and blogging:

____ No   ____ Meh   ____ Yes

11. I have joined my alumni chapter and regularly network through this group:

____ No   ____ Meh   ____ Yes

12. I have engaged a resume professional or knowledgeable mentor to review and update my resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile:

____ No   ____ Meh   ____ Yes

13. When I apply, I customize my resume and cover letter to each individual position:

____ No   ____ Meh   ____ Yes

14. I have created, and regularly engage with, a list of target companies/employers:

____ No   ____ Meh   ____ Yes

15. I consistently work to update my skills as needed to be considered qualified for the positions that interest me:

____ No   ____ Meh   ____ Yes

This comprehensive survey is not a buffet, where you choose a little of this… and some of that. This is a list of the effort those who have seen success in our current job market have put into their job hunt. To compete well, each of these tasks must be part of your overall job search strategy!

This… is your job search life preserver.

To some, this may seem like a lot of work. And it is.

Recognize your greatnessThere inevitably will be gnashing of teeth, complaints of “Why can’t they just give me a chance?!” and perhaps some “That’s too much and will take too long!” And in one melodramatic case: “I’m better off killing myself, not worth it.”

They’ll eliminate themselves from career competition because they aren’t going to do the necessary work.

Others, however, will see this list as a road map to success in our new reality. A light bulb will go on like “Aha! That’s the help and coaching I needed. I’ll add those components and I’ll be that much farther ahead of my competition. I got this.”

And those who do get it – who own it – will win. That’s just the way world of work… works.






Dave EllisAbout the Author: Dave Ellis is an original member of the YouTern team and is instrumental to its success… in fact, he’s so awesome there wouldn’t be a YouTern without him (and he might have written this bio himself). Dave serves as YouTern’s Content and Community Manager, and enjoys his role as the company’s “Man Behind the Curtain”. In his spare time, Dave volunteers, rescuing and rehabilitating sea lions and baby elephant seals. Connect with Dave on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter!


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