In Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie, by Wade Davis, a Harvard ethnobotanist, it is written that regular zombies are in a suspended state of animation due to tetrodotoxin and dissociative drugs being introduced into the bloodstream, usually a wound. This death state, followed by a reawakening and psychosis induced by the drugs, is hypothesized by Davis to re-enforce culturally-learned beliefs, causing the individual to reconstruct their identity as that of a zombie.

Such individuals are known to hang around in graveyards, exhibiting attitudes of low affect.

Bare with me on the morbid sounding comparison but zombies sound a lot like some job seekers I have come across, practically paralyzed in their desk chair pumping out hire me messages into cyberspace.. I assert that these job seeker zombies are in a suspended state of animation, due to false hope that posting the link to their online resume will get them a job, introduced through the wound caused by protracted periods of unemployment. Their bokors are misguided social media advocates - who may or may not be highly skilled and practiced employment professionals - who con them into this social media servitude under the guise of being helpful and the philosophy that it feels better to do something than nothing.

Mamma mia... let's grow up kids... these are real lives we're playing doctor with here.

Social media use as a compliment to a well founded strategic job search work plan is icing on the cake, a bonus, and in 2010 a still highly improbable way to get an interview. It is still more probable for a job seeker to find an opportunity than to be found.

I'm not good enough to tell you when that dynamic will turn around and reverse itself. But... here's my Vulcan guess from last year.

How does a job seeker zombie shake a bokor? An octopomine like cure can be achieved by following these prescribed virtual steps no more than 20 hours a week:

  • Use the Internet, to include social media, to search for jobs and do research on companies you are targeting --> network with current & past employees.
  • Do not buy into "build it and they will come" --> if you want to be found on the Internet be social and don't put faith in one medium.
    • Participate in LinkedIn groups and answers.
    • Post good content on Facebook company Fan Pages.
    • Comment on Recruiter and company blogs.
    • Tag your tweets strategically with keywords you'll be hunted for.
    • Have your own blog as a portal for your job search with links to your online portfolios - search engine optimized.
  • Send your rsum as an attachment in a nice email to your entire contact list with an update of your situation and ask friends and family to send it to anyone they think could be a good lead. Do not be negative and don't whine.
  • Be sure your cover letter and rsum are as good as you think they are - you're biased, get feedback before you send out something that isn't in your favor or won't get into the A pile.
  • Send thank you notes to contacts and stay in touch but don't act needy - it's a turn off.

What about the other 20 hours of the work week? Take it off line. Back away from the computer using every ounce of mental strength you still possess during this difficult time of unemployment. Reduce your dependence on bokors and you'll find you start to come back to life:

  • Volunteer with a nonprofit to keep your skills sharp and avoid having a gap on your rsum.
  • Stay high profile, as a volunteer of a nonprofit you can attend networking events at the Chamber of Commerce it is a member of.
  • If you have an entrepreneurial bent, it's a great time to launch as a consultant.
  • Take a certificate program - there may be workforce investment act funding to pay for it, check your state one stop shop.
  • Get those projects around the house done, when you go back to work you're not likely to have time off right away.
  • Exercise, do crafts, write, swap girlfriend manicures, whatever is stress relieving for you. Unemployment and debt are both in the top 10 of stressful life events.

You can shake the bokors who try to manipulate you into thinking their social media voodoo will get you a job.


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