Monday, July 25, 2011

There’s Nothing Routine About a Job Search Routine

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” ~Mike Murdock

There’s nothing routine about routine. Having a plan, and sticking to it, may be the secret to success. I’m not suggesting that you hide from innovation and creativity. I am all about trying new things and reaping fruits of inspiration. Yet, I have also learned that having a routine can significantly increase your chances for triumph. Now, I get that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing you have always done the way you have always done it, and expecting different results. So again, I am not suggesting that you stick to a routine that is not creating benefit. I am suggesting, however, that sticking to a routine can help you realize benefit.

I just got back from a wonderful vacation, and there was not one of the 23 of us who stuck to a routine. Vacation is the perfect time to deviate from routine, right? Well, it depends on what your goals are… There are so many tools available to us these days which we can use to keep up with our routines that I wonder if deviation is really the answer, or if it just causes more stress. For me, not sticking to my work routine, especially when I can automate things like sending tweets and posting Facebook updates, had me going through social media withdrawal and actually feeling guilty for not engaging online. Not staying on top of emails and at least spending a few minutes each morning and afternoon reading and responding to messages had me in a panic by last night. Not sleeping normally and eating normally and…well my body certainly has had more physical stress, but I totally understand the phrase, “I need a vacation to recover from my vacation”. Vacation may be an extreme example… how about in everyday living?

How about in job search? What if you created a weekly routine which ensured that you spent the right amount of time on each part of a full career campaign? It is my belief that if you followed said routine, at least most of the time, you would feel more productive and in fact actually accomplish more.

So let’s break it down. I believe that a full career campaign consists of research, communication and networking. Research includes things like identifying resources, networking opportunities, target companies, and people inside those target companies, as well as finding job postings to which you can apply. Communication includes phone, email and snail mail, and includes reaching out, responding, saying thank you, and following up. Networking includes professional industry and function specific events and conferences, job search specific networking, online networking and one-on-one meetings and conversations. Yes, that’s a lot. Yes, that’s a huge time commitment. People aren’t joking around when they say that looking for a job is a full time job. So, wouldn’t having (and following) a routine make fitting all this in a whole lot easier?

What if you committed to 10 hours a week of research, 10 hours a week of communication in various forms, and 20 hours a week networking? Do you think it’s worth giving that a try? How will you set up your weekly routine? Let me know what your plan is, and how you feel at the end of a few weeks. I look forward to your reports back. And as always, let me know how I can help.