Job Search – Are You a Survivor?

Job Search Challenge

Are you struggling with your job search? Does it seem that around every corner is another dead end? Are you receiving advice upon advice, but none of it is helping? Have you written, rewritten, and written your resume over and over?

If there is any comfort in this; you are not alone. Job searches are challenging, frustrating, and full of disappointments. Even sadder is that there is no quick or sure answer; except perseverance.

With all of this appearing to be stacked against you; what do you do? How do you move forward?

There Are No Easy or Guaranteed Answers or Solutions

I am not about to tell you that there is some easy solution, because there is not. What I am going to tell you, however, is that you will survive. How do I know that you will survive? Because I have survived!

I have a great education, excellent work history, I have been in a great industry full of opportunities; but that does not mean that I was protected from unemployment. In fact my unemployment has never included unemployment benefits.

I have had unemployment or underemployment periods from two or three months to 30 months over a four year period. You can lose your home, you can lose your cars, I have even slept in a car. I have gone from $125.00 per hour to $8.50 per hour. Every time, however, I have pulled through and you can to.

By nature we are survivors; we are born to succeed and to win. It may not seem like it; but it is the truth. You need to do whatever you can legally do to pull yourself and your family through.


Tom Staskiewicz is a survivor of multiple bouts of unemployment. He understands that you cannot get down on yourself, you must keep pushing forward, and you must have perseverance. He did it and you can do it too! Tom is a Career and Accountability Coach. He helps people through the tough times. If you need help contact Tom.


Job Seekers – Who Are Your Five Closest Friends?

What Do Your Five Closest Friends Say About You?

Most people do not understand the importance of their five closest friends. What they typically miss is; this group will greatly influence your goals, your ideas, and your achievements.

The average level of achievement within this group will parallel your progress. If they drive average cars; you will drive an average car. If they have an average house; you will have an average house. It is not that average is bad; it is just that if you aspire to more – this group of friends may not be the proper launching pad.

Look at the successful people that are around you; who do they keep company with? Are they running in the same crowd as you; if so then you are probably doing well because you will be close to the average of a higher income group. If you are not in that group then you are probably somewhere below their economic position.

The questions are:

  1. Where do you want to be?
  2. What are you doing to get there?
  3. When will you get there?

Social Networking and Your Five Closest Friends – Are Your Friends Right for You?

Let’s move this examination to your job search. The truth is that 80% to 85% of jobs are found through networking. This begs the question then as to how successful you are as a networker? If your group of close friends are not effective networkers, chances are that you are not an effective networker.

If your friends are on LinkedIn or other Social Networks and they have the average number of connections, then you probably have the average number of connections as well. If they are not on LinkedIn; then you are most likely not on LinkedIn.

People that are progressing in their careers have more connections than those that are not moving. People that are progressing in their careers are adding higher caliber connections; which brings higher caliber second level connections.

This concept may be familiar to you or maybe not, but there have been studies performed on friendships and this is exactly what the researchers found. We are heavily influenced by those around us and often times to move forward we need to break out of these relationships.

Are your closest friends supportive of your efforts, ideas, and goals?

The next question is whether those around you are supportive of your aspirations. If they do not share your vision and are not excited for you; then it may be time to change friends.

For you to be successful you need people around you that share your dreams and some that have obtained the level of success you are seeking. Without that support the negativity of your friends will can be a barrier to your achieving the success you desire.

Maybe you have heard of Zig Ziglar. When he was starting in his writing career he wrote that he was 165 pounds; the problem was that he was not 165 pounds. He was close to 200 pounds. Immediately he recognized that he had a credibility problem. Does he change his weight to 200 pounds in the book or does he lose 35 pounds.

He decided to lose the wieght. He wanted to do it properly so he went to his doctor for advice. Once there he realized that this was a problem because his doctor was over weight and decided right then that he needed a new doctor. A doctor that believed in what Zig wanted to accomplish.

The moral of the story is that you must surround yourself with people that share your goals and ideas. If they do not they will not be supportive and, in fact, they will be negative and detrimental to your efforts.

Is Thinking Out of the Box the Correct Advice?

Maybe Thinking Out of the Box Is All Wrong

I just finished reading “The Age of the Unthinkable” by Joshua Ramo and it has made me reflect on this topic. It is a great book and I highly recommend it.

We hear frequently about the idea of thinking outside the box and I’ve come to realize that maybe outside the box is not the correct term. In the book Ramo uses the example of a picture. Many pictures have a foreground object and then the background. Since reading the book; I now look at the foreground object as my current job and the background as my skills that put me in that position.

Your Job May Be Obsolete, But That Does Not Mean That You Are Obsolete

When a current job disappears, I mean becomes obsolete; if we are focused on the foreground then we have become obsolete as well. But if we look at the background as our skills, abilities, and talents that put us into the job we will see that we have many things working in our favor to continue moving us forward.

Personal Experience

When I discuss issues pertaining to job searches; I speak from experience. I have had numerous occasions over the past fifteen years where I have had to search for a job. Sometimes it was because a contract ended, sometimes it just was not the right fit, and sometimes I was too honest and people did not like it. Whatever the reason I have experienced many of the same situations as you. I have walked into the office and been told that today was my last day on more than one occasion. No preparation, no advance notice, nothing, just you are done.

