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The Worst Days During Job Search…

In my experience, the worst days during job search are those when nothing happens. No calls come in, no e-mails arrive, you have no events or coffees scheduled, etc.

During my job search last year, I preferred a decision or any kind of communication (even if negative) to the emptiness of a quiet day. I remember vividly a day when I came out of a networking meeting with no expectations, checked my voicemail and found three messages. Two of the three were negative but all three cleared up long lingering opportunities that had been nagging me. Despite the bad results, I was thrilled to have closure on those opportunities as it forced me to re-focus on the remaining opportunities and to kick-start a new effort.

Is this just me? I really don’t like ambiguity when it comes to job search. If you love me, let me know. If not, let me go.

I had one experience during the last search where I was rushed through the process at one of my target companies, met twice with the CEO (I was even called back twice the same day). These guys loved me and wanted to move fast, right? Not so much, it turns out. After 8 interviews over three days, someone threw cold water on the fire and let it smolder for almost 8 weeks. You really have to manage expectations, right?

Question: So, how do you manage your job search to create, build and keep your momentum?

Answer: You need to drive constant activity.

This means:

1. Regular communications with your network (i.e. a quick update to let them know you are still out there).

2. Constant (but efficient) use of the web to see what’s out there and, as appropriate, applying for relevant roles.

3. Creating new networking relationships through current network extensions. Ask a person in your network: who else should I be talking to?.

4. Attending networking events and walking away with no less than 5 solid new contacts.

5. Looking for ways to help people in your network. This can include helping a fellow job seeker as well as helping a recruiter find a candidate for a role that isn’t quite right for you.

6. Expanding your micro network usage by identifying yet untapped groups of people who have a reason to want to help you (see my introductory post).

7. Finding friendly but clear ways to insert your “looking for work” status to friends, neighbors and others.

8. Using your spouse or significant other as an evangelist for your search.

9. Building a clear and specific list of target companies. How can people help you if they don’t know what you want?

10. Maintaining a nice set of personal, at the ready, marketing materials. Business cards, resume, one pager, elevator speech. You never know when a chance to impress will strike.

At the end of the day, if you are sitting at your computer waiting for something to happen, it won’t. Results come as a result of your activity-driving efforts – not because you are a deserving, well-liked person.

The other thing to remember is that a good response rate to outbound e-mails and phone calls is about 20 percent. While you need to be careful not to burn out your network, the worse sin is in being passive or too cautious.

As a final note, be memorable and remember to thank everyone who helps you (even in the smallest ways). From my own experience in trying to help job seekers, I can tell you the fastest way to burn out, flame out or discourage those who can help you is to forget to say “thanks”.

Good luck out there and please let me know your thoughts on this blog. I love your feedback – positive or negative. Remember, I am not a fan of ambiguity.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Positive Attitude

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