Job Search: Lessons Learned on the Road to Career Success

By Linda L. Hardenstein

Years ago when I moved to Washington, DC from San Francisco I sold all my stuff, got in my car and drove there.  I was a little afraid of the Fork-in-the-road-webunknown but I had a master’s degree, years of experience and I was sure I’d have no problem landing a great job.  Boy … was I wrong!

I had no clue how the DC job market worked.  I had a “sort of” plan (ok, looking back, it was more like a wing and a prayer).  I knew I could be successful.  I had never been afraid to work hard, had chutzpah and was 100% committed to making this work.  After all, I’d given up everything – family, friends, a good job, my comfort zone and I’d left my heart in San Francisco — to make the dream of working in DC come true.

In my first two months I hit the ground running and completed sixty-six informational interviews – more than two a day.  My resume and presentation were good enough to get me recommended to the next contact, but as I continued my diligent search the months dragged on and no solid offers came my way.

Fear started creeping in.  Money was running low. I took temporary jobs that weren’t challenging.  In my mind I was going backwards, not forward in my career.  I started doubting my abilities. Would anyone ever hire me again?  What I was doing wasn’t working but I had no clue how to do it differently.

Have you ever been here?  Doing all the “right” things, by the book and they’re not working?  Sometimes it takes an outsider looking in to help you see things differently.  Fortunately, before I was down to my last pennies, someone did take me aside and gave it to me straight.  I needed to get clear about who I was and what I wanted.  The message wasn’t easy to hear but it gave me a breakthrough I desperately needed.  I came up with a viable plan that allowed me to head in a different direction and achieve success.

Sometimes reaching out for information or a customized strategy is what is needed most.  It may mean discovering more than you wanted to know about who you are and the kind of work you should or shouldn’t be doing, but  a few choice words of advice can also mean the difference between failure and career success.

Have you reached out and learned a valuable lesson that led to your career success? I welcome your comments.

Linda Hardenstein, MPA, PCC is an expert career strategist and certified coach who provides professionals a unique and powerful assessment to discover their authentic purpose and the practical tools and answers to find a job that is your right fit.  Contact Linda to apply for one of her career breakthrough sessions.