Make a plan

Are you one of those people who go on vacation by getting in the car and driving and then deciding where you are going? Not me. I need to know where we’re headed, what route we plan on taking, how long it should take to get there, and what we plan to do when we arrive. Personally, I don’t like to plan every minute, but I’m not enough of a free spirit to simply wing it.

If you like to figure things out as you go, I predict your job search will be difficult. While you need to be flexible and be able to follow up on leads and new ideas, you also need to have a sense of where you‘re headed. If you don’t know your target destination, you won’t be able tell people about it and they won’t be able to help you get there.

Let me suggest three techniques to help you achieve your dreams. You may have heard these before:

  1. Write them down,
  2. Tell someone else what you’ve written down, and
  3. Publicize your progress toward those goals.

These three techniques form the basis of your personal accountability and will greatly improve your likelihood of success. Writing down your goals forces you to clarify what might otherwise be disconnected thoughts. Sharing your goals with someone else will help you to own them. Then, telling others about your progress will garner you support and encouragement.

The other axiom that comes with goal setting and planning is – Plan the work and work the plan. An effective networking plan needs more than just a final goal. You need interim steps and measures to help keep you on track. Let me describe a level of activity that I encourage you to meet or exceed. Every week you should strive to:

  • Identify 3-5 new target companies
  • Have 5 networking meetings
  • Contact 10 people to request networking meetings
  • Read 3-5 blog posts and articles about job search (including this one)
  • Read 1-2 articles about your field – stay fresh and current.

That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? My consistent advice is that you need to make finding a job your full time job. Spending an hour or two a day looking for a job won’t cut it. Keep yourself in your traditional work disciplines – get up every day, get dressed, and go to work looking for a job. Take a break for lunch then get back at it. Work until late afternoon and then break for the day. I’ve written before about discipline, and there is no better way to practice or exhibit discipline that in how you conduct your job search every day.

The economy is growing, the jobs are out there, and you need to go get one. Work on your goals and your work plan, and then practice the disciplines that come with hard work. You’ll be rewarded with the job you were looking for.


If you want more advice on how to write a resume, how to, network or just how to find a job, check out I’m Fired?!? A Business Fable about the Challenges of Losing One Job and Finding Another. Click here for more details.

What are you afraid of?

I have a friend who lost his job following an acquisition. He was over 55 and had 30 years with the company. He hated networking. He tried it and then he simply refused to do it anymore. He mailed resumes, and mailed resumes, and mailed resumes. Ten months later, he took a job that he hated. Two years after that, he simply retired. The reason that he hated networking and his search failed was fear. He was afraid of rejection and did not want to put himself in a position where someone would have to tell him “no.”

Any Star Wars fans out there? What did Yoda say to Luke Skywalker when they first met on whatever jungle planet that was? That Luke was filled with hate and fear. He would have to control or release that fear or he would not be able to control the force, and the dark side would get him.

One more movie reference – what was one of the top songs of 2013? Let it Go, sung by Elsa in the movie Frozen.

So, what’s the connection here? If you’re reading this it is likely that you’ve lost your job. You may be angry with your former employer for putting you in this position. You may be upset with your former boss who wouldn’t listen to you. You might have issues with the last company that said they were going to make you an offer, but didn’t. You might be concerned that you are going to run out of money before you find a new job. You might be angry with your spouse who thinks you aren’t trying hard enough. Maybe you have been rejected so many times you just can’t take one more! There are lots of emotion during the job search process, and not many of them are helpful in finding a new job.

I am an NPR addict and listen every morning and evening. A few weeks ago, they aired a story of a man paralyzed by fear. To help himself he invented a game called Rejection Therapy. Click here to listen to that story. I’m not recommending that you start playing this game, but I’m also not saying you shouldn’t. It worked for him.

If you are consumed with fear and anger, it will deeply effect you, and your job search. You will be unable to convey confidence and positive energy if you are angry at the world or desperate for someone to hire you. As Elsa says, “let it go.” I’ve been in your shoes and I understand the frustration. But whatever has happened has happened and there is nothing you can do to change that. The only thing you can control is your behavior right now. In this very moment, you can act in the manner that is most likely to move you forward in the direction you want to go.

The poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann says, “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

You will find a job. Accept that as a given. Let go of the anger of whatever happened to put you in this situation. Face your fears of rejection or failure and put them behind you. Move forward with confidence and purpose. Embrace the future and you too, may become a Jedi.


If you want more advice on how to write a resume, how to, network or just how to find a job, check out I’m Fired?!? A Business Fable about the Challenges of Losing One Job and Finding Another. Click here for more details.