7 Ways to Up the Odds of Job-Hunting Success

Feb 28, 2012 by

7 Ways to Up the Odds of Job-Hunting Success

Feel the odds are stacked against you?

As recruiters, we often encounter job-hunters who have come to doubt the prospect of ever getting back into employment.

But do your feelings really reflect the reality of your situation?

If it’s all so bad, how can we explain the success of that ‘lucky’ set of people who always seem to land on their feet? Who drop out of work and find themselves back on a payroll within a few weeks, a few months at most? Is it really ‘luck’ that sets these people against the flow? And more importantly, is there any way to share their good fortune?

How do the odds for success really stack up?

Professor Richard Wiseman, of The Luck Factor fame, has spent years researching and debunking myths about luck. And good news is, the key to it all – as ever – appears to be pretty simple: observe the behaviour of ‘lucky’ people – then copy it. According to Professor Wiseman, lucky people generate their own good fortune via just four basic principles:

  • Creating and noticing chance opportunities
  • Making lucky decisions by listening to gut feelings
  • Creating self-fulfilling prophesies by fostering positive attitudes
  • Bouncing back after failure or bad events

7 Behaviours to re-stack the odds of success in your favour…

Let’s just be clear here: this stuff is based on years of research and science that this little post can’t possibly do justice to, so if you want to delve into the detail – and we’d recommend you do so – grab the book or catch up with him on YouTube.

What we have done here, in no particular order mind, and taking into account the research of the experts and our own experience recruiting folks, is provide some food for thought by way of listing just a few  of the behaviours (this list is by no means exhaustive!) that could help you steer your job-hunt closer towards success.

So, without further ado, we can say that in most cases, the ‘lucky’ folks who get back into work sooner…

#1 Don’t actually believe in luck or fate.

Out-of-work job-hunters indulging in negative and fatalistic thinking rarely manage to change their situation.

What you can do: If you’re guilty of sitting around waiting for people to call you and not taking action or trying anything new because you think the outcome – failure – has been decided already, or that the right opportunity will simply present itself in good time, take a few minutes to read and chew over the contents of this brief article on The Luck Factor

#2 Recognise what they can – and can’t – influence.

‘Lucky’ job-hunters maximise the time they spend on useful activity and thought by sifting out all the ‘big stuff’ – like sliding world economies and other things they have no control over – and focus instead on all the little things they can influence.

What you can do: If you’ve got a lot on your mind right now, grab a copy Covey’s 7 Habits and work through Habit 1: Be Proactive and/or take a peek at Are You Procrastinating, a rather useful post by Che, to kick start the sifting process.

#3 Actually DO something to tackle the stuff they CAN influence.

Knowing what you could be doing to help yourself and doing it are two very different things. Fear of trying new things and managing time effectively are often the two obstacles that stop folks taking action.

What you can do: Read Do You Eat Frogs - then get a plan.

#4 Know that a ‘pound of pluck is worth a tonne of luck.’

Albert Einstein is reported to have said something about how insanity is continuing to do something that isn’t working. It’s important then, when things aren’t working, to switch things around and try something new.

Fear of failure or rejection stops many folks in their tracks when it comes to actively seeking out meetings with new people or trying out new job search strategies, but having a bit of nerve and being open to taking a punt from time to time will pay dividends.

What you can do: In any situation where you’re feeling a distinct lack of courage, asking yourself the following four questions can help spur you on into action:

  • What is the worst thing that could happen here?
  • What is the best possible outcome here?
  • Is the worst thing that could happen going to be any worse than remaining unemployed for another 12 months?

#5 Build and maintain a strong a network of luck….

Lucky people tend to build and maintain a strong ‘networks of luck’ as Professor Wiseman terms it. In basic terms, they have large social networks, are known as connectors, and keep in touch with people. Applied to a job-hunt, this means getting out and about developing effective job-search strategies; reaching out to and keeping in touch with people who might want to employ you; following up on new contacts or job leads; putting that extra bit of thought into creating a CV that people will notice – then getting it (and preferably you) in front of them…

What you can do: If you find yourself spending long hours each day firing generic CVs off into the ether or filling out impersonal application forms destined to be filtered out of the process by a machine in a totally arbitrary fashion – and without your CV ever reaching the attention of a human being – STOP! Get away from the computer, look out all your current contacts and take the time to find and engage with new ones – be it through work, voluntary work, social activities or existing contacts…

#5 Move on and upwards when success eludes them.

According to Professor Wiseman, luck follows folk who react to life’s set backs in the follow ways:

  • always look for the positives in ‘bad’ situations
  • take time to consider how their experiences could have been worse
  • think about how their situation could compare more favourably than that of others
  • work out how to do things differently to reach a more favourable outcome in future

What you can do: Find out about and the significance of ‘explanatory style’ in this blog by Richard, consider what yours looks like, whether the way you reflect on set backs is helping or harming your job hunt – and if so, what you can do to modify it…

#7 Relax enough to see other opportunities…

For most people, clear thinking and the ability to spot opportunities and solutions to problems come more easily when not consumed by stress and anxiety.

What you can do: Find out how a workout can help you find work - then clear off outside to clear your head with fresh air and exercise.

What do you think?

If you’re open to sharing your experiences and thoughts, or want to share what you’ve learnt with other job-hunters, why not get in touch or post your thoughts in the comments box below?


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