Thom Singer has a great post with his job search advice. Thom is not a job search or career coach, but he is a networking expert (he has multiple books on networking) and a really keen networker who actually meets people and tries to nurture relationships (not common amongst networking authors, I’ve found).
Thom has four points that he calls “four common job hunting mistakes.” Here they are (in red) with MY commentary (in black)… read his full post for Thom’s no-nonsense thoughts. Of course, he’s spot on.
1. Pride Kills Opportunities. Never be afraid to reach out to your network. If you have properly invested in establishing real “mutually beneficial” relationships with others, they will be there to help you in your hour of need.
When I sat down with a job counselor, after I finally admitted I couldn’t do this job search on my own (it was about a month into my job search), he asked “who do you know?” I had mentally disqualified everyone (family can’t help, friends can’t help, past coworkers can’t help, I can’t reach out to past clients, etc.) and said “no one.”
I was so wrong to think that… but I was also too scared/proud to approach those people. Humility will go a long ways in your job search, and pride will allow you to see all of the fake barriers that prevent you from moving forward. Read Thom’s comments on this point.
2. Blindly sending resumes does not work. No matter how good you are, a blind inquiry will most likely not produce interviews.
Getting your resume (or LinkedIn Profile, or business card, or whatever) is going to be a lot more effective if you have someone hand it to the hiring manager or decision-maker – as opposed to a cold email. There is one tactic I’m exploring that might produce different results, and that is having a targeted resume distribution sent out to recruiters and HR who are in your space… more on that later.
I was amazed that I sent out dozens and dozens and dozens of recruiters and got NO response. It’s like my email was directed to the BLACK HOLE.
Then I came to understand that recruiters can get hundreds of resumes a day… what set mine apart from all of the others? NOTHING.
Network your way into the job!
3. A bad attitude will keep you unemployed. How you think about your own situation will have an impact on your success.
SImilar to #1, of course… your attitude will have a huge, significant impact on your success. Have a bad attitude? No one you network with will want to introduce you to the person you need to talk to. They don’t want to risk their “relationship capital” by sending someone so negative and hurt to their contact.
The perfect post to read with regard to your attitude is also one of my favorites: I Smell Blood is where I share a time when I had a bad attitude and an HR exec called me on it. Favorite line? “HR can smell blood from a mile away!”
4. Don’t just focus on yourself. Help others. Even when you are having a tough time, finding ways to helps others can make you feel good and bring good karma.
I stopped focusing on myself after I had read Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone.
That’s when my job search got FUN. Seriously. The stress started melting away as I focused more on helping others, and feeling the rewards from that type of service. Try it – it’s almost magical.
Thanks Thom, for your four points!