What are you doing? Are you acting like a job seeker, or are you investing in your long-term career? I know it can get tricky to do long-term stuff when you really just need to get your paycheck back, but I challenge you to think of everything you do in today’s job search as a part of your long-term career management strategy.
Don’t make the rookie mistake of throwing everything away once you land your job. You’ll need it all – contacts, strategies, etc. – in all future job searches.
By March of 2007 I had gotten an idea of this so-called chicken list, which still scares me, and had been consumed by the idea of wasting time in a job search. Here’s a post I wrote in March of 2007 about making sure your honey-do list doesn’t take time away from what you should be doing in a 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:
I loved this post. It was like the post I hated my lawnmower, which was about a stupid problem I had for a long time, until I figured out the fix was quick and free.
In our job search we might have problems that are really resolved quite easily, quickly, and at no cost.
The water damage post was more about long-term neglect of a little problem that could get out of control and have huge consequences. I’m including the text here (with some edits and reformatting), but be sure to go to the original post to read the comments. Then leave your own comment on this post, or the one from 2007 .
One of my favorite concepts, which I was recently reminded of, comes from Phil801 who wrote a blog post back in 2006 titled Social Networks and Corporations. I wrote a post with my thoughts about it here, on July 5, 2006: What’s your value-add?(Robert Merrill write a follow-up post here, from a recruiter’s perspective)
Here’s the idea: if you have a network, can you bring value to a company or employer (or project or client) by bringing your network in? Imagine these two scenarios:
Scenario 1: Your company has a problem which is perplexing everyone on the team. Everyone has been so busy working for the company that they don’t have any contacts they can comfortably tap into, and they keep trying to solve the problem without getting outside help.
Scenario 2: Same problem but your team has been trained to expand their network and nurture relationships with their contacts. This is a part of the culture at your organization, and no one (read: bosses, management) feels threatened that you are spending time with others in the industry outside of your company.
Here’s my proposition for you: DO NOT WAIT FOR AN EMPLOYER TO MAKE IT OKAY TO HAVE A STRONG, NURTURED NETWORK!!
Maybe your employer doesn’t “get” networking. Maybe they are threatened by you having industry contacts. In my case, I think I didn’t network when I had a job because it seemed wrong (like I was cheating on my employer). I think it would have been fine, but I had a lot of hangups and assumptions.
I wish, oh how I wish, I would have gotten past my misunderstandings and issues and networked. Real relationships would have helped me in my last company, through my job search, and in my current role as business owner.
Career Management 2.0 is the new reality, and networking and relationships is a HUGE part of it. Even if your company doesn’t “let you” do it on company time, do it on your own time, and bring value to your company!
This was a new concept to me (not to sales professionals). Here is the content of the post:
I was at a presentation last week where the presenter (a CEO in transition) talked about his chicken list. I may have heard the term before but didn’t remember when. A chicken list is the list of names that you are scared to call – for whatever reason. Its funny to hear such a high-level executive talk about his own chicken list but it was a good reminder for me. Why? Because someone at his level may have been on my chicken list, and to hear that he has his own chicken list (aka, insecurities) helps me bring things into perspective.
Why do people end up on the chicken list? Perhaps…
They are veterans in the industry or community, and everyone knows them and talks about how incredible they are
You have tried to contact them a number of times but they have never responded
Everyone else is so hot to contact them that you don’t want to be just another person trying to get in their schedule
They are the hiring manager, or the hiring manager’s boss
They have a ‘gatekeeper’ that seems nice but never lets you get past
I’m sure there are many more reasons. And I’m sure you can think of at least one person on your chicken list! Its easier to find other things to do (like apply to one more job on Monster.com)… but here’s my challenge to you: Call someone from your chicken list today.
If you aren’t going to do this once a day, at least do it once a week. One thing that helped me go through my chicken list was to remember that most everyone on it was one day away from being terminated… that would quickly eliminate them from the list and make them much more human!
I know you have a chicken list. Make a phone call today.
This is one of my favorite posts, and a really important one. I talk about what my failed strategy included, and then what I would do now if I were to start over. In the first 30 days I would (read the post to see more explanation):
I wrote this June 2010 and it is unfortunately still relevant: Unemployed people suck, right? Let’s not hire them. Even if lawmakers put laws into place to penalize discrimination against unemployed people, it will still happen. Just like age, race and other discrimination happens with recruiters, hiring managers, company owners, HR, etc. Here’s the post from three years ago (there are 18 comments there… great stuff):
This practice is archaic and out of touch with reality. Do these companies, discriminating against those who are out on the street for no good reason, really think that only looking at currently employed people is going to get them the best talent?
What a fallacy.
The companies listed in the HuffPo article include:
An “anonymous company” that has an opening posted at The People Place recruiting board. Who made this decision, and why?
Benchmark Electronics, who defends the policy saying they don’t want to waste their time with unqualified applicants. I get that… but that doesn’t mean you should cut out all unemployed people.
Sony Ericsson temporarily had this statement on their job descriptions: “NO UNEMPLOYED CANDIDATES WILL BE CONSIDERED AT ALL.” Seriously, what outdated recruiting book did this come from?? At least they removed it once “it was noticed.” (oops, one mark against copy and paste).
An unnamed restaurant in NJ, looking for an assistant restaurant manager…. must be currently employed.
An unnamed “top 25 CPA firm” in NYC, same thing.
Judy Conti (who needs my LinkedIn DVD – just look at her Profile!) is the federal advocacy coordinator for the National Employment Law Project, and said some awesome stuff, including (read her comments in the last 2 paragraphs of the HuffPo article):
“In the current economy, where millions of people have lost their jobs through absolutely no fault of their own, I find it beyond unconscionable that any employer would not consider unemployed workers for current job openings,”