Career: There are ways to get your stalled job search moving

Make a plan, get organized and keep a positive attitude


Contributing columnist

A stalled job search is frustrating.

Job hunting does take time and typically is stressful. You often hear from people who say that they lack time and have other difficulties that hinder the job search process. However, focusing on lack of time or other problems is counterproductive.

Life’s Little Instruction Book provides our time prospective with clear lenses: “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”

Becoming a game changer is one solution to a stalled job search. This gives you an opportunity to restart your search, but you need to do this quickly because old habits die hard.

To be a game changer in your job search, you have to decide to alter your current job search strategy as well as stop giving excuses. Here are a few essential areas that you need to embrace fully to start changing your job search and get in the game:

No excuses: Truthfully, there are not any quick fixes, but some processes and principles work more than others. So, quickly identify those things that are working and stick to those during your search.

Personal outlook: Believe it or not, many people get paralyzed by just mentioning the unemployment rate, talking about the economy being bad or discussing the number of jobs created last month. This point of view is looking at the glass being half empty and does impact your job search. Take a different approach by understanding that nearly 94 percent of Americans were employed in October, and new job postings go up daily.

You could look at the unemployment rate and observe little change and note that the number of new jobs went below what was anticipated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. But even talk of receiving no response to your 100 applications can be nerve-racking, and it will affect your attitude.

Get organized: It’s important to have good organization. You should know the details of each of the positions that you have applied to. There is nothing worse than receiving a call or email from a prospective employer, and having no idea if you applied for the position or not.

Peggy Noe Stevens, president at Peggy Noe Stevens & Associates in Louisville, gives a good prospective on approaching the search: “Job seeking is about moving forward. Set yourself on a calendar and you’ll be more effective.” You need to have set days and times that you will be focused on your search and no distractions.

Technology is vital: The impact that technology on today’s job search can’t be overlooked. If you have been avoiding technology like the plague, you will surely continue to struggle in the search. More and more job seekers are completing online job applications through their cell phone. That is a big no-no because you are most likely to make errors that will eliminate you in the pool of candidates under consideration.

There are numerous technology tools for networking that you should use. At a minimum be active on Linked Most likely, you have many opportunities to connect to someone that can, and will, lead you to a hiring manager. You have to take ownership and learn how to use those tools and use them daily if you’re in a serious job search. You should accept the reality that we’re communicating 24 hours a day and seven days a week to people near and far because of technology.

Networking: This is the most effective strategy in conducting a job search, but the most under used as well. Steven says, “You get into certain circle where they would have never had an opportunity to meet HR executives, industry executives or professional and then they make face to face physical connection which normally leads to a follow up.” You can’t overlook the impact that good networking will add to the success of finding a job. If you’re unemployed you need to keep your lines of communication open.

New attitude: Many employment opportunities are lost before you ever answer the first question because of nonverbal messages.

As you actively interact with potential coworker in the interview process be sure to smile and acknowledge everyone as important. It’s not uncommon for the front line person to be overlooked by a candidate, but make sure that you make eye contact and acknowledge every person.

Your dress also conveys a message about your attitude. Stevens suggests, “dress professionally and aspiration appropriate.” You want the interviewer to know that you want the job.

Lenroy Jones is associate director at the University of Kentucky’s James W. Stuckert Career Center. He has a master’s degree in college and university administration from Michigan State University. Join him on LinkedIn, “like” him at or follow him as @CareerDudeTweet on Twitter.

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