Sometimes finding that right next job takes a little, or a lot, longer than you anticipate. Often I hear from people, “It used to be so easy, just submit a resume or fill out an application and you got a job – it’s a lot harder now!” Yes, it is.
Days turn to weeks, weeks can turn into months. It is frustrating and humbling. It is not like you want to sit around and eat bon-bons all day – you want to work but the work is hard to find. So how do you communicate the fact that even though the time period has been long you really do want a job?
1. Make sure you are participating in activities that are geared toward employment. Volunteering, taking classes, networking – anything that is expanding your contacts or giving you additional skills. Sitting at home in your sweats perusing the online want ads is not a plan. It can be a piece of your overall plan, but not the sum of the whole.
2. Know what type of job you want. When someone tells me they just want a job they do not realize it but it makes them unforgettable. No one will take just any job. You want the job of the guy that scrapes road-kill off the road? How about a cow enema specialist? You can be looking for different jobs – but at least know what they are.
3. Adapt to your audience. Not everyone knows what you do or did or how well you did it. This is why you need to adapt to your audience. If you are speaking to people from your industry then you can use the key words and phrases that you both understand. If you are talking to someone who is unfamiliar with what you do then you will need to adapt your communication in a manner in which they will understand your message clearly.
4. Give your value not your title. Another sure fire way to be unforgettable is to tell people that you are a specific title or you are looking for a specific job title. Manager, Director, Supplier, Banker, Driver – these are all vague and, well, forgettable. It is not just your value, but who is your audience, who do you serve, how do you help and how have you succeeded in the past that are important aspects to delivering the right message.
5. Look for the link. Do not be afraid to ask people if they might know someone in the transportation, health care, financial or whatever your field happens to be. People will want to help; sometimes you just need to provide a little push to get them to see how they can.
What is you are in an interview and the question comes up why you have been looking for so long. Although this is a humiliating question and can naturally put you on the defense – don’t. One thing you can say in response is, “Just as you are looking for the right candidate I am looking for the right company. I have been interviewing several to ensure I find the right fit.” Then be prepared to explain what you have been doing in the meantime and what your qualifications are for that right company.
Keep putting one foot in front of the other and don’t give up. With every step you take remember to think about how this can help you, how you can turn it into a positive for a prospective networking opportunity or how you can use as an example in an interview. It is not just that first step that begins the journey of a thousand miles; it is all the little steps after the initial one that make a difference.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.