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Article Teaser: I had never been unemployed before, but I was sure I knew what to do. I spent about ten hours a day, six days a week in my job search. I was anxious to move on to greener pastures and, in spite of the hurt from getting laid-off, I was excited to see what else the world had to offer me. Boy was I in for a big surprise!

Keep reading below...

The Accountable Job Search

Copyright (c) 2006-2017

I lost my job a couple weeks after Christmas. I guess that is better than losing it right before Christmas. At least this way I got to enjoy the holidays, and I wasn't in a big job search during a time when no hiring decisions where made.

I had never been unemployed before, but I was sure I knew what to do. I spent about ten hours a day, six days a week in my job search. I was anxious to move on to greener pastures and, in spite of the hurt from getting laid-off, I was excited to see what else the world had to offer me. Boy was I in for a big surprise!

My job search was very targeted, focused and disciplined. I set performance metrics and worked hard each day to meet my goals. It was invigorating to wrap up a day and be able to say that I applied to 7 jobs that day! Considering I customized each cover letter and resume, 7 applications in one day was a lot of work!

But my job search was going nowhere. Week after week of these efforts produced not one call for an interview. The most I got was some cold, automated e-mail. I didn't understand what I was doing wrong.

Now, six months later, I have a much clearer perspective on what I should have done. Six months without work is a lot longer than the four weeks that I thought I'd be out of work. If I could rewind time I know exactly what I would do differently. Aside from tweaking techniques and fixing my resume, I would immediately get a job coach. Looking back now I realize that my prospective coaches were all around me, waiting for me to ask them to help.

I won't say that I was too proud to get a coach -- I just thought it was totally unnecessary. I was sure that I was working hard at my job search, and that it would pay off within weeks! I was too busy doing all the right things to need a coach (who would have told me I was not doing all the right things)!

Even though I didn't have a problem with my work ethic, I did have a problem with my job search techniques. A coach would have identified this immediately and set me on the right path. You see, a coach has some distinct advantages over a job seeker.

First, the coach is not as emotionally involved as I am. I didn't realize that a job search would be one of the most dramatic emotional rollercoasters I would ever be on. I'm not an overly emotional person, but not having an income to support my growing family combined with the feeling of rejection from HR or hiring managers was something I was unprepared for.

Coaches can stand back from your situation and maintain a healthy perspective to conquer each task, each day. When you are down (and it happens in a job search, especially as the days turn into weeks and months) it is so helpful to have someone that is in your corner. The coach is there to keep you on the right track, which they can see without an emotional bias.

Second, the right coach will have a better understanding of successful techniques and tactics than you do. It is the coach's business to know current trends and techniques and they are tapped into better sources of information than you are. For example, I assumed I knew how much time to spend applying to jobs. It seemed like common knowledge. But I had spent the last eight years studying and working not learning about effective job search skills.

So I spent all of my time applying to jobs posted on job boards. A coach would have helped me understand that I should spend my time in a mix of activities - perhaps 15% of my time with the job boards and applications, and 80% of my time networking and contacting hiring companies directly.

The coach would have trained me how and when to network. The coach would have showed me how to find companies that are hiring and what to say to them when I call. Having a developed an effective job search strategy based on these techniques would have been significantly more beneficial than just doing what I thought was right. The truth is, coaches have "been there, done that" and I was just making the same mistakes that most people make.

Third, one of the key roles of a coach is to hold me accountable. Switching from a full work schedule to an empty unemployed schedule can present its own problems. Having complete control over 40-50 hours each week without reporting to someone can lead to a little too much time surfing the internet for jobs and not enough time doing the hard stuff (networking). Just knowing that a coach would have weekly meetings with me, at the same time each week, would be a great motivator to ensure that I don't slip into what's comfortable.

My coach would want to know how I did last week, and how much time spent on each technique. If I disagree with the techniques then we can talk about it at the next session, but for now I need to follow a program that has been proven. Again, coaches may not specialize in my particular field, but they do specialize in getting a job that I will love and a salary that I will be happy with.

So, if I could turn back time to that fateful January day, I would look for a coach right away. Some coaches would have billed me, and it might have been worth it. Other coaches would have helped me for free - perhaps a coach from a local job center or a university career center. No matter what you look for in a coach, make sure that they teach with proven principles, they have proven techniques and tools, and they can provide you with the level of accountability that you need.


About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Jason Alba is the owner of JibberJobber.com, which is an online toolset that allows you to manage your own career. With a strong relationship manager to organize your job search and professional network, JibberJobber helps you keep track of important dates, phone numbers and follow-up action items. You can also allow your coach to see your key job-search statistics through the Coach Interface, included in the free version. Begin to own your career now with a free account at http://www.JibberJobber.com. You can peek into Jason's job seeker world at http://www.JibberJobber.com/blog or send him an e-mail at: jason@JibberJobber.com.

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