Behavior Changes Can Help a Stalled Job Search

November 1st, 2010 by Sherri Edwards in Business, Individual

For people re-entering the job market after 10 or 20 years of continued employment, and those having been out of the market for three years or more, the changes that have taken place may seem overwhelming. Responses to those changes can be anything from fear, trepidation, denial, or avoidance to spending hours and hours reading everything possible about the current depressed state of the job market, justifying why employment is so difficult. The behaviors that manifest as a result of these responses are only going to make matters worse if they are not dealt with and changed.

The following are some key points for getting out of your own way if you are currently experiencing a stalled search.

It isn’t about you. If you want to find work, then it is necessary to stop obsessing about your own circumstances, and turn your focus to what is needed in the workplace. What business still needs to be transacted and what work needs to be done, no matter what? What skills are required to make that happen? How can you be part of the solution? How can you contribute value to an employer that is also tightening the belt?

Use strategy and stop knee jerking. This is a time when creative and strategic thinking is not just a plus, it is a requirement. It is very likely what you really want to do is not going to be immediately available to you. Have you crafted a strategic plan to get there, or are you still simply reacting to the immediate situation without thinking beyond the moment? Stop looking for a “job” and start listening for an opportunity to “work and get paid”.

Pay attention to details. People are wonderful sources of information. Once you get past thinking “it is all about me”, you will be better able to hear clues about work conditions, retain helpful information to share with others,  and gain insight from others that could help you get unstuck. Stop asking for job leads and ask questions to learn about opportunities. This may sound cliché, but many people still don’t get it. Listening for problems, patterns, and trends can help you stay on track with the companies you are targeting and the solutions you are presenting. Things in today’s workplace change quickly. Problems arise and solutions are found through people that are astute enough to capture the opportunity, long before there is time to design and post a “job”.

Listen. Pay attention to details about someone’s background, interests, likes, and dislikes. Using the information and responding with sincerity and interest will help you develop relationships that could lead to information about those unpublished opportunities. If you currently only treat people as vehicles to get you to the hiring manager, you are on the wrong track.

If you are currently guilty of spending more time justifying why you can’t find a job, than the time you could take to work on a new angle, perhaps you need some help getting unstuck.

It would be great to hear from people that have found non-traditional means for finding their current employment, and have developed alternative strategies for achieving their career goals.

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