Friday, May 22, 2009

You’re Gonna Need GPS! (Part 1)

A journey without a clear destination is not considered a wise investment of time, energy or resources. This is not like those pleasant drives on a warm Sunday afternoon, just to put the top down on the Miata. (Remember?)

However, on our job-search journey we don’t always know the precise destination or our timeline, just a general idea of where we want/need to go. (i.e., I want/need to be employed!) And for most of us, we’re traveling in unfamiliar territory.

There will be some detours, bumpy roads and possibly even a couple of U-turns along the way. And because this trip is less like that casual Sunday drive and more like rush-hour gridlock on a busy LA freeway (i.e., there are lots of other folks also looking for jobs), it’s easy to get lost in all the traffic. So I recommend you make sure you have an essential tool to help along the way: a GPS. You will need this system to effectively maneuver your way to a successful completion of the job search journey.

Seek Guidance

Turn up the radio and hear that classic song playing: “That’s What Friends Are For” (Dionne knew I was going to say that!)

Our friends and colleagues are a great resource when we are looking for a job. Statistics show that more jobs come from networking and referrals than from job boards. They become our extra “eyes” and “ears” to scope out potential jobs for us. Don’t be afraid (or ashamed) to let them know about the job search. Encourage them to alert you when they learn of something in their organization. And if you find something in an organization where you know someone, don’t be shy—contact them and ask for a referral. Anything to get the “gatekeeper” to look at our resume in that huge stack of candidates is helpful.

Beyond those we know, we would do well to consult the experts in the field. (I know I’ve poked fun at them in earlier posts, but for most of us, job searching is not our area of proficiency, so we need their guidance.) I recommend lots of reading. Scan the Internet for articles about all aspects of a winning job search: writing a good (perfect) resume, cover letter samples, online resources, interview tips. Our job search should hold HIGH priority and we want to make the very best impression, so all of the time and energy we utilize will see a return on that investment.

I also suggest reading “success stories.” Find those who’ve already navigated the road and arrived at their destination. Learn what they did and how that could apply to your search processes.

There’s a couple of other “g” words I could also mention. As far as attitude is concerned, some essential elements would also include: Gracious (you’ll encounter some difficult times and even more difficult people), Gutsy (out of our comfort zone) and just a little bit Grandiose (we have to sell ourselves).

Next time, we’ll continue our examination of the GPS, and I’ll share another element to help us get to our destination—a job!

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