You’re probably thinking this post is about networking. Nah, I’m actually tired of talking about networking. Or you might think this is about writing a résumé recruiters are dying to read. Nope. Maybe you think this post is about the 10 essential elements of your LinkedIn profile. Done topic.
So what is this advice for the job search?
In my career center orientation I tell my attendees that if they leave with any bit of advice from me, it’s to get out of the house. That’s it. Get out of the house. This isn’t earth shattering advice, but it’s probably the advice many people need to heed. (Read this post about getting out the house.)
I hear all too often that some jobseekers sleep in until 10:00 a.m. I haven’t done that since adolescence. I also hear they know every episode of General Hospital and have learned from Dr. Phil the 14 traits of a serial killer. Some tell me they’ve scoured the Internet for jobs and spend six hours a day blasting out their résumés, resulting in very few interviews.
So, you ask, where should I go? I wouldn’t be a giver of advice without providing some plan detailing what to do once you’re out of the house. Here is an example of one day, the start of your official job search.
1. Get up at 6:00 a.m. and drink your two cups of coffee. Take care of nature calling. Don your shorts, holey tee-shirt, and new sneakers. (You bought them as a condition of landing your next job.) Leave the house for your 30-minute walk, or jog. Start with baby steps.
2. Clean the dishes when you get back from your walk, which you found invigorating both physically and mentally. Breakfast is optional. Leave the house at 8:00 a.m. But don’t forget the PB&J sandwich you made for lunch.
3. Arrive at your local library and set the timer on your watch for one hour. Sit in a comfortable chair and write your to-do list for the day. It will include the activities starting with step four.
After you’ve finished your list, grab the nearest computer and sign in to LinkedIn. Write the following update: “Today is the first day of my job search. I’m looking forward to achieving success. If you are with me, ‘Like’ this update.” You’ll receive “Likes” from your true connections and perhaps some, “I’ll let you know if I hear of anything.”
4. Drive to your nearest career center to attend a workshop on Résumé Writing. While listening to someone like me talk about writing a résumé even recruiters will love, quietly ask the person next to you what her occupation is.
“Accountant,” you say. “I’m a marketing specialist from the financial industry. Would you like to grab coffee afterward and compare notes?” (I lied about not mentioning résumés and networking.)
5. After your brief chat at a coffee house around the corner, walk to a nearby park where you can score a bench. Eat the PB&J sandwich you made at home. Take in the scenery while you eat your sandwich slowly. Make yourself to sit for a complete half an hour before you’re off to your next location.
You are acutely aware that feelings of anxiety are not present, because you are being productive. Productivity, you find, is a good thing.
Oh, text your wife with the following message: “(Insert salutation. Honey works well.) My first day on the search is going very well. Feeling productive. I’ll cook tonight.”
6. At 1:30 p.m. drive to a church 20 minutes away where a networking group meets. (You learned about this group from your new connection from the workshop.) Because it’s your first session, you’ll be required to deliver your value statement. Apologize for not preparing one; but don’t worry, the kind folks will give you guidance.
Listen to the guest speaker speak on his Candidate Pet Peeves. Note that he dislikes it when people don’t look him in his eyes, among other irritants the speaker mentions. Most of what he says if obvious, but it’s good to be reminded of the obvious.
7. At 4:00 p.m. drive to your local Starbucks, purchase a Tall ice coffee with light ice and cream only, and grab a comfy chair next to an outlet. Plug in your computer and dial into a job board you prefer.
Note that there are 10 job posts for marketing specialist, three in the financial industry. Also note that there are 15 job posts for Accountants. This is great labor market information for you and your new connection for when you meet her at the career center for an interview workshop.
8. At 5:00 p.m. refer to your to-do list and congratulate yourself for meeting 80% of today’s objectives. You were a bit optimistic about what you could do. That’s okay, you can pick up where you left off tomorrow.
Text your wife and tell her you’re on your way home to cook pork tenderloin on the grill. Ask if you should pick up vegetables and perhaps a bottle of wine–it was a good day.
9. After dinner you can settle in for the night. When your wife asks you if tomorrow you will cut the lawn and paint the garage, apologize and tell her now that you’re in the job search you won’t have time to do chores like that. However, during the weekend you’ll do as many chores as she’d like.
Tomorrow is another day to get out of the house. Which activities you choose to do is up to you. Perhaps following up with people you’ve met at the career center, creating your company target list, spending a couple hours revising your résumé, attending another networking group….The possibilities are endless. The important thing is that you’re getting out of the house.