Why Can’t I Find A Job?

Suppose you could go inside the mind of a hiring manager. The place where you could actually understand their idea of the ideal candidate. The place where you could find out exactly what they’re looking for. What would it be like if you knew all the little secrets of how their hiring decisions are made? Do you think this information could give you an advantage over other job candidates?

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I’ve recently met several people who have been out of work for a long period of time. One person for over nine months and the other person has been unemployed for over a year and a half. What I found interesting is that both of these individuals seem to have good marketable skills, and even pleasant personalities. But when I began to dig into how they approach their job searches, I could understand why they were having so much trouble finding a job.

It made me think of several times in my life when I had to find a job. Times when the economy wasn’t in very good shape, and there was a lot of competition for jobs. Oddly enough, during those times I lacked formal education and training, I even lacked experience. And yet I never had to go much beyond 30 days to find a job. And not just find a job, find a better job than the last one I had. So how was I able to do that?

I’ve also spent some time thinking about how I hire people. Because today I am a hiring manager. Now the fact is I was in ninth grade dropout till I was 27 years old, and I still don’t have a college degree of any kind, but I now hire and manage people who have master’s degrees! I read a lot of resumes and I know which ones get my attention. I interview a lot of candidates and I know why most people fail, and why the very few succeed in winning a job offer.

In thinking about this whole job search issue, I’ve identified the five basic differentiators between those who succeed easily in finding a new job, and those who don’t. Here they are

# 1. Mindset: There is definitely a huge difference between the mindset of those who win jobs easily, and those who struggle to find a job. Let me ask you a question. Who do you think is more successful in life, an optimist or a pessimist? If you were going in for surgery, would you prefer your surgeon be an optimist or pessimist? And if you were a hiring manager would you rather hire an up beat, well-balanced, positive focused person, or someone who’s down in the dumps and bummed out because they can’t find a job? Having the right mindset makes a big difference when you’re looking for a job. I’ll address this in more detail in the next article I post.

# 2. Job Search Strategy: There seems to be three basic job search strategies I can easily identify. The first one is no strategy, followed closely by the ineffective job search strategy. Judging by the conversations I’ve had with job searchers, I’d have to guess that about 95% of jobseekers fall into one of these first two categories. But when I examine my own experience with finding jobs, and I talk to people who are very successful at landing jobs quickly, I discover that we do many of the same things. And these specific methods of job searching make up the third category which is a super effective job search strategy. An effective job search strategy involves far more than just posting your resume all over the place, or answering a few job posting ads. I will go into this in deeper detail in a future post.

# 3. Resumes and Cover Letters: Employers and hiring managers are bombarded with so many resumes and cover letters that it’s impossible to go through them all. Unfortunately for job seekers, about 95% of these look, feel, and sound very similar. So most of these get thrown out without even a shot. Another 2% try to be creative but come off the goofy, also thrown out. Finally about 3% of resumes get through to a hiring manager. These are written in a specific way that are easy to read, contain all the information a hiring manager loves to hear, and look professional, and unique. These candidates get interviews.

# 4. Interviewing Skills: Here’s where people either kill their chances of getting a job, or where they win a job offer. It’s simply amazing that so few people ever master the art of interviewing. Part of the problem is that a lot of people don’t understand what a hiring manager is really looking for. They assume it has to do with their educational level, their skill level, or their job experience, but these are not the most important things to a hiring manager! I can tell you from my own experience that I hire highly educated, highly skilled, highly qualified individuals, and the last thing I’m concerned about is where their college degree came from, or if they even have one! I want to know a few simple things like… Can they do the job? Will they be good at it? Will they get along with me, our team, our customers? Will they be a pain in the butt to manage or easy to manage?  That’s the short list!  Most managers care far more about these, and a few other things, than they do about education or experience. Believe me, I’ve hired highly educated people with incredible experience who’ve turned out to be the absolute worst employees’ ever!  Candidates who know what to communicate and how to communicate to a hiring manager, will be considered for the job.

# 5. Interpersonal or People Skills: This one is huge! Hiring managers are people. People hire people they like, people they feel comfortable with. The job candidate who has mastered a few basic people skills can win over a hiring manager and increase their odds of getting the job. On the other hand, a highly educated, qualified, skilled up person, who lacks people skills, will always have a tough time winning a job offer.

In upcoming posts I will break these points out in more detail and give you valuable tips that will help you land a job anytime you want or need one!

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