What Not to Expect From a Job Search

At its core, the job search is a communication process.  It begins with a simple question like, “Where can I find a job that will allow me to make the best use of my present skills while accomodating my desire to grow professionally?” From there you begin having numerous conversations with people in and out of your network until one day you find your answer.  At the end, the opportunity you take may or may not match what you originally hoped for.  What determines that is the accuracy of the expectations you began with.

Deals are made when expectations align.  Until that point, the parties involved must be willing to paticipate in a dialogue and at least one party must be accomodating enough to alter their expectations to a certain degree.  It’s the nature of sales and it is the nature of the job search.  Many people forget this in their job search efforts and as a result they can find the whole process very discouraging.  Expectations can work for you and against you.  The key is to be flexible and–need we say–realistic.

Here are a few common expectations that people contend with when on a job search.  Give these some consideration as you work on finding work. 

  1. “No one is hiring, but I might as well try.”  This is a terrible way to start a job search and definitely will not work in your favor or any potential employers for that matter.  A lot people inaccurately believe that they can avoid disappointment by setting low expectations.  That doesn’t make sense.  This doesn’t avoid it, it just spreads it around.  If you do manage to land an interview, just think how disappointed a hiring manager will feel after spending their time with a person that doesn’t even seem to want the job.  They will be glad to see you go and won’t even consider you for the future. Make it your business to at least leave them with a smile.  You never know where it can take you.
  2. “Any company would be crazy not to hire me because I am worth every penny.” Confidence is attractive, cockiness is not.  There is a lot to be said for the power of positive thinking but, as many people have found, the job search can be particularly humbling for some people.  A lot has changed in the past few years.  Companies, like everyone, are trying to do more with less when they can and in many cases a position that would have paid $100k last year may be only willing to invest $85k for the same role today. This is just one factor among many to consider.  We’re not saying to not try to go for what you think you are worth.  Just remember that flexibility is your friend.
  3. “All I need to do is get on these social networking sites and I’ll snag a job.” How awesome would that be?  The fact is that while there may be some stories of lottery winners on the social sites, most of us are going to have to work for a living.  That means putting time into your online profiles is the only way it is going to bear fruit.  Give to the culture and it will give to you.  That’s the basic tenet.  Just posting, “I need a job” as your status update without ever contributing to the value of the communities is going to yield the same results in kind.  That’s just the way it is.
  4. “I have so many ‘friends’ on line that finding a job will be easy for me.”  When it comes to networking, the first thing you want to ask yourself is whether your house is made of brick or straw.  There are very few people that are able to maintain thousands or even hundreds of meaningful relationships.  And those who are able to do so have chosen to make it a lifestyle and not just when they need help.  So know which one you are, before you make this assumption.  Because as Einstein said, not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.

For more insight on this topic check out this blog on job search timing expectations from someone at Monster.com.

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