I heard from a former client recently who has been having a hard time finding work. He shared his frustration about applying for “100’s” of jobs not getting interviews, or if he did have an interview, not getting a job offer. After 18 months of this, he was pretty angry. He proceeded to give me a litany of reasons for his negativity. Let’s look at these four:
1. Employers are rude, they won’t even acknowledge that they have received my applications.
2. The economy sucks, no one is hiring.
3. Companies won’t pay me what I am worth.
4. The people doing the hiring are guilty of age discrimination.
While these statements may have some truth to them, they are undermining the candidate’s chances for employment. Why? Because the unhappy jobseeker is blaming externals for his predicament and his negative attitude is derailing his forward motion. Yup, the number one reason you may not be getting hired is your attitude.
Let’s look at each of these complaints from a more positive perspective.
1. Employers are swamped with applicants and may be short staffed. Imagine yourself as the hiring person being deluged with resumes, many of which are poorly written, hard to read, and inappropriate for the position. Having been in the position of screening resumes, I can tell you it is an exercise in patience to review each one and make thoughtful decisions regarding which pile to put it in: maybe a fit, not a fit but maybe could be considered for something else, and totally unqualified for the position. Then you take the maybe stack and sort it down to the strongest candidates, coming up with the number of candidates to be interviewed (like the top 3-10). Is it reasonable to expect every person be sent an acknowledgment that their application has been received? I don’t think so.
2. Even in economic downturns people are hiring. You may just have to look harder to identify where you might fit. 80% of jobs aren’t advertised. I encourage you to do some information interviewing to get the inside scoop on a company’s culture, needs and potential openings. If there truly are no jobs in your field, consider starting your own business. Really look at your resume. What else can you do with your experience, education, training, and talent?
3. What are you worth, really, to a potential employer? In your correspondence and contact with an organization you need to stress what YOU can do for THEM, not the other way around. Can you save them time, increase productivity, save them money? How will the organization benefit by hiring you?
4. Although there may be age discrimination, carrying it around as a chip on your shoulder is not going to help you get hired. Instead of tackling the “age issue” emphasize your experience, your knowledge, the wisdom you bring and the maturity. Another advantage of hiring older workers is that they tend to be reliable, dependable, and diligent workers. Turn your attitude into thinking about what a great catch you are for some fortunate employer and see if that doesn’t make a difference!
Bottom line—put yourself in the employers’ role, wouldn’t you rather hire a candidate with a positive attitude? Yeah, so would I.
Go forward confidently, energetically attacking problems, expecting favorable outcomes. Norman Vincent Peale
Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. Thomas Jefferson