The process of looking for work or modifying one's career path is much like having a job. You must allocate your time and manage your effort in a rational way in order to achieve your career goals. When it comes to hunting for a new job or managing a career transition, how you should go about allocating your time and effort isn't always obvious.
In other pages, we discuss flexible learning paths and their respective components. When examining each component, it may be tempting to think that each component requires a similar amount of focus or effort. That is far from the case. While each component is important, the level of focus and effort varies substantially.
As the chart below illustrates, we recommend that you allocate your effort using a 20/20/60 guideline. That is, 20% should be on researching and applying for jobs, and on interview preparation, 20% on optimizing your resume and online (social networking) profile, and making them easy to find, and 60% on networking.
So, why should networking consume 60% of your job search effort? There is almost universal agreement among job search experts that networking is the most effective way of finding a job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70% of all jobs are found through networking. In addition to building relationships and marketing yourself, networking enables you to uncover job opportunities that aren't yet, or may never be, posted on job-sites. Indeed, an article in Forbes magazine reported that 80% of available jobs aren't advertised.
While there are no hard and fast rules about how to allocate your time, the 20/20/60 formula is a good starting point. Just as our flexible learning paths help accommodate differences in job search skills and needs, the formula you use for your own job search will vary. If something is working well for you, continue along those lines. If things aren't going so well, be flexible and adjust accordingly.
Evaluate Your Progress
From time-to-time, take a critical look at your approach to searching for a job. If you discover you are spending 80% of your time and effort visiting job sites and sending out resumes, it is likely that your allocation of time needs a significant adjustment. Reevaluate and spend more time working on things that have a bigger return on your investment in time.
By the way, don't fret if the idea of networking doesn't appeal to you or if you don't have many networking contacts. There are a variety of ways you can network in-person and online that make networking easier than it has been in the past. The eBook chapter on networking is a great place to start. You'll also find training and Quick Hits modules, a personal dashboard, tracking forms, and various other tools on this website that will help you through the process.
Job Search Productivity — Overcoming Common Hindrances
Searching for a job is much like any other work-related activity. It is something that is goal-oriented and is focused on positive outcomes. For most people seeking employment, there is a sense of urgency to get reemployed and restore lost income. However, people often experience subtle barriers that cause them to work less hard at finding a job than they would work on other activities. If you think of your job search as a full time job, it helps put things into perspective.
Most perceived barriers to job search productivity are minor setbacks that can be overcome by a little diligence and a positive attitude. Indeed, in many cases, what starts out as a concern turns into an opportunity. While there are no guaranteed outcomes in any job search, most turn out positive and many result in a real boon to one's career.
Here are a few of the more common barriers that people experience. Being aware of them will help you work around them and enable you to be more productive in your job search.
- Limited Job Search Experience: While this may seem problematic, most job hunters have the very same concerns. This website and its many tools will help you overcome that concern.
- Undervaluing What you Have to Offer: Most people have far more to offer than they realize. You'll find a variety of career planning and skill inventory-related tools on this website that are designed to help you identify and capitalize on your skills and background.
- Not Having a Plan: There's an old saying that goes "Fail to plan, plan to fail." There is a certain amount of truth to that saying. It reinforces a need to take advantage of the various career and job search planning resources and tools available to you. Flexible learning Paths will help you identify where you need to focus.
- Approach/Avoidance Conflict: Have you ever approached an unpleasant task and then avoided doing it because you were distracted by another task that was more pleasant? This is a common behavior. Simply recognizing such behavior can help you overcome it.
- Confidence or Self-Esteem Concerns: Loss of a job can make one feel a sense of rejection; even if the job loss was outside their control. Interestingly, many of the most influential and successful people on the planet have lost a job at one or more times in their careers. Sometimes, its just a matter of company culture that doesn't fit or a need for more of a challenge.
- Job Search Rejection: In many respects, job hunting is a numbers game. Considering how many people apply for each open position, being rejected from time-to-time should not surprise or overwhelm you. Keep a positive attitude and keep at it.
- Job Search Stress: It's not uncommon to feel a degree of stress during the course of your job search. There are several things you can do to help alleviate stress. See Managing Job Search Stress under the Tools and Resources/Miscellaneous/Wellness and Stress menu for useful tips.
These are a few of the more common challenges that can hinder job search productivity. You can learn more about overcoming job search challenges by reviewing the eBook and training materials that discuss interview preparation, how to overcome common resume problems, and similar topics.