In this section, we provide you with an image and an attitude of the mechanics of a job search and how Career Handler© systematically prepares you to be successful. With this fundamental understanding of the program, you will find your search less challenging and see the benefits of following the steps we suggest throughout the process.
Among other things, we will cover the importance of developing and maintaining a positive attitude, selecting and preparing a dedicated workspace, and establishing productive work habits. Finding a good job requires work, but it is really no different than any job. The harder and smarter you work at it, the more you get out of it.
So let’s go to work.
In This Chapter You Will:
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Conducting an effective job search requires you to organize, catalog, schedule, and navigate through a dynamic mix of lists, documents, people, and opportunities. It may all seem very straightforward at first, but the more involved you become in your search, the more you begin to realize that it can become rather overwhelming.
This system gives you the tools you need to manage this information successfully.
As you evaluate further, you manage two categories of data: Information and People.
The information you receive comes from many sources and you should organize it so it can be easily retrieved. Some of the information you may receive includes:
• Alerts for job ads from job boards and corporate sites
• New contacts and referrals from your people network
• Documents including cover letters, resumes and work samples
• Calendar appointments, follow ups and the general management of contacts
• Meetings, conversations, and notes
As you interact with a lot of different people during your job search, some will require follow up and others may not. To help manage this aspect effectively, categorize the people based on the value they can provide to you in your job search. Here’s a brief glance at the three different types of people which are discussed in more depth in later sections.
- This group represents the majority of the contacts you will encounter over the course of your search.
- These are people who can provide firsthand knowledge about target companies, jobs, and decision makers of interest.
- The most important category! These are the people who hire people. On average, you will need to connect with 25 Decision Makers to find a job.
If you have been in your job search for more than one day, you already realize how confusing the process can be without a systematic approach. An effective job search is comprised of many more activities than searching alone. Before we describe the methodology, we need to have a good visual picture of what the search process looks like.
It starts with you on the left side. As you begin your search, you are bombarded with all types of information and people. You will be led down a process of prospecting for leads and presenting yourself to the marketplace. Ultimately, you are searching for the right company and position that fits your criteria for a job.
The Career Handler System©
Every successful franchise business develops a step-by-step methodology that positions a new business for the best success possible.
These steps were created from the previous success of the business. The Career Handler© system is similar in that we have identified all the important activities of a job search, and placed them in a logical order to set you up for your greatest success.
Career Handler© breaks down the job search into a step-by-step flow making the entire process less overwhelming. Breaking the process into bite size chunks which follow a logical, sequential format, allows you to plan your work, check things off the list as you finish them, and experience a sense of accomplishment as you progress through your search.
Every worthy goal requires a well-executed plan. Some of you may get lucky and hear about a job opening tomorrow that sounds perfect for you, but most times in life we make our own luck, and luck favors the prepared. Take full advantage of the system as it provides the steps to develop a highly effective search plan and help you allocate time to focus more attention on the highest payoff activities.
The most frustrating part of the job search experience is the “payoff.”
It doesn’t come until the end of the process when you find a job. Establishing a systematic approach that gets you closer to your goal every day, gives you an opportunity to WIN throughout your search.
Instead, it is to be used as the foundation and framework in which you should conduct your search. Please do not attempt to read this system like a book. It is likely that you will find yourself confused and overwhelmed. Follow these guidelines on how to make the best use of this workbook.
Work on One Section at a Time
The success of your search depends on your willingness to commit the time and effort that it takes to complete the necessary tasks described in this system. It will not work for you if you do not work at it, so follow this process:
- Realize that this is a sequential order and each step builds on the last step
- Complete the “To Do’s” from each section before moving on to the next section
- Finish all sections in the Career Handler© System
We encourage you to complete each To Do item as you read the section. We like this method because it gives you a great sense of accomplishment as you progress through the program.
Although there may be specific reasons that you find yourself in this position, dwelling on the past or trying to place blame won’t help you. Take responsibility for where you are today and realize that your future is in your hands. It is all about you now! It is human nature to procrastinate on tasks that are uncomfortable or foreign, but remain focused on the process and proactively complete each task. Don’t wait, Just do it.
It’s NEVER Someone’s Else’s Job to Get You a Job
There are plenty of resources that can help you throughout your search, but don’t rely on anyone but yourself! It is great to accept help, but maintain control and stay organized. You are the only one responsible for your job search. There will be others involved, but they aren’t responsible for your success–you are! Here’s why:
- Recruiters: If you work with recruiters, it is not their job to get you a job. Employers hire them to find and present qualified applicants. It is your job to convince the recruiter that you are a qualified applicant.
