THE BLOG
05/30/2013 02:17 pm ET Updated Jul 30, 2013

Bad Job Search Tips

The problem is that none of them are bad. They all sound good. To somebody. They might waste your time, put you to sleep, annoy you or even change your life. But none of them is flat out wrong.

So, what do you do when every choice is good but you have still not found work? If you need more work? Or if your search is for work doing what you do best?

You start with this thought: There is no one right answer to "how to get a job." Somewhere, we all know this already. We might not want to believe it. Experts might try and sell us on the notion that if we all pull a common lever, a job will somehow fall from the sky. But all of us know that if we carefully questioned 10 different people on how they got their jobs; we would hear 10 different stories.

The point is not "how to get a job." The point is, "How do I get a job?"

That is not just a word change. That is the difference between searching for work and finding work.

Use the questions below as starting points for your thinking, your decision making and your action in figuring out if a job search tip works for you. Just you.

Does the Job Search Tip ...

• Improve your story? Not your resume. Not your interview. Your story. The one you use, change, edit and continually share. The language that you use in painting a picture of why you are a "fit" for the work you seek.

• Add music to your story? In other words, does the tip help you go beyond language? Music can serve as a useful metaphor for differentiating yourself from the crowd. The harmony you bring to a workplace. The rhythm of self discipline. Anyone can say the words. But adding music can be a new way of showing that you mean the words. Adding music can of course seem like a stunt. Or, it can be a way to think about coming up with your own answer to the question, "How can I share just a little bit more in showing exactly what I can do?"

• Help you build community around a common cause? This is different than networking -- where you might simply be making some sort of undefined connection with one person after another. In "Finding Work When There Are No Jobs" we call this "Communitizing." It's a made up word that means working from inside a community. A party you have already been invited to. A club you belong to.

• Help you find a higher purpose in the place you are looking for work? A mission? Help you to answer not just "What can you do?" But also answer, "Why is this community here?"

• Help you find and show you understand the needs of the place you want to work? Within every community are needs. Basic needs like safety. Higher level needs like producing a product or service. Sometimes the needs are clear, sometimes they are unspoken, sometimes they are mysteries. (Remember that job search is not rational.) Imagine a job search tip that prompted you to solve a mystery!

Finally, does the tip help get you to a real, voice to voice, maybe even face to face conversation with a person? In our hyper efficient, quality deficient system for finding work today, human contact is a rare commodity. Imagine a job search tip that prompted you to figure out a way to have a real conversation with a real person.

Job search tips don't have to be bad. They can all be good when we leave behind the notion of "one size fits all," and get to the heart of the challenge; finding the tips, the guidance, the principles -- and not just easy, pat answers -- that work for you.

That often works best in conversation.

Care to share a tip that worked for you?