Bipolar Job Search Strategies

The employment process is littered with contradictions.  Parties on both sides of the employment fence (candidate & employer) are challenged by more opportunities for breakdowns and disconnects than a California rolling blackout.  Resume authors labor intensely to create reasons to be hired as their readers use resumes as tools to decide who not to hire.  Perhaps the biggest irony is the cliché: “The best time to look for a job is when you’ve got a job.”

It’s enough to make you bipolar.  Candidates ask “How in the world wide web of work am I going to find time to look for a job while I’m busy doing my job?  And why look when I’m already working?”  From the employer side of the fence the quandary is equally complex: “Why should I  spend time looking for a VP of Widget’s when I’ve already got one?”  There’s a simple answer for both candidate and employer alike.

Career growth never stops.  Whether your garnishing new skills or advancing your position by attracting, hiring and retaining talent, your career never stops.  When it does, so do you.  Personal fulfillment and job satisfaction decline, and so does performance – for you, your peers and your business.  Income plateaus; comp sales go flat, bonus disappears, equity wanes and on a good day, going down hill, with the wind at your back your salary and/or bottom line is doing a good job if it’s just keeping up with inflation.

You’ll need a prescription to keep you off the Lithium and Prozac.  Make it a regular part of your job to continue your career growth.  Remember; your career is a succession of jobs and projects that you manage on a daily basis.  Take the initiative to assign yourself the project of managing your career. 

  • Go to your favorite place with pen and paper and draw your own career map.  Dream big, set no boundaries.
  • Break the map down into bite size chunks: quarterly, annual, three, five and 10-year plans.
  • Take inventory of your tools: technical, interpersonal, presentation and communication.  Make an honest assessment of what needs attention.
  • Network.  Trade shows, conventions, and vendors, even the competition.  You’ll be amazed at what you learn if you only ask.
  • Keep track of your accomplishments and quantify them.  Record dates, team members, process and the final outcome.  It’s good ammo for your review and your resume.
  • Update your resume every time you can add a new accomplishment.  You keep a current resume don’t you….?
  • Expand your resources.  Get to know three recruiters that specialize in your field, consider hiring a personal coach and on occasion very casually review the classifieds and job related web sites to stay current.
  • Put some balance in your life.  Eat right, get some exercise, spend time with your family, see a movie on Tuesday afternoon.  Spontaneous howling is also highly effective.
  • Continue your education, whether it’s job related or not. It’s another way of exercising your brain – and who knows; what you learn in that underwater basket weaving class might pay-off one day.
  • Have fun, break a few rules, step outside your own box; c’mon push the envelope a little, start a fire!

    Of course this is only my opinion, but it’s one I value highly.

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