It's Your Career - Get Out of Your Own Way!

It’s Your Career – Get Out of Your Own Way!

If I had a dollar for every time a job seeker or career-changer gave me an excuse for why they are not landing their next job, I’d be rich.

Just yesterday, James, an executive, called me for interview help, and he claimed that, “It’s been hard since I’m new to this city.”  Oh, did you just move here and don’t know anybody? “No, I moved here 4 years ago, but they don’t like people from L.A.”  Really?  Ridiculous!

Jennifer said her challenge was ageism; she’s 52. So I asked her if she has a specific example of something someone said or did that led her to believe that. “No, but the people I am interviewing with are so much younger than I am.”

And Robert claimed the top prize. He recently echoed the top excuse for not moving out of his current job to pursue something more fulfilling and that pays more: “It’s so time-consuming. I have a full time job and don’t have time to work on my next job.”  My response: Robert, it must not be that important to you.

Oh, there are lots more outstanding excuses to help you justify why you are “stuck” where you are. They range in silliness from “There are no jobs out there.” to “It’s a male-dominated industry (from a woman).” through “My boss isn’t helping me.” and “My résumé is going into the HR black hole.” I could go on, but let’s focus on how to prevent these and other excuses from sabotaging or slowing down your efforts.

Rule #1: Nobody cares about your career more than you. If you aren’t going to take responsibility, get rid of the excuses, and build a plan to move forward, and then just stop talking about it. It’s that simple. So stop. Re-boot your efforts and start from the beginning. Buy a new job search/career book, read free articles on the web, attend a seminar, and go to face-to-face networking events.

Rule #2: Without a plan and a process, your actions won’t turn into results. Yes, you keep sending out résumés, telling people how unhappy you are (with the hopes they come up with some job ideas), and introducing yourself on LinkedIn groups. So how’s that working for you? Run your new effort like a project. Start a binder (digital or paper), set goals, schedule your activities in your calendar, and follow through! Winging it or jumping in and out of the job search will not deliver any results.

Rule #3: Play the odds game and crank up the volume. You think you’re doing a lot. Double it. Then double it again. Don’t focus on that one perfect job, wait for that interview, and – maybe – network to get your application on the hiring manager’s desk. You need ten of those. Yes, you need to find ten real career opportunities, activate them by applying, networking, and following up. When one drops off, add another. Work the numbers!

It’s a new era of career movement, both for growth within your company and for external job search. Do you have what it takes to recognize that the ownership is fully on your shoulders? Are you prepared to change your approach and stop hiding behind excuses?  Of course you are! Ask for help, be positive, and take action.

Tell us about your specific challenges in the comments. We want to hear from you.