Five Truths About Job Search
Over the last 20+ years, and especially since founding my company in 2003, I’ve seen these things to be true:
- About 85% of the time, it’s candidates themselves who hinder their own job searches. You must get out of your own way. Must.
How do they mess things up? They become untrue to themselves. Oh, they start out with goals that fit and are real for them, and which their successes support. Then in mere weeks they relent: They talk themselves into a job at that company where no one ever gets promoted, or the company where they always have layoffs, or they apply for the job that demands for 80%+ of the time they use skills they don’t like using – in every case, because “it’s a job”.
This happens over and over and they wonder why they’re not happy in this career history they’ve created for themselves, and how is it that others seem a lot more satisfied in their careers. So give your goals a fighting chance – don’t get in their way. They are worth going for!
- Job search (i.e., career) success comes from trying things that are scary because they’re out of your comfort zone. So, for example, I tell candidates, “Throw your hat in the ring just to SEE if it’s what you want.” Meaning, too often job descriptions are poorly written and it’s not until the candidate is actually talking with the employer that they get the real picture of the job – and they might like it and want it far more than they did by just what the job description said in the posting. I’ve seen this happen more times than I can count.
- “No one method or idea in job search is always right, no one method or idea is always wrong.” So said Richard Nelson Bolles of What Color is Your Parachute? fame. It’s true.
- Sometimes in job search, it’s a certain, concrete, predictable step that’s next. But often job search is “You’ll make it up as you go along”. In other words, sometimes it’s a science, and even more of the time, it’s an art.
Putting it another way: Sometimes you can see the job search “road” clearly ahead for miles. But as E.L. Doctorow said about writing, job search is “like driving at night in the fog – you can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way”.
- The search is something you have to do for yourself – a coach or recruiter or marketing company or parent can’t do it for you, regardless of whether you are Gen X, Y, Z, or boomer. Like driving or managing your finances, it’s a skill you need to develop because you’ll be using it again. And while parts of it will remain the same, parts will change.