Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Myth or Fact: It is Easier to Find a Job When You Have a Job

For years it has been said that it is easier to find a job when you have a job. This bit of wisdom was based on two principles 1) while working and looking for a job you do not have the financial pressure that being unemployed job seekers have and 2) employed people are more attractive to hiring authorities than someone who is out of a job.

Why then are employed people “jumping ship” from their current companies to find something better before they have something lined up? 80% of people currently employed are unhappy or miserable. Let us look at the validity of this expression and what to do if you are one of the 80% wanting something better.

Here are the facts and myths about that old saying.

Fact: Financial
We all need money to survive. Not only do we need our basic needs met but the job search will cost money including the costs of networking events. One of the most important aspects of a successful job search is a positive attitude so not having financial stress does help.

Myth: I Have Job Security
In the past job security could be found in a job title, company, or industry. Those days are gone. Today job security no longer comes from a high demand title, company, or hot industry. For example as Baby Boomers age, some believe that jobs in the healthcare industry will be secure. However in the major city where I live they closed a major area hospital and two sets of hospitals merged resulting in layoffs.

Today job security comes from keeping your skills up, your experience current, and your network of contacts active. If your job has allowed you to become complacent in these areas then your marketability is declining.

Myth: Time
The job search is (or should be) a full time job. If you are already working a full time job (which can take up more than 40 hours a week) and have other commitments, like family, it is harder to find time to conduct a job search.

Myth: Longevity at a Job or Company is Desirable
Back in the day if you were with a company for a long period of time you were on top of the world and anyone with a company for less than five years was a “job hopper” which had a negative stigma.

Today the world has flipped upside down. Anyone who has been with a company for a real long time is looked at having limited experience (only knowing one way to do things) and anyone who has changed jobs frequently is looked at having broad experience. Think about how companies groom executives; they do so by moving them around the organization. You should consider grooming your own executive, you, by moving around to gain broader experience.

In addition, when working at a company for a long period of time, your salary goes through a compression and does not stay up with the market. Moving around gives you the opportunity to “reset” your salary to the market value.

Myth: Energy for the Job Search
The biggest complaint my employed clients have about conducting a job search while they are employed is the energy it takes. They are usually exhausted at the end of a full day of work. It is hard to summon up the energy to take actions that are outside of their comfort zone – like networking. 

Myth: Emotional
In a job search you are selling a product – YOU – your skills, abilities, aptitude, and experience. If you are in a job you do not like or is a negative environment, it can take a hit to your self-esteem and confidence and make it harder to see and communicate your value.

Myth: Employed People are More Desirable
Back in the day, if you did not have a job it is because you did not apply yourself. Today, for the first time in history, there are 4 generations of people in the job market at the same time.

The average job now lasts 2.5 years. Companies are downsizing, going bankrupt, or merging. While going through these changes, companies lay off even the good performers. Being unemployed does not have the stigma it used to. Most of us will be in a job transition a number of times in our lives.

What to do if you are employed and looking?

If you are part of the majority of employed people in a job you do not like, there are actions you should take now to get ready for something better.

Read the book “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson and determine which character are you with regard to the job search. You need to be committed to the search – it is a marathon not a sprint.

Understand and accept that there is preparation work you need to do ahead of updating your resume and initiating the search so you will want to get started.

Get a full understanding of how the job market is different. You will not be successful in it unless you know what “it” is.

Be intentional about the job search. Develop a plan and work it one step at a time. The journey is made up of a series of steps.

Get support from home and back off of extra responsibilities to free up time for the job search just until you land your new job.

If your job is uncertain, save up as much money as possible to cushion the time you are in a job search. You can cut some discretionary spending but you cannot cut job search related costs (like expenses for networking) and expect to be successful.

Dust off your skills. If your company offers training, take it. There are millions of free online training courses that are just as good as many paid classes and you can get access to most software to use while training through a free 30 day trial.

Get copies of your past employee performance reviews from Human Resources if you do not have copies already. They are a wealth of information for the job search.

Send to your home e-mail address copies of correspondences where you have received commendations and praise.

Start identifying your unique qualities, accomplishments (STARs), and strengths (using the Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment). This is needed for the resume, for the interview, and it reminds you how accomplished you are.

Know what job title you want to pursue. This may be a great time to switch careers. Many people are successful making a career change even later in life leveraging their experience and newly tapped passion. A career assessment can help you identify a good career fit.

Get up-to-date on your industry. Read trade news and the area Business Journal (ex. for Atlanta that is the Atlanta Business Chronicle) to know what is happening in all industries in your area.

If you have not already done so, start developing a LinkedIn profile and connect with former colleagues and people you know in your industry.

Work with a professional to update your resume. It is not just the format that matters. Only 10% of resumes make it passed keyword software so be sure to work with someone who refers to job descriptions for the job you are pursuing while working on the resume. The resume is only one of 6 items of marketing material you need for a successful job search. Develop and use all six.

Set the flag in LinkedIn that lets recruiters know you are open to opportunities.

If you are using an old e-mail domain such as AOL, hotmail, EarthLink, or mindspring, then get a new professional e-mail address. The e-mail can be from one of the free services but for flexibility reasons I suggest a domain that is not tied to your current service provider. You can keep the old address for personal use but using one of the oldest domain names for the job search gives the impression you are not staying current.

Make sure people know you are looking. You have a 50 times greater chance of landing a job with a connection.

Get more involved in networking groups. Many of the industry associations meet before or after work hours or during lunch.

Know how to deflect salary questions until they offer you the job.

You would not play golf without hitting a bucket of balls first so practice interviewing and get feedback on how to improve.

If you do not know where to begin or would like help staying accountable, seek out the assistance of a job search coach. RightChanges provides affordable assistance for all steps of the job search. Go to for more information or contact us at