Experience helps us to easily recognize patterns. Recently, I’ve seen a scenario enough times to know exactly how things were going to go. I’m here to warn you that if you’re going down a career transition path or completely looking for a career reboot, there are some dead ends you’ll want to avoid.

resumeHere are three red flags (of many) that tell me in a free consultation I won’t get results with an individual and that their strategy for finding a place to land will tank. I know this because when I refer these people on to someone else to try to get what they want, they inevitably come back to me later when they didn’t get it.

“I want a list of fields that are hiring.”

Yes, and I’d like to winning numbers to the $300 million POWERBALL prize! This is not a strategy for success.

You may land a job. You may be able to cross that chore off your list, but you’ll be at it again very soon when the pick off the list doesn’t engage you in any way. Looking for the easy way, the way that “makes sense,” does not make sense if you truly want to find a good fit.

“I want contacts for recruiters who can place me in a job.”

That sounds reasonable. Having relationships with recruiters who are looking for matches for openings in your field is a good thing. However, when people ask to be connected to them, they are often operating under a false assumption. That assumption is that the recruiter will give a damn.

Recruiters don’t work for you. They work for the company looking to fill a position. They won’t take the time (nor can they) to nurture you or amend your resume unless you fit exactly what they need at the moment you contact them.

If you fit what they were looking for and you’re on LinkedIn, they would have contacted you already! Recruiters are to be included in a thorough search, but they are not the answer you may think they are.

“I need help with my resume and marketing. What I have isn’t working.”

This can be a very legitimate issue, but I’d put it in the “barking up the wrong tree” category when someone tells me they’ve been at the job search for a long time. When the doors are not opening after a worthy set of attempts, it’s not the resume that’s the problem. It could be changes in the industry or maybe the way you’re presenting yourself, but most likely, what it means is that you have to pivot and do something else.

Each of these markers tell me that you want a Magic Bullet. You want someone to give you the answer, the magical formula, that will allow you to sidestep the hard work and pain that it may well take to find a truly satisfying landing place.

Satisfaction doesn’t come from the job itself. Even the great financial relief of having a job won’t solve the soon-to-be drudgery that lurks around the corner when you settle for any old job.

Satisfaction comes in a job that plays to your strengths, stretches you, and gives you an opportunity to master something that matters to you. Satisfaction comes from who your job will allow you to be. None of the above strategies are likely to get you there.

If you’re wishing for a magic bullet (and, let’s be honest, most of us are), let us help you get to the real issue instead. You need to know what you want, and it becomes much easier to get it when you do!