Stop Applying for Jobs

When I ask people in job search what they did over the past week towards their career goal, I typically hear, ‘I applied for {pick a number} of jobs.’ When I ask how many real opportunities did they get, the answer is almost always, ‘None.’

I first wrote about this topic back in 2012 – Stop looking for a Job, however, with unemployment dropping so much and jobs becoming even more scarce, I though I better speak to this topic again.

Without hesitation I coach all of my career transition clients to;

Stop Looking for a job, Stop Asking for a job and Stop Applying for jobs.

Here are 7 reasons why I say this:

Nearly 80% of all jobs are not listed on any job board. Regardless of the accuracy of this number, there are still far more great jobs that are not listed online. Ask yourself this question, ‘when did you last see a job listed online that was so unique and phenomenal you wondered if could truly be real?’ Likely once in a blue moon.  My point is most jobs listed online are the same old thing, over and over. Respect yourself more, focus on the great jobs, which are generally not listed online.

Hiring managers and business owners ask their trusted network for referrals. I can testify to this daily. I get asked at least a few times a month if I know someone who can do {pick a skill}. Trusting business partners know the best way to find great talent is to ask their peers who they know.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) will kick out nearly every resume sent in. Try as much as you want, you can’t beat the ever changing algorithms of ATS. The moment you finish rewriting your resume for the 50th time, you’ll discover you need to rewrite it again for a slightly different job you want to apply for. And all you are able to do with this never ending task is get a position or two ahead of every other person applying for the same job.

You look like very other candidate if you stand in the same line with them. I make this statement because typically when people apply for jobs online, there is no real way to differentiate yourself. Yes, you can write a compelling T-Square Cover Letter and a keyword rich resume filled with PAR Statements that wow the resume reviewer, however, typically this will only move you a few notches ahead of everyone else applying for the same job.

The application process presents you for a job, not as a business solution. This is an important differentiation. Everyone else is looking for a job. They want a salary, stable work, 401K, insurance, vacation, holidays and maybe even a great title. They want a job and this is what job boards have to offer everyone spending time searching and applying to them. When you adjust your perspective towards finding a company that has a business need you can fill, you are no longer in the same job search line. You are positioning yourself as a business resource, a solution to a critical business need, a valued business team member, a business person, not a job seeker.

The best possible job for you is waiting for you to create it. I’ve talked to lots of people in career transition who shared with me they created the job they have today. These business people got into an open conversation with a business owner who through the conversation discovered an idea, a solution, a new role for someone who could help grow, improve or save the business. I recently helped a guy named Marc by getting him introduced to a business owner who through the conversation created a new department in his business. It can happen, but only through an open conversation about the business with the owner or leader.

I want you to enjoy your career transition journey, it is a part of life. Applying for jobs and then hoping and praying you get that phone call for an interview is stressful and can become depressing.

Focus your energy and time to finding the companies you’re interested in, find the people in those companies you’d like to talk with, ask for and get introduced for open conversations. This is far more enjoyable and rewarding than standing in line and applying to the same old jobs everyone else is applying for.

Yes, networking to find these conversations takes time and you must be willing to get into open conversations with strangers. However, this is the best way to find your hidden next great job.

I wish you lots of success having open conversations that lead towards success.

Read these 5 books, I promise they’ll help you on this journey:


Your Career Transition Marketing Material – CSN Weekly Meeting

Call it what you want, in order to get the job you want, you will need your marketing material. Join us at CSN and hear why.

Join us at Career Support Network to learn how.

Career Support Network meets from Noon to 2:00 p.m. on Wednesdays @ Maple Springs United Methodist Church, 2569 Reynolda Rd, Winston-Salem NC. (map)

The topic on 9/7/2016 will be – Your Career Transition Marketing Material
Marketing Materials
Career Transition requires that you market yourself appropriately. There are lots of different marketing materials that you will need to develop and fine tune as you proceed on this journey. During this CSN Session we will discuss the different materials, how to build them and where to use them. Join us to learn new ideas and to share your ideas with others.
For information call (336) 283-6121 or email

Here is a link to some useful Career Transition Books.

Do you know of other books that have helped you in your career transition.

30 Second Commercials Suck

Let me get straight to the point.

Stop using the old style 30 Second Commercials.

You do not need to validate yourself every time you introduce yourself to others.

Validation should occur only when asked.


