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Job Search 101: Sometimes It's Darkest Before the Dawn

One of my clients was having a difficult finding a job. He was doing everything right – networking, reaching out, following up, applying, customizing his resume and cover letter for the jobs he was applying for. I finally said, ‘Maybe it’s just time to take a break and let all the seeds you’ve planted sprout.” (Or something like that.)

He’d already come to the same conclusion and planned a trip back home to spend time with family. He was really looking forward to the break – to getting away from the day-to-day pressures of job searching that confronted him when he was sitting alone in his apartment, apply for yet another job. It would be a much-needed breath respite and time to recharge.

He also set up various medical appointments, including a consult with a doctor regarding knee surgery he knew he needed but had been putting off while he was working and had to be on his feet all day. He was trying to fit in all his healthcare needs before his insurance ran out.


One of the things he was really looking forward to was being able to work out regularly. As a former pro athlete, working out was a great resource for managing stress. Three days into his vacation, he was working out and injured his back so badly that he had to go to the ER.

As a result, he spent much of his vacation flat on his back, contemplating the medical bills piling up, and the ones to come once he got knee surgery.

When I spoke to him, he was more than despondent. He was trying as hard as he could to do everything right, yet nothing was working out the way he wanted.

Sometimes we are just stuck in the muck and can’t figure out why. Sometimes, things don’t turn out the way we imagine them; instead they turn out the way we need them to.

Once he got back home after his vacation, he got back to the job search. On a whim, he reached out to the inside recruiter at his old company and set up an appointment to see whether there was something he was missing about the job market in his area.


They got to talking and he shared his story, not just about the job search, but about many of the obstacles he’d overcome to get where he is, and she interrupted him and said, “You know there’s an open spot on my team, right?”

He had no idea she was hiring for her team. The more they talked, the more it seemed like he was a perfect fit for the role. In the span of four days, he interviewed with all the right people and got a job offer.

Just like that.

After months of slogging away, he took a chance and reached out to someone he had no previous connection to, just to talk.

The moral of the story?

If what you’re doing hasn’t been working, try something different. I firmly believe that all the networking and outreaching he’d been doing prepared him for the talking with that recruiter AND prepared him for his next job.

Did I mention that he landed a job for which he has no direct experience? Yep. None of the job titles or traditional projects that would make sense for his new role. But, what he did have was an ability to demonstrate his skills by telling his story, which includes being passionate, enthusiastic for the company and a tremendous track record of overcoming adversity. And that was enough.

Did I mention that he also got a $12,000 increase in pay. Yep. All because he reached out to someone on a whim.

I’ve seen this before with other clients (and myself). When we have nothing left to lose, we take chances we might not otherwise take.

So, be open to the thing you don’t think will work and see what happens. What have you got to lose?

If you're stuck in the job search muck,

and we can set up a time to chat. Free.

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