So, what separates successful job hunts that end in employment and those that are going on 12 months without success and considering â€œdropping out?â€Â I wish I knew the answer, an answer I could, or would, share with you immediately.
To be clear, I do not have a definitive answer, but having been around the block a couple of times, I can eliminate some of what is not the answer.Â The biggest â€œnot the answerâ€ to me would be applying to the ads in the Sunday help wanted, week after week.Â Â Sure it works for some, but for most, I just do not see it.
Generic job fairs are another.Â I am not talking about a new Target opening with that group having a huge job fair to fill positions.Â Without a doubt, Target will hire a lot of people at that job fair.Â But trust me, most of the plum jobs willÂ have been filled long before the doors openÂ at that Target Job Fair.Â
Those specific company job fairs aside, most job fairs held at the local convention center would fall under my â€œnot the answerâ€ category.Â It is marginally better than mailing resumes, but dropping off a hundred resumes along with the thousands of other applicants dropping off their hundred resumes and your chances are meager at best.
Those two methods are at best questionable to me.Â What is not questionable are the ten mistakes job seekers, in my humble opinion, make.Â For your consideration:
1. Waiting until after you lose a job to contact â€œlong lost friendsâ€ and asking for help.Â Some folks are generous to a fault and overlook the fact that you have not called in 20 years.Â Some will not.Â Harvey Mackay calls it, â€œdigging your well before you get thirsty.â€Â Dig your well now!
2.Â Going it alone.Â Why?Â If you have contacts, if you have a good network of people who support you, ask for their help.
3.Â Going it alone because you have no support team.Â What?Â It is never truer than when you are without a job, no man is an island unto themselves.Â You need a support team of mentors, trusted friends, loved ones, and family.
4.Â Not being specific in asking for help.Â If you are going to ask for help, do it in detail.Â â€œHey, Jack â€“ just lost my job, think you can help me?â€Â How?Â This means, you must know what it is that you want before approaching your contacts.Â All my previous articles hit on researching, researching, and researching.Â So, use the research to pinpoint which contacts to ask for what help, in detail.
5.Â Wasting someone elseâ€™s time. You meet and develop a good business contact at a networking event or at a club like Toastmasters.Â You invite that person to lunch, and then, proceed to fail lunch by not having a specific idea for why you wanted to get together.Â Time is a commodity; donâ€™t waste someone elseâ€™s commodity.Â Have a plan.
6.Â Richard Bolles calls this part of research, â€œinformational interviewing.â€Â That is, your objective is to find out what it is like to work at a particular company or in an industry by interviewing someone that works there.Â Do that.Â Do not have a hidden agenda to finagle an interview or drop off resumes.Â
7.Â Not keeping in touch with people you used to work with.Â Leaving a company, whether on good terms or not, is no reason to cut ties with the people you worked with.Â You would be amazed at how much goodwill you generate with a simple Christmas Card.Â Hey, did I say that you should invite your former co-workers out for drinks once a week â€“ no â€“ send them a birthday card.
8.Â Not joining local, hobby groups.Â Be it a ski club, a weekly get together of chess players, local historianâ€™s group, or whatever your interest is, there is a group for you.Â Find it, join it, and become a part of that community.Â
9.Â Seek out your alumni.Â It is okay that you have never called your school alumni before, they are very forgiving.Â Reconnect with the school you graduated from and use the resources they have.Â It is there for you to use.
10.Â Through it all, take care of your family and yourself.