Assessment Solutions

Advice to a Discouraged Job Seeker

  By Bruce Mazzare

Discouraged job seeker

I had an interesting coaching session recently with a young man (I’ll call him Brad) who was seeking a new career path. Up to this point, he had worked in various church ministries. He now wanted to make a change and jump into the secular realm. The reason Brad wanted to meet with me was because he, like so many others in the Generation Y group, were having difficulties finding a job. Brad was a discouraged job seeker. He had created and sent out dozens of resumes without receiving one response – no interviews and certainly no offers. He was discouraged and needed help.

Focus on the What rather than the Who

As I read Brad’s resume, I realized for him to be successful he needed to change the way he viewed and presented his experience. His resume focused on who he had worked for rather than on what he had done, and how that experience could be beneficial in the secular realm. I gave him the same advice I would give a returning Vet with combat experience: View your past experiences and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What skills made you successful?
  • What role did leadership qualities play out in your experiences?
  • What character qualities did you exhibit to get the job done?

I told Brad to focus on universal characteristics and skills that any organizational executive would want in a member of his/her workforce. Universal qualities are important in all career paths and are not mutually exclusive.

After the resume critique, we went on to discuss other critical issues such as how he was distributing his resumes. I have to tell you; I was surprised! But his method of sending out resumes was indicative of his generation. My advice to him was:

Don’t Hide Behind the Web

Back in the day, a new job applicant went office-to-office delivering their resume and did anything they could to land a meeting. Because they knew, face-to-face was the key. This initial meeting gave them a chance to sell themselves and helped them stand out from all the faceless pieces of paper in the “resume stack.” Someone forgot to mention this to many of the Generation Y applicants who do most of their networking online through eMail, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This was the case with Brad. He had emailed his resume to dozens of companies and posted it on social media channels. And then sat by the phone waiting for someone to call.

My advice to Brad was to be proactive – in person – if possible: deliver his resume, take the initiative to call for an appointment and then follow up; simple things he had not thought of. By meeting people, Brad had a chance to put a face to the name and a winning smile to boot. A great smile might help Brad get in the door, but my next piece of advice was key:

Attitude is Everything

Most of us want to start at the top, but few do. I advised Brad to take whatever was offered and give it his best: be positive, helpful and make himself indispensable to management. That is the way to succeed. Faithfully, Brad did everything I advised him to do and now is gainfully employed and loving his job.

Do you know someone who is discouraged? Bruce Mazzare is a sought-after business coach with over 40 years of experience owning a successful business. To schedule a session with Bruce, email or call 254-778-6306.

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January 5, 2015
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