Successfully implementing the "two minute drill" in your job search

Using time well is an important attribute and the last two minutes of a football game, either in the first half or in the fourth quarter can be a classic example of using each second to its utmost value.  Job search is also a process where conducting a "two minute drill" can be the difference between success or failure in achieving the desired outcome.

Let's review a few key attributes of the two minute drill from a football perspective first:

  • User your time outs wisely
  • Be sure to hustle from the end of one play to the next
  • Have a strategy-know the next play and the one after that when you line up
  • Understand what the defense has in mind
  • Know where the boundaries are
  • Know who you have on the field at all times
  • Be sure to have the right substitutes in place when needed

While we don't have time outs in the job search, there can be methods to implement a pause in the search take stock of where you are and what you want to accomplish.  It is hard to establish a complete strategy in a time out, it is possible to adapt your strategy in a short period of time if you have an overall strategy in place.

Here are some job search considerations that correlate to the two minute drill:

  • Are you trying to score a touchdown or a field goal-From a job search perspective are you trying to upgrade your job or are you seeking a complete career change?  Knowing which goal you have in mind will have a profound impact on the plays you make and the time it may take to achieve this goal.  It will be hard to rush a career change, but having the strategy in place first can set the table for reaching this goal.
  • Know where your boundaries are-In football the benefit of finding the boundary is that you can stop the clock.  It may be hard to stop the clock in your search, but understand how to react when your target firm stops the clock in the search.  There may be times when you have to create a sense of urgency on the part of the firm you are pursuing.  If you are considering multiple roles, let them know when there is a timetable that may affect your availability for their needs.  Always be truthful and honest, but also be direct and frank.  You need to implement an effective clock management strategy to reach the goal line.
  • Know who is on the field at all times-It is of tremendous importance to understand who is involved in making the decision that affects you.  Finding a way to converse with and thank each party if critical.  Every player makes a difference on the field and you need to know who is involved in the decision making process when you are close to the end zone.
  • Be sure to have the right substitutes in place-There may be a time when the role you are pursuing is not available.  At times the role may be available, but the package may not be exactly what you are seeking.  Understand what you would be willing to substitute in each situation if you still wish to pursue the goal.  If you cannot justify the role with the options available, you may need to walk away from the field of play.
  • Be sure to hustle-The word hustle can be misinterpreted, but in this case I mean to always be on the move and to make your decisions swiftly and implement them quickly.  You can only do this if you have an overall strategy in place.  In order to reach the goal line you need to know what you want to achieve and how you can get there, meaning which plays you can run to effectively move toward the goal of the ultimate job.  Acting swiftly is typically to your advantage, but there may be times when taking pause will work to your advantage.  If you are sure the client really wants you, a brief pause in response may cause them to worry and make their offer a little better.  Only use this pause if you are absolutely sure you have the ball and are in control of the game.  If you are not, you will fumble.

I hope you find the metaphor of football to be a useful one when talking about the job search.  My hope for you is that you will reach the endzone with time to spare.

Best wishes!