The career tips below were transcribed from an interview I did a few years ago when my book was first published (Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.) The comments I made at that time are just as relevant now as they were then, so I decided to share them with our readers again.
1. Is the job market really as bad as most people – and the media – say it is?
Yes, the job market remains bad – REALLY bad. That’s just a fact and we can’t “sugar coat” it. BUT, even if you’ve lost your job, it’s not your fault, and you didn’t do anything wrong! You might be feeling disoriented, depressed, angry, exhausted or even hopeless. All these emotions make sense, under the circumstances. The good news is that there ARE some things you could be doing differently that would produce much better results for you. Many of my clients are still having success, and finding great jobs – even in this challenging environment.
2. What’s one of the big secrets of today’s job market that you reveal in your book?
This is the worst economy in decades. We have record unemployment, massive layoffs, crises in almost every industry, and it seems that no one’s hiring! The biggest secret in today’s market is that even while so many companies are letting people go, they’re quietly hiring new people at the same time. The truth is that every company is hiring all the time – IF you have what they need when they need it. But of course, THIS doesn’t make the headlines. TV and newspapers only report the BAD news.
3. What kind of candidates are still getting hired in this environment?
It used to be that people could rely on their credentials to get hired – their resume, work history, degrees, etc. This is NO LONGER the case. In this economic climate, the ONLY way to get hired is to prove that you can solve the employer’s problems and successfully address their business challenges. In other words, candidates need to stop acting like job applicants and start acting like solution providers! People need to stop marketing their qualifications and start selling their proven results. The only thing an employer is interested in these days is, “What can you do for me – NOW!?”
4. What’s one of the biggest mistakes you see candidates making when no one’s hiring?
In this awful economic climate, when good jobs are scarce, it’s tempting to say, “Well, I’m just going to take any job I can get.” But casting a wide net like this really isn’t a good idea in most cases. In fact, a much better strategy is to get MORE focused than ever on your career objective! This might sound strange when so many people are unemployed and struggling to find work. Sure, it’s OK to take a “bridge job” temporarily to tide you over for a while, but it’s imperative to NOT give-up on your career dreams! By staying laser-focused, you’ll be more plugged-in to your business niche. Your passion for your field will be a differentiator, and you’ll seem more serious and committed. Your industry knowledge will expand with each new interview and your confidence will grow. You’ll get more referrals and hear about more “hidden jobs” that are just developing. All of this will accelerate your job search, by weeks or even months – and you’ll wind-up with a higher-level, better paying job!
5. What’s your #1 piece of advice for folks who feel hopeless and defeated about their career prospects?
I know that many people are feeling overwhelmed and upset about their job search or their employment situation. They get hopeless after watching all the gloom-and-doom news stories about the job market. But when it comes to ATTITUDE, we all have a choice! The question is: what are you going to focus your attention on: the thousands of people losing their jobs, or the people who are still finding good jobs? In my experience, I have learned that the very FIRST thing you need to do is shift your mindset. This is even more important than your qualifications and skills. One of my favorite sayings is, “Mindset Before Skillset.” If you’re like most people, you probably need a major shift in attitude and mindset. Without this, it doesn’t matter how qualified you are, or what college you went to, or how good you look in a suit. If you have a negative or defeatist attitude, the employer will smell it a mile away. So please take a good look in the mirror. If you see a negative attitude there, adjust it right away. Focus on what you CAN do, not on what you CAN’T. Focus on all the people who are surviving and even thriving in this job market, rather than on the people who have lost their jobs. This is a pre-requisite to landing a good job; it’s not optional! As I always say, “Attitude is everything!”