No one ever thinks it will happen to them, even as they see their peers being given pink slips and boxes for their things. Job seekers never think the search will go on as long as it does. No one ever thinks the search will be as difficult as is and require an all encompassing effort of over 25 hours per week.
I have worked with professionals in transiton and career management for almost 15 years and it is amazing to me, even during the worst recession in decades people are still in denial. I know this because I see people waiting to see what happens to their job vs being proactive in keeping their resume updated and their network engaged. Even after losing a job, many people think that this will only take a month or two and that best friend, previous boss or neighbor will walk your resume in to the hiring manager and it will be a done deal. I also see people casually scanning the paper or job boards, toss out a resume or two and think they will get a call and again it will be a done deal.
With all do respect to those who have a good plan and are working it diligently, my words to the rest are WAKE UP! Job loss can happen to anyone and will happen more and more frequently. The average tenure in a job is less than 5 years these days. Job search is long, not fun and will be the toughest job you ever have with the average job search being over 6 months and twice as long for many. It requires a realization the game has changed, the employer is in the drivers seat and this isn’t about you. Denial is the first hurdle to overcome. Please don’t misunderstand, my hope for all my clients and all job seekers is that they luck out and get the first job applied for, this happens less than 5% of the time. So for the other 95% it has to be “game on” to give yourself the best chance of landing in the shortest amount of time.
Here is what is required in the current job market. First and foremost job seekers have to be proactive, creative and diligent. You have to have a clear objective, know what you want to do and be able to communicate it to others. A solid resume that is accomplishment based that highlights your top skills. An understanding of the application process and how to get your resume to the top of the pile. Learning how to be an effective networker and interviewer. And lastly developing a focused and targeted plan, and consistently working that plan every day, over weeks and months, until it is a done deal.
Ask yourself every day, am I doing everything I can, to the best of my ability to make something happen? Good luck.