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13 Reasons You’ll Never Get A Job (Or, 13 Ways You Could)

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Let me be perfectly honest with you: Nobody owes you a job. And, to make it worse, most job seekers are faced with a perfect storm of barriers that never existed in the past.

Those barriers include huge competition for a single position, social media, applicant tracking systems, and the complete elimination of entire job descriptions and industries (not to mention a totally overwhelmed HR and recruiting department).

You have to be prepared to put your best foot forward. Your most prepared foot. The one that completely differentiates you from the flock.

Consider this a wake-up call; consider it an opportunity. Because statistics show only a very small percentage of you will take any action. Interesting, that’s about the same percentage of people in the world who are independently successful.

It’s your choice. It’s a new world with new rules, so you have to be ready to do new things.

13 Reasons You’ll Never Get A Job

These 13 reasons outline opportunities most people will never take advantage of. That’s good news for some of you because the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people will do what unsuccessful people will not. Here are some reasons you’ll never get a job:

1. You Spew Facts Vs. Stories

There’s an old adage in sales and marketing that stories sell and facts tell. People can relate personally to stories and the more you know about the company and person you are interviewing with, the better you can get that person to relate to what you are talking about. Stories evoke emotions and get people connected. Being personally connected is the differentiation you need.

Think about the book series, Chicken Soup for the Soul. It is just a compilation of short stories about real life. It’s also the best selling book series of all time. But, what if instead of telling a heart wrenching story about a paraplegic who learns to walk again and fights all odds to win a dog sled race in the Antarctic all alone, it was just a series of facts like: “Man rides sled across the snow.”

One of the most powerful things you can do is call up former employees and employers and just shoot the breeze with them. Write down all the wonderful “remember when” stories, as well as the stories of success and challenge that make you unique. You need other people to jog your memory. If you can give your story personality and feelings, then you will gain instant rapport with anyone you talk to. Instant differentiator, you win.

2. You Don’t Present Solutions

Let’s be real, an employer wants to hire someone to solve a particular problem. Either they don’t have enough of something or they want to fix/change something. If they had all the solutions they wouldn’t need you. So, after you have thoroughly researched and analyzed the company, its culture, the competition, the industry, and the people you are interviewing with, you better know what solutions they need and be able to communicate it. If you don’t, somebody else will.

One great tool is to actually perform a S.W.O.T. analysis on the department, industry or company you are interested in. S.W.O.T. stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Just Google it if you need a template to help guide you. And believe me, any employer worth working for will be completely impressed not only by your research, but by your diligence.

3. You’re Lazy

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Abe Lincoln said if he had eight hours to chop down a tree then he would spend the first 6 sharpening his axe. Unfortunately, most people don’t want to put forth the time and effort to do what they need to do to secure an interview and a job.

The facts are clear: The vast majority of jobs are attained by some sort of active networking practice. Not by posting your resume online or applying for job after job. Yet, most people are not willing to do what it takes to establish and nurture (you don’t just make a connection and then magic happens) the right networks.

When I suggest people actually call companies and build a rapport with associates in order to seek referrals, they look at me like I’m crazy. But, that one additional step can mean the difference between having or not having network contacts, job referrals, insight, interview process feedback, and much more.

4. You’re Boring

Surveys of recruiters and Human Resource managers show the number one trait job seekers lack is high-energy. The bottom line is people want to be around other people who are upbeat, exciting and at the very least, energetic. The perception is high-energy people are on the ball and exude confidence; low energy people are lazy, unmotivated, and no fun.

Regardless of whether that is true or not, you had better have a gut check about your output. And, I’m not just talking about the live interview where your handshake needs to be strong and secure (ladies included) and your voice confident and strong.

During your phone interview, your energy is even more important because no one can see the bright expression of excitement that is hidden by technology. The only way to portray confidence and high energy on the phone is to have the proper inflection, tonality and great volume. With blue tooth and other type headsets, it’s more and more important to speak up.

After all, if you’re not excited about what you have to offer, why should anyone else be? PS – Please get some honest feedback from someone about how you sound.

True story: I was actually offered a job because of a message I left on an answering machine. It wasn’t the message itself; it was the energy, passion, and drive that delivered it.

