On a job seeker Yahoo group that I’m on we saw a sad plea for help that ended like this:
Can anybody please give me any constructive suggestions. I don’t need slams or criticisms, I do that to myself enough. Any help would be appreciated.
I don’t want to post the entire request here because I don’t have permission to, but this is from an accomplished professional who has family and bills and all that stuff tugging at him, his job search has been fruitless, and he’s about to get his utilities cut off and his cars repossesed. It’s pretty bad. Here was my reply to this plea for help:
[username], wow, this is a painful e-mail, I’m sorry to hear about your trials. I went through a very difficult, non-fruitful job search last year and it changed my life. Here are some of my non-preachy thoughts:
1. What is your name? I’d like to do a Google search on you and see what others find when they want to find out more about you. Do you have a LinkedIn profile, a blog, any articles, any mentions online?
2. When you say “worked all of my contacts,” I’m trying to understand what that means. Do you have a weekly or monthly e-mail (like a newsletter) that you send to your contacts to keep them apprised of your situation and progress? I found that a lot of people didn’t seem helpful but it was either because (a) they didn’t know how to react to me, an unemployed guy, asking for help, or (b) it was out-of-sight-out-of-mind. Just letting them know that you are still fighting to find a job, and letting them know about what you are looking for, may prompt them to think a little harder.
3. Do you attend a local network meeting? I found the contacts at these meetings, over the months, were excellent. I would gravitate towards people that were really good at networking OUTSIDE of this meeting, and we were able to share leads in a big way. There should be at least 2 or 3 people that you can hook up with that will provide you emotional strength as well as good leads from the networking that they are doing.
4. Do you have a job search coach? This isn’t necessarily someone that you pay (you can’t afford that, as per your e-mail below), but you should be able to find someone that can help you and ask “I really need some help. Would you be able to be my job coach, meet with me weekly, and hold me accountable for my job search?” This person should ensure that you are doing the right things in your search, and will have an interest in your success. Do not underestimate the power of bringing someone in to help you (but, not your spouse).
5. Do you do volunteer service? You should look for some non-profits that could use your help and go give your services to them, like a consultant. This is an excellent way to meet new people AND show them how competent you are, and they should be able to help you meet others (lots of professionals and execs work with non-profits).
These are just some thoughts off the top of my head. Please hang in there, I know how horrible this is, and you aren’t alone, even though it feels like it.
I don’t push JibberJobber, even though I want to (I’d probably get kicked off the list if I did).
If someone has reached out to you in the last couple of months about their job search, please follow up with them today to see where they are at. You never know, they might be ready to give up on their search (or life), and just a call or invitation to lunch can make a huge difference in their life.
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