Maybe you've seen the stories in the news -- if you haven't found a job in six months, you might as well give up. Makes a job hunter feel just a little discouraged. But there really is hope. That's why we wanted to reprint here a post from Ask Ellis.
I keep reading how the longer you’re out of work, the more likely you are to never find a job. Paul Krugman has an article in the NY Times today (“The Jobless Trap”) where he says that employers tend to see workers who have been unemployed for a long time as unemployable. I’m too young to be out of work for the rest of my life. But frankly, I’m worried. I’ve been looking for a new job for five months with no luck. I’d hate to think I’ll never find anything but I’m starting to feel like I should just give up. Should I? Feeling Hopeless
Dear Feeling Hopeless,
Sometimes, the media, even Paul Krugman (whom I respect enormously) are wrong about these issues. Or misinterpret data. Or don’t understand how a career transition should be executed. The real issue is that people on job search might be marketing themselves poorly. For example, announcing "I've been out for 8 months," or "I've really had a terrible time since I graduated," or "It's really tough out there; no jobs to be found," is like announcing "I really am terrible at job search," which casts the applicant in a negative light, no matter what the reason.
The way I see things, it's always about how you present. One way to tackle this, when asked (and only when asked), is to say you knew it would take some time to find something, but it is critical for you to find a great fit (one of my favorite words in all of career transition). And. . . if it takes time, then it takes time. You've found a number of reasonable opportunities during the search, but did not take them because you are determined not to take a position just for the sake of taking a position. You're more interested in making intelligent career choices, and realize it will take time.
Or, if asked more persistently about what you've been doing, if you have worked at anything remotely relevant to your search, talk about it. Even if it was a two-day consulting assignment for a friend, you say you've done some consulting; for example. . . If you've done anything else to build skills, including taking courses, talk about that as a major objective you had for this time, and discuss what you've learned. Or, if there's been a major family illness or issue, then you have had to take off time to help resolve it, you're happy you had that opportunity, and it's now over.
I've met very few clients or students over the years who couldn't come up with something to explain the gap. It's a matter of how you present it, how positive you are about the process, and how you avoid any of the negative perceptions that are created by talking about the terrible time you've had.
Read more from Ellis Chase in In Search of the Fun-Forever Job: Career Strategies that Work just out on Amazon.
Ask most writers and they'll tell you that one of the first responses they get when they send out a manuscript is: Would you consider changing your title? It's a bit of a predictable reaction. For some reason people just want to disagree with what an author wants to call his/her book.
At Bacon Press Books, we're familiar with the title game. When we first approached Ellis Chase to write a book about his irreverent approach to job search, the working title was: There Are No Rules or First, Break All the Rules. Ok, we agree, it was pretty lame. And weren't there all those books on rules that had to do with dating?
The next time we asked Ellis to do a book that would let him share his expertise beyond his clients and students, the working title was: Would You Please Remove Your Blouse? Call us a bunch of snickering adolescents, we loved that title. It was the title of an article Ellis wrote for the The National Business Employment Weekly/Wall Street Journal, outlining his advice on how to prepare for the five most common job interview questions. We thought it was a great title for an article, for a book and for a chapter heading. Which is exactly how it's used in In Search of the Fun-Forever Job.
But Ellis just wasn't getting any traction with that provocative title. So he changed it again. This time he took his inspiration from a "book" his daughter wrote when she was eight. She wasn't sure yet what she wanted to be when she grew up, but she knew whatever it was, she wanted it to be a fun-forever job, where she could do whatever she wanted.
Just released. In Search of the Fun-Forever Job: Career Strategies that Work by Ellis Chase is now available in paperback on Amazon. Of course we're prejudiced, but even so, Ellis is one of the smartest, most insightful career management consultants out there. His advice is always on target. That's why we've been asking hm for years to write this book.
Chances are good that if you're not looking for work or thinking of changing careers, you probably know someone who is. Do them a favor and tell them about this great new resources.
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