5. You Don’t Add Up

Have you ever talked to someone and they just make you turn your head and say, “Hmm.” Well, how do you know if someone isn’t saying that about you?

Here’s the best way to tell: Do  you have anything to hide, have covered something up, or speak in half truths or your resume doesn’t match what you say or what you wrote on your application? If any of those things are true, people will say, “Hmm” about you.

The biggest lies we tell are the ones we tell ourselves (think of your kids, who will honestly say they didn’t get into the cake, all the while covered in chocolate icing). No job, guaranteed. Be honest and be consistent. There are no perfect people in the world.

In fact, the only people with no problems are well, dead people. What differentiates people is how they handle those problems. So, turn your past issues into opportunities. Employers are looking for solution providers so be one.

6. You Only Speak One Language

I’m not talking French or Spanish. I’m talking about the three ways people communicate and learn. People learn and disseminate information in one of three ways; auditory, visual, and kinesthetic.

Without a full dissertation, this is what I’m talking bout. Auditory learners can grasp information just by you talking to them. Visual learners need some form of pictures or stories to create the picture before they “get it.” Kinesthetic learners need to be an active participant before the information gets through their thick skulls (that’s me). These interviewers would most benefit from a Socratic type interview where they were guided to come up with their own conclusions about why you are the “man” for the job.

By the way, most people are visual. I just happen to be kinesthetic. Which means I am so dense you can talk ‘til you are blue in the face and I won’t get it. I know what you are saying, “So what?”

Well, let’s say there is an even distribution of the population (33.33% each) that prefers to communicate in one of the three styles. And, you prefer to communicate in one of the other. You are visual and the interviewer is auditory. You show graphs and pictures but don’t really “explain” why you are the best candidate (stories are also like pictures).

Have you ever wondered why you have a passionate message that just doesn’t produce the results you are looking for? This is the number one reason. Why do you think Google paid like a gazillion (I’m sure that’s the official term) dollars for YouTube? Because video appealed to the masses in a way written text never could.

The solution is always to appeal to the interviewer’s preferred style. How do you do that? We’ll it would be great if you could give them a test to determine their preferred style, but the fact is you just don’t know. So the only solution is to ALWAYS communicate in all three styles. And, if you do… Wow! You will do what 99% of job seekers not only don’t know how to do, but what they are also not willing to do (see lazy above).

7. You’re A Quitter

Most people quit too soon. Studies show 81% of professional sales people take five calls to close a sale. But, a full 90% give up prior to making that critical fifth call (48% quit after the first call and another 24% quit after the second call).

I can think of a significant number of hires who scored the position just because they were the one who stayed front and center with me. And, not just when I had a position open. No, these candidates made regular contact regardless of whether anything was available.

And, you know the best part is? I really appreciated those candidates staying top-of-mind with me. Why? Because it kept me from having to weed through hundreds of other candidates.

8. You Don’t Take Advantage Of Opportunities Right In Front Of Your Face

Right now, I am sitting on a two-hour plane ride from Kansas City back to my home in Atlanta. I had an idea pop into my head to write this article after talking to a couple of job seekers who are close to 100% guaranteed not to get employment anytime soon (see reasons 1-13).

Opportunities are all around us every day. Most of the time we are just not prepared to take advantage of them. They say luck is when preparation and opportunity cross paths and that is so true. Here’s a great example. This story came from an article in the Atlanta Journal almost a year ago.

The article is about a marketing executive who was a little down on his luck (not enough business) so he decided to create some by actually scheduling flights (mostly, first-class) to no-where in particular. Why? Because most decision makers were on flights and in first-class. The result was that David Topus, marketing and business consultant, landed a 3-year business relationship with former Delta CEO, Leo Mullin, countless contacts and even a 100k deal because of a seat assignment mix up.

Now, I understand most people don’t have the means to spend a couple of grand on a first-class ticket just on the chance they will meet someone, but you are missing the point. David just created networking opportunities that exist for all of us, every day. Instead of a first class flight, the opportunity you create could come from a Chamber Networking function or a MeetUp group you start. Or, maybe even from striking up a conversation with someone in line at the grocery store. The differentiator is David took an active role in his networking, whereas most people think “showing up” is good enough.

