This post is for anyone in a job search, no matter how long you have been at it. It is especially relevant for people who do stuff that constitutes hiding even though they know they are told they need to just “start your job search!”
Looking back at my job search I found I did activities that were safe and comfortable, but of very little value to my job search.
I refer to this as HIDING from the job search.
Some people hide, in the name of being busy in a job search, by doing things that are seemingly good.
- going to networking clubs/groups/meetings (but just to go, not to actually network. And if they “network,” they aren’t following up – they are just collecting business cards),
- applying to jobs online, as if it were they most important thing to do in a job search,
- researching (companies, industries, trends, current events (um, that’s called reading the newspaper… reading the newspaper doesn’t necessarily land you a job),
- going to one-on-one networking meetings (coffee, lunch, breakfast, etc.), but without a real purpose or strategy that is directly tied to getting a job,
- ______________ (what are YOU doing that is not leading towards your job?)
I was HIDING from my job search with these activities for three reasons:
- These activities are comfortable. And I gravitated towards comfortable. Heaven forbid I got outside of my comfort zone, even if it meant I was doing a something that could produce a high value.
- I didn’t know any better. I *thought* I was a smart guy, and I could figure it out on my own. I didn’t want to read books, articles, blogs, etc. about how to do a job search. I was better than that advice written for “most people.” I wasn’t “most people.” I was unique (just like you think you are unique).
- Doing those activities are socially acceptable, and at the end of the day you can “feel good” about how hard you worked. When someone asked how it was going, you could tell them how many jobs you applied to, or how many network meetings you went to, or some other metric. Metrics seem meaty, but they were the wrong things to focus on.
I should have been more consistent at picking up the phone and calling people. I should have realized (or learned) how to identify target companies, network in, and do real informational interviews.
If I would have spent time on other activities my job search would have been completely different.
Do you want YOUR job search to be different? Where are you spending your time? On activities with potential for high return, or HIDING from the hard stuff?
Start Your Job Search
How do you get over this hiding phase?
The answer might be more simple than you think. Just start. Just send that one email. Call that one person. Find local, industry, or professional networking meetings you can attend this month, and then figure out how to attend (preferably in person but if you must, online is okay-ish).
You start your job search by doing something simple, some outreach to another human. You simply say, “I need help,” or, “I want to talk to someone who works at X Company in Y Division. Can you help me?”
You’ll know you start your job search when you perhaps feel uncomfortable. Or when you get introductions or referrals. You really start your job search when you take steps to get closer to the people you need to have a conversation with, not when you tweak and retweak dozens of times your job search spreadsheet (don’t even start that, just get an account on JibberJobber).
Seriously, stop hiding and just start your job search. The unexpected bonus is when you pick up momentum and you have more introductions and referrals than you feel like you can keep up with. That’s much more fun than having nothing to do but tweak a spreadsheet.