"Good Morning America" sent me on what some would consider an impossible mission.
The target: Meet the Joseph Family from Texas: mom Shannon, who has an MBA degree and marketing experience; dad Butch, an IT professional; daughter, Jordan and son, Joshua.
Both parents were employed in New Orleans, but after Hurricane Katrina the family was forced to relocate to Texas where employment hasn't been easy to find.
The goal: Get Mom and Dad jobs. I worked with Shannon every day for three weeks until we achieved concrete results. She accepted a position in Enterprise Rent-a-Car's management training program.
Our boot camp regimen can be applied to anyone seeking employment. Print these 10 key steps for yourself or e-mail them today to a job-seeking friend.
Find a buddy. Shannon and I talked or e-mailed every day, multiple times a day. She knew I'd be expecting updates and status reports on the things I had her doing. Find someone to whom you'll feel accountable and ask that person to be your buddy or coach through the process. That sense of accountability to another person keeps you on track, especially if that person is really cheering for your success.
Determine what's not working. I had to figure out immediately what wasn't working for Shannon, especially since she had been trying for so long. Come up with three to five reasons you'd attribute to your lack of success and then play devil's advocate.
Force yourself to figure out why those theories are flawed and what you can do to fix them. For example, many people say cold calling doesn't work. Maybe several of their calls haven't been returned, but that's no reason to completely give up on that method of networking.
Establish a can-do attitude. What I liked best about Shannon was that she assured me she'd do anything and everything I suggested -- without excuses. Many times people ask for job advice, and I get a lot of "yes, but …" responses: "Oh I've tried that …" "Oh that doesn't work…" "Oh when I have time…"
With Shannon, what we established from day one was that there'd be no excuses, and she was willing to hustle. She promised to be positive, no pessimism.
Get a resume review. If you're sending out the same resume and getting no bites, that document might need some work. Get another opinion or two or five. Have the three smartest people you know and trust review your resume. Ask them to find three things they think you should change. Ask if it celebrates your successes or simply rehashes your previous experience. These resume templates may be of help to you.
Step away from the computer. Shannon spent every day for the past year searching and applying for jobs online. The result of all of that time and effort? Two phone interviews. That's terrible.
If you're doing something for three months, six months or a year with no results, that's a red flag that you've got to make a change. Online job searching is a great way to find out who's hiring. But once you apply, you can't sit back and wait for the phone to ring. You have to find an internal referral or make cold calls to figure out who the recruiter is. Work the phone instead of waiting for a call.
Revisit your goals to adjust for realistic expectations. If the job of your dreams isn't forthcoming, you might have to change your goals, especially if generating an income and getting back to work is a priority.