Are you desperate for a job?Â A valid question, I think, in todayâ€™s environment.Â I read a news report that asked if being unemployed was going to become a permanently subsidized condition.Â I wonder at what point desperation turns to numbness?Â When does job hunting becomes no different a â€œrutâ€ than those joyless, lifeless jobs that some are â€œfortunateâ€ to have?Â For some, it is two years going on three years of fruitless job hunting.
Still, if you have been unemployed for a while, the fundamental truth is â€“ you are where you are and nothing will change that.Â Your only option is to move forward.Â The issue is, as always, how do you move forward?Â Let us talk about that.
First and foremost, you must take some time â€“ say a weekend â€“ and do a deep look at what you have been doing and what you want to do.Â I am no omnipotent career guru nor would I presume to dispense some psychobabble about seeking and understanding your inner motivations.
I do know this, if you have been unemployed for a long stretch of time, you are on the wrong track.Â People get hired every day. Â Â There may be a net job loss at the moment, but a net loss only means more lost their jobs than were hired.Â Ah yes, some were hired.Â There is no reason why you should not be a part of that â€œsome were hiredâ€ group.
- Have you become jaded?
- Have you become cynical?
- Do you expect rejection?
If any of those questions resonates with you, then you become victim to a self-fulfilling prophecy.Â Rejection feeds into your negativity that feeds into your cynicism that feeds into more rejection.Â You must break the cycle, but to do that, you must know and accept that you are in this cycle (or you may not be, you may be doing just fine and it is just a matter of time for you).Â
And you must stop doing things that create more rejection â€“ that is, stop mailing out dozens of resumes to jobs posted on-line or in the Sunday paper.Â For most, that method of getting a job will now and forever be one of the least â€“ truly least â€“ productive means of getting a job.Â And the constant rejection and/or lack of contact will be numbingly depressing.Â It is no less different for the huge, generic job fairs at the local convention centers.
A path more likely to succeed is to network.Â Yet, if you network in desperation, it will be a toxic disaster.Â Networking becomes a train wreck when:
- Using on-line tools like email to send out a generic broadcast to all you know, asking (or is it begging?) for help in getting a job.Â In days gone by, it used to be into the circular file, now it is just click delete.Â The help you ask for must always be specific, targeted and within your contact’s circle of influence.Â Put yourself in your “friend’s” shoes; how excited will she be to receive a generic plead for help?
- Calling someone you think can help you and wasting their time.Â There is nothing as destructive as a meandering, pointless hour lunch.Â Value your contactâ€™s time and your contact will value yours.Â Most do not have a magic wand that open all doors, but your contact, or mentor, may provide you with insight that could help you open the door yourself.Â
- Attending a networking event with an â€œanother, blank-blank, networking event, what a waste of time, blah, blahâ€ attitude.Â If you are just going through the motions because networking is something everyone says you must do, then do not.Â People will smell your indifference and tired act before you even enter the door.Â When you go to one of these events â€“ it is show time.Â The months, the years, the rejections all fade to nothing as you take the stage.Â It is show time.Â It is the part you must play regardless of baggage you carry.
- The longer you stay unemployed, the harder it becomes to accept that networking is more give than receive.Â The truth is that more you give and give may not ever lead to receive.Â Yet you must give.Â It is not about you.Â It is about how you can help others, and perhaps, have it come back to you (is it karma?).Â Â Â This is hard, but it is fundamental to networking.Â It is building relationships.Â It is having a generous spirit, even when the cupboards are bare.Â
- Odysseus used the Trojan horse to destroy Troy.Â If you have an ulterior for every meeting and every call, then what you destroy is your credibility and opportunities.Â Â Vague requests for a lunch meeting or emails that call for getting together without spelling out why are Trojan horses.Â Asking for advice on how to tweak a resume, when what you really want is to that contact to look at your resume and hire you is a Trojan horse.Â It will breed contempt.Â It is so much easier to be up front and truthful.Â
There are other issues with networking that I will explore in future articles and postings.Â But do not let your past rejections and negativity disrupts your job hunt.Â Be positive, or at least act positive, and help first without expectation of a favor.