Are you managing your job search to produce the greatest returns?
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Job SearchPeople I Meet
I was visiting my friend, Mike, in New York recently. Mike is a trader on the commodities exchange. He’s been trading for more than twenty years, and success at trading comes naturally for him. Well, perhaps on the surface. It wasn’t always that way. We got to talking about his early days as a trader. He remembers a time when he was pretty lousy at it. He came very close to quitting. Then one day, he was watching some other, more senior traders. He started to see a pattern. They were heads down – managing each individual trade. Rarely did they come up for air to analyze their overall portfolio.
It was at that moment Mike realized what he needed to do to be successful in the business. In that instant, perfect clarity. He knew what he’d been doing wrong. He was so caught up in analyzing his overall portfolio that he was neglecting the individual trades. Quit worrying about the big picture, and start drilling in on each individual trade. Make each individual trade profitable, and the entire portfolio will have a greater return on investment. Sounds pretty obvious right? But, it got me thinking about how most people proceed through life.
When you have a big project, break it down, they say (whoever ‘they’ are). When you’re learning to read and you have a three-syllable word in front of you, just sound it out, your teacher says (or in my case, my sister, Betsy). This got me thinking about job search. We get so focused on the big picture – the monumental task of landing the perfect job – we forget to drill down on the individual activities that will produce a greater return on investment (i.e., great job offers).
If you’re currently in the search (or about to be but don’t know it yet), you might want to think about how you’re approaching your search. Are you so focused on just getting a job that you’re neglecting to manage the activities that will lead to it? What are these activities? You may be thinking: “Well, I have to get my resume in order. I have to get online and look at who’s hiring. I have to tell everyone I know that I’m looking. I have to contact recruiters. Now I have to redo my resume because one person made a comment about it.” No you don’t! You don’t have to do any of this. If you’re focused on these activities, you’re going to produce the worst returns ever recorded in history!
Why don’t you start with the end in mind? How do you get a job offer? No matter how much time you spend sitting in front of the computer, chances are really good that without face-to-face interaction, an offer won’t be showing up in your inbox anytime soon. You’ll probably have to actually meet someone at a company and build a relationship. So how do you meet people at companies? You’ll probably have to get out of your house and network. Where will you network? Depends on what type of role you’re looking for.
It’s safe to say that if you’re meeting lots of people, building great relationships, and through smart questioning identifying needs/problems, determining your ability to solve it, your chances of being considered for opportunities should be great. If you’re not uncovering needs, you’re not asking enough questions. If you’re uncovering lots of needs and not figuring out how you can solve them, you’re either hanging out with the wrong people or your capabilities might be less than desirable.
So quit focusing on the activities that don’t matter, and start focusing on the ones that do – interacting with people. Manage these interactions carefully. Learn from each individual interaction and make improvements with the next one. Through this process, you’ll be carrying on intelligent conversations about interesting problems that would be fascinating to solve. It won’t take long before the offers start coming. And once you’ve perfected this technique, the offers never actually stop. And when you step back and take a look at the big picture, your overall portfolio of opportunities will have incredible returns. How’s that for your very own bull market?