Have you hit the wall in your job search?

In basketball coaching, we have a phrase we call “hitting the wall”.

My high school girls basketball team was crushing teams in a tournament last week and then they picked the championship round for 1st place to “hit the wall”. We were the better team – we had beat our competitor multiple times last summer, we had worked harder, had better shooters, and tougher defenders. Why did we lose the game?

We lost because we hit the wall. The girls were burnt out from daily non-stop intense basketball during December. We tried everything – taking time-outs, substituting more often, running different plays, switching up our defense more frequently. Nothing worked and we had nothing left in our gym bag of tricks.

This is a common malady affecting teams, especially young teams that lack the maturity and experience of multiple years of basketball competition.

Have you “hit the wall” in your job search?

Unfortunately, if your team “hits the wall” during a game – you’re stuck as a coach. You can sub fresh players, try to motivate them, run different plays, and try alternate defenses. However, as a coach you cannot play the game for them. At some point your team needs to perform. They need to stop the other team and put the little orange ball in the little orange hoop.

Fortunately, if your job search “hits the wall” there is plenty you can do. There is an almost unlimited number of tactics you can use in your job search to find open opportunities, increase the number of job leads and referrals, and expand your network.

What’s the one thing you’ve done differently in your job search since it “hit the wall”? You’ve probably heard that quote from Benjamin Franklin that paraphrased goes something like “If you keep doing the same thing over and over, you’ll keep getting the same results”. Benjamin Franklin called this the “Definition of Insanity”.

Brad and I would love to hear about the one new thing you’ve discovered or learned that has had a positive impact on your job search – something new that you decided to try since whatever you were doing was not working.

What’s the best blog article you read in 2009 that made a difference in your job search? Is there an article Brad or I wrote in the last year that is memorable for you?

What one product did you buy – a book, an audio program, a video course – that turned the corner for you on your job search?

What unique FREE tool – a sample cover letter, a template, a checklist, a scorecard have you plucked off of someone’s site (perhaps even from our FREE Resources Library?) that made a big difference or brought you an Aha moment?

There is a ton of FREE and inexpensive job search materials and content available. Sure – some of it’s a scam and can actually hurt your job search. However, there are outstanding experts in the job search field that have put together an unbelievable range of materials, content, tools, and samples. Are you taking advantage of this avalanche of materials that keep coming every single day?

If you’re not taking advantage of this FREE material and inexpensive products in your job search, then shame on you. Your job search will probably last as long as the average length of time (or longer) as other peers in your chosen field. If you want to reduce dramatically the time it takes to find a great job – then you’ve got to embrace the best practice information available at your finger tips.

Barry Deutsch

Don’t forget to join us in our LinkedIn Job Search Discussion Group for best practices, great ideas, and tips to improve the effectiveness of your job search.

About the Author

Barry Deutsch is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Barry is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.


  • By Patrick Campbell, January 9, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

    “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.”

    This may be an opportune time for a career professional to move into a different a whole different game or market.

    Like the housing market in Los Angeles and its state many things just are broken right now so one must consider moving into a new environment where there the economy is better.

    Out-of-state, international, short-term consultant projects, brand new ventures…heck one my want to take a sabbatical and invest in themselves and embark on a whole new path.

  • By Barry Deutsch, January 9, 2010 @ 8:02 pm


    Excellent points – some job seekers might decide it’s a better strategy to sit out the current horrific job market earn their income through other sources than a “traditional” job.

    That said, I still think that most job seekers are only using perhaps 10% of their capability when it comes to their job search. Most job seekers lack the knowledge to conduct an effective job search.

  • By Paul Welch, January 9, 2010 @ 9:05 pm

    I hit the wall, 9 mos. and only 1 or 2 interviews a month and no feedback except my guesses on what happened. I have had my old boss review my resume even though it had been reviewed by lots of people, “Right Mgmt” and others with feedback. He advise me to “up level” it desipte the fact that I am will to go for down level jobs. I was a Supply Chain Manager or Purchasing and Planning Manager for 8 years. I have been going after indvidual contributor planning, buyer-planner, inventory management, Master Scheduling as well as Supply Chain Manager jobs. Upleveling the resume includes narrowing down the skills listing, removing the basics such as Microsoft office skills, oracle MRP skills and inventory management and just putting higher level skills that other may not have. That leaves more room for achomplishments.
    Also for experience, I will go back 24 years instead of the typical advise recieved of no more than 15.
    Why is that important in my case? I was at same company for 22 years and a question I get during interviews is: “so you were never exposed to another corporate culture…how can you fit in and wear more hats in this 5,000 person company?”
    Soooo, the “one size all” resume advise can NOT be used for everyone. I will write later to let everyone know if my new resume strategy has any effect. For Supply Chain Managers looking for: a buyer, a planner, an inventory expert, a minimum/maximum buffer setting expert, a supplier scorecard expert and/or other operations project manager, please send me an email and ask for my resume and let me know what you think, please. thanks in advance! PaulWelch150@yahoo.com

  • By Barry Deutsch, January 11, 2010 @ 2:11 am


    Thanks for sharing your experience of “hitting the wall”. I’m glad the blog post hit a chord with you. I like your strategy of not having a resume “one size fits all” approach. Join us in our LinkedIn Discussion Group at http://www.linkedin.com/groupRegistration?gid=1781587 for a more in-depth conversation around resume strategies, hitting the wall, and overall job search tactics.

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