By Gerald Walsh ©
Looking for a job can be terribly frustrating especially when it’s taking a lot longer than you hoped.
Sometimes there are legitimate barriers. Perhaps you lack certain skills or the economy happens to be soft in your field.
But often, the source of the problem is a set of false assumptions many of us have about the job market.
Have you told yourself any of these lies?
1. I can’t network because I don’t have many contacts.
Yes, it is easier to find a job if you have an established network. But even if you don’t, you can still approach people doing the job you want and ask them for advice on their career, company, and industry.
2. It’s easier looking for a job if I have a job.
Think of how many of your friends, relatives, and former co-workers have lost their job for one reason or another. Almost everyone has been downsized and there is no longer a stigma attached to being unemployed.
3. I don’t send cover letters. No one reads them.
True, some employers discard cover letters. But many others read them carefully. Don’t take the chance. A good cover letter gives you an opportunity to explain why you are interested in and qualified for the job. It also shows the hiring manager that you have taken the time to research their organization.
4. I am over 50. No one hires older workers.
The important question is whether you have the skills, education and experience to do the job. Age is much less a factor than it was. Also, many employers like to hire older workers because they believe they will stay longer and are more reliable.
5. I will apply for every job. It will increase my chances of getting one.
Employers can easily spot a general, mass application and don’t like them. You should be selective and apply only for those jobs where you meet the qualifications. Employers appreciate applicants who research their organization and demonstrate how they can value.
6. I’m registered with a recruiting firm. They will find me a job.
Recruiters are hired by employers to fill their job openings. You are not their client. Recruiters will only recommend you to an employer if they think you are a strong fit for that employer’s needs.
7. I can’t find a job. Something must be wrong with my resume.
People spend far too much time worrying about their resume. No question—you need a well-written resume and should invest time at the beginning of your search ensuring it is accurate, thorough, and professional. But you will see your greatest return by reaching out to your personal connections and meeting as many people as possible.
8. I will get this job because I’m the perfect fit.
Just because you have the skills an employer is seeking, it doesn’t mean you will get a job offer. Employers also look for “fit” and the ability to learn. The truth is many employers will choose someone with fewer skills and a great attitude over someone with all the skills—but who seems hard to get along with.
9. I have changed jobs a lot. That will work against me.
Employers understand that a traditional career path with one employer is a thing of the past and that people must change jobs a lot to advance their careers, especially in your early career.
10. Nothing happens over the summer. I’ll put my job search on hold.
People think that hiring stops in the summer and that job searching then is a waste of time. The truth is that people leave their jobs at all times of the year. Always stay active in the job hunt. In fact, try stepping up your activity during slow times—it may be easier to network with the people you want to meet.
To share your thoughts on this blog post, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and author. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @@Gerald_Walsh