The Inside Job: Maintaining Your Search Efforts

February 28, 2013

Job Search, Networking

Bruce HazenBruce Hazen, MS
Three Questions Consulting
Bruce is a career and management coach working with professionals who are at career crossroads and wanting answers and action strategies for one or more of The Three Career Questions:

    1. When is it time to move up?
    2. When is it time to move out?
    3. When is it time to adapt my style for greater success?

The Inside Job: Maintaining Your Search Efforts

Just received a rejection letter or two? Can’t get a meeting time with a key contact? Does this trigger a half-hour of vacuuming? Another attack on the Oreo’s package? Re-reroganizing your sock drawer? These are all the ways that a week of job search can easily slip out of gear and into really unproductive time wasters.

Here are some ideas to help you stay fresh and productive in your search. I’ll keep it brief (this is a blog after all) and just explain the first six. There are fourteen on the total Maintenance Checklist (More to come but email me (see our bio tab) if you’d like to get them all now.)

These suggestions will help you maintain productivity during those periods where your search efforts may become mechanical, routine or noticeably low-energy. It’s hard work after all. Just like maintaining a car, food processor or bike, there are certain things you can do during a job search, with small but repeated doses of your time and energy, that will keep you running at peak performance.


How Many Can You Check Off ?

1. In the last two weeks, I have attended a professional event where most of the people were not from my industry/profession.

[If you’re always hanging out with people in your same profession you won’t appear unique and you’ll be discussing and competing for the same work that is revealed. Attend a different association meeting and presto, you’re a curiosity. You have to have a networking strategy to engage people and learn where the work lurks. More on this in a future blog]

2. I’ve had at least one contact with all of my key networking partners in the last 5 weeks.

[The people that landed work soonest kept their network warm and informed so that the leads and tips kept on coming. Do you talk on a dead phone line? Why would someone keep you in mind if they haven’t heard from you?]

3. I’ve recorded and listened to myself answering difficult interview questions.

[Your positioning statement and your accomplishment stories are always going to sound good in the privacy of your own head. Try saying your answers into your voicemail. When you play it back, this is what you sound like on a phone interview]

4. I have at least three customized versions of my resume.

[Hiring managers want to receive a resume that speaks to the unique needs of their job opening and organization. If you’re using the same resume for everything, you’re about as interesting as one-size-fits-all socks. Good luck with that.]

5. I spend between 25 and 35 hours a week in job search/strategy development activities.

[Somewhere around 30 hours a week is the sweet spot for someone doing full-time search for work. More than that and you risk fatigue, burnout and you won’t “show” well. What are you doing for exercise and increased blood flow to make up for all that sit-time you spend at your desk? You’re just gesturing at search if you’re doing less than 20 – that’s not even four hours a day. If you were running a competitive business, would you only run sales and marketing half-time if you needed customers?]

 I do some physical exercise, at least every other day, that makes me sweat. This does not include eating jalapeno nachos at happy hour.

[Job search is a contact sport. You’ve got to look and act fit if you expect people to want your type of skill and energy around their operation. If you’re not working now, get an accountability partner and get out there to walk, run, fun, and move your booty.]

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One Comment on “The Inside Job: Maintaining Your Search Efforts”

  1. Tim Clark Says:

    Oreos, sock drawers… how did you know?

    Great stuff. The tip about recording tough interview questions via a phone message is dynamite …


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