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February 1, 2017 8:00 AM EST

There are 5.5 million open jobs in our country right now, according to a recent government study.

On the one hand, that’s a very encouraging statistic if you don’t have a job, or have one you don’t like. On the other, you have to question that number. If you told me it was hard to find a love interest, and I said, “No, it’s not, 50 million people use Tinder,” we’d be at a bit of an impasse. (How many of those are bros with the emotional depth of a beer cooler?)

Sure, there are 5.5 million jobs, but how many are jobs you actually want? How many are things like “cobra pit cleaner”? (Real job, Google it.) Let’s say that half of the available 5.5 million jobs involve venomous snakes (probably a generous estimate); that still leaves you 2.75 million opportunities. So why aren’t you finding a good one? Here are three reasons:

You haven’t applied.

Often, when people tell me they can’t find a new job, they haven’t hustled very hard. If you really want a new job, apply. Work on your applications before you go to work. And after work. And on the weekend. If you don’t have a job right now, realize that you actually do: It’s called “find a new job,” and you have to check in every day, including the weekends. Until you’ve applied to 1,000 jobs, you can’t really say the phrase, “I can’t find a job.” That’s as annoying as your friend who can’t find a date — but refuses to go out and meet people.

You don’t tell your friends you’re looking.

Relationships are the original job hack. Some of the best opportunities in the world will come from relationships you already have. When you share your job hunt with friends both close and casual, you enlist their help. Now, it’s not just you looking for a job — it’s you and your 30 connections. Don’t go it alone. The job hunt can be a very isolating experience. Trust your community to help you make the best of it.

You’re not reading enough.

You’d be surprised how many people skip this simple step. Maybe you don’t have the time to get a new degree or the money to invest in taking courses in a new area. But library cards are free. If you don’t like what you’re doing right now, read one book on a topic that interests you. Read two if you want to be twice as prepared as the other person who only read one. Read books about negotiating your salary or cities where you’ve always wanted to work and live.

There are 5.5 million jobs available. Do you know who will get them?

The people who apply.

The people who ask their friends for help.

The people who show up to the interview prepared, because they read.

Finding a good job is not easy, but it is simple. If you sent out 10 resumes last month, send out 100 this month. It’s a lot harder to go zero-for-100 than it is zero-for-10. I promise. And if worst comes to worst, there’s always the cobra pit. Wear gloves.

Jon Acuff is the New York Times bestselling author of five books, including his latest, Do Over: Make Today the First Day of Your New Career. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @JonAcuff and read more at

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