shutterstock_274416224It’s been said that when it’s time to take action or establish a position on important life issues, there are essentially FOUR general kinds of people, whose who…

1. MAKE things happen;

2. WAIT for things to happen;

3. WATCH things happen; and

4. WONDER what happened!

Just coincidentally, there are also FOUR general kinds of job hunters and they tend to mirror these same four attitudes and/or approaches. At any given point during a job search you may exhibit any one or even a combination of these four attitudes/approaches, depending on the level of urgency with which you seek a new job.

It’s been my professional experience as a headhunter, though, that the attitude/approach that predominates during a job search is a very reliable predictor of how successful you’re likely to be in your job search. Sadly, the overwhelming majority of job hunters today tend to fall into categories 2 through 4, i.e., those who wait for things to happen; those who watch what happens; and those who wonder what happened.


Those who wait for things to happen usually take this approach . . . they . . .

  • Go online (where they spend the majority of their job-hunting time) and identify a few career opportunities that “look good,” and for which they HOPE they might actually qualify.
  • Submit online applications to the hiring companies they have “targeted,” rarely taking the time or making the effort to learn much if anything about the companies or the names of the people in the companies who will do the actual hiring for the position(s) they seek.
  • Send the same “tired” (READ: old and not updated for quite some time) résumé and a “one-size-fits-all,” “To Whom It May Concern” cover letter, if they even bother to send a cover letter.
  • Sit back and wait . . . and wait . . . and wait, hoping to hear back something from someone—anyone?!—representing one of the hiring companies they contacted.


Those who watch things happen essentially take a very, very passive approach to the possibility of exploring career opportunities. Usually, they . . .

  • Are well aware that career opportunities abound all around them, but either lack the belief that such opportunities could be theirs or they simply won’t take the initiative to step out of their comfort zone to explore any of these opportunities.
  • Watch friends and colleagues move to new, better, more exciting jobs, but don’t think they, themselves, are quite ready for such a “drastic” move.
  • Ultimately decide that they, too, may want to explore some of the many new career opportunities, but just not now. Maybe next month. Or maybe the first of next year. Sometime soon, though.


While there are many, many uncertainties in any job market, there is one constant certainly: It can and often does seem to turn on a dime. Opportunities that may be in abundance today can quickly disappear tomorrow. The really good jobs will attract HUGE numbers of fully qualified candidates and normally will be filled relatively quickly. Although the competition will be exponentially much, much fiercer, the really GREAT jobs will also not last long in an expanding economy and job market, such as we’re currently experiencing.

So, take your pick of relevant adages:

  • Strike while the iron is HOT!
  • Seize the day!
  • Act NOW!

In other words, if you are a job hunter who chooses to wait for things to happen, or to watch things happen, you’re quite likely destined at some point in the not-so-distant future to also find yourself in the group of men and women who will wonder what happened! How you got left behind!


It should come as no great surprise that the type of job hunter you ought to be—need to be!— if you are really serious about continually advancing your career is one who makes things happen. It’s in this rarified group that you will find the Super Star job hunters.

Among many, many other things, this is how these men and women prepare for and conduct a new job search…they…

  • Fully realize that it is they who are primarily responsible for their own career advancement and enrichment, not the company currently employing them.
  • Always keep an open mind when presented with career opportunities to consider.
  • Create and diligently maintain a professional online presence.
  • Use the Internet primarily as a research tool to identify positions that have the potential to advance their careers, as well as to glean pertinent information about the professionals doing the actual hiring.
  • Understand and fully appreciate the value of a résumé (and personally addressed cover letter!) that sells their key career accomplishments/achievements.
  • Become and stay intricately involved in appropriate professional associations, allowing them to build and maintain a robust network of men and women who usually are key players in their profession.
  • Always take the initiative to reach out to hiring companies and hiring professionals, via the telephone, email, direct mail and, when possible, on a face-to-face basis. That is, they choose to interact with real people, not just with a computer.
  • Know they have skills, talent and experience that can be of significant value to a wide variety of hiring companies and are never shy or hesitant to reach for new career opportunities that they believe can advance their careers.
  • Are persistent to a fault, i.e., they never give up or allow the negativity of others to adversely influence or unduly affect their continual quest to manage and advance their career.


If you are currently conducting a new job search, or soon plan to conduct one, what kind of job hunter are you now or will you be? Unless and until you totally commit to becoming one who makes things happen, it is very likely that you will end up doing a lot of “wheel-spinning” and waste a considerable amount of valuable time and effort.

On the other hand, with proper preparation and intelligent, informed execution, you, too, can count yourself among the Super Star job hunters, the ones who consistently make things happen—and, by the way, the ones who most often get hired for the really GREAT new jobs!