As a career coach, I do not teach people the mechanics of how to look for jobs: How to write cover letters or resumes, or even how to develop their networking or interview skills. That information is freely available from thousands of Internet sites, and experienced jobseekers know these things already. My coaching focuses on the inner dynamics of employment or a person’s mindset skills, which I believe are more important to their success.
I teach people how to discover their purpose and then encourage them and hold them accountable to achieve the goals they established. They do all the work while I do the coaching. Until they cross the finish line, I guide them in how to create and maintain their best attitudes, self-motivation and performance. Unless their inner dynamics are functioning properly, people tend to procrastinate, do the wrong things, settle for less or give up too soon.
The problem I see with most job seekers is they spend too much time working on the mechanics, and not enough time on the inner dynamics. They devote days and weeks to tweaking their cover letter and resume, and then interviewers spend only two minutes sizing up their appearance and paperwork. For the next 58-minutes, interviewers analyze their mindset skills. In fact, the whole idea of behavioral interviewing is to look deeper than a person’s paperwork and self-promotion skills. If the job seeker lacks the mindset skills to persevere and perform well, they will not get the job, and all the hard work they put into their mechanics will not matter. However, if the job seeker’s mindset skills are well developed, they may get the job, even if their mechanics are not spot-on. I have lost track of the times we hired people without updated resumes or the best qualifications, simply because we liked them better than we liked someone else.
Ultimately, employers hire people, not their paperwork. From the employer’s point of view, there is no business justification to hire anyone who lacks the fundamental ability to persevere and perform well. The mechanics of employment are important only to the extent they help facilitate the staffing process, and enable people to achieve consideration. Thereafter, the inner dynamics or mindset skills are what employers rely on to decide whom to hire from among the people they are considering.
Here is the point: Inner dynamics trump the mechanics. Job seekers spend the majority of their time on matters that enable their consideration, but spend very little time on matters that determine who is hired. Then, when the employer announces they found someone better qualified, the interviewee becomes discouraged because they believe they are most qualified, and they may well be. What they do not understand, however, is that employers are looking at the total package, and place greater weight on the mindset skills, which jobseekers neglect to develop.
I do not fault job seekers for this problem. Instead, I fault the system that is supposed to help them. Look around at the career services offered by career schools, colleges, One Stops, military transition programs, and all the other helping organizations. They all provide the same redundant services and suggestions related to the mechanics of how to look for jobs, but when it comes to your mindset skills, you are on your own. If an employer rejects you, they are unlikely to tell you the real reason why or how to correct the problem. Your lack of mindset skills remains a mystery until someone with the knowledge and courage finally tells you. That’s my job.
This gap in basic job search training helps us understand why employers believe the jobless are unqualified. It helps us understand why millions of job seekers have become discouraged and ill or have stopped looking, and why 32-states have had to borrow billions to fund their unemployment benefits as a result. This gap in training is why the President’s new job plan makes it illegal to reject people because they lack a job. It also helps us understand why the Federal Government recently passed new legislation that penalizes career schools if they are unable to place their graduates fast enough. We keep treating the symptoms without providing a cure.
Beyond teaching returning veterans how to look for jobs, we must also develop their mindset skills to persevere and perform well until they can find jobs. Until we finally address the inner dynamics of employment, we will keep chasing our tails and allowing job seekers to suffer the consequences.