Even if your resume, pitch, and emails are all stellar, at the end of the day your job search is still a numbers game. To improve your odds of landing a position quickly, you’ve got to actively go for a large number of potential positions.
That is, don’t just passively wait for the search firm to call or the ad to show up, since you’ll get a low return on your time investment.
Instead, take the active approach. Start by creating a plan that casts a wide enough net to include enough suitable positions (open or currently filled). Your search must encompass enough “positions that exist” (even if filled now) so you know there’s enough potential to land a job quickly. Then you want to implement the plan via networking and contacting “strangers” directly in these organizations. Maybe you’ve heard of the “hidden job market.” Well, this active approach gives you access.
What’s in your “job search marketing plan”
Your plan should include:
- Your prioritized list of two to five job targets
- Your “positioning,” i.e. a statement about how you can help your employers and what differentiates you
- A prioritized list of organizations where you want to work, for each job target
- An estimate of the number of potential positions (open or filled) at each organization
- The people you know (if any) at each organization
- How you are going to reach out, e.g. % directly contacting strangers, % networking, % mass email.
Here’s an example that shows the importance of a plan that targets enough potential positions. A client came to me for help after a year of job-search frustration. His job target was “head of marketing” at a hedge fund specializing in alternative investments. His theories about why he wasn’t getting interviews included 1) “I’m too old” and 2) “there are no jobs.” Read more
Many of us will think of our careers as a progression based on titles or salaries. We visualize our life's work as a linear progression, hopefully pointing up to the right as time progresses with more happiness and money. But a recent Harvard Business Review article points out that our own career happiness is actually a series of ups and downs with peaks and valleys. But, what if we could figure out a way to make wiser career choices and shorten the time to the next peak? Of course, that would entail knowing what makes us happy.
Graphing our career over time can provide powerful conclusions. The added bonus is that drawing makes us think with a different more creative part of our brain than, for example, writing text.
Can you figure out which of these myths about confidence is fact and which is fiction?
1) If your ratio of positive to negative thoughts is less than 3:1 everyday, you will take two years off of your life.
(Answer: TRUE. According to a Mayo Clinic study, your doubting, questioning, self critical thoughts wear and tear at your body, and can significantly affect the longevity of your life. This is serious, folks!)
2) Confident people earn much more than self doubters over their lifetime (for lower earning jobs: on average $28,000 over a lifetime; for higher earning jobs: hundreds of thousands of dollars more).
(Answer: TRUE, according to a University of Florida study (2007). Self confidence, starting in early adulthood, determines how much money you will earn over the course of your life. Every year you have low self confidence, you earn less than your counterparts with higher self confidence.)
3) Confident people are better judges of first impressions; self doubters more often misread what others think.
(Answer: TRUE, according to a Wake Forest University study. That?s why doubters take things personally, think people are disrespectful and then obsess about it. When confident people deal with others, their interactions are smooth and easy.)
Conclusion: The sooner you have confidence, the faster you will build health in your body, earn more, and influence people in relationships.
Take stock for a moment, on a scale from 1-10, where is your confidence level now? When your confidence level is at a 9 or 10 everyday, name one result that will be better in each area of health, wealth, and quality of relationships?