June 21, 2018

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Three Persistent Job-Search Myths

Written by Kevin Donlin contributing co-author of "Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2"

In good times and bad, some people struggle to find jobs, while others seem to succeed almost effortlessly.

What's the difference?

I submit that successful job seekers aren't hamstrung by any of the following three myths.

Are you?

Myth 1. "Nobody will give me a job."

Would you walk into Wal-Mart and expect them to just give you a sack of potatoes, a new computer, or a set of luggage? No. First, you must give them something of value, which is money in this case. Only then can you get what you want.

It's the same when shopping for a job.

Before any employer will "give" you a position, you must give them something of value, to convince them to enter into an employment transaction. What can you offer? In 99% of all cases, it's proof that you can make or save more money than you'll be paid in salary.

Note: I didn't suggest you should prove you're the right one for the job. That assumes a job is already open. But why limit yourself? Smart employers don't. They are willing to create a job, on the spot, if the right person makes them an irresistible offer -- if only to keep that person from working for the competition.

What's your offer? How much money can you save or make for employers, specifically?

Stop waiting for someone to give you a job and start figuring out the value you can offer. Only then can you expect employers to exchange a paycheck for your work.

Myth 2. "I'm getting interviews, but no job offers. Guess I need more interviews."

That's like a basketball player saying, "I'm missing all my free throws. Guess I need more free throws."

What you need is to practice interviewing now, to improve your performance later. Just like in basketball or any competitive pursuit.

The simple solution is to study, practice, review, and improve.

Study by getting a book on job interviewing from the library or (just look for the perennial best sellers).

Practice by asking a friend to sit down and pepper you with real interview questions. (Don't do this with a family member -- they can't be objective.)

Review by capturing your practice session on video. Then analyze your performance like a football coach watching game film.

Finally, look for ways to improve. Did you hesitate here or ramble there? Is your body language undermining your verbal language? You get the idea.

The more comprehensive solution is to find a qualified job interview coach and work with them to improve your skills. It may be the smartest money you invest all year.

Myth 3. "I've looked, but there are no jobs out there."

This is a cousin of "Nobody will give me a job." And it can be just as damaging to your bank account.

You can quickly dispel this myth, however, when you analyze how you've "looked" for jobs "out there."

First, let's examine how you've been looking for jobs.

Answer these two questions:

  1. How many networking conversations did you have yesterday?

  2. How many of your neighbors, friends and relatives know exactly what kind of job and employer you're looking for?

If the answer to either question is "None" or "Less than 20," you can be doing more to look for jobs. A lot more.

And where exactly is the "out there" you think you've been searching?

If you're like most folks I meet, you've spent 80% of your time searching job listings online or in the newspaper. But that's like confining your search for a mate to just one singles bar that you visit over and over.

In reality, there are hundreds of potential matches "out there" not found on employment web sites (or in singles bars).

So, how can you locate those unadvertised positions in the "hidden" job market?

Here's a thought experiment to get your creative juices flowing and help you find the answer.

Ready? Imagine that, instead of looking for a job to stave off bankruptcy, you're looking for an organ transplant to stave off death.

In other words, how would you search for a new kidney?

Wouldn't you first find out how others have solved the same problem? You'd turn off the TV and start reading books and Web sites, you'd call up experts, you'd talk to friends and relatives. In other words, your all-consuming passion would be to learn all you could about the "kidney market."

After that, how many phone calls would you make every day? Where would you get in your car and drive to? Whom would you seek out and meet? What would you say to them? How convincingly would you state your case for a new kidney, with facts and passion to back it up?

There. Did you just feel a sense of determination? Resourcefulness? A conviction that you'd succeed, no matter what?

Don't let those feelings slip away. Harness and apply them to your job search. Today.

- Kevin Donlin

Kevin Donlin is contributing co-author of "Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0." Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people. For a free glimpse, visit Guerrilla Job Search System DVD.

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