I’ve been asked if there is such a thing as job hunt luck. And the truth is that there really can be luck involved in looking for a job – but it’s not about lucky charms or job search magic. No. The good news is that it’s the kind of luck you can help make happen for yourself!
Where can luck make a difference in job search?
Luck strikes best when you give it a chance to find you. That means doing all the things you need to do to get your job search started right and keep it moving, And it especially means making sure that you go the extra mile and look for ways to really connect with people – ways that last beyond any initial one-shot contact.
There is an art to effective and lasting networking. This post will explain some of the skills that can help you begin and grow a network of 2-way relationships that can serve you well throughout your entire career:
But there is more to helping luck find you. Sometimes, hard as it can be during a tough and often discouraging job hunt, you need to make sure you are out and about, and not just home hiding under the covers waiting for the phone to ring. And not just using online means to connect, although they also can open up paths for luck to strike.
So what else can you do to attract lady luck?
Being in the right place at the right time
I can’t explain it, but throughout my career when I’ve been in job search mode, I’ve somehow found myself in the right place – even if I had no way of knowing it was going to be the right place ahead of time. Part of this is being open to and flexible about what “right” is.
If you are absolutely focused on the exact picture of the exact job you want, you can miss out on a lot of possibilities. The thing is, you can’t know everything that’s out there waiting for you. So when you start putting out positive energy and feelers for that new job, things may come your way that you never imagined. And you need to be open to recognizing them.
Once when I was looking to move from the corporate to not-for-profit sector, I saw it as an exciting adventure and must have exuded that energy to all I told about it. I wasn’t doggedly asking for jobs. I was just sharing my story and making it fun for the listener. Someone overheard me at a party (luck), and offered me the first step toward a job that changed my life.
Meeting someone who knows someone
Part of the process of attracting luck while networking is knowing that the “net” can branch out in all directions. You meet someone who knows of a job … or knows someone who knows someone who knows someone.
The person I met at the party knew of a job opening. It wasn’t exactly the field or job I wanted, but I was open and went to the interview anyway. And although I was wrong for THAT job, they liked me and told me about another job I was right for. They even contacted the organization for me.
I worked for that non-profit for a year. And I did my best … helping them to achieve new goals, reorganize some of their processes, and connect to new funding sources. It’s important no matter where you wind up to do your best, with positive energy, enthusiasm, and a full commitment to the job you’re in. That helps luck find you.
But there’s more to the luck part. You see I had really wanted to work on a different issue, but took this job anyway to help me change sectors and get some non-profit experience. And while I learned a lot and met a lifelong friend there, I still wanted to work where my heart called.
Another turn of luck
Turns out a Board member for that not-for-profit happened to work for an organization in the very same public policy area that I wanted to work in from the beginning. And he got me to an interview, with a strong recommendation based on what he had seen and heard about me. And so I got the job I would never have heard about in any other way.
That part was luck. But luck that I helped make happen because of attitude, networking, and relationship building – and also volunteering in the meantime in my preferred area. That experience gave me a great common-interest connection with the Board member. Plus it helped in my interview.
So in the end, luck does happen in job hunting … with lots of help from you!
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