But they can't quit. Not now. There are No Jobs out there!
I won't argue the job market isn't suffocatingly difficult these days. I'd have to seriously rethink my vocational choices if I believed that. But it isn't true that there are no jobs. There are!
According to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) program, we had nearly 4 million job openings in the U.S. this past December (2013).
So really--there are jobs! When someone tells you otherwise, tune her out. The most important thing to keep in mind when considering the competition is you must be the most desirable candidate.
There are so many ways to do that. The more you do to set yourself apart from other candidates, the more air there is to breathe. Keep reaching for the top.
Joey: If you ask me, as long as you got this job, you’ve got nothing pushing you to get another one. You need the fear.
Rachel: The fear?
Chandler: He’s right, if you quit this job, you then have motivation to go after a job you really want.
Rachel: Well then how come you’re still at a job that you hate, I mean why don’t you quit and get ‘the fear’?
(Chandler and Joey laugh)
Chandler: Because I'm too afraid.
--Friends, Season 3, The One Where Rachel Quits
Tools for getting to the summit:
- Resume--Learn basic marketing tools to apply to your resume. Spend time listing your major professional accomplishments and make the specifics the meat of your resume. Get a professional proofread. If you don't have access, high school and college students are excellent at spotting grammatical errors and things that cause confusion. (Seriously.)
- Cover Letter--Do not have a "one size" mentality when it comes to this important tool. Seriously, if you look at your cover letter as a necessary evil, you're missing the point. This is the place where you get to make yourself known--in your own voice. Are there things you really want to emphasize? Here's your chance to talk and not just summarize (resume style). Show how much you know about the company, the position, and the team. Make an impact.
- Network--The single best way to secure a job interview is to network your way in. A friend of the hiring manager, a current staff member, whoever it is that can help you get your foot planted firmly in the door. This is your chance to connect yourself to the job before you sit in the hot(interview)seat.
- Commit to the Search--There are all kinds of scary numbers I could throw at you here. The worst is probably: If you're employed, you need to commit 20 hours a week to the search. If you're not employed, it needs to be 40--treat finding a job like a full time job.
- While I agree with the concept as advice, I will not tell you it's the only way. How many of us can get done in 4 hours what it takes someone else 12 to do? Learn to make the hours you have count: network; hone that resume; scrap the endless online applications for jobs with which you have no direct connection; write fresh, original cover letters.
- During those hours, stay focused. Shut down the browser, keep personal email closed, turn your ringer off. Commit your energy to the job search and save enough energy to do all those fun things later--you might even end up with something exciting for your Facebook status.
- Network (it's worth repeating)--It really is the best way. Make sure you read up on networking--it's an art as much as resume writing and interviewing. If we were talking percentages, I'd suggest you put 75% of your effort here.