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You submitted dozens or hundreds of resumes. You got called for few if any interviews. Your savings have dwindled to the point where an AT&T Mobile settlement check looks like a lot of money. (I got one today for 7¢.) You broaden your search. Still, don’t have any luck. You just want a job! I’ll give it to you straight. The fewer jobs you exclude from your hunt, the more likely you’ll be rejected for every job you apply for. You’re committing job search sin #2: Not having clear objectives for your search.
What You’re Saying When You’ll Take Any Job
I understand your frustration. You want to work.
You want to support your family and maintain your dignity. By broadening or even lowering your sights, you intend to send a message of flexibility. You want to prove you’re committed to doing what it takes. Can you make it any plainer? “Just give me a chance to show you what a great worker I can be.”
I commend your dedication to getting a job. But you’re shooting yourself in the foot. The message you intend to send is not the one employers receive. They hear:
- Desperation. Taking any job makes you sound like a loser. So although you may be a great, even the best candidate, employers wonder why you sound so needy.
- Lack of Skills. If you really have the skills the job demands you’d be confident. Since you’re not, you must lack the skills despite what you and your resume say.
- No In-Depth Knowledge. If you will take any job, how can you have a comprehensive view of their specific industry? Realistically you can’t and don’t.
- Not Focused. Lack of clear-cut job search goals may signal an inability to focus. Civilians think service members have discipline. Your shotgun approach is incongruent with this belief. Their warning signals go off.
- Can’t Commit. Turnover costs businesses a lot of money. If you can’t commit to yourself why would you be loyal to their organization? Instability may be tolerated for low salary jobs. Can you live on minimum wage?
It seems that by broadening your search you create more opportunity. In reality, all you’re doing is lowering your value in the job market.
You Don’t Want Any Job
You left the military for one of three reasons:
- You retired.
- You didn’t like military life or your work anymore.
- You involuntarily separated.
As a retiree, you may have loved your military job. Now, do you want to do work you hate? Likewise, whether you chose to leave or not, unless you get a job you enjoy you’re likely to suffer the same fate. Rather than chasing hundreds of marginally appropriate jobs, start by setting goals for what you want. The process has three steps:
- Perform an in-depth skills assessment.
- Define what you love doing and why.
- Identify jobs that are in demand.
Find the nexus where these meet. The image above illustrates what you need to do. Now you have your Unique Value Proposition (UVP). From it, establish your job-hunting objectives and focus your time and energy where they will be most productive. As counterintuitive as it may seem, the more jobs you exclude, the more likely you are to get the job you want.
Which of the steps are you struggling to figure out? Please comment below.