By Peter Weddle
Every school kid in America learns about the Bill of Rights. It is both a part of our heritage and a synopsis of our values, of what is enduring about this nation called the United States of America. It's an important lesson, to be sure, but only half of what they need to know. To be successful as adults – to survive and prosper in the workplace – they should also be taught the Job Seeker Bill of Rights.
If there were such a document, it would codify and correct our misperceptions. It would be a full of advice for the millions of people who don't understand the true nature of an effective job search, or a healthy and rewarding career. What follows, then, is the first five articles in a Job Seeker Bill of Rights for the working men and women of the United States of America:
You can apply for any great job you would like, but you’re not guaranteed that job no matter how much you think you deserve it. In today's workplace, an employer's decision to offer you a job is based on both your ability to do the work, and your ability to communicate persuasively. If either factor is missing, you’re not qualified from the employer's perspective - and that's the only perspective that counts.
You can have a fulfilling and rewarding career even in today's struggling economy, but that success does not come without serious hard work. Success requires your best effort all of the time, not when it's convenient or can be squeezed in around your social and other activities. In a highly competitive job market, you must commit time and effort to both keep your skills at the state-of-the-art and keep an eye out for new career opportunities. If you were the best buggy whip maker in the world, but the world had turned to cars for transportation, your career prospects would be just as bad as those of your lousiest competitor.
You cannot tap the full range of employment opportunities without using the Web. Job search online, however, involves more than just using search engines. There is a body of knowledge and a set of skills associated with using the Web effectively for job search, and both must be acquired and used regularly if you are to achieve any sustained level of success.
You can find a great job via social networking, but you can't tap the full range of employment opportunities if you ignore traditional job search methods. To give yourself a reasonable shot at landing that dream job you've always wanted, you must take full advantage of social media and online job boards. Even print publications (no matter how old fashioned you may think they are) and other real world venues will connect you with employers and their open positions.
You can do everything needed to find a new or better job, but it may still take longer and be more frustrating than you expect. Unfortunately, the Declaration of Independence promises us "the pursuit of Happiness," not actual happiness on a timetable that meets our needs and goals. It's a much overused metaphor, but it's also true: conducting a job search campaign is the hardest job you will ever have. Not only should you prepare yourself accordingly, but you should also take the time to prepare your spouse or partner and your family. Why? Because your search for a new or better job is likely to be one of the most difficult experiences they will ever have, as well.
Formerly the Chairman and CEO of Job Bank USA, Peter Weddle is an HR consultant, recruiter, author and commentator with an international reputation. He has authored or edited more than two dozen books, including "Recognizing Richard Rabbit: A Fable About Being True to Yourself", "Work Strong: Your Personal Career Fitness System" and "WEDDLE's 2009/10 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet". In addition, he oversees WEDDLE's, a print publisher specializing in the field of human resources. WEDDLE's annual Guides and Directory to job boards are recognized for their accuracy and helpfulness, leading the American Staffing Association to call Weddle the "Zagat of the online employment industry." Peter Weddle is also CEO of the International Association of Employment Websites.