Q: My husband was a respected senior systems engineer for years. He was laid off in October 2001. He's submitted hundreds of applications...

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Q: My husband was a respected senior systems engineer for years. He was laid off in October 2001. He’s submitted hundreds of applications and is still unemployed. Is there some blacklist that’s preventing him from getting a job?

A: I’m not aware of any blacklist, but I consult in many technology companies and know the last five years have been tough times for technology professionals.

I can imagine how discouraged both you and your husband must be in applying for so many jobs and not finding employment. Your husband may need to change his job-search tactics and expand his search criteria. Most people don’t realize that résumés and applications are simply ways for companies to screen candidates out.

Except for entry-level jobs, applications and résumés are the least effective way to find employment.

Instead, your husband might consider what companies or individuals he admires and who he’d like to work for. Then get creative about ways to connect with those companies and people.

You will experience more personal rejection if you approach a company or person you want to work for directly.

However, if you put yourself in their shoes and come up with something you can do that they really need, you’ll have their attention. Your husband may even want to approach some companies as a consultant so they can sample his work before hiring him.

My suggestion to expand the search criteria is because technology jobs have been in a slump. Your husband sounds like a talented guy with many skills. Perhaps he could work as a manager or in sales in a different industry.

When you’re unemployed for a long period, it can feel like the world is against you and you’ll never find a job. However, many unpleasant experiences also give us the opportunity to think creatively about our lives. When our old way of doing things no longer works, we’re forced to think outside our usual boxes.

My own experience has been that if I keep hitting a brick wall, it’s time to turn around and walk in another direction. Many of the best opportunities in my life have come when life forced me to walk away from what I thought I wanted.

The last word(s)

Q: I feel like moving because I’m so fed up with my job. Do you think moving could give me a fresh start?

A: No. Our problems tend to move with us.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at interpersonaledge@comcast.net; or at www.interpersonaledge.com. Sorry, no personal replies. To read other Daneen Skube columns, go to: www.seattletimes.com/daneenskube