November 14, 2011

Purge the Mistakes from Your Job Search

Are you job searching? Tons of people are and, depending on which statistics you follow, the average period of unemployment is pretty long – perhaps as high as eight months.

Of course, statistics can be misleading and even inaccurate, so it’s difficult to say that one particular number is correct. That said, here’s something that occurs to me: If the average length of unemployment right now really is eight months, and as a career counselor I know dozens of people who have been unemployed for a year or more, does that mean there are other folks getting jobs very quickly?

Yes, it must, since that’s what “average” means – some people take longer than eight months, and some take fewer than eight months to find work.

Okay. So which are you going to be? If you’ve been at this a while, ask yourself why. Remember, it can’t only be the economy if others are working. How did they get their jobs? What more do you need to do to find work? Are you willing to do it?

Before you think of extreme solutions, such as working in another country or signing up for dangerous duty, consider this: The difference between those who find work quickly and those who don’t often comes down to who had a plan.

Job search planning isn’t just about choosing a job and revising your resume, although those are essential steps. A good plan also includes a daily pace of outgoing calls and letters, benchmarks to assess productivity, and a timeline for moving to Plan B. A person determined to get a job quickly, say three months, will spend the first two months chasing every option for their goal job, then switch to Plan B for the last month. One way or another, this person will be employed, even if the job isn’t ideal, within the timeframe they set. That’s the power of having a plan.

Another hallmark of successful seekers is their willingness to correct mistakes. For example, upon learning that relationships are solidified through ongoing contact, they will incorporate job fair followup into their process – rather than simply attending a job fair, dropping off resumes, and waiting for the phone to ring.

Nobody loves doing intense job search, or taking a lesser job. But if you’d rather be employed than unemployed, and sooner rather than later, this might be the right steps for you.

Sign up for our newsletter!