By: Tim Tyrell-Smith
Here’s a big fat truth you probably haven’t noticed. Or if you have, it isn’t something you are conscious of each day during your job search.
And it’s a big fat truth for anyone else out there trying to build a consulting practice, start a small business or succeed in a sales career.
Especially if your transition to this stage in life is recent. And you just left a job with a traditional 8-5 company.
When you work for a traditional company you are given structure. Both in the environment (office, desk, computer, pens, stapler, conference room) and the calendar (meetings, phone calls). Someone expects you there by 8 and working until 5. You are accountable to your boss, your team or the board of directors. And responsible for specific parts of the business or product line.
Your job is, in part, reliant upon you being good at reacting to situations and the needs of internal and external customers.
So what is job search like?
It is almost completely the opposite. It’s like waking up from a really long sleep and not knowing what time or day it is. And you may not realize that you are now completely without structure.
And that leads to unproductive behavior, impulsiveness and, for some, a long period of time working without a strategy.
Something you never would have done in your old job.
And as we enter into private beta this week on the new job search strategy tool, my sincere hope is that this tool does for you what it did for me (back in ’07) when I had a solid strategy for my search. This new tool is all about building that strategy. Want to know when we enter public beta?
Yesterday I was interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio with Kerri Miller about branding and job search strategy. A follow-up to the interview with Tess Vigeland on Marketplace (American Public Media). During the call yesterday, Anna called in and asked about job search with ADHD. And I talked a little bit about how building a structure might help her stay on task and I offered some examples.
But the big fat truth is that most of us struggle with a lack of structure.
After 10 or 15 years in a traditional job, you begin to take many things for granted. And I meet far too many people who spend their first three months acclimatizing to the environment and chasing their tail.
So here are a few ideas for you:
Establish clear job search objectives
This way, when someone asks “what are you looking for in your next job?” you can tell them. And share crucial details that will help them engage with you. This is one thing you will do early on if you sign up for the new job search tool.
Set goals each week
Sounds simple enough, right? But very few of you are doing it (based on the answers I get when asking this question at my speaking events). Most of you are impulsive. And spend far too much time at home, online or going with the flow. If you need it, use a goal card for job search like this one.
Join or start an accountability group
Why aren’t more people starting and joining accountability groups? Here’s an accountability group post I wrote that includes an easy-to-use template for structuring a group. Oh, and start one today and you can help people while building a bit of local influence. You could also start or join a job search book club or reading group.
Structure your days in advance
On Sunday night, sit down and plan out your week. Email new connections from the week before and set up quick 30 minute meet-up. Identify the best networking events happening in your area and put them on your schedule. Then ask yourself these three questions about networking with a purpose.
Of course there’s much more here. But pick one or two these suggestions and see if it doesn’t get you more focused on how you spend your time. All while you are trying to accomplish something really important for your career.
How have you added structure? Tell me your secrets!