Indulge me for a minute. Yesterday, Switzerland (the country I currently live in) went into their World Cup match against Spain as the underdog. No one expected Switzerland to win. But they did. It's a pretty spectacular thing here and everyone is taking about it. The newspaper devoted numerous pages to the Swiss team's victory. Even I was excited., and I don't really care about sports. Everyone loves stories of underdog success.
So, why am I writing about this? Well, my E-mail inbox is filled with E-mails from underdogs. They've applied to hundreds of jobs, been on scores of interviews, and always come out on the bottom. I get the feeling that some of them are ready to give up. Hang up the old soccer cleats, if you will. In fact, many people have done this. It's why the "official" unemployment rate is considered by many to be low. If you get tired of looking for a job and give up, you're no longer counted as "unemployed" because that category only reflects people who are searching for a job.
I'm here to tell you that sometimes the underdog does win, and that underdog could be you.
Switzerland's soccer team didn't say, "Gee, we'll never beat Spain, so let's not even bother going to South Africa. It's a long flight, and no one speaks Swiss German there anyway. Let's stay home and eat some cheese and chocolate." Instead, they practiced and worked and practiced and worked and got on a plane and flew to South Africa. When they got on the field they played like they could win and they did win.
That is what you need to do. I know you're tired of applying, tired of interviewing, tired of recruiters who don't get back to you, and tired of those that do only to tell you, "Thanks, but no thanks." But, you need to move forward like you think you could win.
Sports teams often watch video of their opponents previous games. Why? To learn how they play and what would be the best way to counter that. You need to watch the people who have "won" the job hunt game and see what they did to do that. Every industry and company is different than all other industries and companies. Find out what qualities employees have in the company you are targeting. Figure out how they determine success. Talk to as many people as possible from any particular company before you submit your resume.
If you can figure out what the qualities of the winners are, you up your chances of beating the odds.
Suzanne Lucas has nine years off human resources experience, most of which have been in a Fortune 500-company setting. She holds a Professional in Human Resources certificate from the Society for Human Resource Management. She blogs at Evil HR Lady.