Let's face it, we have a disconnect that is killing us. It's as simple as this: many, many jobs in this country have gone away and they are likely to never come back. And, the way we are currently going about finding work is not yielding new jobs for these people.
We talk a lot about parts of the process that are important to success. Great resumes, cover letters, interviewing tips. Books and workshops abound and experts are on every corner telling us that if we would just pull the right levers, then 1-2-3, we'll have work. But if that was all it took to get a job, then everyone who wants one would have one, right? Instead, we have millions of people who have just given up.
I know. I was one of those people not so long ago. I bought the books, listened to the experts, went to workshops, networked until I couldn't network any more. I had reams of cards and little slips of paper from those events with phone numbers and information that I quite honestly didn't know how to use.
(Read More: The Robot Reality: Service Jobs Are Next to Go)
But, I am a thinker and an analyzer by trade. I like turning things on their end and upside down and taking another look at what makes the process tick. I figured out that people who have successfully found work have followed five principles. What's different here is that The Five are malleable. Adaptable by each person to their own unique search. The Five are
- Telling Your Story - Communicating what matters.
- Adding Music - Going beyond just words.
- Communitizing - Finding needs from the inside of a community.
- Solving a Mystery - Filling a need now that you've found it, and knowing that you are just the right person to solve that mystery.
- Practicing Stewardship - Taking care of something larger than yourself.
Yes, you should have an up to date resume. Yes, you should interview well. But it's when you start becoming part of your community, listening for the needs it surely has, and then figuring out which need you can fill, that you will start finding work.
Take Margie Powell. She began her quest like a lot of people who find needs in their communities that perhaps only they can fill. To use her words, "I needed a job."
(Read more: Little Main St. Hiring, Despite Uptick in Optimism)
Margie, 52, lives in the tiny Texas town of Anderson, now. She moved to Anderson from a town just outside Seattle five years ago, newly divorced, and with no immediate job opportunities. Soon, she noticed that her new home didn't have much in the way of rural garbage collection services. So, she set out to solve the mystery of collecting garbage over an 800 square mile rural area. She began with 12 customers and an old horse trailer, hauling away garbage and delivering it to a landfill in College Station.
As her business grew, she bought her first garbage truck. Over time, the number of customers surpassed 500, and just this past month she bought an even bigger truck.
What does Margie's success say about the process of finding work? A set of instructions on "how-to" will never apply to everyone. Instead of filling out a form, she shaped and molded principles. Instead of going to a networking event so she could "know someone", she became part of her community. And instead of asking for a job, she solved the mystery of garbage collection in a rural Texas county.
Margie found work when there were no jobs. She didn't do it with a better resume. She found the key, "Thinking differently."
Then she figured out how to make that thinking work for her.
(Read More: 10 Most Stressful Jobs of 2013)
Roger Wright is a speaker and the author of "Finding Work When there Are No Jobs."