The supposed best practices of 30 second commercials, as told to us over the past decades has been to state:

#1 – Your name and associated credential.
#2 – Your career goal.
#3 – How have you demonstrated your skills related to your goal.
#4 – Your career qualifications.
#5 – Then ask a question about the other person.

Here are a few problems I have with this style of 30 second commercials, in most instances:

  1. Most introductions where people use their 30 second commercials are not to people who want or need to validate us.
  2. If the other person wants or needs to validate us, let them ask a specific question in that regard.
  3. Most of the time the question the other person has is simply, ‘who are you?’
  4. If they do want to ‘validate’ us, let’s make sure we use the best possible example based on a direct question.
  5. When you feel compelled to use a scripted validation, it often does not come across sincere or real
  6. When you feel compelled to validate yourself, it can sound like you are not completely sure or confident of yourself.

I have never really thought about this before, but I do not think I have ever introduced myself with validation statements.

Today my introduction when someone asks me who I am is; “I’m Teddy Burriss a LinkedIn Coach, Trainer and Public Speaker. My purpose is helping business professionals get real value from their investment into LinkedIn. What do you do?”

Often I even trim my intro down to, “I’m Teddy Burriss, LinkedIn Coach & Trainer. What do you do Monday – Friday 9-5 to enjoy yourself?” Simple with a touch of humor as I hand the conversation back to them.

Ponder these ideas for a moment:

  • How often are you using your 30 second commercial when the person only wants to know who you are, with no need to validate what you say?
  • Let the validation occur in an open conversation rather than a scripted and robotic response.
  • Wait till you are asked for validation and position your reply in context to what you learned about them.
  • Simplify your ’30 Second commercial to a 10 second and make it engaging rather than full disclosure & validation
  • Be a little different and a little better than every other person in career transition and position yourself better in the process.
  • Networking events and even job fairs are all about meeting people and getting into a conversation. Start with a friendly introduction and as the conversation progresses, consider what validation is relevant and important.

I’m way different than most people and realize that my philosophies may not appeal to everyone. However, I’ve found this has worked for me over the past 40 some odd years. Maybe these ideas could work for you as well.

I would love to hear your ideas on this topic. Comment on this blog article, LinkedIn or Facebook Post.



Career Transition ToDo List

Click here to get a Google Doc of your ToDo List
Click here to get your’s

Week # __________

My network consists of _________ individuals.
My network growth goal for this week is __________

Ideally 30-50 hours per week are needed to make this happen.

I spend on average ________ hours per week looking for a job.
My goal for this week is to spend ________ hours working on my career transition

I average _______ hours on telephone conversations regarding my career transition.
My goal for this week is _________

On average I send _______ introductions and/or job ideas to my career transition groups.
I will send ______ this week.

On average I go to ______ network meetings each week.
This week I will go to _______ networking meetings.

I spent ______ hours researching ______ companies this week.
I will spend _______ hours researching _______ companies this week.

I have _______ companies on my target list.
I will add ________ new companies to this list.

I spend _________ staring at a computer screen on average.
I will spend _____ at the keyboard this week.

I spend ________ hours outside of my home on average looking for a job.
I will spend ______ hours outside of this house this week.

I spend on average _______ hours helping others.
I will spend ________ helping others this week.


I borrowed this from my friends at Triad Career Network.

CSN Weekly Meeting – Information/Support Resources Available in Career Transition

Do you know all of the resources available to you during career transition?

Join us at Career Support Network to learn how.

Career Support Network meets from Noon to 2:00 p.m. on Wednesdays @ Maple Springs United Methodist Church, 2569 Reynolda Rd, Winston-Salem NC. (map)

The topic on 7/15/2015 will be – Information/Support Resources Available in Career Transition
There is a plethora of resources available to folks in career transition. The challenge is knowing what these resources are and how to find them. We will share ideas and hear new ideas about various career transition resources available to us, where they are and how to benefit from them. Join us at CSN to share your ideas and learn from others.
For information call (336) 283-6121 or email

Here is a link to some useful Career Transition Books.

Do you know of other books that have helped you in your career transition?

