3 Tips to Beat the Job Search Obstacle Course

obstacle courseElite athletes will tell you that training and conditioning along with determination to finish are the essential components to winning any competition. The successful job search requires no less of a commitment.

Here are just a few of the obstacles job seekers face every day and some tips to overcome them.

1. You currently are in a job you wish to leave.

Being bogged down by current work requirements make it difficult to seek out new opportunities. The key word here is “difficult,” not “impossible.”

The Internet means we can do many tasks in our off hours that would have been nearly impossible just a few short years ago. Professional job boards are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and you can upload your resume any time day or night. While you shouldn’t limit your search to job boards, the immediate value of these tools is their ease of access, and the feeling of momentum.

Of course, at some point you will need to speak to or see a hiring manager in person. This is where things can get tricky when you are currently working. So be honest with those who may request a meeting. Let them know you are currently employed and ask for after-hours or lunchtime meetings. Most hiring managers are sensitive to this situation and are more than willing to make concessions for good candidates.

Bottom line, do NOT leave your current job to get a new job! Doing so can put you in a vulnerable situation and may force you to accept a position you don’t really want out of desperation.

2. You lack the training or expertise required for the job you want.

Apply anyway. Keep in mind that job postings are written by HR personnel seeking the “perfect” candidate. Many times this is simply a wish list, and an applicant who is willing to learn the job or spend their off time picking up required certification often has as good of a chance to get hired as those who already possess these credentials.

At times, a positive attitude along with strong interviewing skills will trump years of experience. This is especially true if you artfully prove your transferable skills and experiences, influencing the hiring decision maker that you will hit the ground running in your new role.

The worst-case scenario is a confidence builder that will boost you for the next interview. And who knows, the company may just have a position available that fits your unique skill set.

3. You’ve been on countless interviews, but the phone isn’t ringing.

Depending on the size of the company you are applying to, the hiring process behind the scenes can take an excruciatingly long time. By the time department heads and their bosses and their boss’s boss are done poring over your credentials and interview notes, you may have forgotten you even applied for the job. Don’t give up. But also, don’t be a wallflower.

Reach out to the decision makers when you have a few moments to let them know you are still interested in filling the position for which you applied. Be careful here, though. You don’t want to come off as desperate or worse. Keep the conversation light, and use a professional tone when you call. If the position has been filled, don’t hesitate to inquire as to the reason. Some hiring managers are more than happy to explain their choice and many will give you tips that may increase your chances next time.

The job search can be stressful at times so give your self permission to be a little anxious. Just don’t let it eat you up inside.

Stay busy and stay calm. Any minute now, that phone is going to ring.