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Posted: October 21, 2009

Execs—here are eight reasons you’re still unemployed

Don't kid yourself: finding a job is a full-time job

John Heckers

How many months has it been since you've had a real job with a real paycheck and real benefits? That many, huh?

You probably think you're trying as hard as you can to get a job, but you're probably trying to run up the down escalator. Here's why you're still unemployed and what to do about it.

1). You're not networking right. Over 90 percent of the executive jobs right now are found by networking. Everyone thinks they have a great networking or that they're networking well. Everyone thinks they're a great lover and fantastic driver, too. Get over yourself. Your network and networking technique probably stink. You need help. Get it.

2). You think finding work is a part-time job. It is a more-than-full-time job. If you're putzing around taking care of the kidlets, working part time jobs, watching daytime TV, or wasting your time in any of 1,000 other ways, you aren't going to find work in this economy. Make a space in your house for your office. Dress in decent clothes each morning. Have a plan for the day and follow through with it. And understand that, in this economy, finding a job takes 50 hours a week or more.

3). You aren't networking enough. Our clients are required to make 7 - 12 new networking contacts and meetings a week. Otherwise, they're not working our program. This is a numbers game. If you don't have the numbers, you lose.

4). You come across as desperate and terrified. People don't hire desperate or terrified people. Period. If you want to be hired, deal with your fear and calm your desperation. Get professional help from a psychotherapist if you need it. Many people, in this time, become clinically depressed or have clinical anxiety disorder. Ask your doctor if you're one of them and, if so, ask for a referral to a qualified mental health professional.

5). You're paralyzed by not knowing what to do. I've seen too many people play in front of a computer screen because they just don't know what to do to find a job. Most executives have never had to look for a job before. There are a plethora of resources out there, some free and some (like me) definitely not free. Even if your company paid for outplacement help, check out all of these other resources.

6). You're depending on one method of finding a job. Don't count on headhunters. Don't count on the Internet. Don't count on job boards. Don't count on want ads. Don't even count exclusively on networking, though you should spend the majority of your time on it. Hit this challenge from every angle with every tool and trick known to humanity. This is your livelihood, folks! Spend all the money, talent, time, resources, energy, or anything you have to in order to get employed rapidly.

7). Your strategy stinks. Many executives decide to "take a step down" in title and salary. This is rarely necessary, and even more rarely effective. When you "take a step down," you're competing against people who are trying to "take a step up," hundreds of other "downsteppers," and those who actually belong at that title.

Many others decide to do a nationwide search. This also is a lousy strategy, as it diffuses your efforts, and pits you against locals and tons of new competition. These, and several other strategies, are strategies of desperation, not inspiration. Examine your strategy with someone who knows what they're doing before pursuing it.

8). You think you're a good interview. You're not. If you have interviewed and you didn't get hired, you aren't a good interview. And, no, you didn't "come in second," and you don't "have irons in the fire." You can feed your large ego or get employed and feed your family, not both.

These are some of the reasons you're still unemployed. You don't have to be. There really are plenty of jobs in Denver, even at the Director, VP or "C" Suite Levels. Really.

They aren't advertised, and, for the most part, they aren't being given to recruiters (though you should respond to a recruiter call if you get one every time). They are found by effective networking and caught by good interviewing and connections. Use every method, work your behind off, and do things right and you will get employed.

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John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC was an Executive, Relationships, Life and Spiritual Coach in Denver with 30 years of experience  helping people with their lives, relationships and careers.

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Readers Respond

i don’t <a href="">agree</a> with all the reasons mentioned here. By jill on 2009 11 04
i don't agree with all the reasons mentioned here. By Jill on 2009 11 04
Unfortunately for this fine magazine, this post shows how completely out of touch the author is when it comes to families where both husband and wife work. The cost of daycare for 2 kids is the same, roughly, as a mortgage payment. Who can continue to take that on when one income is no longer? Sometimes "putzing around taking care of the kidlets" is not a choice for families where a spouse has lost their job. Mr. Heckers has some OK points, but his delivery is so offputting to readers that any possible good from the article gets lost. Bloviation does not = good writing. I recommend the book by Dan Miller, 48 days to the work you love. It's way more realistic, and best of all, inspiring, not insulting. By Anonymous on 2009 10 22
I can appreciate the 'tough love' approach that we need to be realistic about areas where we fall short, but I would never enlist the services of such a negative person as Mr. Heckers. Telling someone repeatedly 'you stink' and 'you're terrible' without any constructive guidance about how to change is not helpful whatsoever. If job seekers want a positive, proactive approach rather than a barrage of unconstructive criticism, check out the Most Placeable Candidate. By Sherry Knecht on 2009 10 20
What a complete blow pot. An advice column as a veiled attempt to get new business should be beneath this publication. By Raymond Joseph on 2009 10 20

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