According to Albert Einstein, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
John has been unemployed for about four months now. He’s had two interviews that came to nothing and has no plan or strategy for moving forward. He keeps sending the same resume and cover letter to the same type of jobs, and finds jobs from the same newspaper and job board weekly. If he’s said “I just don’t understand it!” once, he’s said it 100 times. And that’s just today.
Attempts by friends to offer suggestions, contacts or a chat and a coffee are dismissed by John with a rueful smile and an internal conviction that they just don’t understand the predicament he’s in.
John is living that definition of insanity. He’s doing the same thing over and over, trying nothing new and hoping against all obvious pointers to the contrary, that this “strategy” will actually work!
Four months is enough time to indicate that something isn’t working. Assuming there are no obvious challenging situations such as a period in jail, a serious workplace injury in his field, or an easily identifiable and turbulent work history of drugs or absenteeism, then there should be no reason that at the very least, John isn’t getting shortlisted for a job.
If this sounds a little like you, then it’s time to conduct a job search audit and review what’s working, what is not, and then take the steps necessary to resolve these problems. Keep doing what you’re doing and you can only expect the same result!
- Audit problem No. 1. One impediment to getting interviews is that you are applying for jobs for which you are not qualified. Remember this: it is not just a lack of skills or education that makes people unqualified. A General Manager applying for a factory job or an entry-level customer service role because he or she is desperate for work, is as equally unqualified as a high school student applying for a management role with a multinational. The best way to get a job, is to apply for roles for which you have a recent history, and that are age and skills appropriate. If you’re not doing that, then change your mindset. You can do the “dream job” or the risky career move later from the safety and comfort of a regular pay packet. For now, you need to pay the bills so apply for jobs where you are an expert (yes even if you’re sick of it! Do you want to be bored or unemployed?
- Audit problem No. 2. If you are perfect for these advertised roles, tick all boxes and yet you still don’t get interviews, then it would be a good idea to re-visit your resume. Has it been created professionally? Does it sell your skills? If you are unsure, do some research. Look at top resume writing sites and review their samples. Look at the formatting, look at the content. Does this reflect yours? If not, you may want to revisit the resume with the aim of making it more contemporary, branded and persuasive.
- Audit problem No. 3. Have you been waiting for the classified advertisements in the newspaper on employment day and looking at SEEK? Have you been doing anything else? If not, you know what they say about putting “all your eggs in one basket”! Shake up your approach! By applying for advertised jobs, you’re placing yourself in the largest pool of candidates available. That’s where the greatest competition lies. Keep that up, but add another string to your job search bow. Try networking. Accept the offer of a coffee from employed friends; you never know what insights they can offer about upcoming jobs or people leaving their companies. Follow up, find out who to approach from your friends who have the inside knowledge and see if you can get before a decision maker.
- Audit problem No. 4. Your resume should not be the only way to communicate your value. Are you using social networking to its advantage? How is your Linkedin profile looking? Are you updating the status, creating persuasive, compelling content to woo people looking for a person like you? Are you joining groups online in your industry? What about Twitter? Are you following every recruiter in your area, state and country? What about resume writers and coaches? This information is free and is yours for the taking. Did I mention this valuable information is free?
- Audit problem No. 5. It’s normal to miss out on the job when you’ve been called to an interview. After all, only one person can win it. But just how many interviews are you attending? If you attend a lot of interviews, it is usually a good sign that you’re applying for the right jobs and that your resume is working. What is it about you then that never gets you to the short list? It may be worth doing a bit of role playing with an interview coach or looking at your responses in greater depth. Are you turning off people because you’re too aggressive, too negative and whiny? Do you look defeated and miserable? Are you giving off a desperate puppy vibe? Are you too confident? Too timid? If you can’t look realistically at yourself, then an interview coach can work wonders in helping you see where you are letting yourself down. (Especially if you have a challenging background to communicate).
You’ve read the top five ideas to help you redefine, re-tool and re-energise your job search when it goes off track. Is it time for you now to conduct your job search audit?
I am honoured to be part of the Career Collective, a group of career professionals who band together to speak out on job search topics once a month. Please see links below to other career professionals and gain insight into other perspectives for tossing out old ideas and retooling your job search. Please also search Twitter for the #CareerCollective hashtags.
- Personal Branding to Fire Up Your Job Search, @DebraWheatman
- Succeeding in a “Final Jeopardy!” World, @WalterAkana
- 5 Steps to Retool & Jumpstart Your Job Search, @erinkennedycprw
- Checklist for Spring Cleaning Your Job Search, @careersherpa
- 5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Job Search, @heatherhuhman
- Ten Surefire Ways to Organize Your Job Search, @KatCareerGal
- Put Spring Into Your Job Search, @EliteResumes @MartinBuckland
- Toes in the Water, @ValueIntoWords
- How to Revitalize a Stale Job Search, @KCCareerCoach
- How to re-think your job search, @Keppie_Careers
- Wake Up and Smell the Flowers: Spring Cleaning Your Resume, @barbarasafani
- Spring Cleaning and Your Personal Brand, @resumeservice
- Spring clean your mind clutter first, @DawnBugni
- Managing Your Career 2.0: On Giving Something Up To Get It Right, @Chandlee
- Clean up, Chin, up, Shape up, @LaurieBerenson