Are You Stuck in a Job Search Rut?

You have decided it is time to look for another job.  You may be unhappy or frustrated in your current situation or maybe you need a challenge and an opportunity to learn and grow.  Many would think that making the decision is the hard part but I see many people decide they need to change jobs and then they get stuck and make no progress.  Why does this happen?  What can they do about it?

Attitude – If you consider the process of looking for a job, yet another chore to add to your to do, it will be.  When perceived as one more thing to do, it is easy to procrastinate.  Instead, see this as an opportunity to invest in your future.  Take the time to research industries, companies and roles that may be a fit for you.  Do informational interviews with alumni and other contacts.  Use all this input to clarify your targets and build a list.  When you approach the task with an attitude of investing in yourself, each step of the journey feels like progress towards your goal.  Don’t just complain about your current situation or your inability to find a new job quickly.  Do something about it.  Set targets and hold yourself accountable.

Perfectionism –   Yes, you certainly want your resume and Linked In profile to have no errors but if you are waiting for it to be perfect you will never get your search started.  Each position may require edits to your resume to best tailor it to that specific role.  Don’t immobilize your search by waiting for your materials to be perfect.  Get feedback and a careful review and then get moving.  You can always tweak it as you go along based on the feedback you receive.  Don’t derail your search by waiting for perfection.

No Heavy Lifting – You want a new job but you don’t want to invest the time in research and networking.  What you get out of the search will be a direct correlation to what you put in.  Sitting behind the computer screen and submitting online applications will not a road to success.  Research shows that more than 75% of all jobs are filled through networking.  Get off the couch and start networking.  Build a target list to focus your networking efforts.  Know where you want to go and do something every week to move you closer to your goal.

Too Stressed – I often hear job seekers explain that they are too stressed in their current job to invest time and energy in a search.  Doing the same thing over and over is not going to change the result.  You will continue to be stressed if you stay in that job.  Set realistic goals and do something every week to move your search forward – build a target list, research top companies identify alums in your top companies, schedule a networking meeting each week.  Small steps on a consistent basis will move you forward and will change the situation you are in.  Once you feel you are doing something to begin the process of change, you feel more control which often helps reduce your stress even before you achieve your goal of a new job.

Get out of your rut and begin the journey to the next step in your career.


Informational Interviews for Job Search Success – Part Two

Once you have successfully scheduled your informational interview you need to begin your preparation.  In addition to researching the company and the contact, you must also consider the most critical questions you plan to ask the contact to maximize the value of the meeting.

What to Ask in an informational interview

  • Customize the questions to each specific situation and have a reasonable number of questions to respect the contact’s time
  • Prioritize the questions you hope to address
  • Jobs/Roles
    • What responsibilities do you have in this role?
    • What is a typical day like?
    • What do you enjoy most about this work and why?
    • What do you find most challenging about this work and why?
    • What are the obstacles for someone entering this field?
    • What are the most critical skills, abilities and personal qualities for success in this field?
    • What is a typical career path to arrive in this position?  What was your path to this role?
  • Companies/Organizations/Work Environment
    • What you like and dislike about the company?
    • Why did you decide to join this company?
    • How are decisions made?
    • How would you describe the corporate culture?
    • How is the Marketing (or other) department structured?
    • How much work is done in teams?
    • What are the company’s greatest challenges and how does your work address any of those challenges?
  • Industries
    • How could someone with my background enter this field?
    • What are the major current challenges in this industry?
    • What is current demand for jobs in this field?
    • What do you like most and least about working in this industry?
    • What first attracted you to this industry?
  • Contacts
    • Would you be willing to review my target list of companies and share feedback?
    • What other companies should I be considering given my background?
    • What types of organizations hire people to perform similar functions?
    • Do you know anyone I could speak to in this specific role that interests me?
  • Advice
    • What professional journals and associations do you recommend?
    • Given my experience and skills, what advice do you have to share about target industries, companies or role?
    • If you were in my situation, what options would you prioritize?
    • If you had it to do over again in your career, what changes would you make?
    • What advice to you have for a student interested in entering this field?
  • Giving Back
    • Show your appreciation and offer to assist the person in any way you can
    • Ask permission before sending a LinkedIn request
    • Remember to say thank you by sending a handwritten thank you note, make a positive impression so you can stay connected