If you're in the job market, you may want a job quickly. Few job seekerseven
high-level managerscan sustain a job search for more than three
or four months without suffering. There's something inside us
that says, "I have to be working . . . and I have to be working
Job hunting can be a tough road. The job search has been described
as "the highest highs" and "the lowest lows."
From beginning to end, it's often an emotional roller coaster.
The market is highly competitive. There are usually more applicants
than jobs, and supply exceeds demand. It's often lonely, because
everyone else is working, and you have way too much free time.
In addition, job hunting is sales, and you're probably not a salesperson.
More than likely, you're an accountant, a factory worker, a technical
specialist, or a manager. Sales is unfamiliar, uncomfortable territory.
Without help, you might make costly, time-consuming mistakes and
stay unemployed longer than necessary. Why take a risk?
Every job search is different. It's possible to talk to a
or hiring manager, take a short interview, and be hired on the
spot. But that's rare. It's more normal to agonize, to have ups
and downs, to suffer rejection and disappointment, and to confront
realities you don't like, either in yourself or in the world at
large. Although every job hunt is different, a typical transition
is somewhat predictable, and these are the eleven steps along
- Job Loss
Sometimes change is forced: you're fired outright or lose your
job in a corporate reorganization. Other times, change is self-initiated:
you lose faith in the boss, the company, your skills, or your
career futureand you decide it's time to move on. Whether your
change is forced or self-initiated, it's still difficult, because
change itself is difficult.
You know you need a job, but you're not sure what to do. Should
you continue on your current path or try something new? You're
confused and need direction. You talk to friends, read career
books, and seek advice. You want to choose the right course, and
you're afraid to make a mistake.
Trying to get all your life experience onto one or two pages is
frustrating, even angering. As you "waste time on the resume,"
you note a sense of urgency and begin to feel you're not getting
- Cover Letters
You prepare letters to friends and begin answering want ads. Once
your letters are in the mail, there's a lag time before the phone
starts ringing. You're increasingly impatient.
Calling to ask for appointments is somewhat frightening. You feel
like you're begging and "using your friends," but once
you get the hang of it, it's great fun! You discover that others
do want to help. However, you lose patience quickly, because informational
meetings aren't "real interviews."
- Job Search
You're now Vice President of Sales and Marketing for your own
company, "Me, Inc." Hustle is the name of the game.
You attend organizational meetings, write to companies, take friends
to lunch, and do anything and everything possible to develop job
The phone rings and you're invited to an actual job interview.
You're scared and nervous. This could be the big one, and you
could mess it up. You read books on interviewing, role-play difficult
questions, and touch up your wardrobe. If the meeting goes well,
you're high; if not, you're low. Either way, you're often kept
waiting, and waiting is painful.
Midway in the process you "hit the wall." Although you've
tried your best, you don't feel you've gotten anywhere. Nothing
seems to be working. You get discouraged and feel you haven't
done anything right. You get angry, irritable, and want to quit.
Perhaps you can't get interviews; or if you can, no offer is forthcoming.
Sometimes the perfect job you've been counting on falls through
and you have to start over. Regardless of the reasons, you fight
frustration, confusion, self-doubt, angerand especially impatience.
In such situations, these inspirational ideas might help you.
- Job Offer
Finally, you receive a specific job offer. It's not perfect, but
it's worth discussing. This lifts your spirits. You get on the
phone and fan the flames of other warm leads. If you're lucky,
this produces a second or third offer.
- Salary Negotiations
Most companies have fixed salary structures, and there isn't much
room to negotiate. You negotiate within the limits. Usually, if
you like the company and they like you, salary isn't a deal killer.
You reach quick agreement.
- New Beginnings
Once you accept an offer, you feel a tremendous sense of reliefand
so do your family and friends. Now you can go back to being a
human being. You feel good about life and look forward to your
future. You send thank yous to everyone who's helped.
"Next time," you say, "this whole process will be much, much
easier. And I hope there is no next time."
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