Anyone who has ever had to look for a new job knows that job searching is tough. I have yet to meet a new client who was truly prepared for what needs to happen in a typical job search.
Few have had any formal training. Some will get help with their resume. Some may even reach out to friends and family for guidance, but most of my clients come to the realisation at some stage of their job search journey that there is a whole lot more to a job search than the tactics and mechanics of the resume, networking and interviewing.
I have interviewed a lot of people. I tend to follow a simple method to discover the issues and “The Real Issue”.
There are two “real issues”, or stated another way, two enemies of most job searches that rarely get discovered or discussed. One that candidates have to deal with, and few are prepared to handle properly is:
Enemy #1 “TIME”
Too many job seekers enter unemployment totally unprepared for the length of time the search takes and how slow and long the hiring process sometimes is. One of the first questions that I tend to get from my clients is also the toughest to answer. How long do you think I will have to search until I find a new job?
There are many reasons for time issues. One could be that the jobseeker has one time frame expectation and the recruiter or hiring manager has a completely different set of priorities and time frames. I have a formula and a solution for the time problem, which I will write about in another blog post soon, or I am happy to provide some insight in a coaching session.
The other big job search issue is:
Enemy #2 “Themselves”
Most of my clients experience the same pattern. As time passes and frustration sets in they start questioning themselves and their abilities. They have often gone through all the contacts in their network, have been doing the same thing over and over again for months with little or no results, and they are burned out. Now what?
They need help. The best thing that you can do for yourself at this point is get what I refer to as an accountability partner. The professional version is a Job Search Coach. But that is not the reason for this blog post (wink J). Accountability is something that most people, and especially adults, hate. That is why most of us couldn’t wait to become an adult. At some stage in our life, we want to do what we want, when we want, how we want and without anyone holding us accountable. That’s all ok and fine for life, but not a good thing when you are in job search mode.
Who can be an Accountability Partner?
When you look for a partner, hunt wisely! An accountability partner needs to be selected very carefully. He or she needs to be someone you respect and trust; someone who can be blunt and direct, who will tell it like it is, especially when you don’t want to hear it. They should not be a friend or family member.
This is where the tough love enters the picture.
A good accountability partner will help you. They can be very valuable and help you to achieve results as they are not here to become your friend or buddy. Do you remember this famous line? “Get a dog if you need a friend.”
You see, an Accountability Partner’s main job is to encourage you when you’re down and motivate you when you just don’t want to go to another networking meeting or send another resume. Their job is to kick you (figuratively not literally) in the right place when even coaching, encouragement and motivation aren’t working as well as hoped. A good accountability partner knows the right buttons to push and when to push them.
They must be a person you can open up to about your job search and what is happening to you on the inside, and even in your personal life. They are someone who will empathise with you, be understanding, compassionate, feel your pain, never hit you when you’re down, lift you up, dust you off and when all of this is completed, kicks you in the appropriate place and gets you going again. Do you get the idea where this is heading…?
I know and I believe that a good accountability partner will listen to you. They will know the differences between an excuse and a real obstacle. They may also be able to provide some resources to help you out when you are stalled. But, they certainly won’t accept excuses. They will listen to them and then get you back on track.
I don’t want you to get the wrong impression of me – I am actually a really nice guy. I call myself a coach for a good reason but I often realise that some of my clients need more of a drill sergeant.
A good accountability partner is somewhat like a good drill sergeant in the military. You hate them while you are in boot camp, but you also know that they have your best interests in mind for the upcoming battle. They are successful if, at the end of the battle, you look back and say, “Thanks, you really helped me get through this.” Oh, you may still dislike them, but you surely respect them. They may or may not end up being your friend. That isn’t important. What is important is that you want to refer them to other people you know that are ‘in transition’.
Finding an accountability partner (even if you have to pay one) willing to give you “TOUGH LOVE” during your search may be the best thing you do for your job search, yourself and your family. You can do it all by yourself and just read lots of free blog posts from professionals like myself or you can also invest in some job search coaching and guidance.
You can also subscribe to the blog or join our LinkedIn Job Search Networking Group. It has lots of valuable content to help your search. CLICK HERE to join.
I encourage your comments and feedback, whether it’s through the pro bono blog content or in a paid coaching gig. Don’t try to do it all by yourself if you get stuck. Get help, find yourself an Accountability Partner or Job Search Coach and kick those two big Enemies in the butt! Oh, and while you are at it, don’t forget whatever you do while job searching, remember to hunt wisely!