Q. My job search is horrible. I hate every step of this process and thought I’d be energized after the summer and able to get reengaged. I thought companies would be moving more quickly too, and that is not my experience. It is not easy to stay motivated, or even positive. People ask how my job search is going and I know I should say that it is going well, and I am not. I am bummed out and I’m not sure what to do from here.
A. You are not alone. Most people are not thrilled about the job search process, and often dwell on the negative aspects of each step. They should instead put some focus on what is interesting about what they are doing and focus on what they are learning. Utilizing career coaches, outplacement if offered, and attending state, community and religious organization job search support groups are all excellent ways to build your emotional energy and be an effective job seeker. These groups also offer a great place to learn from the highs, lows and hilarity that can occur in this process.
Starting from a positive place is key to running an effective search. People in the job search and their friends and family are not aware of how much rejection takes place in a search. As much as career consultants try to prepare job seekers, many people are surprised and a bit battered by being ignored, delayed, dismissed, and told no – on a regular basis. Keeping emotionally stable, even upbeat, involves having support and a great sense of humor. Share your vulnerability, in the right place – not in networking meetings or interviews.
I consulted Dr. Paul Powers, a psychologist, career expert and author of a great new job search book, Don’t Wear Flip-flops to Your Interview: And Other Obvious Tips That You Should Be Following to Get the Job You Want. According to Powers, “Great candidates are created, not born. It is within your power…” A successful job search takes extreme focus and effort.
Powers’ tactical, step-by-step advice suggests, “Taking the time and energy to dissect and understand the process, learn from the experience of others, identify the skills you need, have the guts to assess and learn from your own performance along the way, you can go from being a good job hunter to a great job hunter.”
The need to reengage means the job search has stalled. Powers’ book lists 10 questions to determine why a job search has stalled, and more importantly, the actions to take to reengage. The number one question he asks the job seeker is, “How much time and energy is he or she investing in the search? It needs to be full time if he or she is unemployed, and at least 10 hours a week if employed.” No one wants to hear this reality, but ask any job hunter about the process he or she went through which finally led to success, and you will hear a story with similar numbers.
The challenges you have outlined are overcome by job seekers every day. People do get jobs, though they may suffer through the process, and they enjoy continued or new success.
-Elaine Varelas, Managing Partner, Keystone Partners