Thursday, September 19, 2013

Forecasting Your Job Search Effort

Often people fail to consider all that is involved when conducting a real job search. Don't fool yourself with the wide misperception suggesting that with thousands of jobs posted online you can spend a few minutes per day surfing the net, send resumes and voila - you can get a good job. A rather silly assumption, eh? A lucky few find good jobs that way but they are the exception and not the rule. Why would otherwise smart individuals rely on those long odds for success?

Without being insulting, unless you have a plan you aren't serious. And relying on others or the Internet to get you a job is not a plan; and neither is the panacea of sending digitalized resumes all over the place. You're responsible for getting your own job, what are you actually doing for yourself? Do you have a plan, rudimentary or otherwise? For example, without some sort of plan of action, how will you keep track of to where you sent your resumes? If you intend to send your resume, to whom? Have you made the effort to identify an actual person; a point of contact? Who are you going to follow up with, when and in which manner? And what about your forecast, at what point will you pause and review results to determine if you need an adjustment to your efforts? Do you have a reasonable target date for when you will attain the goal resulting from your efforts? If you have difficulty answering these questions, sorry, but you are in trouble and you need to make some adjustments to your efforts, now.

For example, whenever I speak with a company seeking to hire someone asap for a critical role, I ask them when they foresee a potential new employee as starting, and very often they reply, "we need them yesterday". Well that's nice, but part of my job is to provide the parties involved with a reality check; I then take them through the sequence of chronological events in reverse order, back to the start point and the discussion we are at that moment engaged in. I do this to more reasonably connect their expectations with the reality of the situation, before going forward in mutual cooperation.

If you are looking for a job you should do this also. What's your level of urgency? If there is none, then there is no reason for stress at the moment but that does not mean you should sit back either, you'll just plan accordingly. Perhaps there is a point of time on the horizon or a circumstantial event that could present more urgency. However, if you are under some pressure, there is no time to waste.

For better results your task is not as tough as it sounds. With regard to timing the general guideline that I use is, from the time someone begins a focused effort through to when they receive a job offer can take between 10 - 16 weeks and that's starting from square one. Could it be faster, yes; could it take longer, indeed, but that is a good guideline from which to plan. This accounts from start to finish, of a general 3 step / interview process and the resulting offer stage. After the fact, most people I speak with admit that after they dithered around or procrastinated with half-hearted efforts; when something occurred which compelled them to make a serious and focused effort, when it really became a priority, in retrospect it didn't take so long once they got serious. This, of course, does not account for those who are struggling to remain viable in a dead or dying market sector. Sadly, some jobs are going away and might not come back, which requires honest evaluation of a person's individual situation. Take the time to save time, if finding a new job is a priority, do more than a few aimless keystrokes and your result will become more self-evident.

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