- Friends and family: Although you reach out to friends and family during your search and they will certainly be of help, it is not their responsibility to find you a job. If they have leads, the most they can do is make an introduction. It is up to you to make contact and follow up on the lead.
- Business associates and contacts: When you start working your contact list and making calls, the people on the other end of the line are under no obligation to return your calls. They are on the clock at their own jobs, in the midst of their own busy days. It is your responsibility to follow up with them and give them a compelling reason to call you back.
The true test comes when you are asked to do something that you have never done before or you are presented with a thought that conflicts with a preconceived notion you have. Change is often difficult because of its uncertainty. It usually pushes a person outside his/her comfort zone. Keep in mind, some of the most valuable lessons are learned when you are challenged.
Treat this experience as an opportunity for personal growth and you will learn new things about yourself and see that this experience may be a blessing in disguise. Be prepared to keep an open mind!
Although the system can be effectively implemented individually, we recommend that you find an accountability partner(s). There is always strength in numbers. Having a partner to help you work through problems, discuss the material, and share information can greatly enhance the experience and help you to become more effective. Remember business is a team sport.
It is easy to let negative emotions take over when you focus on the negative aspects of being out of work.
Being without a job is scary, but negativity is counterproductive and does you no good. Maintain a positive attitude no matter what happens! Fake it until you make it!
You may be thinking, “Oh sure that’s easy for you to say, you have a job.” While that is true, remember we aren’t talking about me. We are talking about you and the truth is that positive energy attracts positive energy. I have talked with countless hiring managers and candidates during my career as a recruiter and I have learned two important lessons about attitude.
- People like working with positive people - Developing an optimistic outlook on life and expressing it with a positive attitude makes you a more appealing candidate. If two candidates with equal qualifications are up for the same job, the one with the best attitude wins every time. Nobody wants to work with “Debbie Downer.”
- People like working with focused, enthusiastic people - If you haven’t defined what you want and are applying the “Shotgun” approach (“I’m keeping my options open”) to your search, you are playing a game of chance that denies you the opportunity to get truly excited about your next role. The lack of focus makes it hard for you to project authority, confidence, and enthusiasm during an interview and these are the traits that employers are looking for!
Some items are task related while other items deal more with emotions or feelings that can affect your attitude. The best thing to do is to recognize these items as they occur and realize you are not alone. For example, not all of your previous business associates will return your calls. Don’t take it personally, or get upset and discouraged. Just move on. Here are a couple areas to better equip you for your search.
You will encounter many well meaning people throughout your search that want to offer their opinion. Be careful, not everyone is an expert. If you ask, be prepared to accept the opinion. Don’t act on everything you hear, simply consider the source and place a higher value on the opinions and feedback of experts such as hiring managers.
You may have already discovered that you are not a job search expert, nor should you be. The goal of this system is not to make you one. The goal is to help you find the right job in which you can continue building your expertise in the discipline and industry that you have targeted. Don’t worry if you become lost, confused, or aren’t sure what to do next.
A job search can become an emotional rollercoaster ride, so fasten your seat belt, hang on and try to remain calm. As with most stressful situations, you will experience a range of emotions from excitement to disappointment.
One day you may get a hot lead on a job and be elated, and the next day you may be disappointed because no one is returning your calls. Accepting this from the start makes it easier to manage your emotions and maintain your positive attitude. This job search will end and as past job seekers will tell you, they are better off today than they were before they started their job search.
You may not be a job search expert, but finding a job is your job, so treat it like one. Your job search will provide you with plenty of things to do. If you treat your search like a job you are more likely to see results faster. You should:
- Wake up early
- Take a shower
- Wear business attire
- Work hard and if you are busy, put in overtime
The results that you experience are directly related to the amount and type of effort that you put into your search. Establish a work schedule and allocate your time according to a typical work day.
Decide on the Work Week
How long will my job search take? That’s the million-dollar question. The fact of the matter is that no one knows. It could take a week, a month, a year, or perhaps longer depending on the variables of supply and demand in your discipline, industry, and the whims of the economy.
Patience is a virtue, but that statement provides no comfort unless you are working a plan with clear milestones that lead to defined goals. This system helps you define your goals and provides you with tools to track your progress. Set your goals and focus on hitting them. Hold yourself accountable and if you are working with a partner, lean on each other to stay motivated to hit your marks.
The goal of this entire process is to help you invest the time to find the “right” job for you. Only you can determine the mission critical needs of your current situation. Taking the first job that comes along may seem like a prudent move at the time, but as opportunities arise, and they will, you need to consider them carefully and ask yourself if the opportunity is a good career move for you. Otherwise, you might find yourself searching again sooner than you would like.