Here’s an example; I’m in IT and after 9/11 my projects which were all new infrastructures, just dried up. I had been working for a local firm for a couple of years and things were going well. 9/11 changed all that and their business just came to a standstill. I was a contractor and they had to cut costs immediately. I was expendable and quickly out of work. They told me to come back after the first of the year and see where things stood. They did not pick up and eventually the operation shut down. Although not permanently obsolete it was devastating enough to be a challenge.

I lamented and mourned and went through months of not moving forward. Finally I stepped back and looked at all the things I had done (the background of my picture) and realized that, although I was not an IT security expert, I had over 20 years of IT security experience. I had grown up with IT security from four letter passwords to what it was at the time.

Restructure Yourself Based Upon What Made You What You Were; Not For What You Were

I restructured my resume to focus on this experience and lo and behold I found a job. Everything I needed was in the box, I just had to get past the foreground picture to find it.

We do not need to go off the deep end, we just need to be willing to look beyond the obvious.

Moving On, Will Require Accepting Change

Change – most people do not consider this word to be their friend. Whether it was the change you were forced to make in school when desks were reassigned, the change when you moved, the change when you were married, or … Change is one of the hardest parts of our lives that we have to endure.

Most people dream of change and what they could do if only this change or that change were to occur. The reality is that even though it is often our dream, when the opportunity presents itself it is difficult to accept.

To a few change comes easily and they see it as an opportunity, but to most that is not the case. Why do people stay in their job for 20, 30, or even 40 years? Is it because they are happy and they couldn’t dream of doing anything else?

That’s probably not the case or at least it’s not the case for most people. More true to the situation is the aversion to change. People do not want to change and therefore they endure their situation. They look at a new situation and instead of seeing it as an opportunity; they would rather stay with what they know than venture into the unknown.

Most definitely they are limiting themselves and their opportunities. But that does not matter to them; they would much prefer to be comfortable and to deal only with the known.

This is a problem because dealing with the comfortable and dealing with the known can be a career stopper and can even be the reason for losing a job. Businesses must change to keep up with the competition and to grow. For businesses to be able to make those changes, they need employees that are willing to change.

What kind of change might you have to make:

  1. A new company.
  2. A new type of work.
  3. A new location.
  4. A longer/shorter commute.
  5. A reduction/increase in pay.
  6. A new boss.
  7. New co-workers.
  8. A new working environment – no more private office.
  9. Changes in benefits.
  10. Changes in the frequency of pay.
  11. Working in a less desireable part of the city.

… continue your list and develop your answers.

I once worked for a medical clinic that was looking to make significant changes in the technology they were using to process patient records. The technology is EMR or Electronic Medical Records. EMR is responsible for many changes in the way the doctors and nurses practice medicine.

EMR Systems impact the way the doctors and nurses interact with their patients. Instead of talking to the patient with a chart in hand and making notes, the practitioner now has a computer terminal and is typing while the patient is talking. The computer terminal is far more distracting to the patient and typically requires a greater level of concentration from the practitioner. Some practitioners are intimidated by the technology.

At the Clinic as we were implementing the technology I wrote a memo to the Board of Directors explaining that as a part of the EMR implementation they could expect to see some of their doctors leave the Clinic. They would leave because they were unwilling to accept the EMR System and they way they would now have to practice, they would leave because they were intimidated by the technology, they would leave because they did not like the change in patient interaction, and there were several other reasons as well.

My point to the Board was do not be surprised, rather you need to be understanding and supportive. This is the way it is and there is nothing that being upset will change. Some people can handle certain types of change and others cannot. You need to roll with the punches and move forward.

In your job search you are now facing the reality of change. It could be just one change or it could be several changes; you just do not know until it happens.

It is time for you to do a personal assessment. What changes are you (and your family) willing to accept in your career change? You must sit down and work this out to have everyone in agreement.

You need to decide:

  1. What is your change mindset?
  2. Is this an adventure or a nightmare?
  3. Where and when you are willing to compromise?
  4. What opportunity is simply too great to pass up?
  5. What is most important to you and your family?
  6. What is negotiable?
  7. What is non-negotiable?
  8. Who will ultimately make the final decision?
  9. Who has the power of veto?
  10. How you will make your decision work?

Accepting change can be difficult, but you can minimize the difficulty by making the decisions above when there is no pressure to decide. Take the time to talk it out when the emotions are at a low and the rational mind is in charge. Change can be excitement and opportunity or it can be scary and uncertain. Which way do you want it for your family.

You must prepare yourself and your family for whatever opportunities come your way.

Tom is a Career and Accountability Coach helping with career management, resumes, and networking. Sign up for his 7 Tips Series of Articles.

What is your unique value or selling proposition?

This is a THINKing exercise. In the past IBM gave out desk signs that had the work THINK on it. We are always thinking, but what is it that we are thinking.

Right now, during your job search, you need to be thinking about what makes you uniquely attractive to a prospective employer. Realize that there is probably nothing unique that would apply to all employers, but there may be something different that would make you uniquely attractive to a specific employer.

1. Maybe it’s a skill you possess or a previous employer where you worked.
2. Maybe it’s your knowledge of a process or procedure.
3. Maybe it’s the intimate knowledge you have of an industry.
4. Maybe it’s how a previous employer does business.
5. Maybe it’s the people or contacts that you have within your network.

There is something about you that can make you stand out; your job is to identify that characteristic.

If you look at any successful business person there was something uniquely special that brought them to their current position. What is your unique value or selling proposition? Package it properly and this is what will get you the opportunity that you desire!

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