Suppose you were required to complete three equally important projects, how would you divide your time among the three? What if, after completing the project, you were required to give a one minute presentation for one project, a three day seminar for the second, and a nine month study for the third? Does this added condition affect your answer at all? Since all are important, the exact distribution of effort will depend on many other factors, but certainly it would be unusual to choose to invest most of the time only one project, especially not the project which you are required to present for only one minute.
Yet, when it comes to the job search, I am continually surprised that this is exactly what many people do. In general, the job search consists of three main activities:
1) Creating a compelling resume
2) Defining a job search strategy
3) Planning an interview strategy
Prospective employers, on average spend about thirty seconds to one minute on each resume they receive. Candidates spend roughly one day to three days in the interview process before being offered a job. A healthy job search process can require around nine months before finding an opportunity that is a mutual match of interests between the employer and candidate. Yet, many clients I have worked with spend an admirable amount of time crafting their resume, but really haven’t thought about their job search nor interview strategy.
A good resume, a good first impression
The job search strategy is your battle plan
No matter how great a military force is, no general would engage a battle without having a very well thought out battle plan. In the job search world, your battle plan is your job search strategy. I am always surprised by how few people think about this. Often, people rely on techniques that have worked for them in the past or on advice they may have heard. These are all reasonable tactics to employ, but it does not replace a sound strategy. A healthy strategy should consider these three factors:
1) What you are looking for in a job? What are negotiable factors?
2) What timeframe you are looking to make a change?
3) What resources do you have available to conduct your search?
Most importantly, these three factors must be evaluated against each other to determine whether you have assembled a winning strategy. For example, an individual trying to find a comparable role to his/her existing role, who needs to find a job immediately, probably should make use of as many resources as possible to conduct his/her search. The point is that you need to be realistic as to whether your battle plan can realistically meet your expectations.