Spring Cleaning and your Job Search

I often write about the pitfalls and perils of the job search and today’s post will be another in that series.  With the full bloom of spring we all have a number of things we do in preparation for the onset of this wonderful time of year.  Your job search and the methods and strategies you employ should be the same.

When I think of spring cleaning I often use the phrases listed below:

  • out with the old; in with the new
  • keep what you need; discard what you don’t
  • what worked well before may or may not work well this year (plants/flowers)

These three axioms also work well for the job searcher and I’ll spend some time describing each to you in this post.

Out with the old; In with the new

As you go through your search you will use a number of resources and tactics.  Some of these will include resources such as LinkedIn, Twitter, , and other sites.  In person networking and tracking the progress of your target firms is also part of this process.  If your search has been prolonged there will be changes in the external market that may dictate that you use these tools differently or that you update or modify your presence on them.  I advise (and practice) the updating of my LinkedIn profile at least quarterly.  This may include adding or removing information, rephrasing certain areas of the profile or just removing things that no longer matter.  I would advise you, as a job seeker, to take a hard look at your profiles, and your resume, and do the proper pruning and planting where needed.

Keep what you need; Discard what you don’t

This is the second phase and it has some strong connections to our earlier discussion.  In this segment I would encourage you to take a hard look at the activities you are engaged in as part of your search and try to rate the return of them as it relates to your search.  In the same way, talk with your friends, colleagues and confidants about how they see your progress and listen to their feedback.  We all have blind spots in our lives and the best way to minimize those blind spots is through the feedback of others we know and trust.

What worked well before may or may not work well this year

Again, a strong corollary to steps 1 and 2.  Job search is very activity oriented, but there is also a need to do a lot of planning and also a lot of reflection in the process.  I am a big believer in using the Deming Wheel: PDCA, to analyze issues and this is how it goes:

Plan-Do-Check-Act

Plan first-know who you want to target, where they are, what they do, when you can meet with them and understand why you want to meet with them (outcomes).

Doing is what most of us Do most, but not best.  Doing is important, but if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.  That is why Deming put plan first.  Unfortunately, most of us Do first and then wonder why we are lost or off track.

Check is something that needs to be done more and more.  In order to check, you need to know what to check for.  This requires that when you Plan, you also set up guidelines or metrics for your search.  When you take this approach your Check will be much more useful.

Act is a restarting of the process.  After we check and reflect we can readjust the Plan and begin a new cycle of Doing.  Don’t just Do and Do and Do more.  Make sure you Plan and Check before you go too far.

Remember the three steps we talked about above, apply them to your job search, and I feel confident that your job search harvest will be bountiful.

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