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Favorite Friday: Stop hiding and actually start your job search.

March 28th, 2014

Here’s another favorite I wrote in May of 2012.  I’m surprised it didn’t become a Favorite Friday before now: Stop hiding and actually start your job search.

Many years ago I worked as a clerk at the FBI.  I was bored beyond description.  There really wasn’t anything to do, as our department was overstaffed.  Some of my colleagues picked up projects from the analysts, but I was too low on the totem pole to do anything like that.

So I found myself organizing, and then re-organizing, and then re-organizing my file folder drawer.

You have to understand, as a clerk, I really didn’t have anything important in my file folder drawer.  The exercise was about as useful as sorting, and resorting, and resorting the garbage.  It didn’t help anyone or anything… it just burned time.

Do we, as job seekers, do this?  I know I did.  Here’s my ode to this wasteful, rut of a practice:

This post is for anyone in a job search, no matter how long you have been at it.

Looking back at my job search I found I did activities that were safe and comfortable, but of very little value to my job search.

I refer to this as HIDING from the job search.

Some people hide, in the name of being busy in a job search, by doing things that are seemingly good:

  • going to networking clubs/groups/meetings, but just to go, not to actually network.  And if they do “network,” they aren’t following up, they are just collecting business cards,
  • applying to jobs online, as if it were they most important thing to do in a job search,
  • researching companies, industries, trends, or current events (um, that’s called reading the newspaper… reading the newspaper doesn’t necessarily land you a job),
  • going to one-on-one networking meetings (coffee, lunch, breakfast, etc.) without a real purpose or strategy that is directly tied to getting a job,
  • ______________ (what are YOU doing that is not leading towards your job?)

I was HIDING from my job search with these fake, non-productive activities for three reasons:

  1. These activities are comfortable. We  gravitate towards comfortable, don’t we?  Heaven forbid I got outside of my comfort zone, even if it meant I was doing a something that could produce real results.
  2. I didn’t know any better. I *thought* I was a smart guy, and I could figure it out on my own.  I didn’t want to read books, articles, blogs, etc. about how to do a job search.  I was better than that advice written for “most people.”  I wasn’t “most people.”  I was unique (just like you think you are unique).
  3. Doing those activities are socially acceptable, and at the end of the day you can “feel good” about how hard you worked. When someone asked how it was going, you could tell them how many jobs you applied to, or how many network meetings you went to, or some other metric.  Metrics seem meaty, but those metrics were the wrong things to focus on.

I should have been more consistent at picking up the phone and calling people.  I should have realized (or learned) how to identify target companies, network into those companies, and do real informational interviews.

If I would have spent time on other (high value) activities my job search would have been completely different.

Do you want YOUR job search to be different?  Where are you spending your time?  On activities with potential for high return, or HIDING from the hard stuff?

Leave a comment below…

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2 Responses to “Favorite Friday: Stop hiding and actually start your job search.”

  1. Thea Kelley says:

    So true, and it’s really hard to prioritize and discipline oneself to just do the most relevant things. A great resource is a book called The 2-Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton. Can save you a LOT of time.

    I summarized some of his suggestions in my most recent blog post: http://theakelley.com/how-to-build-your-target-companies-list-using-linkedin.

    HTH,
    Thea

  2. Jason Alba says:

    Great post Thea…! Of course, the last part you left off is, as you network with people, keep track of it all (companies, contacts, conversations, when to follow-up, etc.) in JibberJobber :)

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