THE BLOG
12/17/2014 01:48 pm ET Updated Feb 16, 2015

The Top 10 Job Search Fantasies

The folks who had the fantasies? They're all working now. But it wasn't so long ago that they were searching for work, more work or better work. A search fueled by fantasies. None of which helped.

What were the fantasies?

1. The most qualified person gets the job. World-weary workers KNOW this simply isn't true. But it's hard to let go of this fantasy. Thinking differently about finding work means remembering that getting a job and doing a job are two different things.

2. My resume should be a data dump. There's only one definition of a good resume. It's the one that gets you the job. Beyond that, all bets are off. Resumes have evolved into "data dumps" and in doing so, what's been lost is the time tested value of telling your story. It's the story, not that data, that engages the reader and communicates value.

3. Just work harder. Perhaps the most evil of all the fantasies because it can lead to blaming the victim. Or to the unspoken judgment that hard work is all that separates the employed from the jobless. Never mind the irrational system we have in place for connecting people and jobs. Never mind luck, chance, connections, age, sex, race, disability, experience or sometimes-even talent. Just work harder. Simplistic solutions like "Work harder" can feel good because they create the perception that the problem is solved. But it's not. The fantasy remains.

4. Professional advice will help. There are "basics" of finding work and everyone needs them. The problem comes when the individual already KNOWS all the basics of things like self-presentation. Then what? The professional career advisor often comes up empty. The professional advisor delivers on "how-to"---but falls short of an even more important question, "What if?" This is where the power of storytelling comes in. The exponential power that's uncorked when telling a story leads to another story, then another and then suddenly there is a job. What's the fantasy here? That the advice for the masses can ever in a million years beat out the power of an individual's story.

5. Network till you can't see straight. Ask any 5 people what networking means and you'll get 5 different answers. The word has become so overused, that it runs the risk of meaning NOTHING. Networking isn't wrong; it's just not enough. And when it's put forth as "the answer" it becomes a fantasy. The magic key to unlocking a steady paycheck.

6. Be honest. NO one is against honesty. The fantasy comes when the job seeker confuses including EVERYTHING in their story with simply including what matters. No small task. And it means something different to every individual. So many jobs today are very narrowly focused. That means that the the applicant's focus has got to be on what matters. NOT on telling their life story. Telling what matters. Bottom line? Instead of a focus on being honest and including everything, change the focus to LISTENING and speaking to what's needed.

7. Linked In will get you a job. Is like saying "Excel will solve a math problem." Linked In is a database. As a tool, it might help you find work. But it's a database. Not a magic on-line kingdom.

8. Job Boards work. Published speculation on the percentage of time job boards lead to jobs ranges from 1-3%. Is that true? Maybe. Maybe not. What's consistent is that the numbers are never real large. What is large? The fantasy that job boards work.

9. Getting Past the Gatekeeper is the Key. Years ago, the gatekeeper was the protective "secretary." Now, the gatekeeper can be resume-screening software. The idea is the same. The fantasy that if you could just get by something, or someone, you'd have that job. Which brings us to the last fantasy named by so many of the thousands of people across the U.S., Canada and Europe who have found their own unique path to work prompted by reading and using Finding Work When There Are No Jobs.

10. "Knowing someone" is all you need. The absolute toughest fantasy to dispute because sometimes it's true! But More likely though. It's just a start. Especially if the connection is only on-line or simply weak. What's weak? Yesterday a reader wrote in to tell me that a gentleman she hadn't seen since high school had contacted her on Facebook about a job in her company.

What's even more important than knowing someone, is being a part of something. In the book, we use the word "communitizing." Being an active, visible and regular part of a community. Any community. Because it's from communities that the deep connections required to find work are found.

In communities that the real path to finding work for you comes alive

Not the fantasy.