Finally, remember how very special you are. Know that your
backgroundeverything you've done, both positive and negativehas a reason
and purpose. It all fits together like a puzzleand makes senseif assembled
- Your goals are unclear
You haven't examined yourself carefully. You're drifting, floating,
and your resume says, "Seeking a challenging and rewarding
position in which my background, training and abilities can be
fully and effectively utilized." What is that? Are you
hoping the employer will figure out where you belong? They can't
You must figure out what you want to do and tell employers
clearly and precisely.
Begin with structured testing and assessment like the
Birkman Method®, and with time-tested paper-and-pencil exercises.
- You're pretending
You're getting rejection everywhere you go. Nothing works. Perhaps
you're trying to go somewhere you really don't belong or don't
want to go. You know it, and employers know it instinctively.
You're not listening to your insides. You're trying to do what's
"practical or realistic" rather than what's right for you.
When you listen to your intuition and go in the right direction, doors open.
- You don't "appeal" to anyone
Your resume tells the employer what you "have done"
and where you "have been," but that's not enough. They
are interested in themselves, and you need to appeal to their
situation and self-interest.
Recently, I noticed billboards for fast-food restaurants that
said, "Buses Welcome." (Buses were welcome because
each bus holds 60 customers!) The sign "Buses Welcome"
repeated until finally one sign really grabbed me. It said, "BUS
DRIVERS EAT FREE!"
Give employers 75 reasons to hire you. Make a list. Tell them
in clear and simple language what you're going to do for them.
- You're taking, not giving
You're coming across as a taker, not a giver. You're acting needy,
explaining when you can't work and what you can't do. The biggest
word in job-hunting is "Help," that's why it's called
"Help Wanted," and you need to come across as energetic
and enthusiastic. Your prospective boss may be tired, stressed
and buried under a mountain of paperwork. They probably need
help badly, and they will hire the person they think will help
them the most, the fastest, with the least amount of hassle.
The second they think you're helping them, you're on the way to
- You take "no" too easily
You make a phone call or send a letter and no one answers. So
you turn on the tape that says, "I'm Worthless." Don't
give up. "No" doesn't mean "never." It means
"not now, maybe later." If the job, the company, or
the person interests you, stay in touch.
Once you find someone you like, make them a friend. Send him an
occasional letter and something helpful. A clipping. An idea.
A piece of your work. Send it with warmth and enthusiasm. Why
do this? Because one day your friend may tell you a new job has
opened upyour job.
- You're "shopping" from a distance
Rejection letters are coming in by the hundreds. What's wrong?
Perhaps you're too impersonal, too distant. The Director of
Marketing doesn't like a letter addressed to "Director of
Marketing." Would you like a love letter addressed to "Occupant?"
Get personal. Find out who you are addressing.
A recent letter to me said, "Your article has directed and
stimulated me and I'm following your directions..." AHA!
She was talking about my favorite subject: me. Your prospective
employer might like you to talk about his or her favorite subject
- You're waiting
The interview was fantastic! You can feel it in your bones -
you've got the job. Might as well go play tennis and wait. And
wait and wait and wait. Until suddenly the bad news, "We've
hired someone else." As salesmen say, you don't have the
order (the job) until you have a check "in the hand"
and then, not until you have cashed it. Then you have a job (temporarily).
The solution is to stay busy. Keep a lot of balls in the air
so that no one "rejection" will stop you.
- You lack support
There are several kinds of people in the world. Positive people
tend to know positive people, negative people seem to know negative
people. Be sure you stay in a positive network. When someone
is especially warm or kind, ask if they know any other really
friendly people who might help. Chances are, they will. When
you meet a negative or rejecting person, go somewhere else.
- You've found a jerk
Sometimes you do everything right and still get rejected. A client
recently wrote a letter that said, "Jim Taylor's my name...Transportation's
my game." The hiring executive wrote back, "We find
your introduction somewhat interesting in that you say, 'Transportation
is your game.' Transportation is not a game to us - it is serious
business. Your brief rundown of experience indicate specialization
in areas where we are adequately staffed with competent professionals."
This seems cold and unfeeling. What can Jim do? "Judo"
the rejection! For example, he could write back, "Thank
you for your letter of... Yes, you do seem to take your work seriouslyperhaps
too seriously! I'm sending along a couple of transportation cartoons
to help lighten your mood (include them). I do take my work seriously.
Here are examples (include them). You will find me a very helpful
employee as so-and-so did (include a one-line testimonial). Thank
you for your attention. Let's talk again."
Take your power and use it. Don't let others have the last word.
Often you can have the last work if you apply a little creativity.
- You're rejecting yourself
You're telling yourself all the things you can't do, itemizing
your failures. Why not make a list of "Neat Things About
Me"and don't be modest. Or keep a "win file."
If someone says something nice about you, ask them to write it
down. They most surely will.
Zig Ziglar said: "Most people...refuse to go out on a limb
because they don't understand that the fruit is always out on
the limb." Go out on the limb, even if it occasionally means