By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Many years ago, I was “a lesser version” of who I am today. I had already read and tried the Scarsdale Diet, tried eating less on my own, and failed several times. The numbers on the scale kept getting higher and the results and my frustration kept growing.

I went to a Weight Watchers meeting with my wife at the time and started to drop weight. Eventually, I reached maintenance and kept losing a lot of weight. My weight loss finally stabilized at 155 pounds.  

Today, I weigh a lot more but I have purchased a lot of books about weight loss, used some apps, and tried to willpower my way to losing weight. It hasn’t worked for me.

How does this relate to job hunting?

I started thinking about this last week when someone asked a question after reading my article, “Job Hunting and the 10000 Hour Rule.” She asked, “What does one do if hiring a coach is not financially feasible?”

Well, like in weight loss, everyone wants “the magic answer” that requires no sacrifice, no pain, and no effort.

They want to be told, “Positive thinking is what you need to find a job. Just think positively and you can become a surgeon.”

“You’re exaggerating. I never said that.”

Yes, you’re right. I am exaggerating.

What you really want is a free Vulcan Mind Meld. (look it up)

“Come on!”

1. Let me stop joking and answer the question—You know what to do. You just don’t do it.

Heck, I’ve tried Watchers on my own, tried The South Beach diet, Paleo, Slow-carb, Atkins, Pritikin, Fit for Life . . . a huge list of books and techniques. The fact is I’m fat and I’m learning my own lessons as I coach people.

So, for those of you who want to go it alone, here’s my advice.

2. There is an enormous amount of information available to you but no Vulcan mind-meld.

As “Job Hunting and The 10000 Rule” points out, you have to make an effort to deliberately practice each item . . . resume writing, networking, interviewing, salary negotiation, using LinkedIn well . . . everything has to be repeatedly and deliberately practiced.

3. Money is rarely the real issue. The real issue is self-help.

People think they can help themselves but, unfortunately, they are not able to make lasting effective change with self-help. Again, for those of you who disagree, look at all the self-help books sitting on your bookshelf. How much weight have you lost from those books . . . and gained back? How many businesses have you started from all those books promising wealth from simple actions and never earned? We kid ourselves if we think we can do it ourselves. We need to get help AND PAY FOR IT, not kid ourselves about what we are able to do.

4. Willpower doesn’t work for long.

This has been a hard one for me to admit to myself. After all, I have a lot of experience forcing myself to do things that I have done very well for a while, only to fall back on old behaviors.

For job hunters, that usually means you stop networking after you find a job even though you know networking is the technique that helps you find work far more often than job boards and recruiters do.

Even though you know you will need that network you industriously developed again in a few months or a few years. You let it fall by the wayside and let it disappear. Why?

You stop logging in to LinkedIn and responding to connection requests, corporate and third party recruiters reaching out about jobs, updating your profile, participating in groups to build your reputation and knowledge, writing for the platform, posting Powerpoints to Slideshare, or helping others when they need help (and that includes responding to recruiters when they ask for help on a search, by the way).

Yes, yes, I know you have young kids at home, a wife/husband/partner who you want to enjoy time with, a need for sleep, and a new season of some show on tv, cable, Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime to watch. How about using the LinkedIn apps on your commute? How about when you are taking a few minutes off to go on Facebook? Make one of those a LinkedIn visit.

  1. Until you tackle your environment and not just yourself you will be prone to backslide.

This is a corollary to the fact that willpower doesn’t work for long. It is exhausting to fight the battles with yourself to sacrifice and make a change when your environment (the people and physical space) doesn’t support your efforts.

We know from experience that when a boss or manager doesn’t support our ideas (or us), we go nowhere; it is no different in our personal lives.

To make a sustained change, we have to invest in deliberate practiced action. If your home or work office could be confused with a town dump, correct it! If the demands upon you at home don’t allow you to take time every day to practice the skills needed to find work, change them!


Making the changes needed to be effective in your career and in your job search require different skills. You can do it alone but that requires willpower and knowledge that is hard to put into action (after all, if it were easy, you would have done it already).

Getting help in the form of career coaching makes enormous sense and the willingness to spend a few dollars.

Years ago, I finally admitted to myself that I could not write a book on my own. Instead of fighting with myself, making excuses and failing, I pad for coaching from someone who helped ease the book out of me. During the time I was coached, both of my parents died (within two weeks of one another). Without my coach, the manuscript would have been set aside and likely never returned to.

Yet with a caring competent coach, I completed it and, having learned how to do it, released several others since.

“Cheaping out” would not have worked for me; it would have been another great idea never completed.


For you, perhaps it is that great firm you have always wanted to work for.

The work that makes you jump out of bed in the morning.

The meaningful work that helps you understand and fulfill your purpose in life.


It is much easier to work with someone to accomplish your goals. Hire a coach to help you.


© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC  2016, 2021



Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Schedule a discovery call at my website,

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