Focus on your Career Transition

Let me help you Focus on your Career Transition

2015 will be a successful year for you, if you:

Focus on Your Career Transition

You will find a new job or you’ll create a money making business that fuels your passion. You will finally bring your latest career transition to an end.
This can all be true, if you Focus on Your Career Transition.
There are lots of people throughout history and our lives who have told us that to be successful we must focus on what we are doing. The definition of Focus is “pay particular attention to.” In order for your Career Transition Journey to be successful, you will have to pay particular attention to it.
Yes, there are things in life that can get in the way of this focus. Things that you can’t control. Your health and family needs are two of the big items in life that often require you to change your focus.
However, these priorities aside, there should be very little else that gets in the way of your Focus on Your Career Transition.
Here are four really important areas of career transition that you must never lose focus on.
#1 – Focus on “Who Am I” – You have to get to a complete understanding with yourself and answer this question, “Who am I?” The sooner you get focused on this, the better off you are going to be. It’s hard enough for everyone else to help you find that next great job, it’s even harder on you without knowing “Who am I.”
#2 – Focus on your Marketing Material – It takes time to build a strong 10 second “Who Am I” statement, Resume, LinkedIn & other online Profile(s), Networking Outline, Cover Letter Template and other letters and email templates. You have to focus on building compelling and consistent content that both represents you and speaks to the needs of the people who could use your skills and talents.
#3 – Focus on your Career Transition Plan – Have you heard these before:
“No one plans to fail. Many fail to plan.”
“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.”
“Plans are nothing, Planning is everything.”
“Meticulous planning will enable everything a man does to appear spontaneous.”
Do I need to go on.
If you do not have a well crafted and goal oriented plan in place now, focus on building a Career Transition Plan NOW. Be sure your Plan has all of the critical activities in it: refining your marketing material – 5%, applying for the right jobs – 5%, personal development – 5%, researching businesses, people and opportunities – 30% and networking – 55% Once you have your plan built, focus on executing it.
#4 – Focus on your Attitude – I truly believe that our attitude is one of the most overlooked aspects of success. This is so true in regards to how people perceive us in public:
  • People are open to networking and having informational interviews with other people who have a positive attitude.
  • People want to do business with people who have positive attitudes.
  • Hiring managers, recruiters and business owners want to grow their staff with smart, capable people who have the right attitude.
More importantly, career transition can be tough, overwhelming and often emotional. You can’t change the fact that you’ll receive rejection letters, no responses to emails or phone calls or you won’t get that interview you so badly wanted.
What you can change is the attitude you have during this period in your life. Don’t just use positive words in front of others. Use positive words, images and thoughts in your head. This is where it’s the most important. Despite all that is negative in life and during this journey, focus on having a positive attitude and you’ll create better results.

Focus on your Career Transition Journey

and you’ll be far more successful.
I wish you a fabulous 2015 & successful journey
Visit my Career Transition Program if you want help focusing on your Career Transition Journey
Originally published in the GSO News & Record on 1/18/15

Information Interview Story


By Alex Cathey (member of the Triad Job Search Group)
A member of my Trio group at TJSN setup an informational interview with EPES Logistics a freight management broker in Greensboro.
EPES acts as a middle man or agent between companies and the vast field of independent and small truckers throughout the country to meet their transportation needs.  Their director of human resources, Kristen Pettit, graciously agreed to meet with our group of four from TJSN.
Kristin began our meeting by explaining the company’s basic hiring philosophy and practices and what she looked for in potential candidates.   Interestingly she shared that resumes were of little use in finding future employees.   She stated that she could not tell anything about someone “from a piece of paper” especially character, integrity, or attitude which she deemed most important in people.   She further explained that she could easily spot the common practice of people folding into the resume key word taken from the posted job description.   Employee referrals were therefore the method of choice for Kristen when searching for someone to fill a job opening.
She did share an interesting story concerning resumes and how she came to get her job at EPES.  Seems she had submitted a resume that included what seemed to be a totally unrelated interest of investing in the stock market.   In fact, she had been encouraged by another professional to leave that off the resume.  She disregarded with the advice. Kristen’s interest in the stock market caught the eye of the president of the company who, like her, was a stock investor. He assumed that she would have additional business knowledge as a result of her investment activity and hired her, in part, for this reason.
Kristin continued our informational interview by discussing how new employees are acclimated into the company.   All new employees undergo a 2 week training regiment with follow up at 30, 60, 90 and 180 days.     Periodic meeting are set up with other areas to learn how their jobs are affected by your job.  Error patterns are tracked and their consequences relayed to the employee.   In addition, a “go to Guru” is appointed to each employee who helps them find their way around as well as a “culture committee” that plans all the company functions.
Kristin explained that the president of the company himself views people as assets that are valued by the organization.
Kristin continued with our conversation for the entire hour. Before we adjourned the meeting she requested we send a copy of our respective resumes to her which she said she would forward to any interested parties she came across.  In fact, she shared that there was a network that HR people like her used just for that purpose.
As we left there was a consensus within the group that we would all love to work for such a company with a culture that values people and is willing to invest in their development. Our visit also reinforced our belief in the effectiveness of networking versus the traditional application & resume in discovering job opportunities. Lastly, it was heartening to see that there are still great companies out there to work for! As an added bonus, Kristin emailed me three days later that she had forwarded by resume to someone in her network!
Editorial – Alec’s story is one of many that underscores the importance of networking and having a resume that stands out. Hopefully this experience will turn into a job opportunity soon.
Use Informational Interviews to discover ideas and to meet people who may want to help you.

