Playing the Game, the Job Search “Odds Game”
Does this sound familiar?
Joe Dayton’s job search plan meant he applied for a job and then waited to hear back from the hiring company. No response? No job? Then Joe started another job application cycle. His job search dragged on and on, driving up his frustration level.
Why? Joe, the eternal optimist, believed each time that the job was going to work out, so why get another one spun up? He convinced himself that “this was the one” and he had a real chance to win… this time. But he didn’t win that job. So, weeks later, he started over again looking at job postings. As a result, it took Joe a lot longer to get a job.
Bottom line: If you are not willing to play the “Odds Game,” meaning juggling multiple job opportunities at the same time, then don’t job search. It’s one of the toughest concepts for job seekers to execute.
Everybody understands it – the more job opportunities you have in play, the more likely you’ll get an offer – but most are not putting it into practice. It’s hard, even for the toughest among us.
I’m coaching an ex-police officer right now and even though he committed to finding 5 new career opportunities three weeks ago…well, you know the rest.
Why Play the Odds Game? Rules and Reasons
Reason #1: Waiting will bring you down.
Waiting and doing nothing is bad for you. It will send you right into negativity, triggering self-doubt and low confidence. You will feel better about your search, your progress and your opportunities if you have a lot to do. A “lot to do” will only come out of generating a lot of activity. If you follow this plan, you’ll wake up every morning with a new task.
Reason #2: Speed up the time between now and your start date.
Do you want a job in six weeks or six months? Do you want interviews within the next two weeks or two months? The only way to speed up your results is to multiply your opportunities. Even the best salespeople, who know how to manage a pipeline of client prospects, are terrible at managing their own job search the way they do a sales territory. And a job search IS a sales process!
Rule #1: Minimum of 10 “active” job possibilities at once.
You need 10 active opportunities in motion at the same time. If one drops off, add one. You must find 10 job opportunities that are either posted on a website, in a newspaper, or verified as a real job opening through your networking.
Do not count the make-believe-job-you-wish-for-if-you-could-design-one. An “active” opportunity means you have done something with it. You might only be in research mode prior to applying, but that is activity, so the job is “active.” Use your Cut the Crap (CTC) Job Tracking Tool, so you avoid the excuse that this is too much to handle. (Works well even if you are currently employed and looking to make your next career move.)
Rule #2: Make each job possibility count—or cross it off the list.
No cheating! My father taught me, “If you cheat, you are cheating yourself.” So don’t fudge how you count your 10 active opportunities. Each of the active job possibilities must meet one of the following requirements:
- You are doing research and preparing your customized application to send them.
- You applied and are within a 15-work-day (Monday through Friday) window to hear something back.
- You had a phone or face-to-face interview and are within a 15-work-day window to hear something back.
- You heard something back from the company, acknowledging receipt of your application, and you are within the 15-work-day window to take the next step.
The good news: Every time you cross one off your list, you improve the odds! You haven’t lost, you get to shop for a new job and add a new opportunity to the group.
Build out your 10 opportunities now, track each one, and always maintain 10 in your pipeline until you land your next great job.
Got a specific challenge? Let me give you a hand; I’m ready to help!