What to Do When Your Job Hunt Just Isn't Working

Friday, October 20th, 2017 - Resume
Here’s the good news: there are two very different ways you can go about the job-hunt or a career-change. We mainly discuss one and only one of them. Why? Just because. Because that’s the way everyone tells us we should hunt for work. Because that’s the way we’ve always done it. Because that’s the only way we know.

This strategy has a name. It’s called The Traditional Approach. Most of us know how to do this, or can quickly learn. It doesn’t demand much time. You begin with the so-called job-market. You look at the ad postings by employers, online and off. You approach those companies that look the least bit interesting to you. Wait to see if you get any responses. At the same time you slap together a resume. Post it. Or send out bushel baskets of resumes to mailing lists. If that doesn’t turn up any job offer, send out another ton of resumes. Post your resume everywhere.

If this all works for you, great! (But then, if it did, you probably wouldn’t have clicked on this story, would you?)

But, if it doesn’t work (for you) the good news is that there is a radically different second way to hunt for work or a career-change. Let’s call it The Parachute Approach.

Here you begin, not with the job-market but with yourself. You figure out who you are, and among all your gifts which ones you most love to use. Then (and only then) you go looking for organizations that match You. And you do not wait until they announce they have a vacancy. You approach them anyway, not through a resume but through a person, specifically a bridge-person—someone who knows you and also knows them, and therefore is a bridge between you two.

We have a detailed comparison of these two radically different strategies below.

If you’ve tried as hard as you can to find a job, and nothing is working, stop looking for explanations. The remedy is staring you in the face: you need to switch approaches. If you’ve been depending solely on The Traditional Approach—and it just isn’t working this time—then you need to try using The Parachute Approach—as outlined in the right-hand column of the chart.

1. A job beggar is someone who doesn’t see herself as a resourceful person, able to produce better work for that organization than any of the people who worked in that position, previously.

2. A bridge person is someone who knows you well and also knows the organization you are trying to reach, hence can serve as a bridge between you and them, and get you invited in.

Parachute 2018Reprinted with permission from What Color Is Your Parachute? 2018 by Richard N. Bolles, copyright (c) 2017. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.

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