If you want help to learn how to do this well, reach out to me –


Desperation hurts

Desperation HurtsDesperation Hurts

“Desperation clouds the mind and causes it to do things that may not be in your best interest.” @NCWiseman

Loosing your job can be painful and cause you to become fearful and emotional. Fear and negative emotions are two catalysts that cause us to consider doing things that we shouldn’t do, i.e., become desperate.

Desperation during career transition can cause you to make mistakes, including taking the wrong job. Taking the wrong job can cause all kinds of problems; lower income, bad environment, stress, anguish, loosing the job again and even depression as you discover you’ve made a mistake.

There are many activities you need to do in order to not become desperate.  I can’t coach you on how to do it all in a short article, however, I can share 3 beneficial tips that can help avoid desperation.

Tip #1 – Don’t go it alone.

There are lots of resources available to help you with many aspects of career transition. Don’t misunderstand, there is no one waiting to give you a new job. However, there are lots of resources available to help you with various steps, tasks and access to information and ideas. Take advantage of all of the resources you can access and use.

Beyond career transition resources, you will also need to keep family and friends close. The people in your life who care for you and you care for will be important during this challenging time. Don’t hide the reality of your career transition from these folks. Share your concerns and fears with the people in your life who are willing to lend an ear and an idea when you need it.

Desperation happens to people who lean towards isolation.

Tip #2 – Maintain a positive attitude.

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” ~ John Wooden

The Power of Positive Thinking is not just a life changing book. It’s a mindset that can significantly alter the outcomes of your career transition.  Positive thoughts fuel positive actions. Positive actions lead you in a positive direction towards success.

Look at the people in your life who are successful in many different ways. How do they act, think, live. The majority of these successful folks are positive attitude and action folks.

One important step you can make towards living a positive attitude life is to look a the people you are hanging out with, during your career transition and beyond.

“You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.”
― Joel Osteen

Believing in yourself and praying are powerful tools towards always having a positive attitude during your career transition. A positive attitude will help you from doing desperate things. Remember, Desperation hurts

Tip #3 – Focus all of your time and energy on the best practices that create value.

Unless you have successfully  journeyed through career transitions before, you may not know the right activities that will create value and success. This means you have to ask people who have been through career transition and people who know the best practices of career transition. Learn from the right people and execute on what you learn.

Do not, I repeat, Do Not follow directions from people who are neither “successfully” experienced or appropriately trained to teach you how to do this work.

Learn these best practices and focus all of your time and efforts using them. Career transition is not a part time job. It’s also not a job to be taken haphazardly. Prepare every morning to go do your job.

Treat your career transition as your job, do the work required, focus on the right activities in a positive way and you won’t become desperate.

People do desperate things in life when they get frustrated, fail to plan and execute properly. Mix into this a heaping spoonful of negativity and you’ll do just about anything.

Desperation Hurts – avoid it

Do everything you can to keep from becoming desperate and making a career transition mistake.

Are you still waiting for a Job

waiting for a jobI hope you are not still waiting for a job

This past Thursday (12/18/14) I visited my friends at the First Presbyterian Church job search group (Triad Career Network) and asked these questions:

  1. How many job applications have you filled out in the past 30 days?
  2. How many new people have you met and actually had a conversation with in the past 30 days?
  3. How many hours a day, on average, have you spend behind a computer over the past 30 days?
  4. How many hours a day, on average, have you spent out of the house working on your job search over the past 30 days?

