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Keys to a Successful Job Search

Debra Hayes
By Debra Hayes - Dec 20, 2016 10:55:59 AM


You can have the most amazing credentials in the world and the most polished resume, but if your Three A’s are not in order, your job search will likely falter or, at a minimum, restrict you from landing the job you deserve in the shortest time possible.

So what are the Three A’s? They are Attitude, Activity and Assertiveness.


A positive, energetic, hopeful attitude while in job search mode is such an important element in the process. Hiring managers and recruiters can soon uncover a desperate, negative, and lackluster approach from miles away.

Let’s look at how attitude plays out with a standard interview question. For the following scenario, let’s assume the candidate was laid off due to an elimination of his/her management layer.

Interviewer: Blake, why are you no longer working at XYZ Company?

Blake (with a poor attitude): Well, I have to tell you, my boss and I never really got along that well. My clients loved me, but I never really hit if off with her. She seemed to play favorites and I never felt like I had a fair shake. It is all for the best anyway - - I don’t think I was a good fit at XYZ.

Blake (positive attitude): Frankly, I never thought that high-performing employees would get hung up in a layoff; however, business decisions had to be made. My entire layer of management was eliminated, and I know it wasn’t personal. While I can’t say I agree with it, I can respect a company that makes difficult decisions.

      Rather than focus on what was out of my control, I decided right away to leave on a high note by finishing strong on my assignments and transitioning my work in a timely manner. Now I am being very selective in what role I accept next because I want to make sure to land in a spot where my talents can best be utilized, and where I can make an impact to the company.

As you can see, by fostering a positive attitude you can leave a positive impression during an interview.


You can have the best attitude in the world, but if you are not talking to power connectors, not attending events, are avoiding meetings and conferences, and if you are not applying to jobs regularly, then you are going to have a tough time accelerating the job search process. Activity yields results.

Here is a list of some important activities you should be participating in every day, week and month, whether you are out of work or gainfully employed.

  • Face-to-face networking meetings with power connectors
  • LinkedIn invitations
  • Networking events (live or virtual)
  • Professional organization meetings
  • Speaking with recruiters
  • Applying for jobs (don’t forget this step, even if you are doing a lot of networking)

This type of activity is crucial. By getting out there and meeting people, even the same people repeatedly (the average networking partner forgets about you in about seven days), you become ingrained in the minds of your connections as the person to remember for job leads and other important referrals.


Searching for your next position also takes the right degree of assertiveness. Assertiveness comes into play in several areas. First, when you are trying to get networking appointments with power connectors, you may need to follow up on two or three different occasions. Why? Not because networking partners don’t care about you or don’t want to be bothered, but because they are extremely busy and it is often a challenge for them to manage all the responsibilities on their plate.

Polite, courteous and timely follow-up with a recruiter who has an opening shows interest, passion and persistence. These are traits that any employer would likely covet.   Remember, however, that too much of a good thing is always problematic.

Many job seekers are timid and don’t follow up enough. If this describes you, remember that a good amount of follow up is appreciated, and can make a difference.


Conducting a cutting-edge job search requires many tactical elements such as a resume, cover letter, target list of companies, and a brag book. If you also remain focused and practice the Three A’s of Attitude, Activity and Assertiveness, you will likely land your next position sooner and with less stress.