How’s your Job Search Going?

“How’s your job search going?” How many times have you been  asked that question? Too many times to count, I’ll bet. And it’s a tough question to answer too. After all, how can any job seeker really know how the process is going? What are the mile markers that would indicate progress and how far it is to that destination of a new job? By and large, the majority of people looking for work have no benchmarks to measure themselves against and no true sense of their job search performance. And that’s definitely not good…for job seekers or their families. When the person without a job is also without direction and self-confidence the effect on everyone is both enormous and unsettling. When no one knows what’s going on or what direction leads to a new position, everyone in the boat loses hope. Absent a trustworthy guide it’s just too easy for job seekers to misjudge the situation, panic, and traumatize all involved.
Far too many job seekers consider every day without a new job as a failure. Their response to the above question is generally, “Not good, I’m still unemployed.” There are other, less pessimistic individuals who will answer with a shrug and “Beats me, I have no idea how I’m doing.” But neither of these groups inspires confidence in their loved ones. And for the most part they go to bed at night troubled and guilty over what didn’t happen that day. Their job search is definitely a struggle, not the exciting adventure that God intends it to be.
Let me suggest that evaluating your job search performance doesn’t have to be such a mystery, however. There are definitely measures of success that can guide you. If you’ve read Employed for Life: “When Can You Start?”— God you already know that God intends to bless His children with five distinct blessings during a season of joblessness. That knowledge alone points us to a way of evaluating our job search performance and setting clear achievable objectives for the rest of the employment journey. I’m going to borrow the Job Search Performance Appraisal from the book and offer it here as one way to confidently determine how you’re doing in your job search. You’ll find the actual appraisal form in the book and at the end of this article.
It’s important to understand two key things before we begin – the first is that every believer works for God and the second is that God has performance standards for His “employees” just like the world does. He is our provider and our protector but He is also our Lord and Master and He has a right to expect obedience to the standards He sets. Don’t misunderstand me, God hasn’t given us a set of rules to obey just because “He feels like it” or He wants to satisfy some need on His part. No, in His mercy and grace He has established performance standards in order to lead us into abundant life and true prosperity! As we serve Him, we walk in His blessing! So let’s look at what it will take on our part to accomplish the wonderful plan He has for us and experience the greatest unemployment turnaround strategy imaginable.
Since God’s command in Matthew 6:33 is to “Seek first the Kingdom” let’s start there. Are you using this time away from work to get better acquainted with the King? If not, make that your first priority for nothing matters more than this. He wants a personal relationship with you and you will need it in the days to come. We have to be able to recognize His voice and receive directions from the throne room if we hope to accomplish the purpose for which we were designed. So make it your first priority to spend time in His Word and in prayer. Next, consider the command to love others as we love ourselves. How are you doing on that self-love part? I’m not referring to self centeredness or selfishness but rather the identity of a believer who truly understands the love Christ has for each of us as precious children of the Most High God. So, are you caring for your body as if it is a temple of the Holy Spirit? Are you living as one who knows that his life belongs to God? And, what about your “love walk?” Every day that you are out of the workplace is a day filled with opportunities to give into the lives of those you love — your family, your friends, your church and your community. Are you giving? Are you accomplishing all the little projects and volunteer assignments that would bless those around you? If not, you have some project work to do! Getting centered in your identity in Christ and becoming a conduit for His love to flow to others will put you into position to receive the first three of God’s unemployment blessings…a deep, intimate relationship with God, an true understanding of your gifts and design, and better, more loving relationships.
The fourth objective that God wants to accomplish in this season is your absolute freedom from fear. How are you doing in this area? If you’re still harboring worry, concern, or anxiety, it’s time to make a quality decision to stop it. It actually is your choice—you either believe the promises in God’s Word or you are trusting in the lies of the devil. I don’t have time to go into this in any depth here except to emphasize the importance of recognizing that there’s a battle going on and you must take up the full armor of God if you want the guaranteed triumph that ‘s been promised to you. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12) So renew your mind with the truth of God’s Word, declare His promises, and take a determined stand against fear in every form.
Last but not least, to obtain the prize of that new work assignment there are tactical job search activities to take a look at. Have you spent the necessary time to become well prepared, even excellent, at this process? Or are you like countless job hunters who race into the market with hastily thrown together resumes, no sense of direction, no understanding of where to find the best, unadvertised jobs, and little to no ability to sell themselves to strangers? Looking for a job is a job and it takes study and practice to do it well. If you aren’t seeing the results you’re looking for, you may need to back up and get that solid foundation in place before you venture out again. Finally, you have to dedicate the time and energy required to position yourself for victory. Too many job seekers spend less than 15 hours a week looking for a job even though they believe they’re working at it full time. When all is said and done it comes down to a commitment to follow a schedule and discipline that will keep you in the marketplace so God can connect you with your next opportunity.
To illustrate, I remember being hired into a position as an executive recruiter. In our training program we were taught that if we made a certain number of contacts with employers every day we would acquire the position openings, or requisitions, that we would need in order to make placements and be successful. It was a stretch for me to believe. I wondered how anyone could guarantee that just making a prescribed number of calls — day in and day out –would ultimately lead to success. But, amazingly, it worked just as predicted. Despite my unbelief I made those calls (and experienced repeated rejections!) but along the way I also ended up making the promised placements. Successful sales people will tell you the same thing…it’s a numbers game. So if a job seeker will make the calls and spend the time required, success will follow. Any believer who has followed God’s job search strategy has His promise: “Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find pastures” (John 10:9). Our places of employment are our pastures and the Holy Spirit will lead us to them if we’ll spend the time to “seek and keep seeking.” The required time investment does not even equal a full time job. Dedicating an average of four effective hours a day will put you way ahead of most job seekers and position you for success.
If you want to measure your performance along the way try asking yourself these three questions after every contact you make: 1) Did I represent myself well and make a good impression? 2) Did I learn whether this organization hires people like me for the work I want to do? And, most importantly, 3) did I obtain two new names of people to call? If you will get fully prepared for the process and then execute against these standards on a consistent daily basis, you’ll achieve the goal of a new position. God truly “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”(Ephesians 3:20). We have to put that power to work. God’s final direction for us is to “knock and keep knocking.” Don’t try to predict when your job search will end; that’s a waste of time and energy. Instead focus on obtaining all five of the unemployment blessings that God is offering by doing all that you can to understand and cooperate with His plan. Then, when next asked “How’s it going?” you’ll be able to confidently reply, “My job search is going great! I’m getting everything I can out of the process and I know my next position is just around the corner.”