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May 11, 2010 > Counseling Corner: Job search lessons from a limo driver

Counseling Corner: Job search lessons from a limo driver

By Anne Chan, PhD, MFT

I recently met a limo driver who impressed me with his professionalism on the job. Being the nosy career counselor that I am, I asked him about how much he liked his job. "Love it - the hours are a bit erratic, but it's a great job." He seemed to want to focus on his driving, but I persisted: "So how did you get this job?"

This is when the story got good. Turns out this guy used to be in construction but got hurt on the job and had to look for alternative employment. His job search was a grueling; many months of pounding the pavement and applying for jobs in all sectors. Eventually, he landed his current job as a limo driver and has been happily working ever since. This man found a great job in the midst of the worst American economy since the Depression.

The secret to his success?

Actually, there's more than one secret to his successful job search. Here are things that he did to land his job:

1. He dressed up in his best suit to fill out the application form. He figured (correctly) that first impressions count and that a potential candidate for a limo driver job has to look the part.

2. He got up early and applied for the job at 8 a.m. in the morning, instead of strolling in at noon or 5 p.m. He wanted to show that he was serious about working and that he was ready to work first thing in the morning.

3. He followed up after the paper application by calling and politely enquiring about his application twice a week. He did this for over a month before he was called in for an interview. He also did this for all the jobs he was interested in. His polite persistence was a key to getting an interview. He later found out that this is standard procedure for his company - they do not invite people for an interview unless they show interest beyond the paper application.

4. Before his interview, he researched the company online and educated himself thoroughly about their mission, vision, and current status.

5. He showed up early for his interview and dressed for the part. While he was waiting to be interviewed, he read all the notices posted on the wall. He also talked to the employees he encountered. This enabled him to ask intelligent questions about the company and to talk about what he could contribute.

As you can see, landing a job wasn't a lucky break - instead, this man consistently applied his formula of persistence, hard work, dedication, and intelligence. The formula worked in more ways than one - after he landed a job with the limo company, other job offers started pouring in.

I believe this man's work ethic, can-do spirit, and positive attitude will take him far. In fact, soon after he was hired, he received a promotion.

These are tough economic times, no doubt, and finding a job isn't easy. Maybe you've sent out hundreds, if not thousands of resumes. You subscribed to every job search website on the planet. You've scoured craigslist so much it looks spanking clean. But I suspect there are still more things you can do to stand above the crowd. Take a few tips from the limo driver and see if you can apply some of his wisdom to your job search. All of his secrets share a common theme of showcasing how he is an exceptional worker and how he can be an asset to the company. Maybe you can figure out how you can do the same in your field and line of work.

Anne Chan is a career counselor and licensed psychotherapist in Union City. She specializes in helping people find happiness in their careers, lives, and relationships. She can be reached at 510-744-1781. Her website is

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