Another Year, A New Job Search Begins

The New Year’s fireworks have heralded a new beginning. For many, it’s the continuation of a long and frustrating job search that carries over from the previous year. For some, decisions have been made to take action and throw off the constraints of a job that now holds little appeal or that failed to live up to expectations.

Regardless of your personal situation, it is important to acknowledge that things have changed. If you’ve been on the job hunt for some time, then re-evaluate your methods. If it didn’t work for you last year, then a change in the calendar is hardly going to deliver something different. Or, in the words of Albert Einstein: “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

What you should know and do:

Applying for the largest, most prominent job advertisements means you are throwing your hat into the largest pool of applicants possible. Recruiters have hundreds of qualified candidates at their fingertips with these jobs, so if you don’t tick every box, you’re likely to be out of the running. Yes, you may score the role. You could also be hit by lightning or win Lotto. No need to stop the practice entirely, just understand the limitations of this strategy and have other alternatives ready.

Job Search Consultants will go to the internet to search your name. What will they find?
Do your negative opinions and comments on blogs, Facebook and Twitter about everything from poor tradesmen to inedible restaurant food, your last employer and your cynicism about companies and people abound? These all combine to build a rather unflattering portrait of the type of employee you may be. Perhaps you can’t find anything. In today’s world the lack of a personal or professional online footprint may be of concern to recruiters—particularly when searching for executives where a good reputation and a solid centre of influence is highly regarded. Work on getting your online presence cleaned up and consistent. You can thank me later for this insight.

The hidden job market is alive and kicking and remains the best and strongest way to get a job. How do you access it? Through people. That’s right. People. Why be one of a hundred equally qualified people vying for one prominent advertised job when you can be the only candidate? Who do you know? Where would you like to work? Where are your former work buddies working? Have you had a coffee with them lately for a catch up? Do you know what projects they are working on? What problems they are experiencing? Getting inside knowledge through casual conversation is one of the most successful ways to spin yourself into the fold. They need someone with your talents and experience; they just don’t know it yet. It’s up to you to make that connection. Maybe they just need a contractor or a consultant to get them through; that’s fine. Once you’ve proved your worth, they’ll be reluctant to let you go.

Take a long hard look at yourself. In fact, write it all down on a piece of paper. How do you dress? Are you a relic of the ’80s? Do you still act like a wayward teenager when you’re 30? Have you turned into a grumpy, cynical, complaining person that you’d never thought you’d become? Are you obsessed about your age so much so that your constant references to it force people to re-evaluate you and hire someone younger? Are you carrying around emotional baggage? Still angry and bitter about how you were treated? It shows. Do something about it. Be ruthless with what are your best and worst attributes. At worst, you’ll need to commit to an attitude readjustment and a new suit. At best, you’re perfect. Congrats.

Come to terms with the fact that that you are not an expert in everything. You may be the best at what you do, but that doesn’t mean you are an expert at tax returns, financial planning, dentistry, or writing your own resume. Admit that you don’t know everything and delegate the things that matter to professionals who can do it better than you. Less time unemployed means more money and a return to normalcy for you and your family.

There are hundreds of services for people wanting work. From coaching to resume development, through to interview preparation services, and more. But if there was one definable “something” that characterises job search now and in the foreseeable future, it’s “Communication“.

  • Communicating your value to others at interview
  • Communicating with your business and personal networks to expose hidden job opportunities
  • Communicating your value online at places such as Linkedin and Twitter and most of all…

Communicating the truth to yourself so that you can get the most out of who you are, your life, your career and enrich the lives of the people around you.

I’m thrilled to be a member of the #CareerCollective. A group of professionals who share their combined expertise with the job search community in the form of articles on a specific topic once a month. Job Search Trends in 2011 is this month’s topic. Please visit the links below for other articles by these talented professionals. Oh! and please follow the hashtag #careercollective on Twitter


  1. Sharon Jones

    Another Year, A New Job Search Begins | The Executive Brand Blog: The New Year's fireworks have heralded a new b…

  2. Gayle Howard

    Updated my blog! Another Year, A New Job Search Begins: The New Year’s fireworks have heralded a new beginning. …

  3. Anonymous

    Love the Einstein quote, Gayle – I’ve thought the same things many times when someone writes to me about how many applications they’ve made through job boards (hundreds) with no results or even acknowledgments. Insanity! Time to try another approach.

    Great post!

  4. Miriam Salpeter

    “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
    Such a great quote, and unfortunately something many job seekers do without even realizing it. I really like the advice to do some self-analysis and to WRITE IT DOWN. It’s easy to think of people who meet the criteria of the “types” you suggested. It makes me think of the people who used Facebook’s “end of year status review” apps, found all of their updates were negative, but didn’t think twice about it. It’s important to be self-reflective to be able to make valuable changes.

    All great advice! Thanks for participating in the Career Collective!

  5. WalterAkana

    Hi Gayle!

    I love this post! You have really hit key issues with solid advice.

    In fact, you have put into one great post several messages that people need to hear. There’s an almost tough-love quality here that’s absolutely the right tone. Love it!

    I think the issue of taking a long hard look at yourself is perhaps the pivotal piece for me. Simply because it plays so importantly in other elements. Bad behavior online, failing to see the value of building relationships that lead to opportunity in the “hidden job market,” not being focused and realistic all come back to personal clarity.

    I’m fond of saying it’s up to people to own their lives. That includes owning their job search, and your advice – if heeded – can certainly help with that!

    Happy New Year!

  6. Megan Fitzgerald

    Great points Gayle!

    I particularly like the point you made about accessing the hidden job market through people. I think sometimes the fact that people hire people – not companies – gets lost amongst the efforts to present well to a target organization.

    Self reflection and being honest with yourself is also incredibly sage advice. Sometimes we are what is getting in our own way of job search success.


  7. Hannah Morgan

    First, I love the photo! LOL! It says it all. We all have done things we regret. It is how we change, alter, recover, adapt, persist that sets us apart.

    Thank you for making people think about what they’ve been doing and not been doing so that they can alter their approach!

    Outsourcing the time intensive writing of marketing material to someone who has the proven skills is also sage advice.

    Happy New Year!

  8. Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

    Another very strong post with lots to comment on!

    I’ll just hone in on one section: “Take a long hard look at yourself.” MANY of us, at one time or another, find ourselves languishing in emotional baggage because of this, that or the other unfair disadvantage we are beset with.

    An attitude readjustment, as you wisely advise is spot on! ANYone (yes, anyone) can take control of their emotional reins and become more positively focused. It may mean tapping into another positive soul, whom we admire and aspire to be like who will encourage and cajole us to see our own wonderfulness in a new light … feeling and exuding confidence again. It may also mean tapping career resources (career communications consultants/resume writers, career coaches and so forth) who are trained to steer careers in the right, positive direction.

    This advice is vital for job seekers and careerists to heed!

    Thank you!



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About Gayle Howard

If you are interested in working with Gayle Howard—an executive resume writer, Certified Master Resume Writer, multi-award-winning resume writer, and Master LinkedIn profile writer, drop her a line now using the contact form at the link above. Gayle can help you get interviews for your dream job and bring the world of business to you by maximizing your exposure and connections on LinkedIn.