• Courtney Kirschaum

What to do when your job hunt slows down

From a JHS Scholar this week...

I’ve been job hunting for a while. At first, there was some response but now things feel stale and with so many jobseekers flooding the market, I’m less optimistic and trending toward worried. Do you have suggestions?

Yes, I do. And this may not be the answer you crave...

yet this is what will get you out of the Horse Latitudes. Read and heed. 

In case you’re not familiar, quick history lesson. 

Between the mid-16th and mid-19th century what we call "shipping" was all done under sail.

Spain was a major player and shipped among other things, horses, across the North Atlantic down to the West Indies.  

It was not uncommon for these wind-dependent sailing ships to become stalled in the subtropics near the equator. 

Hot and windless, it's not a good scene for a sailing ship with limited resources, like drinking water.  

They could be stuck here for weeks and fearing for their own lives, sometimes they had no choice but to throw the horses overboard.

That's how they came to be called the "Horse Latitudes."

Here’s what you do. 

Immediately change your approach from one of being chosen to choosing. 

The majority of job seekers get into the Horse Latitudes because they’re playing not to lose.

Here's what playing to win looks like:

  • For 5 days a week, (at least) send your LinkedIn profile via messenger or email to companies that interest you.

  • Even if you think they're not hiring or don't have jobs posted.

  • Don't look for excuses or reasons not to - just do it. 

Next, don't wait for someone to ask you to dance. 

If you’re job hunting and not adding 20 new connections a week, you’re playing not to lose and that will fail you. 

Connect and don't stop. This will increase your visibility. 

Another sure thing:

Shut down the voice in your head says:

  • “There are no jobs like that.” 

  • “They won’t be interested in me.”

  • “They aren’t hiring.”

That voice will get you thrown overboard. It's wrong and it's useless badgering. 

Follow-up at least three times with every company contact you make, more if you really want the wind in your sails. 

I repeat: 

Push until they respond.

Don’t just assume they aren’t interested. 

Push and push some more. 

You’re not going to like this advice either, yet it’s gold for those with the guts to do it:

Make rejection your goal. (Read that one again.)

Aim high, push often and get more rejections. 

No one gets excited about hiring some namby-pamby who does a tuck-tail-and-slink away when the first ask gets no reply.  

Bang the door down and make them come to you and say, "No thanks."

Chances are they won’t.

They’ll think: 

“This person is one in a million.
They're hungry, fearless and clearly they believe in what they have to offer.
This candidate will not be deterred.
This is the kind of person I want on my team."


erase the following concerns from your playbook.

Any worry about “bugging,” “nagging” or “insulting” someone with your persistence.

If they're so touchy and controlling they can't appreciate someone who plays like a winner, they're no good to you. Move on.

Abandon any thought of  “ruining” your chances by being too pushy.

You’re more likely to damage your career by not pushing enough. 

If you want a job in this hellish time, you better push like two teenagers stuck in the mud at make-out point, 5 miles from home with 15 minutes until curfew.

Scour conference brochures, association sites and industry “mags & rags” for people to connect with and information to give you an angle.

Act like all hell has broken loose, because it has.

Panic? No. Persist? Yes.


Adjust your expectations. 

All this just got a lot harder for many professions and industries, but another thing is true too…

The fearless, hell-for-leather riding hustlers will always win out over those who wait and hope. 

Some roads are closed.