The numbers were all over the place, but there were some answers that became rather clear:

  1. Too many of the attendees were wasting time filling out job applications
  2. There was not enough networking going on for their network to be able to help in their search
  3. Too much time is being spent staring at a computer screen, trolling job listings, filling out applications and massaging the resume.
  4. Most job seekers have not figured out the true value of getting out of the house.

To help combat these problems and get past Waiting for a Job, I offered some advice on the following areas of job search:

Accountability & Responsibility

We have to hold ourselves accountable to our own actions, behaviors and attitudes in life. This is still true when we are unemployed and looking for our next job. There is no boss telling us what to do, when, how or why. Therefore this becomes our responsibility to hold us accountable to doing the actions needed to get a new job. If we can’t hold ourselves accountable to the right actions, behaviors and attitudes, we will never find that next great job.

Build a Process and work it

Success in life occurs easier when we build a process for success and then work the process. We need to make deliberate decisions as to what steps, tools, resources and time to invest in the process. These decisions must be made as we focus on a clear and beneficial goal. In this case, the goal should be to get employed.

As we build this process we need to take inconsideration stepping stone successes as well:

  • Growing our network by a specific number each month.
  • Having a specific number of new and repeat conversations each week.
  • Connecting with a growing number of relevant and potential employers each month.
  • Resume, cover letter, networking profile management.
  • Online Profile management.

As we build and work our process we need to pay attention to steps and actions that do not work well. Adjust the plan as necessary and keep moving forward.

Prayer & Support

Part of our responsibility is knowing when we can’t do it alone any longer. Often when this happens we have to reach out to our network and ask for help. Also, we need to know when to reach out to God and ask for help. Support from our network as well as from God is important during this career transition journey. Know when you need help and what kind of help you need. Ask for it when you have permission. Never go at this alone.

Get uncomfortable

Often some of the best results occur when we take a risk. This applies to career transition as well. Press yourself to be a little uncomfortable and take a little risk.

Frequently I hear people say that networking makes them uncomfortable. Again, press yourself to get just a little uncomfortable. You don’t need to get upset and put yourself in a situation that will cause you to crumble and tremble. However, I urge you to keep pressing your boundaries. One way to press your boundaries at networking is to practice with people you already know and like. Get them to introduce you to other good people and keep the conversations going.

Take a Risk

Don’t let being safe get in the way of being successful. Often taking a risk, a calculated risk, can help you to discover ideas, people, businesses and opportunities you don’t know about and have never imagined. As in my conversation about getting a little uncomfortable, take a little risk and see what happens. Walk up to someone you don’t know at a networking event and say hello, call a LinkedIn connection and introduce yourself, email an old work buddy and say hello. Think of the worst case scenario. Take a little risk and see what happens.

You don’t have permission to ask until you have given

In career transition you can’t ask for help until after you have helped others first. Get permission to ask for anything. Just because we know someone, does not give us permission to ask for anything we want. We need to first do what we can to help the other person, even if it’s just listen to them first. Get permission for every question or request you have before asking. This will always get you a much better response to your request or question.

I took this a step further in regards to praying to God for help. I believe I don’t have permission to ask God for help unless I have first done something meaningful to help another person.

Be a Freak

In career transition if you walk, talk, interview, resume and look just like very other candidate, you are going to be treated like every other candidate. Be different, better, unusual, unique, unexpected. This is the definition of Freak. Be a Freak. Here are a few simple ideas:

  • Go the extra steps in an interview, ask lots of business questions.
  • Do something different in the cover letter, refer to the business goals and expectations
  • Have a better LinkedIn Profile, make it look good and speak well of Who you are, not what you have been.
  • Follow up every conversation with a very polite and friendly thank you message, email, post card.

If you are just sitting around the house hoping that one of the jobs you applied for will eventually pan out, all I can do is offer you a prayer. Dear Lord, I hope that this person will Stop Waiting for a Job

If you are holding yourself accountable to working your process, asking for help when you have permission, getting a little uncomfortable, taking a risk and being a career transition freak, I applaud you for doing it better and differently than everyone else. You are likely to be successful sooner than later.

Are you still waiting for a job?

I hope that I can encourage you to stop waiting for a job.

Good luck with that.