Job Search Not Working? | Get Fearless

Out of a job? Hate your job? It’s time to get fearless. 

It’s useless to say, “There aren’t any jobs out there for me.” It’s pointless to grumble about being stuck in a job that’s boring. These are self-fulfilling prophesies. If you believe it, it will be so. 

My advice: Stop it! No more negative self-talk. It’s not making you feel any better. It’s not moving you forward. It’s not moving you at all. 

It’s a waste to be your own worst enemy. 

Yes, the economy isn’t pretty. The jobs are scarce. A lot of jobs aren’t fulfilling. Actually, they can suck the life out of us when the work is about following the rules and fitting in. (Seth Godin’s new book, Linchpin, gives you the skinny on this!) 

The only way prisoners get out of prison before their time is by escape. If we want career freedom, we need to go the escape route. 

There is no one-size-fits-all for prison escape. Each one is unique. We’re unique. But when looking for new jobs, we just do what everyone else does:

  • Go to Monster for job postings
  • Attend job fairs and respond to ads
  • Ask around

 Yada Yada Yada 

Figure out what kind of work (not job) you want to do and find it. 

Jobs don’t come with our names on them. They are about work we like or work we don’t. We’re happiest when we’re doing the right work. 

Here’s what we generally want in an ideal job: 

  • A company we respect
  • A work location that suits us
  • People we fit with
  • Work focused on either people, data, or things 

We need to find the people who can recommend, hire, or promote us for these jobs, so we can pursue the career path we want. 

Remember is this: It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. 

You’ve got to meet the right people on-line, in the flesh, by Skype, or over the phone. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites give you access to people who work in the companies that appeal to you, doing the work you want. This means taking the time to meet them and develop a connection. 

Here’s how it worked for me before social media made things easier

After 10 years teaching high school English, I was hungry for a new challenge. My knowledge of the business world was nil. I was intimidated by men (yes, they were all men) in three-piece suits and by those tall buildings. I was also sure no big company would hire a teacher. 

I read What Color Is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles about creative ways to job hunt. 

I wrote a letter to the human resource managers of five companies headquartered in my area, explaining my concern about the weak writing skills of high school grads. I asked if I could meet with them to find out what companies did to address that deficiency in new hires. (I assumed college hadn’t fixed the problem.) 

Each business invited me in almost immediately. I learned about their operations, their style, and their issues. I got over being intimidated. In the course of things, someone (I still don’t know who) gave a copy of my resume to the manager of the region’s electric utility company that ultimately hired me. I never had to apply. By the time I was interviewed, I felt like I belonged. 

Today, you can take steps to get discovered through blogs, tweets, and Facebook fan pages. From 80% to 90% of jobs, especially the good ones, are gotten because of networking. You have to be patient, creative, and fearless—that’s why “staying connected” is so important to becoming business fit. It just makes a huge difference.

 Do you have a fearless career experience to share? It would help give courage to others.

6 thoughts on “Job Search Not Working? | Get Fearless

  1. Dawn, here’s my fearless career experience. Armed with degrees in French and English and no desire to teach in public school, I landed a clerical job working shifts in a steel plant. It was a foot in the door and gave me knowledge of how things really worked in a large manufacturing company. Once on the inside, I contacted and had ongoing conversation with the person in charge of the management training course. Seven months later he found me a wonderful job writing and editing publications at another of their plants.

    Once in that job, I lobbied for the opportunity to teach the management development classes and finally got my boss’s OK. This might seem not all that fearless today, but this was in the early 1970’s when women were just beginning to be accepted in professional jobs, particularly in the steel industry. Those early jobs gave me the confidence and knowledge I needed to have a successful, rewarding corporate career and then start my own business 13 years ago. Lesson learned? Never be afraid to try unusual tactics and be persistent–and fearless!

    • Mary, yours is such an encouraging story. The idea of taking a low level job to get in the door is classic. What you demonstrate is that once you get in you don’t wait for the fairy godmother to open the next door. The way you engaged that training manager in “conversation” and later “lobbied” for another opportunity is fabulous. To be fearless is to take a chance when the outcome isn’t guaranteed. Well done then and in your own business now!

  2. I was trying to transition from gov’t and non-profit jobs into the corporate world. I applied for a job with General Electric. When I called to find out the status of my application I was lucky that the HR manager himself had answered the phone. He told me I was not going to be interviewed because I didn’t have the experience they were looking for, so I asked him if he would be wiling to meet with me (informational interview, like you)to help me with languaging my experience in gov’t and non-profits to the jargon of the business world. Two hours later I was in his office. In talking he realized I had more of the background he needed and he told me if I rewrote my resume the way he suggested and had it to him by 8:00am the next morning he’d give me an interview. I ended up with the job!

    • Cherry, what a great example. Think of all the people who simply take “no” for an answer and never turn it into an opportunity to gather more information. I wish more people did what you did. It gave you a perfect platform to demonstrate your openness, willingness to learn,and problem solving accumen and voila, you land the job! Priceless!

  3. I love this post, Dawn. Particularly inspiring is YOUR story, poignantly illustrative of the power of courage.

    Your uninhibited action — reaching out to HR managers and addressing a specific concern is the perfect example of a non-traditional, but pragmatic path to connect with another. You weren’t asking for a job; you were addressing a universal business concern in an intelligent, exploratory, collaborative way.

    As a result, and through a chain reaction of ‘action,’ you ultimately transformed your OWN career.

    Bravo! Bravo!


  4. You really hit on a big point here, Jacaqui. You’re right, I wasn’t “asking for a job.” For all the years that I’ve career counseled whether corporate or privately, I can’t seem to convince people to “information interview,” even though the potential pay offs are significant. Even my own example doesn’t seem to sell the idea. Have you had any better success?

    Thanks for your enthusiastic affirmations here. It always helps all of us to keep the messages front and center.

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