3 things that lead to success or failure in the job search

During one play in my son’s last soccer games, he had the opportunity to pound a goal into the net; but one of his teammates beat him to the loose ball and netted the goal. Losing the opportunity was not as heart wrenching for me as it was for “Motor”—as his coach calls him.

When Motor gets down about not scoring his requisite goals, my response is to tell him, “The goals will come.” I still believe this because he’s been a prolific scorer in the past; he has a nose for the net. But as the season nears the end, it’s become increasingly clear that scoring more goals is diminishing with each game.

There are a number of factors standing in his way. First, he’s playing amongst a group of more experienced players who understand the nuances of scoring at this level. Second, he’s not hungry enough for the ball. Third, opportunities like the one I described haven’t presented themselves as much as he’d like.

Motor’s missed opportunity is similar to the job search for the three reasons listed above.

It’s rough out there. Like the nature of competition in youth soccer, the competition for jobs is fierce and the playing field is uneven and favors some more than others. Jobseekers need to realize this for a number of reasons. They need to understand that extra effort and ingenuity are necessary to land an interview and then a job. Many jobseekers who aren’t qualified for the jobs they land are succeeding due to their ability to perform well at an interview. The solution to this conundrum is to even the playing field by preparing for interviews and come across as polished. Then you–the qualified applicant will get the job.

Ya gotta be hungry, really hungry. Motor sometimes goes through the motions when playing on the field. Some jobseekers do the same. They tell me that they’ve spent a full-day’s work of the job search looking on line at job boards like Monster, Dice, Simply Hired, Indeed, etc.—and are satisfied with their job search activity. Activities like networking and sending tailored résumés and cover letters to employers take effort that will eventually lead to earning an interview. I see the look of hunger in some of my jobseekers’ eyes–it’s unmistakable and leads me to believe they won’t be out of work long.

Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way. Had the ball been on his strong foot (left) he may have had the jump on his teammate; but, hey, that’s how the ball bounces. Even when the job search is done properly, you’re not guaranteed a job, let alone an interview. There are variables that stand in your way. When I tell my son that goals will happen when they happen, I mean that he can’t give up. Giving up will ensure that he never scores. I also believe that when the time is right, jobseekers will start getting more interview opportunities than they can handle. Continuing to work hard will lead to success; giving up all hope will ensure failure.

Next year is a new year for Motor. He will be a year older and a year stronger. He’ll not dwell on a prior year of hard work with no gratification. Next year he will play his feisty, hard-nosed style of play and the goals will come, and come, and come.

5 thoughts on “3 things that lead to success or failure in the job search

  1. alaa sayegh

    You lay it out as simple as it could. im graduated this summer with BA in marketing, along my studies i worked full time as ground cargo officer where i handled different roles; sales , customer service, freight handling, import and export. i recently had the position of social media marketing trainee in a company. after my graduation , i quit my job as cargo officer because i want to work in marketing specifically advertisement. im on job hunt now, how would you recommend i write my headline in linkedin or how to highlight and encourage the recruiters to give me a marketing oppurtunity though i have different work experience. im totally confused and i do appreciate your feedback , thank you in advance


    1. Things Career Related Post author

      Thanks for your comments and request for help Alaa. First, determine what strengths you have as a marketer, e.g., skills and accomplishments and focus sole on those. You’ll probably want to use a functional type resume, as your experience is so diverse. Starting with your headline, highlight those strengths in your branding headline. Most recruiters, employers focus on the headline and then on the work history. In your case it will be the headline and summary, where you’ll explain your reasons for being the right person for an interview. Best of luck.


      1. Alaa sayegh

        Thank you for your genuine feedback. What do you think of this headline : recent marketing graduate | social media background| willing to serve the Lebanese market my share of genuine creativity given an opportunity in the advertising industry.
        EXecuse my questions but since I’m unemployed now, what should I write as current job? Should I state that in seeking a job? If yes, where should I write it?


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