As a professional résumé writer and Strong Interest Inventory practitioner, I have helped hundreds of people who are looking for job and/or career opportunities. These people generally fall within one of three categories: 1) attacking the job search with energy and drive; 2) actively pursuing opportunities that they see; or 3) passively waiting for opportunities to come to them.
There is a saying that “hard work makes its own luck.” This is certainly true with job searches because those who wait for something to happen usually wait for a very long time. In addition, those who work at it, but not at full throttle often become frustrated because there is some positive movement, but not enough to get very excited about.
Job seekers who actively pursue new employment with focus, determination, and enthusiasm will often thrive on their own momentum. They become particularly sensitized to emerging opportunities that have to be responded to quickly or that can be nurtured over time. There is considerable value in feeling in control of a situation or process as opposed to being reactive and not in control.
Here are two ways to take charge of your job search campaign that will reap optimal results.
Be very structured in the way you plan and manage your efforts.
“Structure” can seem like a dirty word to some people who prefer to be free spirits when it comes to finding employment. While flexibility can be great, it does not have much value if there is not a plan in place with key objectives and measurable milestones. Structure and proper planning can actually build a sense of control because they provide focus and purpose to the job search. This is particularly important during the more difficult times when results seem to be lacking.
It is particularly helpful to document the job search strategies you want to use and the outcomes you expect to achieve. There is something about writing things down that provides clarity and a stronger sense of commitment. By better understanding your game plan, it is much less likely that your thoughts and actions will drift away from your key objectives. The concept of structure and planning was also discussed in an earlier post.
Seek out others to find or offer guidance and support.
Finding a great job can be a lonely venture, but it does not have to be that isolating. At any given time, a significant portion of the labor force is either looking for a different job or is unemployed. A Gallup study reported in 2015 that approximately 50% of currently employed U.S. workers are either actively looking or contemplating new employment.
Communicating with others about your job search can be very productive. Most people, unless direct competitors for positions, will be receptive to sharing ideas or suggestions on strategies that work or employers who may be hiring. Like most group efforts, the combined efforts of many people can be much more productive than the sweat of one person.
The way this best manifests itself is through the concept of networking. Joining job search chats online, participating in job fairs, and finding local job clubs are great ways to reach out to others. According to a study published by LinkedIn in 2016, approximately 85% of all jobs are filled through networking. While a fairly small sample (3,000 participants), the study results are very compelling.
Achieving a successful job search campaign and finding a great job is not really any different than most things people do. The results usually reflect the amount of time, energy, and commitment dedicated to the effort. Work is a critical part of most people’s lives, not only because it is the way we make the money we need to survive, but because it has strong ties to self-confidence / self-worth and a sense of belonging. Treat your job search campaign as if it is one the most important things you need to do because it probably is.