Finding a Job Series: 5 Things the Wizard of Oz Taught Me About Looking for a Job

Ahhh…who doesn’t love the Wizard of Oz, it’s a classic. Girl gets transported to a magical land. She makes new friends, goes on an epic journey and gets some killer new shoes. What’s not to like?

Okay…full disclosure, I’m from Kansas so I have a love/hate relationship with this movie. It’s kind of a joke at my house…we cringe when we see Dorothy and the gang.

But that doesn’t stop us from watching the dang thing every year.  It’s become a tradition.  A warped, sarcastic and snarky tradition but those are the best kinds, don’t ya think?

So, without further delay….Here are 5 things the Wizard of Oz taught me about looking for a Job.

1. If it’s holding you backdrop a house on it and get on down the road.

Figure out what’s holding you back and fix it. What’s stopping you from finding your dream job? Is it a lack of motivation, confidence or education? Do you fear the unknown, or do you just not know what you want to be when you grow up?

Now’s the time to identify what’s holding you back. Here are some suggestions that may help.

  • Take some time to identify what your goals are. Where do you want to be in 5, 10, or 15 years’.
  • Write down all the reasons you’re looking for a job. Not just the obvious ones like I need the money, ya idiot. These are your motivators.
  • Identify what you don’t want. Can’t handle a micro-managing boss? Hate customer service? Figuring out what you don’t want in a job helps you avoid pitfalls in the future.
  • Look at what you are missing. Have you ever looked at a job posting and thought…I’d love to do that but…? Well, “but” what? What’s stopping you?
  • Don’t know what you want to do? You could take some assessments or research people you follow online or look up to. You could do some informational interviews or volunteer. is a great resource for all things job seeker related, especially assessments.
  • Do you need more education?  Check out your local community college or look for on-line classes. Do a Google or Youtube search online, there are tons of tutorials available. Another resource to check would be your local Workforce or Job Center. Depending on funding availability they may have training funds to help you go back to school.

2. Surround yourself with others who have the same goals.

Dorothy had her posse, now you need one too. Take part in networking events, join a job club or visit your local Workforce Center. Be sure to notify your immediate network that you are looking for work. You never know who will be key to helping you find you next opportunity.

Remember, everyone you meet is part of your network. Don’t worry you don’t have to become one of those creepy stalky people, you know the ones “Hi! My name is Joe, nice to meet you. I know we’ve just met but here’s my resume, please recommend me to everyone you know.” Just talk to people.

I know someone who found a great job while standing in line at the dry cleaners.

3. Flying monkeys are EVIL.

Distractions, time sucks, procrastination and lack of motivation can kill your job search. They dive bomb you when you least expect them. Identify what your personal monkeys are and put a leash on them. Here’s a couple to look out for:

  • Social media. Social media can be a wonderful tool to use when looking for a job. But it can become a procrastinator’s paradise. It’s built to distract you, to entertain, don’t fall for it.Schedule your job search activities. Restrict the amount of time you spend on social media during that time.
  • Obsessive Resume Tweaker. This one will sneak up on you, so be careful. You know you have this monkey on your back when it takes you hours to create a resume.Now, there’s nothing wrong with spending some time creating a well focused, tailored resume. But when you change it over and over again you know you have a problem. Take a deep breath, reviewing it “ONE” more time and then send it. Really, just let it go.

4. It’s all about the man behind the curtain.

Employers, HR managers, and recruiters are a lot like The Great and Powerful Oz. They do most of their work behind the curtain, so to speak, and are almost impossible to get access to. So to get an audience, you’ll need to follow a few rules (or a yellow brick road, ya know whatever.)

  • Tailor your resume. Current estimates say that hiring managers spend no more than 6-10 seconds reviewing a single resume. That’s fast, speed-of-light fast. So you need to catch their attention.I suggest adding a “Summary of Qualifications” section to the top of your resume.  It’s a great place to showcase how well you meet each of the job requirements.
  • Follow All Instructions. If they ask for a cover letter, give them a cover letter.  If they ask for work examples, provide a link or a .pdf to your portfolio.  There’s a reason they’re asking for this stuff.  Nuff’ said.
  • Following Up.  If you’ve been lucky enough to get an interview, send a follow-up.  Send an email or card no later than 24 hours after. If you’re not a fan of email, you might consider keeping a bunch of thank you cards in your portfolio or in your car.  You can jot down a quick note right after your interview and give it to the receptionist or front office staff. I suggest waiting at least 2 weeks before attempting another contact.
  • Be respectful. These people are just as busy, if not more so than you are.  Respect their time. Don’t constantly email or call them, don’t get angry and don’t take out your frustration on them.  Give them a reasonable amount of time to respond and if you don’t hear back from them; move on.

5. You’ve always had the Power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself. – Glenda, Good Witch of the North.

In my job coach days, I used to tell my clients that “Looking for a job is a full-time job”.  Thank you, Captain Obvious…it’s a wonder they didn’t slap me.  Now that I’m looking for my own job I completely understand that you get what you put into it.  It can be hard frustrating work, but with preparation and planning, it doesn’t have to be.  Thanks, Glenda, now…where can I get those shoes?






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