3 Reasons You’re Struggling in Your Job Search

3 Reasons You’re Struggling in Your Job Search

While there is a myriad of reasons job seekers struggle with their job search, I believe the following are the top 3 reasons:

1. The ongoing narratives in your head. [The storm is in your mind, not in your life.]

You have a mental dialogue going on in your head that never stops. This ongoing mental dialogue [narratives] determines your actions, beliefs, values, and moods. When you tell yourself, "Hiring managers are scared to hire me because I'm overqualified. They think I will not stick around. This is why I'm not getting any interviews." you're not simply reacting to why you're not getting interviews. You're voicing the limiting narratives you bought into and anticipating the prospect of more to come.

The importance of the narratives you carry in your head cannot be overrated. Your mental narratives can inspire you, or they can deplete you. The single most significant predictor of success isn't the facts of your situation but the stories you tell yourself.

With determination and consistent, repetitive effort, you can reengineer the narratives in your head, so they serve you as opposed to hindering. Take some time and reflect on the narratives you mentally carry and whether they're creating limiting beliefs. Winston Churchill, during World War II, at the height of the Blitz, instructed Londoners to "Keep Calm and Carry On." These five words were a simple narrative reset that changed the course of history.

Small shifts in your mindset can trigger a cascade of changes so profound it'll leave you speechless. You'll wonder why you were holding onto limiting belief narratives for so long.

"I have lots of qualifications and experience. I just need to find an employer that'll see my qualifications as assets, not that I'm overqualified. That employer is out there, and I'll find them!"

You know the adage, "What you believe is what you'll achieve." As a job seeker, embrace this adage for all it's worth.

2. Your expectations

The key to happiness is having realistic expectations. Your expectations directly impact your attitude and mindset. When you meet or exceed your expectations, you tend to have a positive attitude and mindset. The reverse is also true: If you don't meet your expectations, you tend to have a less-than-stellar attitude or mindset.

If you want to prolong your job search, then make the biggest mistake I see job makers make—trying to duplicate your last job. Your previous job had a base salary of $90K, plus an annual bonus of $20K, full medical and dental, stock options, 3 weeks paid time off, 10 sick days, etc. 15 years ago, you had hit the mother lode. Hopefully, you had a good run. Unfortunately, like millions of others have experienced these past 14 months, you were forced to move on. Sometimes it's better to be let go from a job that wasn't working for you than from a job you enjoyed. If your job was grating against you, then consider yourself blessed to have been let go. Now you have the opportunity [time] to find the right job for you.

Your first step is to give serious thought to what you need compensation-wise to live comfortably, to cover your necessities [needs, not wants]. After removing all your "wants" spending, most of which is an attempt at buying happiness, trying to impress family, friends, and strangers, and seeking their approval, you'll surprise yourself with how much less than your previous salary you can live on.

It's much easier to find a $65K job than it is a $90K. Your goal is to get back to work, not to have a lengthy job search eating away at any savings you may have.

Think of the lowest hanging fruits possible.

Now take it a step further. Is it realistic [in your case] to find a job close to home? Hence, mitigating commuting costs, maybe even forgo owning an automobile? What about finding a job that's 100% remote?

Now's the time to evaluate your lifestyle and ask yourself if maintaining the "lifestyle you've become accustomed to" stresses you out? Is your lifestyle worth the effort it takes to maintain [seriously]? Then there's the big question: Is your lifestyle bringing you happiness or causing anxiety?

Was climbing towards the upper rungs of the corporate ladder worth the mental fatigue caused by the office politics you had to constantly navigate and the long hours to look like a "team player?

A job search is a chance to get to know yourself. Access your strengths and weaknesses. Where your passions lie. What brings you happiness, what makes your stomach tighten up. Would downsizing your lifestyle make you calmer? Answer these questions and contemplate your career thus far, then answer the ultimate question: How did I get to where I am today and why? Your answers will guide you in creating realistic job search expectations.

Realistic expectations are an integral part of any job search strategy, especially if you don't want to be out of the job market long.

3. Not looking for your tribe. [Where you belong.]

Finding your tribe means being honest with yourself about what kind of conversations, connections, and social interactions feed your soul.

The best advice I can give job seekers: Look for your tribe!

Stop looking for a job and start looking for where you'll belong.

You put in 27 years with a bank. A few months back, you were called into the boardroom—you know the rest. 27 years is an incredibly good run these days, as well you made a good middle-class living. You were able to raise a family in the suburbs, vacation every summer, cover your kid's university tuition fees, buy that' 64 Pontiac GTO you thought would recapture your youth. Life was sweet, but your true happiness came on the weekends when you barbequed for your family, friends, and neighbours. Marinating meats, experimenting with wood chips, grilling vegetables—you even learned to make a wickedly good pizza on your barbeque, which astonishes everyone.

Here is an idea: Why not go work for a barbecue grill manufacturer if one exists close by, or maybe work for a retailer that sells all things to do with barbequing? Do you think you'd happier spending your days talking about what brings you happiness?

Golf would be a better example. I know an ex-midlevel marketing executive and avid golfer who worked for a large global consumer good company. He thought he was tracking to be the next regional VP and therefore put up with the traveling, back-stabbing office politics, constantly having to sell himself, and dealing with department heads with their own agenda. Then a shuffle in the leadership upstairs resulted in a new boss. Eight months later, at the age of 49, he was shown the door. More than once, he told me golf is what kept him sane. For the past 7 years, he's been an assistant manager at a local Golf Town and is much happier. [I got this declaration from his wife.]

Is he making the money he once did? No, but he is in a much better place. Having experienced the difference myself, working for the money and working where I belonged, I'll take "working where you belong" any day over money and being miserable.

Consider what you are passionate about. What values matter most to you? What skills do you enjoy using? Where someone your age would be considered an asset? Look for companies where you'll be a natural fit.

Make finding where you belong a priority is the best compass a job seeker can use.
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