Job Search De-Motivators And Solutions For Them.

By Amy Lindgren for

If you’re feeling sluggish about your job search, it’s possible you’ve gotten de-motivated somewhere along the way. By way of offering a self-help tutorial, I’ll list here the most common de-motivators that I observe in job seekers. If any apply to you, start troubleshooting! Because one thing’s for sure: You won’t get far in job search without motivation.

1. Discouraging labor statistics. The last couple of years have been extraordinary in the emergence of numbers-based reporting on the jobs issue. At base, these numbers are most helpful to corporations, governments, and other entities that use the information in longer-term planning. In my opinion, job seekers are not as well served by the data since they can’t actually use it; but they are certainly impacted psychologically – and rarely in a positive way.

Solution? Stop focusing on statistics, at least until you’re re-employed.

2. Generalized career information in occupational directories. As guides that describe a variety of jobs, these are wonderful tools for career changers and others who need information to choose career paths. Unfortunately, some of the guides are misleading, particularly in overstating the need for degrees or specialized certifications. Sadly, job seekers sometimes turn away from promising careers when told authoritatively that the field requires those degrees.

Solution? Confirm information by talking with people working in the field.

3. Inflated job postings. Perhaps you already knew this, but many postings ask for more skills than are actually needed. Why? One reason is that an inflated posting discourages casual responses. The employer benefits by having fewer people to consider. The practice is not without its casualties, however. Job seekers frequently review postings to determine their own marketability, then stumble away in disbelief at how “unskilled” they are.

Solution? Lean away from job postings and focus on networking, where candidates are judged individually.

4. Unproductive networking. It’s sad how often job seekers drop the process after a few coffee meetings. Since networking is partly a strategy and partly a lifestyle, it’s unrealistic to expect leads to sprout from every encounter. That said, some types of networking are more effective than others; to be involved in the latter can knock the wind out of a job search.

Solution? Troubleshoot your networking and improve it.

5. Feeling that things aren’t fair. I’ve known since I was 5 that life isn’t fair and you probably have, too. So why are people so discouraged in their job search after discovering that candidates with connections get more breaks?

Solution? Accept the “unfairness” and make it work for you.

6. Anticipating age bias. Mind you, I didn’t say “experiencing age bias.” When and how often age bias occurs is its own question. Separate from any actual occurrence, however, is the psychic burden carried by candidates who worry that it will happen. And the worry alone is enough to make people say, “No one will hire me. I’m too old.” Which can lead to curtailing one’s search.

Solution? Face your fear and get out there. Other people your age are getting hired; how are they doing it?

7. Unresponsive employers. It’s hard to get fired up about a search when no one calls you back. Worse yet is to be interviewed and then ignored. One tends to avoid rejection when possible, so the natural reaction is to stop reaching out to employers.

Solution? Get a thicker skin and improve your odds by contacting more, not fewer employers.

8. Hanging out with unemployed people. That’s ironic, isn’t it? On the one hand, you benefit from the support of others in the same boat. But if you spend too much time with people who aren’t working, unemployment starts to seem normal. Sometimes unemployed people slow each other down.

Solution? Pay attention to how you feel after a session, then eliminate meetings that bum you out.

9. Scary anecdotes. Why do people tell you terrible stories about whatever situation you’re experiencing? Pregnant women routinely hear about complicated childbirths, while job seekers are treated to tales of someone’s cousin who’s been looking for three years, lost everything and had to sell a kidney.

Solution? Put your fingers in your ears and sing loudly. Nothing else works with these boors.

10. Comparing current options to your last position and concluding that there aren’t any decent jobs out there. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies. If you’ve been measuring every opportunity against your last job, you’re likely holding yourself back.

Solution? Review opportunities with an open mind. Sometimes “good enough” is all you need, at least for now.


About Buzz Smith

Welcome. My name is Charles “Buzz” Smith and I’m the SR Curmudgeon of Consulting Services at OPI National Outplacement. My role, in addition to agitating our sales personnel, and consultants is to take the lead on delivering outplacement and career transition services that are effective. I blog about career stuff when my wife of 40 years, Linda banishes to the garden.

Posted on February 16, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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