“You’re not getting anywhere”

So you want to know why you’re not getting anywhere in your job search. Are you sure? Because this isn’t going to be pretty. If you promise not to shoot the messenger, here goes.
– First problem: You’re not even getting interviews.
Well it’s no wonder with the letters you’re sending to people who don’t know you and in some cases, didn’t ask to hear from you.
You’re putting people to sleep. Using phrases like: “I have been seeking such an opportunity as the one I read about at your company” or “This job would fulfill my desire to…” (fill in the blank) or “Your company is the kind of firm that would allow me to increase my knowledge.”
The employer is not your fairy godmother standing by to grant your wishes. Employers don’t care what you desire. They don’t care what you’ve been seeking. They don’t know you. They have their own problems. If you want to get their attention, talk about them, not you.
Dig around on their web site, their annual report and in news stories to find out what they’ve been saying and what they’re struggling with so you can write a letter that starts with something like: “When I read about your vision to have a global presence by 2004, it seemed there might be a match between your needs and my expertise.”
– Second problem: You’re getting interviews but no action.
It could be big or little things you’re doing that make interviewers nix you after seeing you in the flesh. Such as not following directions by showing up a half hour before the interview or three minutes late.
Maybe it’s your mindset when you go into interviews. You’re so worried what an employer thinks you lack, you don’t think through what you do have.
So when they ask the typical icebreaker question, “Tell me about yourself” you give weak, vague and unintelligible responses like this one that someone really said:
“I support consumers and work with people to understand their needs and put that into something that meets those needs. I own four sites and ensure needs and company type information sharing and business things they need to know of in a daily format.”
On the other hand, you may be cock sure of yourself, pushy or impatient because you know you can do the job and are sick of explaining why. Your answers are brusque and you even say, “It’s on my resume.” Very bad move.
Or you haven’t sat down to think about how to explain what you do to someone outside your company or industry. So you end up saying, “I’m effective because I focus on niche products, niche services and profitability to customers.” When the clueless interviewer asks, “What you mean?” you come back with more gobbledygook:
“I developed a team to support roles necessary to support the initiative that included a parts program.” It’s just too much work to understand what you’re talking about. You’re outta there.
– A bigger problem: Your frame of mind.
The right words are only half the story. A man who has been looking for work for a year called me recently, saying, “I need to know what I’m doing wrong.”
We met for two hours. I watched his demeanor. I listened to how he described his 15 years experience and read through some letters he sent to would-be employers. He had the right words. But he was weary and disheartened.
If only I could inoculate him with a shot of belief in himself and faith that he will find the right home for his skills. If only he could wash his slate of disappointment clean and start fresh with the kind of tough-minded optimism every job hunter must have so that luck has a shot at striking and his skills have a chance to shine.

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Talking about workin’ for a living with WGRR hosts Janeen Coyle and Chris O’Brien.