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Make sure your job search is successful

Job seekers want to know “How long will my job search take?”  At one time they could count on a month’s worth of looking for every $15,000 of income.  Finding a $100,000/year job used to take a little more than 6 ½ months.  Those were the “good old days” when we still believed there was enough work to go around and finding a new job was simply a matter of finding the right fit.  Today we are not so sure.

I routinely meet people who have been looking for 5 years or more.  They want to know why their job search has taken so long.  Most prefer to blame it on the economy.   While the Great Recession has had an impact (finding suitable work takes longer), a lot of hiring has taken place in the last five years.  The more helpful question is “Has your job search failed?”

The truth is the job market has changed a lot over the past few years and the old methods of looking for a job don’t work as well as they used to.  Yes, there is a new job market out there and understanding how it works is more important than ever.

Your job search will fail if you fail to:

  1. Present your candidacy as the perfect fit for a position.  Of necessity companies/organizations have gotten pickier about whom they hire.  Finding a “good fit” is no longer good enough.  Your job is to convince prospective employers that you are the very best possible fit and bring attributes to the job that are difficult to find in other candidates.
  2. Understand that your resume is not about you.  It is about what the employer wants from you.  You need to find what problems they want to resolve or issues they want addressed by filling the position you are applying for.  To find out, carefully review the position description, visit the employer’s web site and read some industry publications.  Then describe your skills and talents in the same language employers uses to describe their problems.
  3. Present a professional on-line image.  Reference checking starts with checking out someone’s on-line image.  It is cheaper and less time-consuming than traditional reference checking.  Far too many people are casual about the things they post or allow to be posted on their Facebook page.  Those who are indiscrete are easily eliminated from consideration.   On the flip side, people who take the time to post professional, creative and thoughtful ideas tend to get a second look.  Remember, if it is on-line, it’s out there for others to see.
  4. Use social media effectively.  A post which asks “Does anyone know where I can find a job” is classic laziness.  People are more willing to help if they sense you have done some homework.  Be industrious by uncovering opportunities and asking for connections in certain industries or with certain people.  Share what you find with others.  Largess of spirit is a demonstration of character companies find attractive.
  5. Be flexible. In a rapidly evolving job environment new careers are cobbled together from old skills and creative ways of thinking.  An engineering professor at Northwestern University told me they no longer “teach engineering.”  Their students are taught to “solve problems to improve the lives of people.”  There will always be a need for those.


I have covered these points and more in my latest book, Cracking the New Job Market: The 7 Rules for Getting Hired in Any Economy (Amacom, 2011).

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Solavei says: July 19, 2012

    Many people feel, and rightly so, that searching for a job can be one of the most stressful things in life. There are so many issues beyond your control not to mention the bills that add up if you’re out currently of work. So how can you lessen the stress and make sure you’re not killing your own chances of success?

    • Bill Holland says: November 5, 2012


      Thaks for your comment.
      You are absolutely correct about the need to manage stress. There are many resources to help-Insert “stress manaagement” in your browser and get the help you need. Meanwhile, I try and contribute by telling people to quit blaming themselves for being out of work. It is in the nature of the new job market and happens to the very best of workers. Get to a positive state of mind as quickly as you can. It will help with the job search.

  2. Peter Wilson says: November 2, 2012

    In the past 8 years i have been working with the natural gas companies across the united states, Driver of all type of trucks and operating some heavy equipment, When i was in the Army i drove trucks and operated heavy and light equipment,i had a very diverse back ground while in the army.


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