Action overcomes fear. The best way job seekers can overcome the doubt, uncertainty, and fear of job loss or having to look for a job is to take massive action. Most people think they know what to do, but beyond posting a resume on a number of job sites, sending their resume to job postings and calling a few friends, recruiters, etc... they really don’t. A recent study showed that 69% of 3000 job seekers polled, after a three-week period of job searching, were only doing two major job search activities. They were emailing a resume to job board postings and calling old friends.
First, some context. Most people blunder their way through their careers. They see an opportunity open up, figure the job is good enough, and then let momentum carry them forward.
That might have made sense back in the days when a regular job meant a steady income and a retirement package. But today, if you're not doing a job that's uniquely yours--your dream job--you will eventually lose it to somebody whose dream job is your job.
Job hunting can be an overwhelming process. Especially for individuals making a career switch or stepping back into the workforce after time away. Don’t let the fear stand between you and your aspirations. Taking agency over job search and putting your career into your own hands is as easy as 1, 2, 3… Literally!
In my experience, the best way to manage the stress associated with your job hunt is through making a Job Search Action Plan that consists of multiple small steps to help you attain your larger goal. By breaking your larger goal down, you not only get a birds-eye-view of what is needed, but you also get easy-to-digest portions. By focusing on one small task at a time, stress will become a myth and your productivity will sky rocket as you get closer and closer to reaching your goal of finding that new job.
So what are the steps to get started?
1. Establish A Long-Term Goal
Ask yourself what you want to achieve for the next six months. Yes, six months, as rarely do people find a GOOD job fast. By setting a specific time frame, you will be able to stay on track and determine what will be needed to reach your goal. Being specific about your long-term goal is absolutely imperative. If your goal is to be employed, ask yourself if there is a particular company, industry, title, etc. that you want. If your goal is to move into a stronger leadership role at your current company, ask yourself what skills you need to develop, who you need to work with, etc. The clearer and more modified your long-term goal can be the better.
2. Determine Short-Term Goals That Can Support The Long-Term Goal
Now that you have the long-term goal established, what are the mini goals you need to reach your long-term goal by the deadline?
Begin by brainstorming some ideas. For example, if you wish to be employed as an IT Applications Manager at Spotify in six months, there’ll be some essential steps you need to take in order to make that happen. You might want to update your portfolio, connect with developers and other management at Spotify and ask for an informational interview, attend networking events hosted by Spotify or spend some time improving your skill-set in the technologies they use, etc.
After you’ve come up with a list of your short-term goals, you need to determine how they’ll fit in your long-term goal. In addition, create a daily, weekly or monthly to-do list to organize and monitor your activities - celebrating little accomplishments will help keep you motivated.
3. Find an Accountability Partner
No matter who you are, staying motivated can be a challenge, especially after rejection hit you hard. Believe it or not, nobody is exempt from it. So finding an accountability partner, someone you can lean on when the going gets tough or someone who can uplift your spirit when you’re not feeling down is a GREAT way to stay focused and enthusiastic.
Your accountability partner can be your peer, partner, family member, career coach, instructor or anyone you can trust. Just be sure that it’s someone you’re in contact with regularly, someone you know very well and someone who won’t be afraid to give you a bit of tough love, when needed.
Make sure you share your goals with them and create a plan to check in with you periodically to ensure you are staying on track!
4. Take Action and Repeat.
Hooray! You’ve established a long-term goal, broken down the long-term goal into bite-sized pieces, and found an accountability partner.
Now comes the best part. Taking action by completing your goals is the most crucial part of your Job Search Action Plan. Just keep moving through your goals, taking actions, rising above the hardships, and repeat the cycle. The more you act, the quicker you’ll reach your goal.
One thing to remember - this is a process. You have to give yourself time to develop, grow and build yourself up so you can become the type of person who can responsibly handle the next step in your career. There is a time for everything!
5. Celebrate Your Wins. Big and Small.
The job search process can be daunting and quite exhausting. Which is why it’s important to stop and pat yourself on the back once in a while for all you’ve accomplished along the way.
At the end of each step, look back and see what you’ve accomplished. For any wins that took place along the way, make sure to give yourself credit by celebrating in some way; whether its a hike along your favorite trail, relaxing with coffee or tea at your favorite lounge, or taking a few hours off with friends.
Rewarding yourself will not only keep you motivated but will also allow you to see how far you’ve come and how close you are to achieving your goals.
Now get out there. Do some work. Take ownership of your career! The world needs the BEST you!