Job hunters can be very passive: posting resumes on job boards
instead of frequently searching them; letting inept recruiters
contact them instead of finding recruiters who make things happen;
being too optimistic about a job prospect, saying "I might as well
check it out - why not?" and then saying "I knew that. Why did I
bother?"; wondering why so much time passes with so few
Almost every candidate could be twice as pro-active as they
currently are. Instead of waiting for openings to find you, you
need to be looking for openings.
Finding your perfect job is about choice: the choice to apply
- or not, the choice to accept an interview - or not, the choice to
return for a second when you're invited to do so - or not. It's not
as much about accepting an offer or not, because by the time you
get to that stage - if you've been doing your homework - you should
know if you want to be that far along in the game. If you don't,
you should have cut out earlier.
Finding your perfect job is not about putting more eggs in
your basket as your search goes on, it's about taking them out of
It’s why I speak so often on the importance of knowing
who you are and what you want. You must know what motivates you,
what factors you’re firm on and on which ones you’ll
compromise. For instance, do you function better in a large
environment or small? Corporate or non-profit? Team focused or self
motivated? You do this by examining your previous jobs - what you
liked and didn't like, what worked or didn't, and why.
You can't go looking if you don't know what you're looking
for. Not only that, but you'll wait for it to come to you. You may
be saying, "Wait! I contacted some recruiters!" and "I did some
networking!" or "I've answered ads!" But that's not enough - and
while it's more difficult when you're employed, when you're
unemployed you have nothing but time. And finding a job can be a
Once you know what you're looking for, start placing eggs in
your basket. Comb the job boards, research search firms that
specialize in your discipline, contact and choose some recruiters,
network with your co-workers from previous jobs, contact employers
at companies in the area that seem attractive - introduce yourself,
ask for advice, see if they have suggestions or connections.
You find opportunities that you wouldn't have known about if
you'd waited for everything to find you. You become energized
instead of discouraged. And as you learn more about the personality
of each company, the management style of each hiring authority, the
description of each job, you make the decision to leave the egg in
the basket or take it out. But the point is, if it doesn't fit,
you're making the choice to take it out, rather than the company
making the choice for you.
Obviously if something comes along that appears to fit your
profile, follow it up. But my point is having a lot of
opportunities from which to choose isn't a groovy thing if few of
them are viable. So don't wait around to see which of those iffy
things come through. Chuck them over your shoulder and get after
finding what you want!
Change is an anathema to most people. It's scary and
uncomfortable. When you're job searching passively - especially if
you think you're pro-active - you don't have to think about what if
you make the wrong decision, what if you don't like the new job,
what if you become unhappy at your new company, and "Oh, I miss
that job I had five years ago! I wish I hadn’t quit!"
But in fact, that's a fallacy. The only thing being passive
about job hunting does is ensure that your fears become actualized.
To avoid those fears coming true, you need to get out there and
make it happen. The process may be scary, but the result is a
relief. And the result is with you far longer than the process
So instead of being passive, be pro-active and aggressive.
Instead of throwing eggs into your basket, know what you want so
that you can take them out. Instead of becoming inert because
you're afraid of the potential results, eliminate them by thinking
of ways to discover hidden opportunities so that you get the result
The person controlling the process is you. The
person responsible for finding your perfect job is you. The person
who must live with the outcome is you. So it's your choice: do you
want to do it the passive way? Or do you want to do the