Why Can't I Find a Job?

Frank Traditi

If you earned a dollar each time you asked yourself that question, your money problems would disappear, right?

There's a good reason why. It's the alarming fact that most people are never taught how to look for work. They may learn how to interview, write their resume, or take a career assessment, but these are individual skills useful at some stage of the process. The job search process itself is rarely included in school curricula or taught at career and placement centers. So instead of designing an effective job search campaign, the typical job-seeker begins looking for work by reading ads in the newspaper or postings in the Internet.

Sadly, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that between 74-85% of all jobs are never advertised. According to a Forrester Research study, 73% of the people who find work locate their job by a method other than applying for an advertised position. It's no wonder that job-seekers spend so many months on their job search, or become so frustrated that they give up looking for work. They are looking in all the wrong places.

Successful job-seekers refuse to ask that dreaded question of themselves or others. Instead, they consistently employ four key principles throughout every job search. Each principle is critical on its own. But to successfully land the job they want, they know that each one interacts with and supports the other.

The Four Key Principles of Successful Job Seekers

  1. Use job search strategies that work. Two of the biggest challenges job-seekers face are knowing which job search approaches are the most effective, and figuring out where to start in finding job opportunities. Successful job-seekers know that any approach that helps them find and connect with the right people will eventually land them the job they want. Answering want ads and Internet postings are a waste of time. Developing relationships through networking, referrals, informational interviewing, and recruiters gets them closer to, if not right on top of, their ideal job. They know that in a competitive job market, they cannot rely on passively looking for positions already advertised. They actively market themselves to the people who are likely to hire them.
  2. Stick to a step-by-step, action-oriented process. The typical job-seeker quickly becomes overwhelmed by his or her job search. There are million things to do, places to look, and people to talk to, but they don't have a system for putting the pieces together. Job-seekers who know the score, design and implement a game plan that includes setting a specific and attainable goal, actions steps to take every day or week, and a system to track their progress. If they don't realize the results they want to achieve, they don't abandon this plan. Rather, they make adjustments that get them back on track.
  3. Stay motivated in face of frustration and rejection. Rejection letters, no return calls, and outdated information are all part of the normal working day of a job-seeker. Most people get frustrated and angry with this every-day occurrence and give up. The successful job-seeker sees this as opportunity or a positive learning experience. They don't let the fear of rejection get in the way of their progress. By sticking to their plan, they don't give up during the job search. They are motivated by the goals they've set and nothing will deter them from that accomplishment.
  4. Know when to ask for help. Looking for a job can sometimes be the loneliest job in the world. Uncertainty and doubt set in with many a job-seeker when things don't go right. Perhaps even a sense of pride sets in and the thought of asking someone for help makes them feel like a charity case. Conversely, successful job-seekers know that they cannot do this alone. They stack the odds in their favor by adding some outside help to their job search campaign. They want to be accountable to someone other than themselves. They need to get a different point of view, or perspective, on their progress or challenges. And, they seek out support from people who care about their progress or help them develop the tools they need to win.

The next time you ask yourself or someone else, "why can't I find a job," you now know all is not lost. Implementing a solid action plan, sticking to your goals, and seeking help when you need it most, puts you in charge of your destiny. Simply put, you are just a few steps away from being a success.

Copyright © 2005, Frank Traditi

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