How You Can Control Overwhelm in Your Job Search: The 80 / 20 Rule for Executive Job Search
Job search, particularly executive job search, can become a full-time job on top of your existing full-time job. Add in family, hobbies, eating, and sleeping, and soon you’re filling a 24-hour day with 29 hours of effort. Certainly, you should not minimize the time you spend recharging, so how can you control the overwhelm that often attends a complex job search, especially when you’re leading multiple teams and dividing your work responsibilities across multiple domains? Read on for three strategic choices that will cut down on your job search overwhelm.
80% Information Gathering / 20% Asking about Your Job Search
You’re conducting a private search, so you think that everything you do for it has to be 100% private. True, you probably don’t want to let your current boss or co-workers know that you are thinking about a move outside the company. However, these are not your only resources, and your approach doesn’t have to “out” you as a job seeker. Take advantage of the relationships you have to learn about other job functions or industries. In doing so, you build your knowledge base with honest curiosity. Over time, you’ll learn a great deal about what type of role, company, or industry fits you, and vice-versa. Thus, when you are truly ready to put concentrated effort toward your job search, you’ll be armed with the right information.
80% Research Online / 20% Applying Online
You might feel that you are not doing anything to further your job search goals if you are not consistently applying for jobs. You call up the job boards every night, tailor your resume, rewrite your cover letter, upload them both, and hit send. Perhaps this leads to you apply for 5, 10, or even 20 jobs per week. Do you really believe that there are upwards of 100 jobs per month that are right for you, or that you’re right for 100 positions? Not likely. If this has been your strategy, spend less time applying and more time researching the right positions. You might set up online alerts on the job boards or Google alerts, which will email you the positions you target every day. You can decide in a moment whether any of these are right for you–and you can spend the time you save making the human connections that will inevitably become more powerful in your executive job search.
80% With Help / 20% On Your Own
Asking for help might be the hardest thing you do in your job search. Because you’re so used to doing everything yourself and you’ve built a reputation for being the go-to person, asking for help might not be part of your persona or brand. If you can change that mindset, you’ll cut down on overwhelm, because you’ll start to focus on the elements of your job search that only you can do. For example, only you can reach out to a former MBA classmate. Only you can call the woman who knows a lot about X whom your colleague once mentioned. Nobody can create those personal connections but you. On the other hand, there are so many ways you can build a personal board of directors and/or job search team who can help you achieve your goals. Examples of this team can include a mentor, a challenger, a protégé, an all-out supporter, and a job search strategist or career coach. All of these will support you and help you cut the fluff from your job search.
Do you need to cut out the 80% of your job search that isn’t working? Call Five Strengths.
Image courtesy of Stock.Xchng / jazz4ev