Past Issues

January 24, 2011

What Keeps People from Finding Jobs

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The Main Reason You Won't Find a Job

Barbara Seifert, Ph. D, CPC, Forbes.com

It's not big news that finding a job is difficult these days. Dependent upon which area of the country you're in, it can be almost impossible with some areas having employment higher than the national average of 11%.

But in my experience as a career coach, the main reason that people are not finding a job is not because there are no jobs. It is because of their attitude. The majority of job seekers have not put themselves in the right frame of mind to do the work needed that will lead them to becoming employed.

Keep A Positive Attitude

It takes work to become employed; you have to treat the job search like a job, as they say. Recent studies show that the average time currently being spent in job search is 40 minutes a day. Forty minutes! Most people are spending more time watching TV or playing a video game than they are doing activities that will lead them to their dream job.

This can be the result of their attitude and the "there are no jobs out there" thinking. People stop themselves and use limiting and forecasting beliefs that there are no jobs available or that they won't get hired. They listen to the news - TV and print - which sell depressing information about the economy. They believe that this true and stop any job search activities. This all-or-nothing thinking creates a defeatist attitude which then leads to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

A search on Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com lists over 100,000 job openings. Many of these do not even cover jobs that are unadvertised. Job search engines like JuJu.com or Indeed.com have over 150,000 job postings. Search engine aggregators are a useful tool for job seekers looking to stay focused and find the right job faster.

Be Ready To Showcase You

Having a good resume that profiles your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), or the great skills that are inherent in you, is a must as well as being prepared for the interview. Bottom line - you have to be ready to showcase yourself. And this is where most people slow down or stop job search activities. They become almost paralyzed with dread and fear of putting themselves in the spotlight. It may be a fear of rejection, a fear of failure, or fear of not being "good enough." Whatever the reason, their attitude prevents them from job hunting.

Changing one's attitude is difficult, at best. But changing your attitude is part of the work you need to do as part of your job search.

Here are some quick ways to take an "attitude check" and think more positive:

Your career depends on it:

  • Take your pulse. This is where you take some time to review and reflect on your thoughts and feelings, which includes how you feel about finding a job, your fears and blockages that may be holding you back and what you want for your future.
  • Review your past. How have you handled challenges in the past: have you sat back and waited for the situation to pass or have you pushed forward? Again, what were the roadblocks and how did you move past them?
  • Set the intention. Take time to decide what you want and how you will use your strengths to achieve them. Write them down, make them visible and say them frequently so they become part of your daily language.
  • Make a plan. Write down, on a calendar or white board, the various ways of how you will plan your days to look for a job. Remember, there are many other ways than just sitting at a computer on a job board. Be sure to include "me time" or activities you can do to keep your physical and emotional level up.
  • Visualize your future. Paint the picture of that job you want; put your job log in a place where you will see it; write down on index cards or post-it notes phrases to get you motivated.
  • Doing these activities will help you to retrain your brain from negative to positive and give you the edge to continue your job hunt. They also can become good habits to take into the future to make you a great employee!
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