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November 24, 2009

Bad Job Search Advice – Just in Time for the Holidays!

There is no lack of opinions out there. Perhaps jobseekers take what they hear out of perspective but below you will read what people really do during the holidays regarding their job search. In my work with clients and companies over the last five weeks (and over 18 years) I have heard this advice dispensed and instituted. The sources? It can be from you and your own brain, acting alone. It can be from well-intentioned but misguided job counselors, church jobseekers groups, and other career resource pages via Google. Better yet, read the comments to fine articles and take advice not from the article but from the unqualified commenter at the bottom. You can argue that it's how people take the good advice and take a too aggressive approach. By the way, all advice that you hear is not sound. But the bad advice is out there so let's have at it. 

Interrupt people at holiday events and cocktail parties, letting them (the interrupted parties) know rather immediately that you are looking for a job. Whenever possible write your name on a name tag and put Jobseeker below your name. Underline Jobseeker. (I saw this at the last local SHRM meeting and I heard a "career counselor" say to a jobseeker – just go to as many events as possible, get business cards and throw everyone into Linked In. There you go.
Repeatedly leave messages on voicemails that basically brand you as a desperate, needy and all too aggressive jobseeker. (I corrected several clients who were doing this at the urging of their big outplacement firm's "career coach" and counselor.)
Find creative ways to stop in unannounced at the various business locations of your target companies since you have time on your hand. (Yes, another great piece of advice from the big outplacement firm.)
Do not make editorial changes to your resume but just send the same resume with the same cover letter to your target companies. While you are at it address the cover letter this way – To Whom It May Concern. (This brilliant strategy was done by two now clients of mine before they started with us. Thank you to the brother and law and the wife who suggested mass mailings. Yes, one "career services" firm suggested this was the only way to go for a lot of money. Yes, you should pay for good advice but it should not be a one trick pony.)
Do not advance your education, knowledge or subject matter expertise. Just focus on your needs, your lack of money, money you have lost in the stock market or in general, what is not right with you and the world around you. (Okay, this is every jobseeker I met at the last SHRM meeting and nearly every person I met at the last Linked In Live event. There were a few exceptions. Yes, that's not the way you wanted to come across but it is how you came across.)
Certainly don't refine and develop better relationships with those who, over time, have believed in you and your abilities. Just let them know how bad it's going and how you are that much needier now. Do not offer them value or even volunteer to help them personally or professionally. If you do offer to help ensure that they know that you expect pay back. (Okay, even the six-figure serious people I coach do this or have the tendency to push too hard and ignore the people who will be acting as their key references. My fellow career counselors, surely you need to emphasize exactly how your jobseekers should engage with the people they know. Treat your close people with the most respect. Most career coaches ignore this important component of relationship building.)
Absolutely don't work on professional self-development by writing articles, commenting positively on blogs or being very appropriately creative. (What I see here is a misguided mish-mash of advice on the subject of personal branding. That's why I listen to thought leaders and customize every piece of advice to each jobseeker. It's not boiler plate. If you have downtime during the holidays you can be ultra-productive.)

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Posted at 1:30 PM in ,

One Response to “Bad Job Search Advice – Just in Time for the Holidays!”

  1. November 24, 2009 at 10:18 pm, Barbara Safani said:

    John,
    Another big mistake-posting “looking for work” across all of your social networking sites and listing “unemployed” in the “current” section of your LinkedIn profile. Nice post!

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