Some people think they’re too busy to conduct an effective job search–they feel overloaded at work, overwhelmed by family responsibilities, unsure what tasks to tackle next on their “to do” list. You know what–I think I just described myself, LOL! Except, of course, I’m not conducting or even planning a job search because I love what I’m doing now. Having said that, I think there are a lot of parallels between being an independent business owner/operator and a job seeker or potential job seeker.
No human being I know can do everything at once, not even close. As for doing everything and doing it well–fat chance! That’s just as true for planning and conducting a job search or managing your career effectively as it is for someone like me who is what’s known as a solopreneur (no employees, etc.). Sooner or later–and sooner is better–you have to make some choices. Start by cutting yourself some slack and recognizing that not only can’t you do everything at once but also it’s okay to acknowledge and accept that fact. Superman or superwoman/Wonderwoman is a comic-book myth.
The next step is to identify the primary job search (or career management) items you need to complete in order to accomplish your next goal. You can start by including everything you’d like to achieve, but eventually you’ll find it necessary to begin whittling down that list to what’s do-able. That requires setting job search priorities (the must-do items) and establishing a prioritized timeline for completing them.
Few things remain static in this life, and job searching/career management requirements definitely fall into the changeable category. That is, whether you want them to stay predictable and in line with your plans or not, they sometimes just won’t cooperate! You simply can’t script-out everything in your job search plan and expect to execute it exactly as originally planned. If you’re very lucky and have done your preparation work properly, you might actually succeed in that, but don’t count on it. As I tell my interview coaching clients, “expect the unexpected and be ready for it!”
When events outside your control force a change in plans, you need to reexamine both your end-goal and the actions you had planned to initiate to achieve it. Some elements might need to be postponed, accelerated or eliminated altogether. It’s also a good idea at this point to take a fresh look at the resources you are counting on to help you succeed in your job search. Maybe some of them need to be reevaluated and re-prioritized as well.
Occasionally you will find that the initial goal isn’t where you need or want to go any longer. Don’t be afraid to look at new possibilities. Sometimes they can produce results that will surprise and delight you.