Simplify Your Job Search
Do you feel like your job search is full of activity but you aren't getting anywhere? There's a lot of job search advice out there -- and if you keep doing what you read and hear, you might have a very convoluted strategy right now. Here are three do's and three don'ts to simplify your job search:
DO make a significant or difficult call, or send a significant e-mail, every day.
This is part of "networking." Putting off these types of communications only add to the list of "I really need to do this" clutter in your brain. Get through that list and free yourself so you can focus on other things you need to do.
DO go to face-to-face network events.
I know it takes time to get ready and drive there and back, and it takes energy to get in front of people and represent yourself well. It's not as easy as sitting at home on the computer with the TV on. But this is an activity that pays back in many ways. Meeting other people, learning from them, helping them move forward and getting your name/brand out there are all very beneficial.
DO practice your 30-second elevator pitch on everyone you can, every day.
As you practice you'll accomplish a few things: You'll get to a point where you deliver it more naturally. You'll polish the pitch and add a word here or take out a word there to make it stronger. You'll remind yourself of your self worth regularly as you say what you can do (and not focus on the negative in the job search). Best of all, you'll spread your brand to people who want to help you and let them understand how they can help.
DON'T spend more than 10 minutes a day on job boards, or sending out resumes.
Really, you should have set up job alerts on the job boards you are on so new opportunities come to your e-mail. Don't get stuck in the trap I was in, thinking "if I'm there when a new job is posted then I could be the first to apply," or "maybe there are jobs I didn't see the first time." You can spend hours doing this and wasting your time. Use job boards as a tool, not a crutch.
DON'T sift through all of your e-mails and worry about getting to everything.
Some things take priority over getting back to someone, especially when it's not important or urgent. I hate e-mails cluttering my inbox too; but don't spend hours pushing your job search aside while you send off a "thanks, me too" e-mail.
DON'T organize all of your contacts, to-do's and notes all day long.
I remember I had a job where I was bored out of my mind. I spent time organizing and reorganizing my file cabinet. I'm a strong advocate of having an organized and well-managed job search, and yes, there are huge amounts of data to sift through; but don't hide behind "I'm organizing my job search" when you should be doing a job search!
The don'ts focus on minimizing time spent on stuff that has low return, while the do's focus on making sure you are doing important things to move your job search forward. What don'ts or do's are on your list? Leave a comment...
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Jason Alba loves career management, only because when he got canned he had done nothing to prepare for it. Now he runs JibberJobber.com, a website that helps job seekers organize their job search online. He also authored the book I'm on LinkedIn -- Now What??? Follow Jason on Twitter: @jasonalba
Jason also created a popular LinkedIn DVD titled LinkedIn for Job Seekers, speaks regularly, and is working on his third book titled Eight Lunches (a book for entrepreneurs).
You can follow Jason on Twitter: @JasonAlba.