Time to ‘Audit’ Job Search Progress?

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This past week’s jobless data depressed stock prices and the hopes of several readers who asked if there is any chance of their finding employment in 2009.  My knee-jerk reaction is “of course, you’re going to find a job. . .but it might not be what you had in mind when you started your search.” 

The mid-point of 2009 is a logical time to assess the job search process and make strategy adjustments. 

During my last job search many years ago, my wife would come home from work and ask what I did that day to advance my job prospects.  She rightfully became suspicious since my deepening tan suggested I was devoting less and less time to the search process.  It’s easy to slack off after an intensive couple of months of searching, and not getting any positive traction.  Nevertheless, it’s critical to make your job search a full-time job.  Besides a resume, be sure to write and regularly update a written action plan that includes goals, target agencies/companies, and actions-taken check list. 

I found helpful advice on how to measure a job search via Tim Tyrell-Smith’s Spin Strategy blog.  Tim suggests the following five ways to determine if your job search is on the right track:

Tim Tyrell-Smith  Tim Tyrell-Smith 

How do you know if you are on the right track? What indicates that you are doing the right things to maximize your chances to land that next great role? Are you looking for a horseshoe faced the right way or a lucky clover?

Well, there are signs, of course.

Here are some you won’t find. You won’t find a “GREAT INTERVIEW!” sign.  It’s unlikely that a recruiter you just met will hold up a card that says: “STOP: MY NEXT PLACEMENT ON BOARD”.  Finally, don’t keep your eyes peeled for a “YIELD, TOP CANDIDATE MERGING AHEAD”.

No, the signs are more subtle than these.

So, what are the real signs that things are going well?

1. People in your network are responding to you.I mean, really responding. You are getting additional names of people to call who are in your field. You are being forwarded jobs they thought you might like. They are sending you names of additional recruiters, and better yet, they are calling those recruiters themselves to introduce you. They are having coffee with you and inviting other working friends of theirs to join. They are spending significant time with you to share their learnings from a recent search.

WHAT YOU DID RIGHT: You built a networking strategy that identified all of the potential micro networks in your life and set a plan as to how you would access them and how often. You kept track of your contacts and followed up after each interaction. You used them appropriately and did not ask more than they could give. You said thank you each and every time they stuck their neck out for you.

2. You get e-mails from job search sites and executive recruiters. They fit your desired next title, geography and industry. Your e-mail volume is more of a efficient stream than a torrential river. Recruiters are calling you directly looking to get your feedback on their positions.

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