Job search and networking isn’t simply a must-do, unpleasant task – it is an opportunity to expand your circles, meet new people, learn about yourself and grow as a person. Of course what makes the difference is your attitude toward searching for work and expanding/fine-tuning your network. Let’s get started on some ideas to turn dread into delight and apprehension into enthusiasm.
One way to turn job searching and networking into less threatening and possibly even enjoyable (gasp!) activities is to take a page from the big data glossary and gamify them. Find a friend or acquaintance who is also looking for work or wanting to increase their network and set up your game plan. Here are some ideas:
- set goals for how many job applications, new connections or job searches you are going to complete in a day (or other period of time) and then challenge each other to reach or exceed that target
- design a day/half-day long competition with a different score for each type of job search/networking task (based on difficulty) – set a start and finish time, agree on the parameters and off you go – who will win?
- create a scavenger hunt – your game for the day (or however long you decide to take) is to find a certain number of job postings, potential connections and/or people with your dream job – the winner is whoever finishes first
Keep in mind that any of the above activities could be done with teams competing against each other rather than individuals.
Switch it up
It’s kind of a strange feature of being human that it is often easier to assess the skillset as well as discover opportunities and design job search/networking strategies for someone else than it is for yourself. Why not take advantage of this quirk and find a job search/networking buddy. Spend a couple of hours reviewing each others resumes and LinkedIn profiles and suggesting changes if necessary. Then get down to work looking for connections, networking opportunities and potential jobs that might match what your ‘buddy’ is looking for.
Come from a Place of Gratitude
As I alluded to in the opening of this article a lot (most?) of how we feel as we move forward with the job search/networking is dependent on how we decide to respond to our day-to-day experiences and activities. Do you see your situation as one of gloom, doom and desperation? Are you convinced that a big black cloud is personally assigned to you and follows you around and open ups on you, and only you, with depressing regularity? Assuming that you are not clinically depressed it is possible that doing some simple exercises (try any of these simple seven exercises to boost happiness) could help you come from a place that is more stable, grateful and positive. Will this guarantee success in your job search or networking activities – no – but it will probably make you a much more relaxed, energetic and persistent participant which is likely to translate to better outcomes.
Build in Accountability (and rewards)
Often the hardest part of a task is getting started – followed closely by sticking to task and not getting distracted. So get out your calendaring tool (whatever it is – electronic, paper) and schedule in your job search/networking activities in blocks of 30-40 minutes at a time. If you’re unemployed looking for work should be YOUR WORK so consider giving at least 3-4 hours a day to your job search. If you are wanting to switch jobs obviously you’ll probably spend less time (depending on how anxious you are to leave your current position). Set your cellphone, watch or computer to alert you just before the blocks start and consider using ‘non-distraction’ apps to keep you focused. Use a timing app to signal when your working block is up. And then, when you have finished three blocks in a row (or achieved some other target you’ve set for yourself) reward yourself with 10 minutes of relaxation (walk around the block, a cup of tea/coffee and a few pages of that novel you’re reading, some stretching exercises to favourite tunes).
Let me know how these ideas work for you by commenting below or sending me an email at susan at yyjworks.com.