Why Your Job Search is Going Nowhere
You did everything right. You graduated from high school and went to college. You listened to all of the advice from teachers and guidance counselors to major in this or that. And now you have that degree.
You officially enter the world of the job market. And what you find there is disappointing. All of the jobs that you want require tons of experience or additional certification - none of which you have. So after weeks and months pass by you decide to settle. Any job is better than no job at all.
Is that you?
Or maybe you are in a job of your choosing and have reached a dead end. You get high marks on your performance reviews and compliments from your boss. When you ask for more opportunities, you get a blank stare. You look at your paycheck and decide something is better than nothing at all. Especially after seeing so many news reports about people having a hard time finding jobs. So you decide to settle in. Any job is better than no job at all.
Is that you?
Well, I would like to welcome you to the new way of working in today's economy.
The truth of the matter is you are not alone.
In this New York Post article by Jonothan Trugman, "There's no more jobs in the new 'gig' economy," he paints a bleak picture.
"Unfortunately, this economy doesn’t exhibit the stamina to inspire corporate America to commit to full-time hires."
CNN Money's Patrick Gillespie points out the massive problem of part-time workers.
"Excluding the Great Recession, the 6 million Americans who work part-time but want full-time jobs today are at the highest level in about 30 years or so."
Without getting into political commentary about why things are the way they are, I want you to awaken to this new reality.
The full-time job with a career path to retirement is permanently dead.
The career with full-time employment until retirement is slowly dying.
So all the advice given to you by the educational system is trash. You own your career path, and it is not a straight line from school to job to retirement.
Stephanie Denning tells her own story about this in her post on Forbe's "How Many Careers Do You Get in a Lifetime?"
Great question, Stephanie.
I submit to you that you get as many careers in your lifetime as you want. And here is why:
All companies, from small businesses to large corporations, are talking about innovation.
Thought leaders are admitting to it. You can and SHOULD have more than one career.
It is a known fact that innovation typically happens when two seemingly different things join together to create something new. And this is where you come into the picture.
In Harvard Business Review's post "Why You Should Have (at least) Two Careers," Kabir Sehgal points out:
"But the answer isn’t to plug away in your current job, unfulfilled and slowly burning out. I think the answer is to do both. Two careers are better than one. And by committing to two careers, you will produce benefits for both."
This is a significant shift in thinking, especially for Baby Boomers (probably your parents, grandparents, and teachers).
Instead of fighting, moaning, groaning, and complaining about how things have changed, it is time for you to embrace the change and figure out how to move into position to succeed in this new world.
As someone who has watched and studied this shift over the last couple of decades, I have some advice for you. I want you to know that you are not stuck and at the mercy of HR professionals. You can build your own career and it won't look anything like your parents or grandparents.
The first step is to get really clear on your Unique value proposition. You don't need to be ready for a job. You need to be ready for an OPPORTUNITY.
This will require you building on your skills and strengths. This is something that you most likely did not do inside the educational system.
Understanding your strengths will help you see how you fit in and provide value WHEREVER you decide to show up. An excellent resource for discovering your strengths is Gallup's popular book "Strengths Finder 2.0." Buy the book, and you will receive a code to take a detailed survey. Gallup will issue you a special report that explains in detail your top strengths and how you can use them RIGHT NOW.
Once you have a good understanding of your strengths, you have to craft a plan that includes a list of OPTIONS for targeted opportunities. You then have to be able to articulate your value proposition when you get an open door.
There are also free ways for you to show off your strengths. LinkedIn is an excellent platform. Build a strong profile and start writing an article or uploading presentations that showcase your strengths and talents.
In addition to understanding your strengths, I recommend that you also take the time to understand your passions, desires, values, and dreams. When you can align your strengths to what you deeply desire, you will create a fulfilling life that energizes you and fuels you towards personal success. (In other words, no more Miserable Mondays!).
Kathryn Minshew, the author of "The New Rules of Work," talks about the process of aligning your values with your work:
"It’s not an easy process, and it involves a lot of self-awareness and both internal and external work. Internally, through contemplation about what you want from work and what values (flexibility, creativity, stability, compensation) matter to you, and externally through research about how various roles and industries line up with those values."
No, it is not an easy process, Kathryn. But I have walked it out and can tell you that it is absolutely a game changer.
Hiring a personal coach can help you untangle the web of complexity around this process.
"If not [having a coach], you could be limiting your career success. That’s because coaches help you identify and focus on what’s important, which accelerates your success."
Some people will tell you that you don't need a personal coach. Just find a mentor and listen. Well, mentoring relationships have their downsides. According to SmallBusiness.com, you could end up mismatched or frustrated when your mentor doesn't have time for you.
"I often hear people lamenting that they would only be more successful if they could find the right mentor. And yet several successful people have questioned the actual value of having a mentor. Elon Musk and Sheryl Sandberg are among those titans who have noted that mentors might not be all that necessary to career success."
Mentoring yourself is about going on a self-led discovery of who you are, what you want, and crafting a plan on how to get there. Who knows you better than you? And your success does NOT have to look like anyone else's.
So, if you are ready to move with passion and purpose into this new world where jobs and single-path careers are DEAD, here is what you need to do:
Discover your strengths and talents.
Get clear on your values, vision, and passions.
Create a list of "opportunities" that match your strengths and talents to your values, visions, and passions.
Articulate your value proposition to the world through your personal website or LinkedIn.
I would love to hear how this strategy works for you.
Whatever you decide, know this: I am right here cheering for you!