Get Out Your Chicken List And Make 1 Call

I was at a presentation last week where the presenter, a CEO in transition, talked about his chicken list.

I may have heard the term before but didn’t remember when. A chicken list is the list of names that you are scared to call – for whatever reason. Its funny to hear such a high-level executive talk about his own chicken list but it was a good reminder for me. Why? Because someone at his level may have been on my chicken list, and to hear that he has his own chicken list (aka, insecurities) helps me bring things into perspective.

get people off your chicken list

Why do people end up on this list? Perhaps…

  • They are veterans in the industry or community, and everyone knows them and talks about how incredible they are
  • You have tried to contact them a number of times but they have never responded
  • Everyone else is so hot to contact them that you don’t want to be just another person trying to get in their schedule
  • They are the hiring manager, or the hiring manager’s boss
  • They have a ‘gatekeeper’ that seems nice but never lets you get past

I’m sure there are many more reasons. And I’m sure you can think of at least one person on your chicken list! Its easier to find other things to do (like apply to one more job on… but here’s my challenge to you: call someone from your list today.

One more thing. If you aren’t going to do this once a day, at least do it once a week. One thing that helped me go through my chicken list was to remember that most everyone on it was one day away from being terminated… that would quickly eliminate them from the list and make them much more human!

I know you have a chicken list.

Make a phone call today.

Update June 2022: 

Today I wrote about being more productive on a LinkedIn newsletter and I linked to this post.

I can’t overstate the mental clutter that the items on your chicken list give you. The more items you have on this list, and the longer they stay, the more they eat away at you. You always think, “maybe today I’ll do that really scary thing.” And then you find a million reasons to not do it. But it’s there, and it’s nagging at you, and it will nag at you tomorrow.

The best way to get rid of that mental clutter is to get these things off your list. This can lead to peace in your job search.

8 thoughts on “Get Out Your Chicken List And Make 1 Call”

  1. Ha – love that term, never heard it before. This is great advice! Was just talking to a friend about this last week. He’s in sales and talks to everyone and everyone, so it seems. But, he was telling me how some days even he has to psyche himself up to approach certain (potential) contacts.

    Thanks for putting this topic out front where one and all can admit to it, and work on it. You know, Jason you’re getting so well known you might even be on someone else’s chicken list. 🙂

  2. Francie – you crack me up! I doubt I’m on anyone’s chicken list… well, my three year old has been known to write on the walls and then avoid me – maybe that qualifies!

    Glad you brought up your friend in sales – I think its important to note that EVERYONE has a chicken list – even the folks on your chicken list!

    When you get really nervous, though, just think about that last picture, of the chicken on the platter 😉

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