Your Career Q&A: What to Do When Your Job Search Is Stalled

By Martin Yate Jun 6, 2017
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​Feel like you're stuck in a job-hunt rut? Step back and evaluate your professional survival skills. Best-selling author Martin Yate, a career coach and former HR professional, takes your questions each week about how to further your career in HR. Contact him at the e-mail address at the end of this column.  

I've been an HR consultant for seven years, mostly for small businesses. Work has been feast or famine, and I've been looking for regular employment in HR for almost a year. The process has been agonizingly slow: I get a call to interview and then wait a month for that. Then interview with a hiring manager and wait a month for a second round of interviews. Then interview with the "team" and wait six weeks for any news. This sequence of events has repeated several times and I haven't received an offer yet! I'm frustrated, my job search has stalled and I'm not sure what to do. Any suggestions?

Anonymous

We are all specialists of one kind or another; we know how complex the challenges of our own job are but have little awareness of the complexities of other jobs.

You have seven years in HR consulting, which has given you a wide range of experience, yet you are having trouble turning interviews into job offers.

I think it is time to start looking at your professional survival and success in a different way.

If you evaluate all the necessary skill sets needed for survival, success and professional stability over the long haul, you would have to include career management. This is a component of professional success where almost everyone is weak. Most people believe those myths about "just be yourself" and "work hard, be loyal and you will be rewarded with job security." People who believe these ideas may think managing your career isn't necessary. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Currently, individuals, on average, work for 50 years and change jobs about every four, making 12 to 15 changes over their working lives. 

There are no easy answers to any of the issues troubling you, but there are practical solutions. For starters, your most critical professional survival and success skills are, scarily, the very skills where you may be the weakest:

Step back and evaluate how you can best re-educate yourself in each of these areas to establish an effective new approach to career management. In today's world of work, uncertainty is your only certainty. Absorb these words and the advice that has been linked to, above, and you will develop the skills to get on track and thrive. 

Have a question for Martin about advancing or managing your career? From big issues to small, please feel free to e-mail your queries to YourCareerQA@shrm.org. We'll only publish your first name and city, unless you prefer to remain anonymous—just let us know.  

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