Once you have settled on your objective – you have decided what you want to be when you grow up – the next step is to determine the best and shortest route between here and there. This is the step so many skip and the reason why they don’t arrive at the place they want. Look: there are no personal GPS devices in life so you need a map. You know where you are (we hope) and you know where you want to go, so all you have to do is figure out the best route. Yours may appear to be a crude, hand-drawn thing, but that is fine if it works.
Plan / marketing plan
Overall, there are a variety of jobs to consider (if you have not yet narrowed it to one job in particular). There are industries and businesses within industries to chart. Above all, there are people – names to get and connections to trace to get in front of those names. Strategic planning is not an overnight event, and it isn’t easy, so take your time. Get it right the first time and it will be over before you know it. Meanwhile, here are some thoughts about the planning process:
1. My uncle was head of research at UCLA medical for Multiple Sclerosis for years. Therapies and medications improved over the years though there still is no “cure.” One thing they discovered was mental attitude could make a big difference in the overall health and future prospect of patients. He came up with the acronym: P. A. C. E. With that he covered two important things that could make all the difference.
First was the notion of pacing itself. Take it one step at a time. The same is true of any job search. Don’t rush ahead, unprepared. That nearly always leads to rejection and frustration,
Second is what PACE stands for: Positive Attitude Changes Everything. Get your head on straight and hold on to that idea. Positive attitude can land you your dream job. The chances diminish rapidly without it.
2. When planning, do so with a constant reality check. One GREAT trouble with any job search is the feeling that it is imperative, we have to hurry, we have to find a job today! OMG, the world will come to an end if I don’t spend 24/7 on the search. Remember PACE.
My recommendation: @ 4 hours per day is good/productive. It is too stressful for more. Less is insufficient (will drag out the time needlessly). More is a drag in a different way and may lead to depression when results come slow.
3. Take time to develop your mission statement. This is your identity or brand, and do it in a sentence or two. Make it as meaningful and intriguing as possible. It is like the hook that catches the fish. It must be more than “I’m an IT specialist.” (Dime a dozen) or, “I am a strategic planner.” (So?) Try this instead: “I know how to take a retail operation from red to black in a year. I’ve done that three times in my career and I love that kind of work.” That is when the head of XYZ who happened to be on the elevator says, “Oh? Send me a resume.” He or she is thinking “I may have use for a person like you.”
Now, you may be thinking, how can I condense my life’s work to a sentence of two? Well, I write. Mostly novels so far. Many agents/editors/publishers I know say if you can’t take those 100,000 words and boil them down to an intriguing sentence or two, you’re not ready to submit.
Look at the blurb on the back of your favorite paperback. It has two purposes: to intrigue and to convey enough information so the person knows that this is a mystery or romance or fantasy. If they don’t read so-called “literary fiction,” they will get mad if they get unwittingly sucked in. If they do, though, and the story sounds dull, they still won’t buy it.
You are not a paperback. But you are the product you are selling. Convey basic information, but captivate your audience.
4. ……………I’ve run over on this blog. Next Monday I want to continue with developing a strategic-marketing plan for a job search. In the meanwhile, please keep in mind that searching for a job or searching for the right job for you, personally, is not a speed sport.
NOTE: These thoughts are culled from the experts who have presented and spoken at the Transitional Ministry group at church. They are not meant to be gospel for every job seeker, but offered to a wider audience with the hope that they will be helpful. — Michael