A woman that took my job search strategies class over 2 years ago, reminded me that you should always have hope, optimism and faith about your job search.
She had been a Project Manager for a large health care organization responsible for facility moves. She had an outstanding background of managing multi-million dollar moves for hospitals and some of their largest office facilities as well. Unfortunately, like many others in the “Great Recession”, she was laid-off when they were cutting costs and she began her long search for a new position. In her case, it took almost 3 years!
Certainly she got discouraged, her unemployment benefits ran out and finances grew tight. She made ends meet by picking up interim odd jobs, including driving a school bus for several months. Although she continued networking and pursuing opportunities, she began to doubt whether she would ever find an appropriate position for her background again. She did work at maintaining a positive attitude and projected an upbeat personality in her interviews.
Then, through her networking efforts… she met someone at a networking event, who introduced her to someone who worked at another health care company locally. She called and got an informational / networking interview with that person, who later introduced her to the Director of Facilities at the company. They connected, met, and after three weeks of interviews she was presented an offer. The offer was for a position that was never posted. It was created for her. It was a more senior role and at a higher salary than the position she lost three years prior!
Needless to say, she was elated! After enduring month after month of disappointment, doubt, and discouragement, she landed into a position she had only wished for all that time. There are lessons that can be learned from her experience:
Never Quit! Quoting Winston Churchill’s famous speech at The Harrow School in 1941… “NEVER give in!”. While it’s certainly tempting as time goes on to throw in the towel and decide “it’s just not going to happen for me”, it’s critical to find the motivation to turn your attitude around and keep doing whatever is necessary to keep going. Persistence pays. Don’t give up!
The attitude you project matters! If, this woman had gone to networking meetings and interviews with a discouraged, bitter, and defeatist disposition, she would not have gotten the job. No one wants to hire someone that’s a “downer”! I often say that a positive attitude is the hardest, and most important thing to maintain throughout a job search! It’s critical that you get in the habit of charging your batteries each day so that you can face it with optimism and enthusiasm that draws others to you instead of repelling them. Find what works for you and be diligent about doing it!
You never know when it will happen. It’s not at all unusual that the best job leads will come from the least likely and least expected sources. It may not be a job lead at all, but rather, as in this case, simply an introduction to someone that ultimately leads to a newly created position. Never minimize the value of an introduction, and always follow up with every contact you can. Always present yourself professionally, and follow up. The contact you don’t take seriously may be the one that could have the best opportunity for you!
A long job search can be extremely difficult to endure in many ways… financially, emotionally, in your relationships, and in your self-esteem. Your ability to stay positive, and keep on keeping on will have everything to do with your ultimate success. It can happen… if you Keep the faith!
Harry Urschel has over 20 years experience as a technology recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search, and can be found on Twitter as @eExecutives.