Below is an excerpt from my ebook, It’s Not You, It’s Your Strategy: The HIAPy Guide to Finding Work in a Tough Job Market. I wrote it because I saw so many cool and talented people struggling to find work, and making the same elemental mistakes.
Here’s the Table of Contents:
PART I. FOUNDATIONAL ACTIVITIES
1. How Unemployment Stinks: Let Me Count the Ways…
2. If You Need Help, Get Help
3. Practice Optimism
4. Yes, There are Good (or, at least, Okay) Jobs Out There
5. Negotiable and Optional Job “Requirements”
6. On Pickiness and Biases
7. On Fear, Procrastination, and Not Getting Stuck
8. When You Don’t Like Your Options
9. Yes, You’re Employable
10. Invest in Lavish Self-Care
11. Create a Supportive Community
12. Create Time
13. Be Frugal
PART II. A JOB-SEARCH STRATEGY THAT WORKS
15. Competing with the “Fab 15%”
16. HIAP vs. Willy-Nilly
17. Do it Like Dudley
18. HIAP + Enthusiasm = Safety
19. HIAP + Enthusiasm = a Few Good LAFS
20. HIAP + Enthusiasm = the Magic Wand
21. Do it Like Dudley (Part II)
22. Details Count – Incredibly!
23. Zip to It!
24. Scanners (and Emailers and Faxers) Live in Vain: Why Technology Isn’t Necessarily Your Friend
25. “Technical Skills” <= “Soft Skills” + Business Savvy
26. Don’t Commoditize Yourself
27. The Crucial Importance of Framing
It’s Not You, It’s Your Strategy: Introduction
Recently, a coffee date with a friend took a serious turn as he despondently narrated the saga of his latest failure to get hired, and then the whole story of his past two years of unemployment. It was a familiar story of resumes not acknowledged, telephone calls not returned, and some excruciating near misses where he had gotten to the final round of interviews but wasn’t hired.
“I need you to tell me what’s wrong with me,” he finally said, his face strained. “Why I’m not getting hired.”
It was a brave request. Not many of us are willing to lay our failures out on the table for someone else to inspect and critique.
So I grilled him on the details: what jobs he had applied for, how he had found out about them, what process he had used to apply, whom he had he used as references, etc.
And this is what I concluded: there was nothing wrong with my friend. Nothing. There was, in fact, a lot right with him. He was a presentable, personable individual with solid credentials and a lot of interesting work experience.
What was wrong was his strategy. He wasn’t applying for jobs effectively.
He was making, in fact, a lot of the mistakes I discuss in this ebook. If he corrects those, and follows the strategy I outline in Part II, he should have a much better chance of getting hired moving forward.
The odds are that, if you’ve been unemployed a while, you’re also walking around wondering what’s wrong with you – but there’s a good chance that, the same as with my friend, the problem isn’t with you, but your strategy. Strategies can be changed, so take heart and keep reading.
This ebook focuses on the foundational activities and strategies underlying a successful job search, but does not include information on tactics (e.g., how to interview or write a resume), partly because that information is widely available elsewhere. If there’s sufficient interest, however, I’ll write the tactics book later on.
Because a lot of this book focuses on mistakes you yourself might be making – on the premise that that is the most fruitful area of discussion, since your own performance is something you can control and improve – I want to be very clear that I do understand that the U.S. economy is in a very bad state and good jobs can be hard to find. And yet, the good jobs are often out there, but people sabotage their efforts to win them. That is the problem I focus on in this book, and that I hope to help you solve, but please do not think I underestimate the difficulties and pain of finding work in a weak economy.