Treat Your Job Search Like a Job and Start Off the New Year with Renewed Energy!

I received an email from a media professional the other day who described how he lost his job in ’09 due to no fault of his own.  He sent me his resume with hopes that I could help in some way.  What was striking was how he chose to close his “pitch.”  He made a terrific statement regarding his skills and how he would be an asset to any company who hired him.  But, then he followed by saying “I am also terrible at finding a job.”

I confess that my note back to him may have gone a little too far in terms of gooeyness. Here’s part of what I said:

I encourage you to take a look at  the closing line of your email below.  “I am terrible at finding a job.”  Might I recommend that you first spend some time with that sentence.   Figure out the reasons why you believe this to be true.  Then,  come up with a new sentence that goes something like this:  “Getting a job is a job within itself.  It takes time and energy but I know I’m going to find something that will take me to that next stage in my career.”  This way you can recognize that it’s not easy but you won’t be building a self-fulfilling prophesy for yourself.  Nobody likes hunting for a job.  Nobody thinks it’s their specialty.  But, everyone has gone thru it in one way, shape or form. You are not “terrible” at anything unless you decide to be so….

Too new age or Yoga-esque for a complete stranger?  Yes. But only in my delivery, not in the sentiment.  Here’s the thing.  Searching for a job sucks.  I challenge any of you to find a single person who will say “I love looking for a new job and going on interviews! And, I’m great at it!”  Nobody LIKES it.  Nobody thinks it’s a top skill.  But, as I said above, it’s something we ALL have to do at some point in our lives and how you go about it in terms of attitude might just be half the battle.

It’s the New Year and many of you are putting renewed energy towards your job searches.  You’re priority list should hopefully include fine-tuning your resume and expanding your network.  You have to continue searching the job boards and follow-up on applications submitted.  You’ve got to update your portfolios and perhaps build a Web site to showcase your work.  You’ve got to freshen up your social media profiles to ensure the correct “key words” are highlighted.  You’ve committed yourself to join industry associations, attend events and shake more hands.  You’re going to pick up contract work wherever you can get it.  But, guess what?  If you don’t have the right attitude about conducting your search, you might not get very far.

If you are feeling depressed, overwhelmed, frustrated, scared, pissed off, or all of these things together—harness that energy and refocus it on the job you have in front of you.   You may be UNEMPLOYED but your job right now is to create and execute a thorough plan that will result in a new position.

Think of yourself as a project manager.  Create a business plan for yourself.   If you have to rewrite your resume, put that first on your list and attach a deadline to it.  Second  thing to do on your  plan — update LinkedIn.  Attach a deadline.  If you want/need to build an online Web site to showcase your portfolio, put that on your plan.  Always attach a deadline.  Create check lists for yourself, just like you would do if you were managing a new program or launching a new product in a company.  Instead of making sales calls to sell a product, commit yourself to making 5 calls a day to people you know, or can network with.

Any new product launch requires research. Right now, you’re the product.  Research the companies that you believe you can impact. Find the decision makers, develop your pitch and try to introduce yourself via e-mail or phone call.  Don’t be afraid.  The worst thing that can happen is rejection. If you don’t try, you won’t know.

Nobody is terrible at getting a job.  Start 2010 off with a new vigor and focus.  It’s still going to take work, but that’s what this is all about.  Work, right?

Carpe diem…

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