Tricked you! Sorry about that. You probably looked at this article because you’d like to know what the ‘Magic Bullet’ for a job search is. “What’s the one thing I can do to guarantee a new job quickly?!?” That’s what most job seekers want to know! Unfortunately… there is no ‘Magic Bullet’. There is no one thing that works every time. There isn’t a list of 5 things done together that work every time. The fact is: you have to do dozens of things… ALL the time!!!
That may be bad news to you, but it’s really no different than most other things in life. What’s the one thing you need to do to raise your children? What’s the one thing you have to do to be successful in your job? What’s the one thing you need to do to drive a car, or to clean your house, or to be a good athlete? In most everything you take on, you need to do a number of things, and do them consistently. It’s no different for a successful job search… especially in today’s job market.
For the last 23 years, I’ve been in the business of finding and placing candidates at my client companies. As a Recruiter, I get a unique perspective of the job search, and hiring process. I’ve been able to observe over time what people do that works, and what they think works but fails miserably. I’ve seen trends and best-practices change. I’ve seen which ones are fads and which make sense. I always get to hear a candidate's perspective of what happened, and the client / Hiring Manager’s view of what happened as well. Often the two sides see things similarly, and sometimes the perspectives are wildly different.
One failing I do see in too many job seekers is that they often only ‘beat one drum.’ They only pursue online job boards or newspaper job ads, or only apply to company websites. They only pursue networking groups, recruiters, state workforce centers, or job fairs. They only pursue personal networking. They only rely on outplacement services, or a ‘Career Coach’. Maybe they get to all of those things, but one at a time. Maybe they try one for a short time, don’t get the results they want and move on to something else. All of those activities and resources are worthwhile, any of them can produce the job lead you need, but not one of them will be the ‘Magic Bullet’. It’s important to think of your job search like playing a drum set. You have a bass drum, a snare, tom-tom’s, cymbals, chimes, and a bell. You can only produce so much with the snare drum, but can make a performance by using the entire set.
The things that often keep people from doing that successfully are fear, a feeling of incompetence, and planning. If you’re an introvert, networking and making calls can be uncomfortable, and easy to avoid. If you don’t know what to say when you call someone, it’s also an easy task to procrastinate. And if you don’t deliberately set aside time each day or each week to do certain things, your time slips away without much accomplished.
Most people don’t plan their work, and so get sucked into doing projects around the house, or wasting time on the computer or other things. The day goes by, they feel like they didn’t get much accomplished, so they feel guilty about taking the evening or weekend off with their family. When they are in a job, most people have a schedule or routine that enables them to get their work done, and do the things around the house and hobbies in their off hours. When that routine is broken while looking for a job, everything else takes over their day.
Treat your job search as a job. Plan your days and your weeks, then follow through with your plan. Block out time on your calendar to make calls, to attend networking groups, to find jobs online, to pursue recruiters, to check out job fairs, to visit your state workforce center, to work on your resume, to hone your phone scripts, to practice interview questions, to research companies, to talk to friends about their connections, etc. AND block out time to plan your week!!! If you start out on Monday morning with the intent to make some networking calls, but haven’t planned in advance who to call, you will spend the whole morning trying to figure that out. Then you begin your calls, but have a job fair to go to at 1:00. So you’ve had time to make two calls that morning. Not terribly productive. Plan time to plan!
Become a master at doing MANY things that will make you successful in your search. You never know where the right lead will come from. It may be from the source you least expect!