A reader of my blog post for http://womenworking.com/blog (I'm the guest career coach for January) asked me what advice I had for those struggling to get a better job or for recent college graduates who haven't secured a job in their field.
Here is my response:
MelissaAnne, thanks for sharing what's been going on with some of your friends. Many people are having a tough time now. I'm working with clients who are facing daunting challenges with their careers and have serious decisions to make. So, please keep in mind my empathy for anyone in a tough situation as you read my response to your questions.
In the meantime, consider this...
With the challenges of the economy the past few years, it's more important than ever to have and to maintain the mindset that will get us through tough times, maybe even with flying colors. Meaning, even though we get some bruises along the way, we emerge stronger, smarter and more passionate than ever.
We can't control the economy, hiring cycles or how much "competitition" we face. We're not responsible for those things. But, we are responsible for whether or not we buy into what the doom and gloom prophets say. We control our mindset, our perspective. Right now, ff someone is having a hard time career-wise, it's more important than ever to put the power of perspective and mindset to good use. For instance...
You asked, "How can we get experience if no one is hiring?"
That's not an effective question to ask. The only answer to that question is "I can't get experience, no one is hiring." Not a good perspective or mindset to move forward with.
The fact is, people are being hired every single day. So, when someone says "No one is hiring," don't let that in your mind. Help your friends to not buy into that or similar things concerning their career chanllengs.
Here are a few questions to ask that will be more effective:
* "What do I need to tweak in my job search to get better results?"
* "Do I know how to get interviews?" (Using the internet to apply for a job is one of the least effective ways to get a job.)
* "How can I get my next interview? (What am I doing consistently to move things forward?)
* "Do I know how to use social media in my job search? For instance, how effective am I at using Linkedin?"
* "Do I need to invest in a coach now to help me in my job search or interviewing skills?"
* "Bare minimum, should I invest in getting my resume done by a professional?" ( Most resumes are average at best.)
* "When is the last time I read a great book on how to market myself to employers in this kind of economy?"
* "Am I sending a hand written thank you note after every interview?" (If someone tells me it's too hard to send a hand written note and they just send it via e-mail, that tells me a lot. It's not so much that the competition is fierce; it's a matter of knowing how and being willing to set yourself apart from the crowd by doing what most neglect doing.)
* "Am I willing to relocate to where the jobs are or have I been too picky?"
Any and all these things are worth focusing on. Focusing on the economy, the unemployment rate and the "competition" will usually only lead to complaining and making excuses for myself.
The real questions involve what I can do differently or do more consistently to get better results.
How can I differentiate myself from the average employee or job seekeer? After all, if I don't, I'll just be average. Then, what kind of results would I expect other than average results?
One more thing. If one of your friends is depressed, their number one priority should be to get help to eliminate their depression. Depression, depending on the level experienced, will slow things down at best. At its worst, it will bring the job search to a halt
MelissaAnne, I hope this helps in some way and I hope it's not too blunt or hard hitting. I know the challenges your friends have are real and they are tough. I wish for them the very best, and please know they are fortunate to have you as a friend.