Seriously, the whole “90% of life is just showing up” has really screwed up a lot of folks. In the very best of markets maybe that has a hint of truth; with the results only lasting short-term. In this market, it has no relevance what so ever.

9. Your Resume Stinks

Alright, I’ve reviewed more resumes than I can count. Do you want to know the bottom line? Your resume can’t get you the job or interview but it can certainly lose it for you. Use this as a rule of thumb. Don’t make it too long, too complicated, or too messy.

Here’s some very valuable information that will completely differentiate you from the rest of the world. Go back and read number 6 above. Take out some words and add a few graphs or charts that are easy to read. It will immediately catch someone’s eye and it will resonate with another 33.33% of the population who are visual learners (come on, we all like to look at pictures).

10. You Need Immediate Gratification

An article in The New Yorker highlighted a 1960’s study that showed there is a direct correlation between a child’s ability to delay immediate gratification and success. In fact, the 30% of kids who could delay getting a marshmallow for just 15 minutes scored on average 210 points higher on SAT scores. The 70% who could not delay immediate gratification struggled making friends and handling stressful situations.

To put this in perspective, the job seeker that needs immediate gratification is the one who posts their resume every day, does mass mailings of cover letters, and applies mindlessly for job after job.

The job seeker who can delay immediate gratification will do their due diligence by researching companies, individuals, industries, and competitors. They will put together a package of solutions and take the time to build relationships, as well as practice until their message is clear and value oriented.

So, what’s it going to be? One marshmallow now, or two in 15 minutes?

11. You’re A Taker, Not A Giver

If you are always looking for what a company is going to do for you and what your benefits will be, then you are thinking backwards and you are doomed to fail.

The best way to learn how to add value is to make a list of the common concerns an employer might have about hiring someone and answer them. Employers are really only concerned about 3 things. If you can do the job. If you will do the job. If they like you. Answer the objections before the interviewer has had a chance to ask you about them.

Other great ways to add value is by doing a S.W.O.T. Analysis or actually preparing a summary of how you will attack the position in your first 90 days (please include items related to soliciting the help of other people in the company).

12. You’re Going It Alone

Here’s the bottom line: Two heads are better than one and you only have one (if you do in fact have two, skip this section).

In his masterpiece, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill described it a little more elegantly. He said a mastermind is, “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.” And also, “No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.”

In fact, he also stated nothing of greatness was ever achieved by a single man. Yet so often, especially when we are down and out, we tend to play turtle and hide in our shell.

You should be doing just the opposite by joining forces with accountability partners who will challenge you to do things you would never do on your own. And of course, you should return the favor. If you want to know where to find an accountability partner, don’t worry, they are everywhere and likely looking for you as well. See number 8 above.

13. You Aren’t Prepared

I had to add this in just to make it an even 13 reasons you will never get a job. Brian Tracy, the world-famous sales trainer, said for every minute you spend planning, you save 10 minutes in execution. That’s a 1,000% return on your energy.

To put that in perspective, if you do the proper planning and preparation, then you can have one interview and get the job or you can be poorly prepared and continue to interview over and over and over again. Get it?

So, what should you be preparing? In a word, everything. Interview questions (with your accountability partner), reviewing your resume (with your accountability partner), interviewing other people (because you learn when you teach), researching companies, individuals, industries, trends, and so on, and practicing relating the information over and over until you are good at it and you exude confidence (because you will when you know your stuff).

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Everything you do, you should plan and prepare for.

There you have it. 13 reasons why you may not ever get a job in this economy. I hope that is not the case. I hope this has been a wake-up call for you because these are also 13 ways you can differentiate yourself from most every other job seeker. It’s a buyers market and you better have the right product for anyone to be interested. Dents, dings and scratches need not apply.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Colin Daymude

Speaker for the MBA, Florida Bankers Association, New Jersey Bankers Association, The Mortgage Management Conference, and radio show, Entrepreneur 101.

