Are You A Job Search Dabbler

by: Joanne Meehl

The caller wanted to know about my next networking group meeting. It draws about 50 people each meeting. He said, "I heard about it and think I should go. I have been looking for a job since I was laid off a year ago. My unemployment will run out in two weeks, so I figured I should step it up a little."

"Step it up a little"?!

Out of work for a year and about to run out of unemployment and NOW he thinks, "I'd better step it up a little"?

This is not someone who has been shielded in some way from the reality of the job market. Yet he says something like this. I quickly directed him to the group's web site for more information because I really wanted to say, "WHERE have you been?!"

This is the kind of person who will end up being interviewed by a news show reporting on long job searches. He will say "I"ve tried everything, I even applied at Home Depot, and nothing. It's really tough out there."

Yes it's tough out there. But there are people who are making it tougher for themselves with dabbler behavior like this. They hear from everyone how you have to network, but they ignore the advice. For a year. They hear about free job search workshops and webinars, ?but they ignore them, thinking that sitting at their computer is what works or having "recruiters work for me" will work. ?Maybe denial has kept them from hearing and doing what they really need to do.

The more effective job search activity you do -- and the earlier you do this effective activity in your search -- the shorter the search. That is a truism I've consistently seen for more than 20 years, and especially true since the end of 2008, when the bottom fell out of everything.

In fact, your activity level should be so intense that 1) you need to keep a database of all your contacts because you are making new ones every day, 2) you need a calendar that lets you detail your back-to-back activities, and 3) it will feel like a vacation when you start your new job!

Anything less is dabbling in a job search. Dabbling means a few intense days this week, a couple next week, none the week after, several the week after that. On, off, yes, no. Sometimes this ?candidate is "busy" with worthwhile activities not related to search, but still thinks he's in job search. He will be looking for months and months longer, complaining that no one wants him, or that they all think he's too old, and so on.

Contrast that with the candidate who does 8-10 networking meetings a week making the connections that reveal the so-called hidden market to her. She unearths opportunities not found on any job board, opportunities that are much closer to her own career goals. She's doing an effective 25 or more hours a week of search. And when she lands, it's not due to luck. It's due to her making her luck.

So don't be a job search dabbler if you want your search to end quickly. Ask yourself each day: What can I do today that will get me closer to my new job?

Then do it.


Having trouble organizing your job search activity and making yours an effective search? Contact Joanne for help.


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