Although you don’t know when you will get your next job, you can decide how much you plan to work to find your next job. We define working part-time as putting in 15 to 20 hours of recordable time. Recordable time is time spent doing pre-planned activities that directly contribute to your job search. If you want to work full-time, plan on putting in 30 to 35 hours worth of work.
Take a look at how you are spending your time. Track your time today by writing down everything that you did and how much time you spent doing it. Creating this type of personal awareness helps you to become more effective with your time.
TO DO: Decide how many hours a week to work.
Claim Your Workspace
One of the first and most important things you need to do is claim a dedicated workspace. This workspace is the place you work every day. It might be the dining room or kitchen table, a spare bedroom, a corner of your basement, a home office or it could even be the local library.
To set yourself up for success, your workspace should be a place that can help you:
- Establish consistency and good working habits – a place where you can spread out, stay organized, and focus on working at your job search
- Maintain privacy – a space that can help shield you from distractions such as barking dogs and playing children during phone calls and work sessions
Remember, if you are part of a family, you probably aren’t the only one experiencing anxiety about your joblessness. Claiming your workspace confirms to you and everyone around you that you are taking your job search seriously. Having a defined space and a regimented work plan that places you in “your office” every morning at 8:00am working diligently on your job search, helps you feel more in control of the situation and can ultimately help dial down tension in your household.
1. Computer with an Internet Connection
You need access to a computer with internet connectivity. In many cases employers like to communicate via email, so having a home computer or ready access to a public computer may be a necessity.
2. Office Productivity Software
Microsoft Office–Microsoft Word is the standard format for letters and resumes, Adobe Acrobat also provides consistency in your format.
www.openoffice.org is a free open source productivity suite that provides all the functionality of standard office productivity suites. It allows you to save documents into most popular document formats.
3. A Landline Phone
A landline provides a reliable clear connection for business calls. Voice Over IP (VoIP) services are fine if you are trying to save money, but realize that you may experience poor reception and dropped calls similar to cell phones. If you are using a wireless home phone make sure the rechargeable batteries will hold a charge for longer calls.
4. Cell Phone
A cell phone may be your best option to communicate for your job search. If that is the case, it is critical to ensure you have excellent reception and an extremely low likelihood that calls will be dropped from your primary location. Today, most cell phones have reception quality similar to a landline. Make sure this is the case for you if your cell phone is used as your primary contact number.
Not having these items will significantly impede your progress. Take a look at your current inventory and go to the nearest office supplies store to purchase the following items:
- A Day Planner/Calendar - If you are not already using a calendar, we recommend the At A Glance Brand Planner – model “Week-At-A-Glance” for the current year. Using a calendar to manage your time is critical. If you currently use a computer-based calendar, be sure that it is mobile and easy to update and access.
- Professional Styled “Thank You” Cards – We recommend plain, generic “Thank You” cards that are 4” x 5” with blank space inside. They typically come in packs of 25.
- 3-Ring Binder – We recommend a binder that is 1½” size with pockets on the inside.
- A 1-31 Day Index Tabs (pre-numbered & 3-hole punched) – These tabs are pre-numbered and typically color coded. They are designed to be used in conjunction with a 3ring binder. Each numbered tab represents a day in the month.
- 3-Hole Punch – A 3-hole punch allows you to file certain papers in your 3-ring binder and helps you to stay organized throughout your search.
- Plastic Sheet Protectors – Purchase the sheet protectors that are designed to be used with a 3-ring binder.
- Miscellaneous Office Supplies - Anything else that you might need such as good blue pens, paper clips, stapler, and writing padfolio. A writing padfolio should be taken with you on interviews and will hold a tablet of paper for note taking.
At this point, play detective and gather up any and all information that provides some record of your work history and achievements. This documentation may include some of the following items:
- Old resumes and biography
- Past performance appraisals
- Email documents of praise for work accomplishments
- Work portfolio – work product or samples of your work
- Articles you have written or were named in
- Reference letters from past employers or managers
- Past assessments or psychological profiles
- Any other information you can use to define your accomplishments, successes, skills, values, etc.
The more information you can find, the better you may be equipped to work on upcoming sections. All information you find relative to your previous roles and accomplishments could be beneficial in the development of future material. Don’t worry if you don’t have much in this section as we will provide you all the tools you need to effectively market yourself.
⬜ Decide how many hours a week you will work.
⬜ Claim your workplace.
⬜ Get the job search tools you need.
⬜ Purchase the necessary office supplies.
⬜ Collect job related information.