When searching for employment everyone wants to create the we can't live without this candidate! buzz. There is always the fear your resume will go unnoticed or deleted. It's easy to feel as though you are the opposing player in a ruthless game after sending your resume or after that first round of interviews.
There is the waiting game: I interviewed a week ago and haven't heard anything.
The hoping game: Did they notice my qualifications are a perfect match?
And, the dreaded losing game: I haven't had a single interview, I must be a loser!
Instead of playing the disempowering game of looking for a job, what if you launched a campaign for 'the best job ever'? Imagine bumper stickers with your name and tag line, Jennifer Smith, Director of Sales 2009!
By definition, to campaign is to use a systematic course of activities for some specific purpose. It would be a more refreshing approach to brand yourself to your target audience, be known by them and network with them such that they want you to contribute your leadership and skills to their cause.
When we are focused on a goal we have something to live into, and when we share this goal with the people around us, they help us succeed. Much like a candidate who campaigns for a certain position in office, you too could create a future to live into using a systematic course of activities for a specific purpose: that perfect job or for some the perfect paycheck.
A successful campaign has a clearly defined goal and a strategic course of action with an organized time line. Leaders in positions of influence didn't campaign for the position on a part-time basis. It also wasn't handed to them either; they had a plan, they committed and they yielded results.
Following is a loose outline of a campaign strategy for job hunting. Please use this as an inspirational guideline to creating your own employment campaign. Go ye forth and get yourself employed while maintaining your confidence, leading your success and having fun!
1. Identify your goal - state what you want using the SMART goal process:
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely
For example: I will be employed as a PM with a hi-tech company in the Seattle area making no less than $100K, with full benefits, by July 1, 2009 is a SMART goal compared to I need to get a job soon.
The key to identifying your goals is to fine tune your SMART goal to represent exactly what you want by when you want it.
Coaching tip: Create this campaign in your own style so you are excited and eager to get up out of bed and start the ball rolling every day. Have fun with it!
2. Develop your objectives - measurable actions from which you can assess that your goal(s) are being met and achieved.
Set specific dates that are milestones for having X number of interviews, job offers, resumes sent, people networked with, coffee meetings or lunches with network members, etc.
For example: Document in your calendar by May 15 you will have sent out 10 resumes, scheduled 3 coffee dates with leaders in your network and 2 informational interviews with colleagues in the industry you are searching in.
The key to managing your objectives is to check in daily and weekly to see if you are meeting them. If you're not, see what is happening that keeps you from achieving your objectives. I can guarantee 80% of the time it will be you getting in your own way.
Coaching tip: Don't consult your inner voice when it says, I don't feel like looking for a job today. Hang up on that conversation and move forward. Being unemployed has consequences, especially when you have others who are impacted by your lack of a paycheck.
3. Design a strategy - a plan of action that can be used as your game plan for reaching your goal(s).
Use the Measurable aspect of your SMART goal to guide your strategy.
For example: For 2-3 hrs a day focus on researching new positions in your field of expertise and related fields. Also research the latest in lingo and new developments that will keep you up-to-date in your industry while you're unemployed.
Then spend 2-3 hours sending resumes, networking, responding to blogs relevant to your field of interest, or better yet contribute regularly to an established post that recruiters and hiring managers read.
Then finish the day spending 2-3 hours responding to and following up with people who have responded to your campaign. (Scheduling interviews, sending thank you letters, responding to people in your communities and networks who are checking in, etc.)
Coaching tip: When people in your communities, your circles of friends, family and colleagues know who you are (your brand) and what you are doing (campaigning for your SMART goal), they keep their eyes out for things that will help you succeed. Keep the fires of your network/community burning hot!
It's your choice how you want to handle being unemployed. But believe me as a former recruiter, we don't hire victims we hire leaders who perform and produce results. We do observe the candidates we interview and how they are handling their job search. If they are being leaders in their employment campaign then we more than likely want them on our team. It's a good demonstration on how they would handle challenges in their positions. As Oscar Wilde suggests, make yourself known such you are talked about.
Create a campaign. Get known. Get hired.