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Do You Have a Job Search Strategy?

Memories of the Big Top

When I was a kid I used to love the circus act of plate spinning – all those plates and only one person keeping them afloat! The beauty of it, of course, is the efficiency of only re-spinning the plate when it starts to slow down.

The Analogy for Job Search

As I was in the middle of a recent job transition, plate spinning struck me as a compelling analogy for job search. So I started to think about plate spinning as it related to my own efforts to find that perfect next position. In the analogy, each plate represents the different sources of information or resources used to network ( I call them micro networks). How many plates was I spinning and how often was I going back to each one?

How Was I Doing?

After a quick review, I found that I had too few plates spinning and was re-spinning the same ones way too often. Sound familiar? I was inefficient by definition! I also found that I had my favorite plates, many of which were really fun to spin but were either not very effective or didn’t respond to extra spinning. Here were my core plates: recruiters, job search engines, and on-line networking groups.

Compelled by Instant Gratification

If you are like me at all, you love sites like Linkedin®, The Ladders®, Monster® and RiteSite®. The visits are highly rewarding for those of us who need immediate gratification. They also play a clear and important role in maintaining a wide scope in your search effort. The reality is that there are many more plates out there to spin. And, as you might expect, each has its own value.

Tough Times Call for a New Strategy

Being out of work in an uncertain economy can be stressful and frustrating. Being out of work without a strategy is just downright silly yet most people I met who were in transition did not have a specific plan. There was outward confidence, activity, pride, but often not much else. So what does a job search strategy look like and how do I get one?

Introducing the New Strategy

So what makes sense is a new, efficiency-based job search strategy. It helps place the right efforts against the right resources to maximize the return in job search. Here’s how it works:

1. IDENTIFY your plates

These are basically all of the micro networks that make up your overall network (e.g. a recruiter or an old college friend). By identifying each micro network you can then begin the process of comparing the relative value of each one and how often each should be resourced or “spun”.

2. VALUE your plates

Each plate gets a value based on specific criteria. Once valued, your plates are ranked giving you a real sense of where you should be spending your time.

3. MEASURE your spinning stick

How open is this micro network to helping you? You can do this by measuring your spinning stick. It shows the relative distance between you and your micro network. In plate spinning a shorter stick is less awkward to work with and in this strategy it suggests a closer relationship to your network – one you can tap into more deeply and more often.

4. CHOOSE a spin cycle for each plate

Based on the value and closeness of each network, you can decide how often to spin each plate. Once the analysis is complete you can have confidence in a specific plan to make sure your networks know that you are looking and are reminded about your skills and targets.

5. KEEP a log

Can you remember the last time you e-mailed that recruiter? Do you remember what feedback each of your networks provided last time you spoke? A log tracks every contact with your micro networks allowing you to measure the ongoing value and return as time goes on.

So, ask yourself, do you have a strategy or are you just spinning?

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Finding New Job

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