Job Search FOMO

As a country and an education system, we really suck at trying to educate job seekers about how to find a career or even decide what they want to have a career doing. We spend an inordinate amount of time focused on chemistry and biology instead of coaching people to find their dreams and actively pursue them. That’s why we’re in such awe of the kids who break the mold and actually know (and pursue) what they want from an early age. It’s because we know they broke out of a regiment that keeps most of us in line and full-speed ahead for a standard career like accounting or marketing.

Somewhere in that over-education of unimportant content, we coach people that it’s more important to know what title they can have instead of pointing them in the direction of the problems they want to solve. All of that, plus a complete lack of information about how recruiting and hiring actually works has left a bunch of people out in the cold when it comes to networking, job seeking and pursuing passion. We’ve built a mold that’s a lot more comfortable to sit in instead of break.

Most of the articles about job seeking today are all about your resume and networking, not discovering your passion or articulating your dreams in that context. We teach people how to shake hands, not build relationships. How to actively pursue the next level, without preparing emotionally or mentally for the stress of that situation. Then, inevitably with a topsy turvy economic market, people find themselves unemployed at some point or another – desperate to get back in a job while devouring mostly bad career advice articles that points them in one narrow, unfounded truth.

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 10.40.10 AMIn all fairness, some job seekers just don’t know any better. So they turn to recruiters, really anyone who even mentions they hire people, in hope that they can perform a miracle. That through great networking efforts, this person can help them determine what their career is and find their next job. This, of course, is not a recruiter’s job. They’re just there to make a match between one great candidate and one great job. Many of their questions, I imagine, sound a lot like the one above that I saw on Steve Levy‘s Facebook page.

These networking efforts are typically half-assed, at best, due to that that miseducation of job seekers. See, they’ve been told that recruiter’s make instant decisions. That resumes are only viewed for 3 seconds. The result? FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). They don’t want to over communicate their passion or perspectives, on the chance that they’ll miss out on the great job because they didn’t use the right title or adjectives to describe their work. They’re acting in fear and want help.

But it’s rare that a recruiter takes the time to coach and educate because, like I said before, it’s not their job. It’s rare that recruiters ask questions like “what problems do you like to solve” instead of “where did you work last.” If we knew what problem they solved, it opens up more doors than it closes.

So, I think it boils down to asking better questions on both sides, being more open about your passion and taking the time to educate job seekers on job seeking – even though it isn’t our job.

Do it just because it will make all of our jobs easier.


Job Search Advice recruiting

Kat Kibben View All →

Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster,, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

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