There’s a professional skydiver who is going up in a plane for his 1,000th jump.

He’s feeling good.  He’s an expert and has done this many times before.   It’s a clear day with a gentle breeze – perfect for jumping out of a plane.

The plane gets to maximum altitude and the skydiver steps out of the plane, spread eagle, looking out around the world below him.

“Ahhhh!” he thinks to himself, “It is so beautiful!”

He continues to fall and fall.

At the right moment, he pulls his ripcord.

But nothing happens, his parachute doesn’t open.

He doesn’t panic as he knows he has a second, safety chute and he reaches over and pulls the safety chute cord.

Again, nothing happens – his safety parachute doesn’t budge!

Now he’s panicking at the thought of an untimely death as the earth is coming closer and closer to him!

In an odd coincidence, he sees what looks like a second person, moving quickly towards him, up from the ground!

The guy is getting closer and closer and when he starts to pass by, the skydiver turns to him and quickly yells outs, “Hey buddy!  Quick – what do you know about parachutes?”

The guy says, “Nothing!  What do you know about Coleman Stoves????”

There’s a simple point to this joke for job seekers.

There comes a time in our lives when, despite our wealth of talent and experience, background and expertise, we find ourselves in a situation that seems like a free-fall.

Believe it or not, you are not alone.  I’ve met hundreds of smart, competent, experienced professionals who, through a variety of circumstances, find themselves unemployed, feeling as if they are at square one, having to prove themselves to employers.

I’ve also met hundreds of professionals who are gainfully employed, but they hate their jobs and feel trapped.  They know they need to quit doing what they are doing and pursue a career that brings true satisfaction but don’t know how to do so.

For many new job seekers, the first thing they do is dust off their old resume, update it, and begin the ‘shotgun’ approach – sending out resumes to dozens of job postings they see on online job boards.

And then they wait.

And wait.

And wait.

When you are looking for a job, there’s nothing worse than the sound of silence.

Successful job seekers recognize a very important thing: JOB SEEKING IS A SKILL.

The fact is, the rules of engagement for job seeking have changed dramatically.   In today’s competitive environment,  successful job seekers learn the NEW skills of job seeking.

Today job seeking requires a combination of skills including direct target marketing, sales, copywriting, market analysis, persuasion, “personal branding,” networking, acting, psychology and of course soft skills like perseverance, intuition, friendliness, creativity, determination and lots of good ol’ hard work.

In addition, the tactics have changed.  Understanding Applicant Tracking Systems, customizing each resume, knowing WHERE to look for opportunities, strategically positioning yourself on LinkedIN.

Job seeking is also such a personal thing; who we believe we are professionally is a massive part of our personal identity and it is one of the hardest things to be rejected or to not even be given the opportunity to present yourself as the best person for the job.

It is hard to not to sabotage our job search with the “desperation syndrome.” remain strong and not allowing your self-esteem to be gobbled up.

For many job seekers, it might also be hard to admit you need help with your job search.  But think about it this way: if you wanted to learn a new skill, what would you do?  Most likely, you’d seek out someone who had the knowledge you were wanting to learn.  You might hire a teacher, a coach or attend a seminar or read a book.  In any case, you’d do what was necessary to learn that new skill.

On November 11, I will be holding my annual JobsGobble Job Seeking Seminar.  This year, the theme is “Secrets of the Successful Job Seekers” and will feature job seeking consultants and a panel of successful job seekers.  These individuals will share their job seeking journeys to help you understand the strategies, the tactics and the lessons they learned to becoming employed.

Mark your calendar for November 11.  Stay tuned for registration details for this exciting event which will be announced in the next week.

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