35 comments

  1. After reading this article, I scrolled down here to the comments section thinking I was going to see a bunch of people praising this, but was shocked to find the exact opposite. This was one of the most honest and true articles I have ever read. Every single point is accurate, those of you who are saying it isn’t are lying to yourselves. You know what I read before this article? I read this article by Ira Wolfe at the Huffington Post called “Why many unemployed workers will never get jobs”, and in it he describes the complete shift in attitude and personal responsibility in this country, and he was completely right. Everyone in this comment section is exactly who he is describing. For all of you speaking badly about this article (the 13 reasons) open your eyes, it isn’t the world, it’s you. You are throwing blame at everyone else but yourselves. “Oh it’s the employers who are being to picky”. Well that might be, but guess what, you’re not going to change that, so you can either pout about how employers are the problem, or you can adjust and become what the employer is looking for. The world isn’t going to change to fit around you, you have to fit into it.

  2. Good grief! What a harsh, rude, judgmental and overall meanspirited article! and you’re here to actually HELP people? Maybe this page should be renamed careersadism!

  3. Wow that was totally bogus. I read it though because I can. I can do just about any job out there and probably yours too. Employers are just being too picky or looking for a certain look. I guess the supermodel or the hunk. Who knows these days. In the south it’s about how big you are or how many teeth you have missing. I have also seen a large amount of people who are dirty and look like drug addicts have many jobs. So I guess it’s all about the image of the company. Don’t write stuff if you don’t have facts.

  4. just wanna say this article is painfully genric with stupid quips and an emphasis on networking with people, with who? where? doesn’t really help anything, doesn’t point out things jobseeker can do that are realistic, mind numbing. no wonder i have no job, people like this are in business there is no hope and no chance. i havn’t even had interviews yet. rubbish, absolute drivvel, there is no concrete information on exactly how to practice the arts to get a job. morons wrote this. such irony

  5. What if I didnt have the opportunity to create a story..what if my story were mostly miserable and failure because of my past circumstances eventhough I didnt want to create it? Or better saying in an example, what did i do wrong when nobody gave a single job or internship just because i did not have a work permit in order to apply for internship and apply my school knowledge so when it comes to graduation I can be equipped at least with my internship experience. Now that I graduated and got my work permit there is nothing left for me to really apply because I do not have “related” experiences. Most of them actually want you to be in school if you want to apply for an internship. Then you have the RIGHT to be disappointed, angry, and frustrated. The other things in this post come after all these. I dont know why I had to bring my personal subject here but my point is this post is very generic and broad and apply for small percentage of people within its context. I hope if you can post something helpful in respect to my particular situation. Great post BTW

    • @ Paul. Most posts are generic. If you want professional advice about YOUR situation, you will have to hire a career coach or counselor who will work one-on-one with you. My first suggestion is lighten up and try to remember the positives in your life.

  6. I really loved this article, I wish I read this ten years and ten opportunities ago.. I don’t have the time to relearn how to look for a job after being in a bad industry. Now being 31 with a just bad resume I wish I could learn marketing..

    • Oh, Jason – you have plenty of time. I made a major career change in my late 30s. You can learn marketing from watching commercials on television, take a marketing course, hire a career coach, let me see your resume. Think positive!!

  7. I want to meet the pr!ck that wrote this article. Only a narcissistic, arrogant caucasian man can write something like this. How far you must have your head up your a$$ to even write something like this and think you are helping people. God damn i cant stand people like the guy who wrote this article. Probably grew up in some suburb with mom and dad wiping his a$$ every step of the way. You’re calling people lazy, and boring? Who are you to be an authority on anything. Im done here i know this is just wasting my time but this article was something else.

    • NewFlash: Most people ARE boring and lazy. Finding quality work is basically a reflection of how well you function in everyday life. Are you positive in general, are you a go-getter, do you have many friends to network with, do you organize and execute properly…Many many people in life do NOT execute.

      It’s sad that your response is not only insulting and racist, but it also assumes. “Probably grew up in some suburb with mom and dad wiping his a$$ every step of the way.”

      You need someone to tell you that you are full of sh– and your response proves that you could be living a happier life.

