A focused job search includes extreme clarity, a concentrated effort, persistence, and out-of-the-box thinking. It also includes a system and methodology including upfront analysis and planning, research and investigation, a due diligence process, organization of multiple concurrent activities, and precise execution.
In Bryan Golden’s, nationally syndicated weekly newspaper column, Dare to Live Without Limits, his March 4, 2009 column in The Resident is entitled “Concentrated Effort Brings Success.” He writes,
“It’s true, success does take effort. But it also takes as much, if not more, effort to continuously struggle without being on a path to success.
Living takes effort. However, you have the power to formulate any strategy you want for expending your effort. You can scatter your efforts so nothing is accomplished. Or you can concentrate your effort into a powerful force.”
Here is an analogy Golden gives, “What happens when spilled jet fuel on a runway is ignited? It burns, creates a lot of heat, but doesn’t get you anywhere. But burn it in a jet engine and you then have the means to get to a specific destination.
Why are there different results? When the fuel is burned on the ground, its effort is dispersed and nothing is accomplished. In a jet engine, the effort is concentrated and directed in one direction. Only in the engine will the fuel’s effort get you anywhere.”
Golden’s statement, “It’s true, success does take effort. But it also takes as much, if not more, effort to continuously struggle without being on a path to success.” can be straightforwardly applied to job search.
Focusing Your Job Search Efforts
Decide on the type of job you want. Create a job description for your ideal job or dream job. Be precise and include the challenges, responsibilities, team environment, and culture.
Decide on the type of company that interests you. For instance, would you prefer to work for a company funded by private equity or venture capital; would you prefer to work for a large public company or small privately held company; a forward thinking, fast paced company or a time-honored, deliberate company; a regulated or non-regulated company?
Research your ideal job. Talk to executives who have held the position in which you are interested. Do a target-gap analysis of the skills, knowledge, and abilities you need for your ideal position. Decide how you’ll overcome the gaps.
Perform an analysis of your existing network. Develop a strategy for identifying and connecting with the people who can help you. Develop a strategy for expanding your network so you can connect with the people who can help you.
Study your target companies. Talk to people who currently work for your target companies as well as those who previously worked for the companies.
Study your target industry. Conduct research to find out where the industry is headed; how the industry is faring in this economic downturn, what challenges and barriers the industry is facing.
Create a customized version of your marketing materials (resume, cover letter, addendum, etc.) that you can use for your target job. Use this customized version as your “leave behind” piece. In other words, materials you can “leave” with people you have spoken with at networking events or information gathering meetings. For example, when a sales professional concludes his presentation, he will “leave” brochures and marketing materials for further review and consideration.
In today’s market, you can’t expect your resume to be a “door opener.” The competition is too intense. You should only be using it as a “leave behind” piece.
The bottom line … job search is all about networking and getting an internal contact to recommend you.