Statistics can be downers when it comes to your job search. Like the most recent batch of figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics saying unemployment inched up a bit recently. My advice: don’t give a hoot.
They might be useful to someone, but doom and gloom data only fuels your fire of frustration, jinxes good intentions, ruffles your already riled up feathers and puts the kibosh on well-intentioned plans. Not to mention, it creates a breeding ground for harmful myths.
Speaking of which, here are three myths currently going around that I would urge you to turn a deaf ear to:
Myth #1: No one’s hiring
If that’s the case, then why are some people getting interviews? Why are some companies putting out the word about openings and scheduling appointments with candidates?
The people who are getting interviews have proven track records and are clearly communicating that in their resume, letters and conversations. They’re telling employers about their record accomplishments with stories of how they’ve cut costs, increased revenues or made something run better, faster or cheaper.
The people who are getting hired are the ones who bring measurable value to the company and can demonstrate it. What smart company wouldn’t want that?
Potentially, even if a company doesn’t have its hiring shingle out, if you add value to the company, every company is hiring. If you approach your job search with that belief, you open up all kinds of possibilities. Believing no one is hiring gets you nowhere.
Myth #2: It’s a bad time to switch careers
When is it ever a good time to switch careers? Going into a new field can mean getting more education and skills, a pay cut and starting at the bottom. Any time you’re making a switch, you have to convince an employer that even though you’ve never done this exact job, you’ve got the right attitude and passion for this career, the drive and willingness to learn and make a difference and that your skills and background transfer well into this new field.
Whatever economic time we’re in, when you make a career change you don’t get hired for the experience you have–because you don’t have any if you’re making a switch. Making a career change is about proving you’re the right person for the job even without the experience.
Myth #3: Even if you’re not interested in a job, you should interview; it’s good practice
Sitting in an East coast airport last week, I overheard a man on his cell phone tell someone he was on his way to interview for a job in Michigan. “I can’t see myself talking this job under any circumstances,” he told his friend. “I’m just going for the interview practice. And it gives me something to do,” he said.
Why spend two days of your life to travel and spend time in meetings with people you don’t want to work for, not to mention, waste others’ time and money? There are more productive ways to get interview experience. And this guy is confusing busy work with strategic job hunting.
In two days, you can conduct targeted research, write compelling letters and follow up with decision makers you do want to work for, which can lead to a job interview you want to spend your valuable time in.
A job search isn’t about finding things to do. It should be strategic and purposeful, focused on doing things that will lead to what you want. Don’t let statistics sway your thinking otherwise.