I don’t think I’ll surprise anyone by saying that it can be very difficult to find a job today. In fact, if you’re from an industry that’s been devastated or tarnished like the mortgage sector, then it might be close to impossible to re-brand yourself.  People from the real estate sector aren’t finding work in their field, and are finding it very hard to change industries after many years of success.  The tech sector is doing okay, and alternative energy/green jobs seem to still be doing okay, however they want people from those fields and would rather not settle for an industry changer.  Even the med device space, which is doing well today, still wants folks from their industry rather than an industry changer, especially if you’re out of work.  In fact, companies are looking askance at out of work job seekers, so the microscope is on you even more.

OK, is anyone thoroughly depressed after reading that?  It’s just not true, and even if it is partly true, it’s not worth thinking about.  I have a good friend that likes to say he “can’t afford the luxury of a negative thought.”  That’s truer today than ever.

Excuses have been around since the beginning of time. If you’re looking for a reason to hang onto your lack of success, I can probably find you at least 10.  But, that’s not a check you can bring home to feed your family.  No question, it’s tougher out there, but people have overcome much worse before, and how we face this employment challenge can serve as an example for our children for how they can face adversity.

If there is a reason why something might work, there are probably 10 reasons why it won’t.  Entrepreneurs have always faced that challenge – finding the 1 out of 10 reasons why something can work, in the face of entire industries of behemoth companies that think it can’t. Job seekers today need to think entrepreneurially, and find the reason why something CAN work.  When I talk with co-workers, job seekers, networking friends, or business associates about an idea, I invariably hear the reasons why something can’t work. Lately, I’ve found myself saying, “Ok, I agree about why it won’t work, now let’s figure out how or why it could work.”  Find the reasons to say “yes” to something as opposed to “no.”

I would like to be reasonable about this hypothesis.  After all, I recently wrote a blog about why people shouldn’t apply for the wrong jobs.  I can’t see how someone who has never been in HR, let alone a leader, can all of a sudden land a job as the HR leader for a 1500 employee company.  However, someone that has sold capital equipment in the tech space, could re-position themselves to sell capital equipment in the medical or alternative energy space.  An HR person from large, well-known companies could probably re-brand themselves as a key resource for emerging growth companies, and can likely find evidence of relevant experience in their background.

I’m not suggesting any of this will be easy. In fact, it likely won’t, so be prepared to go above and beyond to re-brand yourself for a new space, or to slug it out with multiple candidates in your chosen industry.  Think of yourself as a professional athlete – the odds are against you making it to the pros, but if you work harder than your competition, find a niche, make yourself known, and follow a well-thought out plan, you just might make it.

Remember, companies want “A” players today. The time to brand yourself as that A player is during your job search. Do more, be unique, work harder, find a way in, and have a large pipeline, and you’ll beat this challenge.

Please share your story or thoughts if you’ve had this experience in your job search.