This term “ghosting” spells out a new level of pain to the concept of putting yourself out there and getting nothing back. Being in limbo with your career already comes with feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability. So much can happen in a job transition that can make you believe there’s something wrong with you, or that what you want isn’t viable or available. But, feeling good about yourself and your prospects is so critical to getting a successful outcome from all your efforts.
I want you to understand better what is really happening when you think you’ve been ghosted by your network so that you don’t take it personally, and keep your spirits up for the adventure and challenge that big change is.
You aren’t getting a flurry of leads from your network because you’ve only asked them to be on the lookout for open positions with your particular title. This means that your network is not going to be able to uncover the hidden job market for you.
I realize this hidden job market might seem like an enigma, but it really does exist. It just means that there are people out there who you need you, but who have not gone through the formal process of creating a job requirement and getting it approved by HR or Finance. In the meantime, they are most likely experiencing some kind of pain, and they may confide in some people about their pain to their network. That is what you want your network trained to detect, report, and respond to.
This is why your network needs to understand what your future boss could be experiencing that would be a clue that he or she might need you. Once they have this information, not only can they pass along news of a job opening for your role, which happens (rarely), but they can also generate leads through their social activities, which is when a lot more useful information gets shared through closer relationships that are easier to leverage.
The person or people you ask either don’t have strong persuasion skills or generally feel like their opinions don’t matter. Ineffective influencers range from in behavior from not even trying to assert their opinions to overly asserting their opinions. You would be surprised how many unlikely people are included in this group, and who would not readily admit this about themselves, if they’re even aware. It would be much easier to avoid you than to admit that they weren’t able to make something happen for you.
Especially in a large company, people may not feel like they have influence. They may want very much to help you, but don’t feel as though a recommendation from them would carry much weight. This can be a painful realization. It may make them feel bad, and they may not want to confront you because of how they feel, especially if they get ghosted. Oof, right?!
What if you are one of those people? My advice – get a coach!
They are unhappy where you are aspiring to work. They may not tell you that for multiple reasons. It could be because they don’t want to say something disparaging. They may not want to explain why they will stay there unhappy, but could have their reasons – benefits, vacation time, golden handcuffs, change is scary, feeling there may not be something better, etc.. They don’t necessarily want you to share in their misery, but they won’t necessarily be forthright about it. So they will avoid having to answer any more questions. Before you ask someone for help getting into their company, do a mini-informational interview. Ask people what they do and don’t like about working there. You may find out you don’t even want to work there.
They feel bad for you, but don’t have faith in you. This is what we fear, so I know this one hurts. Sometimes we relate to people as we once knew them and it’s hard to envision them as anything else. They do that to us, too. If someone knew you since you were young, they might still see you as the kid who dropped the ball in the playoff game, or who played a prank on the principal. It doesn’t mean we can’t outgrow images. It isn’t always an easy thing to do, and sometimes it’s not worth the effort, but we have to take ownership if that person has never really been able to see anything else but that person in us. It could be just a matter of you showing that person how grown-up you are now, or this person was just meant to be a part of your past and you might want to leave them there. The person you ask has to have some faith that the introduction is going to make them look good, and not make them look bad. Reintroduce yourself.
You know there are things that you don’t get around to doing. It’s a noisy, busy world. Just think about it – we have cars, houses, bills, pets, children, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, classes, paperwork, taxes, not to mention bodies that need our attention. Take ownership of follow up and practice patient persistence and forgiveness. People genuinely want to help, but very few of us have our sh*t together so much that we never let things fall through the cracks. Some people are certainly better than others. I can’t count how many times my patient persistence led to people thanking me. Firstly, you should aim to understand what method of communication people prefer. So many people prefer texting nowadays for reminders and to confirm plans. Some people who are active on social media can be easier to reach through messengers. Of course, there’s something about hearing the sincerity in your voice, too. Try each of these up to 5 times before you give up on someone or judge them as inconsiderate or undependable.
Look, unless we know for sure what is going on with someone on their end, all we can do is guess, which means we’re assuming. You know what ASS-U-ME means, right? Having someone sponsor you for a job is a great plan A, but there’s a whole alphabet. The less you let people let you down, the faster you can pick yourself up and continue to take action, the more you can generate momentum, and the more empowered you’ll be to make a choice that is in your highest good.
Don’t let other people’s lack of response discourage you. Focus on making so many things happen that you barely notice the things that don’t. Work on developing your ability to influence and inspire others. You don’t have to give everyone else power of your fate.
Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play.
While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales.
Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot.
She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.