A Bias for Action

In today’s job market (yes, it’s a market), there are more job seekers and fewer jobs. More demand, less supply: This means — as a candidate, you’ll need to take massive action to land your dream job.

Be prepared to make more calls, knock more doors, attend more interviews, and shake more hands. And then be prepared to be ignored, lied to (we’re interested and we’ll come back to you), rejected, insulted, and forgotten. And then you’ll be rinsed, and the process will be repeated.

The ugly truth is this: There are several top-notch candidates vying for your dream job. Most of them are every bit as good as you, and in some cases, better. What separates you is the amount of action you take — the more action you take, the better your results.

This of course, is easier said than done. But heroes do have to make tough choices – especially if they want to win the battles.

Here are 3 things you can do to develop a bias for action:

1. Find Social Support:

Times are such that you will be disappointed and some days will be worse than others. One of the best things you can do for your mental game is to find support in the form of a friend, your spouse, or a coach. Have someone to talk to when you’ve been rejected and are feeling low; a solid support system is one of the best things you can do for your job search. If you’re going through a rough patch, find social support and find it now.

2. Have a Plan of Action:

Work with your recruiter / mentor / coach and build a plan of action. Start with the goal (your dream job) and keep an eye on the metrics (number of calls you have to make, number of first interviews, etc.) A PoA will bolster your confidence (since you’ll have clear tasks and identifiable metrics), and it will reduce anxiety. In my experience, the biggest frustration for a job seeker is the lack of a plan. When has groping in the dark ever landed anyone a job?

3. Fix a daily ritual:

Ideally, you want to devote 30 minutes every day to your job search. A PoA will help you pick up from the previous day. In the job search equation there are a lot of variables you can’t control – what you can, and should control, is the action you take every day. Build a ritual and stick to it every single day. Inch by inch, it’ll be a cinch.

It’s no secret that your hunger, passion and enthusiasm will win the game for you. The job market can be disruptive and unruly – it can unsettle the best of us; the only way to stay in the game is to fight back with intensity and purpose. Slackers will not be entertained in this economy.

A job search is a job in and of itself – give it the time and the respect it deserves. Thrash about without planning and deliberate action, and there’s every possibility you’ll end up in pain.

In today’s job market there will be 30-40 negative events for every positive response (especially if you’re poorly networked) – that’s just the way it is. Finding a dream job takes work.

A bias for action will get you there.

Do you find it difficult to take consistent action? What has and hasn’t worked for you? Share your thoughts.