For two days this week, I am teaching work skills to the unemployed. There is a section in re-writing your resume for online job applications, and I tell them the two steps that are vital to make your resume visible. Inevitably, someone asks if they need to post a new resume for every job application. When I say yes, there are frowns. “Ms. Jones said a well-written resume doesn’t need revising,” one of them will always say. “Every job is different,” I answer, “and has its own key words, and you need to include those. That means a new resume for each new job.”
Hands shoot up in protest. I hear about a friend who never updated his resume who got a great job, a woman who wore flip-flops and torn jeans to an interview and got the job, the cousin who got laid off and in a month the boss begged them to come back because they were indispensable. It’s the urban legend and Holy Grail of the unemployed–there is a job that is wonderful, pays well, has a great boss and is easy to find. And then comes the clincher: all you have to do is manifest it by believing, or praying, or following the steps in The Secret.
The horrible truth right now is that there are not enough jobs for everyone who wants one, and the only way to find a job is to keep looking for one. It’s hard, tedious work, and the best person is not always chosen. But you can’t stop trying. And while I believe in prayer and having goals, and positive thinking, I do not believe in magical thinking.
I do not believe that the websites that promise you the “job of your dreams” if only you click on “tell me how” or takes you to another page that doesn’t list a price for anything, and calls the money they are scamming from you, your “investment.” I’ve seen the same websites for finding the partner of your dreams, the SEO of your website’s dreams, and the secret that it will be your video that goes viral.
What’s missing from all of this the is practical application of the ancient Arab wisdom about losing your transportation: “Pray to Allah, but tie up your camel anyway.”
I believe in hard work. I know that people with connections often get the job before people who would be better suited. But if you don’t have connections, you are going to have to work around that lack. In the end, it is doing the heavy lifting, the tedious application, the refusal to give up that moves you along your journey. You can chose to sing to make the work easier, laugh to make the time lighter, or pray for spiritual support and strength. In the end, what you get from your effort is what you put into it. There isn’t any other way.
Quinn McDonald is a life coach who helps people though change.