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February 05, 2009

The Dilemma of Multiple Voices, Outplacement As It Is and The Complications of Job Search

I read many insightful articles. Hopefully I have written a few over 17 years. Recently I read some articles published by The Wall Street Journal and other publications devoted to job search insights. 

Unfortunately most article insights do not go far enough to provide the kind of detailed, one on one coaching someone needs during a job search. They can't. It's not really the writer's problem. I have written four nationally published articles for The Ladders recently and many, many more for my career services colleagues and in many other publications. I get emails from people opening their hearts, commenting or giving me their story. I know I might have raised certain questions and not solved them. I pitch in. But to me search can be a complicated field, a Tower of Babel.


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Articles can't cover much. Add spousal tension, market destruction in certain fields and other problems like rabbit punching ego blows and search gets real complicated real fast. At least that's one way I see it. In search so many voices sound like screaming fans. You are the player on the field. Do you hear them? Can you distinguish the one voice that makes sense? The raw truth about search is about listening to your inner voice. Some call it the Holy Spirit. Call it what you want. But listening to or having someone distill what you need to do or to define the clear voice remains paramount. And difficult. 

The refrain of insights by well meaning friends can even be empty at this tough, often depressing time. And advice columns cannot solve problems. It's like listening to CNBC and forming a coherent financial plan. It's a bit like listening to political talk shows and clarifying your political viewpoint. It's point, counterpoint and darn confusing. 

In fact the behind the scenes truth during the haste of a new job search sometimes hurts and does not help jobseekers. It's a panorama of confusing, well meaning opinions. I am often debunking myth after myth and creating the jobseekers individual search plan based on everything I can muster in 17 years of doing this and it just hasn't gotten that much easier. 

And the world can be set especially against the short cut focused or jobseeker who is not careful. 

For example, most recruiters complain to me about being overwhelmed by jobseekers screwing up their brand in these ways: 
1. Poor resumes – not targeted, not professional 
2. Poor phone skills, follow up skills or etiquette in initial email communications 
3. Overly aggressive behavior when communicating by phone or email after sending the resume and cover letter 
4. Lack of research on firm or even recruiting firm when engaged in screening interviews 
5. Unrealistic pay or compensation expectations 

It's always helpful to have a bag of tips when jobsearching but the truth is there is a lot of stress, tension and problems that people face or even create for themselves during search. 
Stress and pain often reveal how we handle crisis. Many of us can handle a no when it is given against our company or a product we may represent. Most people in search do not know the journey to yes and the response to no during this time. 

Now that all marketing focuses on you it becomes even tougher. Clients who demonstrate great search behavior use this time of stress to Invest in Themselves, Stay Focused During Crisis, and get a Third Person Perspective on their own situation. Try doing that on your own or without a powerful go to network that you have established over many years of giving yourself away. 

Some clients are given outplacement services. Even those services as they are delivered today often fall short. One client at a local corporation reported that the first three weeks of his outplacement program he received nothing but a packet of information. He was also pushed to sign an agreement not to sue the firm he formerly worked with last. It was the third week that he received one on one coaching. His outplacement program with a national firm ends in 90 days. How much personalized, one on one, individual attention can he possibly expect? 

Those who are out of work and do not receive outplacement often have to face the fact that they have not adequately built relationships that they should have done before they needed it. Loyalty to the company and the relationships built around that may not pay off in a time of transition. But effective networking starts NOW and for most it should have been a campaign built on relationships for many years. Difficult searches take very concerted efforts, discipline and calm focus. 

It's hard. It's complicated. If you have easy answers or transition quickly then quickly and often count those blessings. If you don't have easy answers you are not alone. Try to distinguish the voices that will help you. 

One Response to “The Dilemma of Multiple Voices, Outplacement As It Is and The Complications of Job Search”

  1. March 26, 2009 at 3:15 pm, Dave Park said:

    There are a lot of critical points to this blog. One point I really want to drill home is that you need a multitude of counselors but I feel successful people take advice from people who have credibility, experience and have shown results over time. At the end of the day it is imperative to keep your purpose constant to be successful.

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