Managing Expectations in Your Job Search

ExpectationsLast week I discussed the importance of managing relationships in a job search. Today I’d like to discuss another key to help you get hired and at the same time keep your sanity: Managing Expectations (both yours and employers).

In my discussions with many job seekers and peers I found the #1 reason people become frustrated and depressed in a job search is they go into the process with unrealistic expectations that drain them when they are not realized.

Conversely decision makers tell me a major reason many people fail to get beyond the initial interview is they failed to live up to expectations and came across as someone other than the person portrayed in their resume or by the person who recommended them.

So here are some tips on managing expectations.

1: When looking for new jobs don’t expect results to happen overnight and without putting in the right amount of effort. Research what the job market looks like at your level in your locale and how long it has taken your peers to land a new job. Today a job search can average 20-36 weeks for many professionals, and slightly longer in the executive suite. In the interim measure success by the number of contacts you make each week, the number of new quality opportunities you are able to identify each week, and the number of recommendations you are able to receive each week.

2: Many people fail to plan their job search and keep applying for jobs they’re not qualified for and the growing number of rejections takes its toll. If you expect employers to call you it helps if you have what they want; and if you don’t you should blame no one other than you for your lack of success.

3: When you write your resume, or have one professionally prepared for you, make certain you can live up to the hype. A resume is a marketing document that opens doors for you but once you walk through the door you need to deliver. If you have any doubt about the information in the resume or the strength of the words used to describe something you need to edit them before you submit it to an employer. It is imperative that the person hope to meet is the person they actually interview.

4: If you have a solid resume and are not getting results don’t go about making wholesale changes every week. What you want to do is make customization changes depending on the job. I am amazed that when I speak to people about writing or editing their resume how many versions it went through before it got to this point. On average they tell me it’s been heavily edited or totally rewritten 5-15 times since the original version.

5: When you accept recommendations and even LinkedIn skill endorsements make sure they are legitimate because interviewers will expect you to live up to the hype and if you don’t you will not get past first base.

As always I am available to critique U.S. resumes at no cost when emailed to

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