I am a firm believer in doing little things each day that add up. Whether it’s acquiring a new skill, or fulfilling a personal goal, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
In the realm of job search, it’s what you do over time WHILE YOU ARE EMPLOYED that will help you if you suddenly find yourself UNEMPLOYED.
One of the things that makes a job search so overwhelming is all of the writing involved…there’s the CV – what to include, and what to leave out…then we have the cover letters, and networking letters, and then trying to figure out what to say when we call somebody…it is no wonder folks procrastinate on these tasks.
Here is a strategy I favor – while you are employed, keep a log or journal (offsite of course) that will help you explain yourself and what you do to other people…this will save you the hassle of trying to remember things amidst the other pressures of being out of work.
Obviously, you will record the dates, companies, and titles you have or have had, but I advise you go a bit deeper…write down in laymans terms what you do and what your duties are…remember, your CV will be looked at by non scientists first, so get in the habit of making yourself easy to understand.
Write down the projects you have worked on, successes you’ve had, and also note the setbacks. Take note of what makes you satisfied or dissatisfied with the positions you are holding or have held.
Also, take note of the names and contact info of the people you encounter day to day…this forms your networking contact list, which can come in handy if the worst happens.
The idea behind all of this writing is simple – it’s much easier to develop a CV and a networking plan and an idea of what to do next, if you already have this as a reference guide…too often we rely on our emotions to guide us, or we fall into a pattern of randomness that gets us nowhere.
The other trap to avoid, (and this is familiar if you are a long term reader of mine) is that of just jotting down a laundry list of dates, companies and positions, and expecting that to function as something that positions you.
My view is that if you have this “library of reference material” as an ongoing entity, you can utilize it to hit the ground running, and develop specific CV’s and cover letters aimed at specific opportunities, companies, and people…the writing will help you drill the information so it sticks, and it will force you to explain it cogently…when it’s time to talk to recruiters, hiring managers (and your friendly neighborhood job search coach), the information will just flow, and people will be able to understand you and help you.
Lastly, being organized does wonders to build the confidence to move forward and talk to people. I talk a lot about the mental and emotional aspects of job search, and that’s just because I see that as the biggest obstacle…opportunities exist, and people are talented and smart, but how they feel about things can make or break the job search…it can also make or break your life, so anyone who says emotions and thinking patterns don’t matter isn’t really looking out for your welfare.
Until next time,
Thomas Patrick Chuna is a certified Five O’Clock Club job search coach.
The Five O’Clock Club is a nationally recognized outplacement firm with a proven job search methodology that helps job seekers get better jobs faster.
The Five O’Clock Club also provides affordable, humane outplacement services to companies who care about the well being of their employees.
Tom is also an experienced independent recruiter specializing in molecular oncology research scientists & MD’s.Learn more: http://www.fiveoclockclub.com http://www.patrick-international.net