It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. I have done some traveling, which always gives me some ideas to share. Usually, my inspirations come in unexpected, unlikely places. (That’s a career lesson in itself!)
Today’s post idea came while I was waiting to meet my friends and colleagues, Chandlee Bryan and Donna Sweidan, in NYC in June. We met in Rockefeller Center at a time that happened to coincide with the grand opening of a Lego store in the plaza. In celebration, they were building — what else — a big apple!
So, where is the career lesson? They didn’t just have a pile of blocks that the expert builders were using to create their masterpiece. Instead, there were stations set up where they invited guests and passersby to construct a block. Everyone who built a block contributed it to a box of blocks that the Lego employees used to construct the apple. (See photo below.)
It occurred to me that we need to take this approach more often in job hunting — and in life! Instead of thinking of a huge project (searching for a new job, for example) as one, big task, which may seem overwhelming, what if we thought about it one “block” at a time?
And, even better — what if we could collaborate and share pieces of the work to create a result everyone could enjoy? (Have you thought about partnering with an expert coach to walk you through the process?)
Think about it: what are the building blocks of your job hunt?
Have you thought about breaking it down into manageable pieces to make it seem easier to tackle?
You will need a pitch, a plan, a resume and a cover letter.
You will want optimized materials: a LinkedIn profile is a must, social (online) resumes are more and more common and an online presence is key. Not to mention use of Twitter and Facebook, both of which fuel today’s successful searches.
So, what is a job seeker to do?
It seems obvious – you can’t be successful until you get started. You can’t get started on everything at once, so break it down and work on one thing at a time.
As a career coach, I advise my clients to break down their tasks so they won’t be overwhelmed by the process of finding a job. It’s great advice for any of us facing lots to do and not enough time. (That pretty much describes most people I know!)
1.) Review your assignments and goals. Create a list of everything you need to do. Make sure you have a complete picture of the tasks and create a time frame.
2.) Break down the project into natural segments. “Write a resume” may be one project (with several parts). “Make a networking plan” is another task. Prioritize the segments and think about how much time each piece will take to complete.
3.) Focus on one thing at a time. Compile a daily “to do” list. Make sure it is reasonable; don’t give yourself too many tasks on one day. Depending on the job and your patience, you may need to further chunk down the steps. (No one should expect to write a resume in a day!)
To decide what to do first, consult your list of priorities. To keep your focus, try to include some fun, interesting or simple tasks early on. If you’re doing things you enjoy or finish rapidly, you’ll give your project a boost and quickly check things off of your “to do” list.
4.) Plan ahead. Make sure you have everything you need to work on your task as scheduled.
5.) Seek help. It helps to have a good support system. Ask for advice when you’re really stuck and to ensure that you are on the right track.
6.) Reward yourself. Celebrate your accomplishments. Do something fun!