After 30 years of a sales and marketing career in Fortune 500’s, and helping thousands of people get jobs, I continue to be shocked at how job-seekers are NOT organized to run a great search process. What I’m numb to are the same excuses used for why you don’t have a great process in place:
- I’ve never had to organize a job search before
- I have notes and I put them all in a folder
- I have a really good memory…no need for a better process
- Job Search is all about meeting people, not note-taking
Really? Well, Cut the Crap, Get a Job! And crap comes in two forms: 1. Excuses that prevent you from being the best candidate in today’s highly competitive market and 2. Mistakes you make that sabotage your ability to win a job.
Regardless if you are thinking about job-searching, just started, or have been searching for a long time, you need to turn off whatever you think is a process and re-start with an entirely different approach. Why? You’re stuck in a paradigm believing that what you are doing is a winning way. It’s not. If I had the neuralizer from Men in Black, I would use it on each and every one of you to erase what you think you know. It’s a new era that requires more advanced skills.
What tools you need:
- A PC with Microsoft Office (owned, free at library, borrowed from a friend) OR
- Pen and Paper and a binder
What you need to build with those tools:
- Contact List for all of the people you will be meeting and following up with. Your network is the most valuable asset that should be treasured well past the job search process. So, in Outlook Contacts (“People” in Windows 8), enter a New Contact and organize each contact into “Categories”. Examples of categories are: Family, Friends, Peers, Job Search, Associations, etc..
- Goal Worksheet: Document the hunt. What are you looking for? What cities, what industries, which companies within each industry in your city, what functions and what specific job titles?
- Job Opportunity Tracker: A table, spreadsheet or simply lines on a paper with each row representing a different job opportunity. It may be a lead from a friend at the gym, or a posted job description. If it is something you are ready to pursue, it becomes a row. The most important part of this tracker is the information about when you applied and when you will follow up. Any “next step” must be captured.
- Calendar: Why is it that so many job seekers use their calendar for work or when to take the kids to school? However, when it comes to the job search, we don’t use it. So bad things happen such as saying “Yes, Ms. Marshall, I will call you to follow up next Wednesday.” Yet you forget (because it wasn’t in your calendar), you’re embarrassed so you never call her. There goes your dream job. All because you thought you could remember or you didn’t want to use the tools at your fingertips.
In summary, avoid this CRAP and step up your game by building a strong foundation of tools and the discipline to rely on them heavily. Good luck, job-seekers!