Thursday, May 21, 2009

Career Advice - It's Going To Be How Long Before I Find A Job?

So you've been in the industry longer than a decade. You keep a close eye on your digital brand, and make sure it's a close representation of who you are. You have the skills, the personality and the business savvy. And above all you care and it shows. But you have been on the market looking for a job for a few weeks, if not months?!

In this economy you need all of the above and a lot more. You need things like focus, persistence and most of all determination and patience.

The last two qualities in particular, I believe, are the cornerstones of a solid job search. Being laid off, in this recession, is not a reason to think less of yourself or that of anyone who has had that misfortune. From my simple observations, those looking every workday for a job that's within their career path, and no more than a 25% step backwards, usually land a job within 93 days. Again, this is a simple and likely naive observation, but I'm hoping that we can all put it to the test right here and now.

With that, allow me to clarify a few things. I believe that from the time a person is laid off (not fired, or is looking for a job casually, etc.) to their first day on the new job is a duration around 93 days. Yes, I understand that there are people that are looking for a job well over a year now; but I would be very curious as to their approach and whether or not they have the above, and other, qualities. Better yet, I would ask about their career prior to that last job, and whether or not they're still in the same industry or seeking a switch. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, I'm simply hoping it's not the norm.

When you get laid off, finding a job is almost a full time job in and of itself. Technology has been very kind to us with email, job boards, etc. But for those looking for a job via the web, I strongly recommend creating powerful search queries and then relying on bookmarked links and/or RSS feeds to help along the way.

How you organize yourself and track each job is also key. I personally recommend a spreadsheet that keeps such information as the company name, the recruiting company, the URL where you found the job, any contact information, the actual title of the job you applied at, any credentials you used for the submission of the job, etc. I would even go as far as printing out the job post because you never know when they take it down. You don't want to receive a call and be unprepared, or worse, talk about a different job.

Before I digress any further, let's go back to the 93-day theory. Please take the time and reply back in the comments with the number of days it took you to start your job. Be sure to state whether or note you've been looking for a job EVERY SINGLE WORKDAY. This site has a fairly straight forward difference in days calculator.

When applying for a job, I'm you do so because the job posting is a fit. Don't fill out an application and/or send your resume just to see what your chances are, or to meet an unemployment number for the week. You're not doing yourself or anyone else any favors by doing that. And be sure to read the job posting. If you don't have this skill or that are of knowledge, then don't let your ego or need for the job compel you to submit for it any ways. One of your qualities must be patience; even if it's been more than 93 days.

Of course there always things that can be worked on in the meantime. The thing is, if you're spending most of the day looking for a job, then you're also not accomplishing the things you could. You know, those things that you wished you had more time for. Well, now you have that time. But not knowing when you might start working, the daily search and the financial stress alone could bring anyone to their knees. That's where I think the 93-day theory could come in handy. I'm curious if more than 3% of the laid off population got a job faster than 93 days. If not, you see, then it helps to continue one's routine in finding a job, but to also know when to stop and get other things done. Things like chores, spring/fall cleaning, rearranging some furniture or a room, install a fan or a sink, building a shed, painting a room, starting a garden, etc.

You would be surprised to learn how much it helps one's state of mind realizing the earliest day to start a job. If 97% of all laid off folks didn't start a job 'till after 60 days from the day they got laid off, then you would know what to expect, how to prepare for that, etc. Do you follow what I'm trying to say? You don't need, nor should you, compromise the effort and the search. I would still do so every single day; but you now know that it's OK to put 4 to 6 hours a day towards that job search, and spend the rest of the time taking care of the things you wished you had time to do.

If you've been laid off and found work, congratulations. Help the rest out by sharing how long it took you to start your job (in exact days) in the comments. Use this 3rd party calculator to help. Don't forget to list whether you searched every day or not. Your title when you got laid off and your new title now would also be helpful. Your names and that of companies is discouraged.

For all those who are looking, be patient and have faith in The Sustainer of all, and in your yourself, your knowledge and what you can bring to the table.

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