What are you doing in your job search? In an economy like this one, it’s easy to throw up our hands and say we’ve submitted hundreds of applications and nothing is happening because no one is hiring. Or, job seekers will talk about all the competition – that there are more experienced candidates applying for the same positions, so they have no chance.
Job searching can be trying. It can be draining and full of rejection. So it’s easy to make excuses.
Sticking with the feel-good strategies
Too often we rely on short-term options in our job search. Things like looking at company websites to see what’s posted, searching job boards, and submitting our resume online. These strategies have their place in a job search, but they should not be the only focus.
Short-term strategies have the allure of ease and an immediate sense of accomplishment. Even though we know the odds are against us, we rationalize the single focus on these job searching behaviors so we don’t have to step outside our comfort zone. We can tell ourselves we applied at hundreds of places, so it’s not our fault we aren’t getting interviews or haven’t landed a position.
If you’ve ever read Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, you are familiar with the way in which he divides tasks into four groups: important and urgent (like returning an employer’s call), important and not urgent (building relationships with people), unimportant and urgent (often times interruptions from other people), and unimportant and not urgent (spending hours tracking down your ex on Facebook).
Doing more in your job search means working on the important but non-urgent tasks that are aligned with your true priorities (like getting a job!).
Most job seekers can benefit by investing in more long-term strategies to find job opportunities. Things like inviting people out to coffee or lunch, posting and answering questions on LinkedIn, reaching out to new contacts on Twitter, and attending social events outside our normal social circle. How many real life, offline interactions have you had lately? How many new contacts have you made? Who have you helped recently?
The payoff for these activities is less clear. They also require job seekers to risk rejection or to ask for help, neither of which are easy. They typically do not come with the feeling of making tangible, quantifiable progress in our job search.
Students who are reading this blog and other personal branding or career advice websites are above average. Make your job search above average. Do more. Risk rejection, face your fears and invest in long-term strategies for job search success.
Kelly is a career advisor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she assists undergraduate business students with all aspects of their career development. Connect with Kelly on Twitter, her blog, LinkedIn or BrazenCareerist.