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Kick-In-The-Pants Job Search

Believe it: three obstacles will hold you back from your ideal job -- your résumé, you, and your job-search methods. There's no hidden formula; there's no bribery needed; there's no one standing in front of employment - other than YOU!

You've probably heard all the excuses, or used them yourself. The job market is bad; technical jobs are going overseas; those thousands of manufacturing employees had to go somewhere ? of course, these excuses are only the tip of the iceberg.

Look at the job market as challenging. Who doesn't love a good challenge? The current state of the market means that you must job search smarter. Do you have something against learning? We are always overcoming obstacles in our personal and professional lives, so why should today be any different.

You're also probably thinking, "Well there are no jobs, so why bother." Rubbish! The service industry (specifically small business) is driving the employment industry with record job increases for the last several months. Maybe you meant to think, "There are no jobs in my field." Honestly, rethink that excuse as well. There are jobs; you haven't found them but your competitors probably have. Jobs aren't spewing out of cracker-jack boxes or being announced by executives holding signs on a street corner. The jobs that are worth having require effort.

What's wrong with my résumé?

There may be nothing wrong with your résumé, but how do you know? Who's been your résumé expert: you, family members, or friends? Everyone has a specific expertise so don't be afraid to solicit the help of a professional. The career industry is now represented by career coaches, interview trainers, and résumé writers. Just as you're an expert in your field, you should recognize that there is someone to assist with whatever career obstacle you face - whether it's your résumé, cover letter, or some other dated job-search technique you're utilizing.

What's wrong with my job-search techniques?

There may be nothing wrong with your job-search techniques, but how do you know? Are you experiencing a bit of déjavu? If your résumé and job-search techniques are tanking, you need to regroup and try new strategies. Job searching is not a science, hence the reason there are countless books and articles written on the topic. The strategies used by one software engineer may not work, or may work faster, for another. You should understand that there are variables to each job seeker, such as target location, length of experience, lack of or too much education, and so on. You must devise job-search techniques that work for you.

What's wrong with my cover letter?

There are so many unprofessional, unfocused, and canned cover letters floating around the job-seeking population that it's no surprise that they're barely read. Who wants to spend valuable time reading a cover letter that sounds like it was written for the company next door? How many times have you inserted the person's name within your content somewhere or written company-specific sentences that focused on the problems the company was facing that you intend to resolve, a new contract that was landed, or maybe a recent merger? Write your cover letters using a conversational language that sounds like it has been written for one recipient.

What about my interviewing skills?

Have you ever heard, "if I can only get to the interview?" Really! Think of your job search as a chain of events. The cover letter represents the résumé. The résumé represents you. The interview is a follow up to the résumé doing its job. To obtain an interview, the résumé and cover letter must first serve the purpose each was designed to do. Good or bad, a résumé will eventually draw attention, but what if you are caught with mediocre interviewing skills that throw your résumé and cover letter efforts out the window? The entire process is a chain that cannot be broken. Any break can cause less than favorable results.

I challenge you to sit down right now and make a list of 10 interviewing questions. To make things interesting, devise thorough and results-focused answers to each of these questions within the next 20-30 minutes. Can't do it? If you can't on your own time, then you're not going to be able when under pressure and under examination.

Excuses are a dime a dozen - and if you look for them during failure, you're going to continuously be put in a position to fail. They're equivalent to that little voice that puts doubt and "what ifs" in your head. They're not productive, they're not valuable, and they're certainly not positive. The next time you're asked, "What's holding you back?" You can answer, "ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!" Go get 'em!

About The Author

Written by Teena Rose of Résumé to Referral Teena Rose is a certified and published resume writer with Resume to Referral and author to "Résumé Designs & Job-search Strategies for College Grads" (published by

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