      • “NEWZFLASSSH!”
        It’s a real shame extroverts can’t don the introvert costume once in a while. Everything this average joe speaks of is utter trash, completely generalised (as mentioned) to one specific demographic, and if i can take a note out of your book and throw in a NEWZFLASH here, you complete wanker, it’s that people don’t want to be yelled at and told they aren’t energetic enough. People want to be respected. That’s it. And by throwing around this atrociously zealot-like attitude around, you only alienate people and literally do what this guy talks about; hide from your true self. Lincoln was a genius; not because he’d have you believe that he’d spend 6 out of the 8 given hours to chop down a tree by sharpening his axe, but that the grunts of the world, the pawns like Sir Jerkalot here, believe that sharpening an axe is a difficult task. You’re the kind of people that would force shots of tequila down Abe’s mouth while he’s trying to drink a cup of coffee.

  8. The author only glorifies the laziness of human resources personnel: don’t put too much in your resume because I won’t read it; call me often because I usually give the job to the person who calls in the right moment -when I’m in a good mood-, that way I don’t have to read more resumes; build a network, I give the jobs to friends of friends, it’s easier than selecting the best candidate; etc. How about start doing your job and selecting the right person, the one with the right characteristics for the position and not the one that makes things easier for you?

    • Don’t put too much in the resume because some things you have here are not applicable to the position.
      Call often to show you really are interested and to establish who you are in their minds.
      The HR people give the jobs to those who show the right characteristics- prepared, no-nonsense and willing to go the extra mile.
      Build a network, show you can make friends and show who you are.

  9. From past 2years i am hunting the job.but could not find a single one.i am a graduate …..
    Do you have any tips for me?.

  10. I Like This Article,I really enjoyed the insight and advice,This Article Inspiring Me for Job search in Pharmaceutical Field.

  11. Great article. This is one of the best frameworks I have read in a long time around what to do to be successful (and unsuccessful) in a job search.

    This framework could also be utilized after getting the job (except for the resume item) to continue to be successful in the new job. Things like networking, collaboration and being prepared are really important if you want to be successful in life.

  12. Very good and well written advice for all job seekers. The same general rules can apply to professional and non-professional workers alike, so consider establishing an accountability partnership with someone having an entirely different career focus. The diversity might provide a fresh, valuable perspective.

  13. Well written, quality advice!! As a professional resume writer and career coach, I give this kind of advice to my clients.

    In a previous life, I was a tough high school English teacher. I use the same skills when dealing with job hunters – Just Do It!! Maybe a shoe company should use that advice????

  14. Colin,
    Thank you! I have read many, many, many (did I say Many?) articles and your article is one of the best. Your thirteen points are not new concepts but you presented them in a refreshing manner.

    Thank you!

  15. This article is wonderful. It blatantly states the problems whether people want to hear them or not. It also offers solutions. Looking for a job today is not what it used to be 10 years ago and one’s tactics need to change.

  16. I really enjoyed the insight and advice. I am working with my 2 young adult professionals on getting a job or starting an enterprise. Your advice I think can apply to either pursuit. Besides much of the advice is what I have been talking about and it is always better than coming from mom. Have a mentor/partner, get a plan do your homework.

    As an executive and current consultant the read will help guide some changes in my approach. The resume suggestions I will apply and will continue with my planning as my time line is about 5 to 6 months. Lastly, as a frequent flyer and traveler loved the plane story. It reminded me I need to send an email to a gentleman I met on my last fly.

  17. Really, really enjoyed this article, but points number 3 and 13 seem contradictory, especially if you conceive Lincoln’s quote about sharpening his ax for 6 hours. Couldn’t “sharpening the ax” be construed as part of planning? I guess the essence of my question is not semantics, but rather how do we know that we’re engaging in a creative process such as planning, and when do we realize we are just avoiding responsibility and being lazy?
    I know there is no magic formula, but please help enlighten me further.

  18. This is one of the best articles I’ve ever read on this topic. I love the S.W.O.T analysis approach for assessing the potential employer and coming to grips with how you can sell yourself to them based upon their needs.

  19. Wow, that was awesome! Thank you for that message and clear tools to get back on the horse and ride. I have been mindlrssly sending versions of my resume spending hours and futile days; only to add a few networking meetings where i only showed up.

    I can do better .

    I need to create a story of success and for me it may just be a horse and rider working in harmony using steps 1-13 on the ready! Accomplished. Prepared. Fully trained. But more importantly engaged. Thank you.

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