The Rip Tide and Your Job Search

A couple of years ago I was in Hawaii with my family. The perfect series of events lined up so we could afford to go, and we had an added bonus of staying at an old friend’s house, which meant we got to reconnect while there. It was awesome.

Of course, in Hawaii, you go to the beach a lot. I don’t remember which beach we were at but this one had a rip tide. There are videos on how to survive a rip tide… instead of swimming towards shore, against the rip tide current, you are supposed to swim parallel to shore. Swimming to the side of a rip tide gets you out of it. Swimming against it (towards shore) will only get you exhausted, and you are likely to drown.

I was stuck and trying really hard to swim parallel to shore. The problem was that I was already tired by the time I realized I was in a rip tide and didn’t have a lot of energy. My wife and the lifeguard were on the beach yelling for me to “SWIM!!!” and to “SWIM OVER THERE!!” Honestly, it wasn’t helpful. It took everything I had to do anything, and concentrate on what I was doing. It was scary. I was completely out of control and very low on energy.

This vacation could have had a bad ending.

Alas, I finally escaped it. I got out and back to shore. I was completely spent, but I made it.

There are a few parallels here. When we are in a job search it’s foreign to us. We’re not sure how to act or react. We’re not sure which way to swim. We have people on the beach helping us in any way they know how, but sometimes it doesn’t feel helpful. It’s embarrassing and, really, dangerous.

Just like the rip tide strategy, to swim parallel to the beach, there are job search strategies. They might seem a bit counterintuitive. I knew applying to a lot of jobs was going to be my ticket…. the most effective strategy. But it was an activity that had a very low ROI and was tiring, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

One of the best strategies I’ve seen is doing informational interviews. I call this “networking on steroids,” which it is. It takes networking to a different level. It includes meeting new people, getting introductions, having rich and purposeful conversations, follow-up, and getting more introductions. I believe in informational interviews so much I’ve created a job search strategy program, call the Job Search Program, as well as a course titled Informational Interviews on Pluralsight. Informational interviews is the way out of a job search. It’s still work, even when you are tired, but it’s effective.

My desire is that you do the most effective thing you can in your job search. I want you to end up safe, out of the rip tide. I know how hard it is… both in real life and as a job seeker. It’s frustrating and exhausting. Do the right things….figure out your system, and then work and trust your system. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the informational interview course (you can get it free with a trial subscription), or the Job Search Program (which isn’t free, but comes with a one year JibberJobber upgrade).

Good luck. I’ll be on the shore genuinely cheering you on.