Monday, May 18, 2009

Found Anything Yet?

Everyone who’s involved in job search has heard the question from caring friends or family: “Have you found a job yet?” It’s nice that they’re interested, and I try to be gracious and kind when I respond with the simple: “Not yet.” (The question is akin to the one we discussed earlier "Are we there yet?" It's about the destination!)

But that question deserves a more accurate response. Truthfully, I’ve found lots of jobs. Finding a job is not the problem here! Getting the job seems to be more of my problem.

When I first began this search, I would get so excited—almost giddy, if I can use that term and maintain my macho image—when I would find something interesting and intriguing in my field. But getting the job has proven more elusive. (Obviously!)

Personal Note: Honestly, there have been times during this job search that I’ve thrown out my ideals and gone after jobs that really didn’t interest me or that were not in my career field. As the search drags on, it takes on the quality of a singles’ bar. I’m no longer looking for the hottest hook-up in the place; I’m just ready for anyone who’ll take me home. I’ve lowered my expectations from “Mr. Right” to “Hey, you!” (Hmmm. And because the need for an income dictates my motives, does that makes me…well, we won’t go there!)
Finding a job is almost totally dependent on me. There’s effort and energy involved that must come from me. And if it’s important (which my bank account tells me it is!), it involves an abundance of extended attention. Finding a job = my job. If I'm lazy or passive, it will be apparent: I will remain unemployed!

I have to do the daily searches. When I find potential jobs, I must research the sites and the companies who post jobs. I revise my resume to highlight my skills for that open position and I craft the most appealing cover letter known to modern literature that compliments my point-on resume. I do the networking with those who can point me to the right place, position or person. I read the articles online (better resumes, guaranteed interview techniques, improving the cover letter, using social networking, etc.). This is one of those areas where I can truly say “It’s all about me!”

I’ve been doing this for a while now and I have yet to experience any kind of miraculous intervention. Job finding is the burden of the job seeker. Though I’ve posted my resume on the major (and minor) job boards, no one has called me to make an offer just by the passive presence of my resume. I know there are personal shoppers, but I haven’t found personal job seekers who’ll do all the work for me. (Hey, would that be a possible entrepreneurial option?)

Side Note: I am not taking into account all the spurious invitations I get from those who scour the job boards to make bogus offers to the naive (or desperate) seeker. When you are job searching, be wary of those who contact you because they saw your resume on the Internet. There are many scams out there. I get regular emails from those who claim that my resume stood out and they want to offer me (one of the chosen few) a wonderful opportunity. I’ve also had the offers to join a team with a lucrative income, just as soon as I complete a required training…which I would pay for as proof of my commitment. (FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS?!) And I’ve gotten a couple of messages from the former finance minister of an obscure province in Africa. Since I am in need of income (but an obviously deserving person), he will gladly send me several million dollars...if I will just provide my bank account information.

Getting a job is much more...fluid. I can have that bullet-proof resume combined with stellar cover letter and still not get an interview. I’ve had two occasions where I was in the final candidates, but still didn’t get the job. The decision of getting a job is not so much mine as it is those who do the hiring. I can do everything right, and still not be the one chosen. That doesn’t mean there isn’t always room for improvement—and I always recommend an honest self-evaluation afterwards—but the ultimate decision is not mine. Some things, much to my frustration, are beyond my control. (Not that I have control issues!)

I’ve learned (or am learning) that’s it’s essential to only take responsibility for my part in the process. I can beat myself up that I didn’t “get” the job, or I can channel that emotion into the continued process of “finding” another one—which I might actually get.


  1. As a 12 year expert with all the acronyms, experience, and excitement that come along with my former 100K+ salary, I have to humbly concede to the fact that my job "find" is out of my control. The number of websites, blogs, suggestions, tweets, and boards I've read about the "perfect" actions I can take have amounted to two interviews in 5 weeks of searching. I've done my part, but this economy has created a job hiring market as automated and lifeless as a space adventure to Mars. Talking to an actual live person is the highlight of my day, even though the chance of getting said job is 1 in 1000.

    Here's to the silent warriors among us, the unemployed.

  2. Thanks for your perspective. It is a totally different world of job searching these days. (That was the topic of my very first post and what got me started on this blog path) The old ways don't work, but these "new" ways are not better. Those who are not involved have no idea of the impact of the impersonal. And what I'm seeing with Interviewers is that they don't know or have forgotten what's it's like to be unemployed. So little empathy, much less compassion. Make it emotionally draining.
    Thanks for sharing!