It's hard to believe that it's already January 2013. Where did the last year go? For most people, the transition to a new year is the time to look back and reflect on the things that went well, the things that weren't so good, and the things that we want to work on over the next year.
Many of the more popular New Year's resolutions center around career opportunities. From finding a job to getting a promotion, the new year offers us a blank slate with unlimited potential to reach our goals. The only problem is that too often we fill that blank slate with excuses and negative energy. If your goal for the new year is to find a job, there are some excuses you might be guilty of making that sabotage your goals before you even start working on them.
Here are five common excuses that can hurt your job search:
"No one is actually reading my resume." - I've heard this one more times that I can count. I know that sending in resumes and not hearing anything back can be frustrating and make you want to throw your hands in the air and give up, but that isn't an effective solution. If you're worried that your resume is boring and that it doesn't entice employers to want to learn more about you - change it. Even if you aren't getting many interviews, know that as long as your resume is targeted to the job you are applying for, someone is probably reading it. If you aren't getting much mileage from yours, maybe it's time to scrap your old resume and turn yours into a more effective marketing tool.
"I'm too old." - This is also one that I've heard on numerous occasions. Sure, there are some companies who won't hire people over 50, but they are the minority. Age discrimination is illegal, and although I know that it happens, there are still plenty of companies that don't consider age as a factor in the hiring process. The biggest problem that older individuals have when looking for a job is that they are less likely to embrace new technology and get involved with social media. The job search has changed dramatically in the past few years and if you aren't online and engaged with social networking, you'll miss out on job leads and hiring managers will assume that your technology skills aren't up-to-date. To combat this negative preconception about older workers, put links on your resume to your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Make the point up front that you know what it takes to compete in today's job market.
No one is hiring - My teenage daughter has been trying hard to find a job recently and made the excuse over and over that the places she wanted to work at just weren't hiring. She would call the store or check their employment opportunities on their website and each time she would be told that they simply weren't hiring. Still, every time she went into the store, there was a new face at the register, making her realize that maybe they were hiring after all. The thing is, hiring needs can change from day to day. Sometimes, even the store manager won't have the correct information. If there is a company you really want to work for, put in an application or send in a resume. Even if they aren't hiring now, having your information on record means that they can consider you whenever they have a new opening.
"I can't afford a pay cut." - Taking a pay cut is hard - especially if you've been working in your field for a long time. Accepting a lower paying or entry level job is tough, but it's not just about how much you're being paid. If the job has the possibility of advancement, then maybe it isn't a bad decision. Once you get your foot in the door, you can show your worth to your employer. Instead of focusing on the job itself, try looking at the career possibilities it provides. If the job offers a stepping stone to other jobs that fit you better, maybe it's worth taking the pay cut for now.
"It's the economy." - This is one of those excuses that make me think that the person saying it has just given up. Yes, the economy is bad and it has been for some time. Although the job market is tight right now, there are still jobs to be had. On average, someone who is out of work will be looking for a job for a longer period of time than they would have in years past, but they still do find work. If you've been looking and still not finding anything, maybe it's time to get creative and try different job hunting tactics - like networking or volunteering.
There's no doubt about it, finding a job today is hard - but not impossible. To increase your chances of finding the right job you have to make every attempt to stay positive, be enthusiastic and develop a marketing strategy that best shows what you're all about.
Do you ever hear yourself or a friend making these excuses? What do you do to stay positive about your job search? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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