The Seven Habits of Lackadaisical Job Seekers

WARNING: Occasionally I lapse into tough love mode when trying to get the attention of those who are carelessly hurting themselves and their loved ones.
This is one of those times. Over the years, I have seen more than my share of job seekers lose their marriages, their homes, and more due to being lackadaisical. So, I broach this subject not in a spirit of criticism or judgment, but rather in a spirit of wanting to help as many people as possible gain the careers and incomes they desire.

Here’s a question I ask that you consider carefully: If you are currently looking for a new job, whether employed or unemployed, are you a lackadaisical job seeker? If you are not familiar with this unusual word, here is what the website says:

This word is delightfully evocative, bringing to mind some languid person lolling on a couch while all around goes to ruin, so accurately evoking its modern idea of somebody who lacks enthusiasm and determination or is carelessly lazy.

Avoiding common behaviors of lackadaisical job seekers will improve the attractiveness of your personal brand, contribute to your job search results, and make you feel better about yourself and your future prospects. Here is a short list, off the top of my head, of lackadaisical job seeker behaviors:

1. Returning calls days later rather than hours or minutes later.
2. Losing self control in conversations and either talking too much or not answering questions.
3. Spending the majority of time at home applying for jobs online.
4. Sending out mass emails asking for help.
5. Finding escapes from working at it, such as television or shopping or golf.
6. Attending group networking events, job fairs, etc.
7. Wasting time and precious energy blaming a boss (or the economy or a spouse or others) for the current situation.

The self absorbed job seeker is a familiar stereotype. Let me share an example of #2 that happened to me this week…

I was speaking with a financial executive who left his last full time job in 2011. For the last two years, he has been working freelance projects. Early in our discussion, one of my questions evoked a long-winded response that dance around the point rather than addressing it. My advice: Don’t frustrate people who can help you by droning on and on. And stop and consider for a moment that, although someone may be expressing an interest in you, this doesn’t mean they are OK with you monopolizing the conversation in self-absorbed bliss, ignoring the fact that they are a fellow human being who also has needs. I know this sounds harsh, but I speak with multiple job seekers each week who fit the stereotype.

This example is particularly relevant to job search networking. As noted in the networking chapter of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!),

Once you have gotten to know each other a bit, your next goal is to identify how you may be able to help them. Don’t skip this step! If how you can help them is not clear, then you can be direct and ask, “How can I best help you?” This seems obvious, but you would be amazed how many networkers fail to ask a question such as this.

If you are offended by my example and are sure you don’t “do #2” on people, then please don’t string me up by the thumbs via a critical comment. I’m not talking about you. I am, however, talking about the majority of job seekers who don’t recognize that they do this.

My seven item list could be a lot longer. But, this is a good start. As a job seeker, avoiding as many of these behaviors as possible will definitely contribute to your future success… which is what I want for you. Good luck and happy (job) hunting!