5 Must-Do’s For Landing a New Job in 2019
The new year presents such a timely opportunity to ask ourselves, “What’s missing?” and, “What’s possible?” in our careers.
And if a new job is something you’ve set your sights on for 2019, here are the top 5 strategies I recommend putting into action if you want to make this the year you land a job you love.
1. Set a deadline for when you’ll start looking, not finish.
So many people call me and say, “I want to be in a new job by [X date / season].”
To which my immediate response is, “No, no, no… Please don’t do that to yourself!”
Yes, saying your dreams out loud is a key first step to making them happen. And deadlines can be incredibly motivating for completing finite tasks.
But the very human response to big goals with far-off deadlines is to spend months twiddling our thumbs, only to wake up one morning and freak out because our far-off goal is around the corner and we are no closer to achieving it than when we started.
Setting an end-date for achieving a big, complex goal (which landing a new job is!) fails to incentivize the small steps and incremental progress you need to make in order to achieve it.
So set a deadline for when you’ll start taking weekly action to move your job search forward, (for example, the last week of January, when hiring is at one of its highest rates of the year).
2. When you start looking, really start.
Have you ever fallen into the trap of “one-and-done” or “short-spurt” job searching?
“One-and-done” job searching is where you focus your sights on one or just a few job opportunities. You give them your all -- putting other job search activities on pause while you wait (weeks or even months) to see if those opportunities pan out.
“Short-spurt” job searching is where you do little bits of job searching sporadically, like firing off a few online applications or taking a few coffee dates every time your load at work gets a little lighter.
Now tell me this: If you were advising a friend on how to achieve a big goal, would you tell her to take a low-effort, random, sporadic approach?
I don't think so...
Effective job searching is simply about following a set of steps in rapid succession. If you follow them, 1-4 months later, you’re highly likely to have a job in hand.
So when you hit ‘play’ on your job search, hit it. Set a 1-hour calendar invite each week where you’ll tackle that week’s next steps. Just show up. Results will follow.
3. Focus your energy on what works.
I’ve said it a million times, and I’m going to say it once more: The top 3 activities most job seekers prioritize are the 3 activities least likely to yield results.
The odds are not in your favor:
So focus on building relationships at the companies you most want to join. Networking may seem scary, opportunistic, or inauthentic -- but it doesn’t have to be. And if you do it right, interviews and offers will be close behind.
4. Be kind to yourself.
As a career coach, I’ve seen too many people beat up on themselves while going through this process -- thinking they should be able to navigate it effortlessly, and that if job offers don’t flow in unsolicited or following every interview, they are imposters, unworthy of their dreams.
But you’ve got to be kinder to yourself, and put this process in perspective:
Job searching makes even the most qualified and senior candidates insecure and anxious.
It’s a solo endeavor, where you’re literally putting yourself out there to be judged. That's scary!
It’s a big goal, and achieving big goals inherently takes time, effort, and failure along the way to success.
Acknowledge all this, but don't let it stop you from achieving your dreams. Because...
Rest assured, you can do this (I’m privileged to work with Next Steppers who are doing it every day!). If you put your best effort out there, you can land just about any job.
You’ve just got to do it right, and take care of yourself along the way.
Take small steps. Celebrate small wins. Reward yourself after you take each step with a glass of wine, or fun time with friends, or whatever it is that makes you feel like you’ve done enough for now, and that you’re on your way to achieving what you want.
5. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself.
You don’t have to go down this road alone! There are programs and coaches that will make this process easier, faster, more empowering, and more likely to result in success.
But if you’re like most people, you will resist this option, likely because of fear:
Fear of committing yourself 100% to this process, because once you commit fully, you risk failing. If you only job search halfway, you have a painless place to set the blame if your dreams don’t materialize;
Fear of asking for - and needing - help. If you can’t land a job on your own just by being you, you’re clearly not [good / strong / savvy / smart / resourceful] enough.
Fear of investing when you already feel some scarcity in your life and finances, especially if you’re job searching while unemployed.
All these fears, while common and affecting, are unfounded.
First, once you commit yourself 100% to a goal, you exponentially increase your chances of achieving it. In fact, research shows we are more likely to achieve our goals when we make an investment -- growing our accountability, support, and commitment to following through.
Second, job searching isn’t something that anyone does effortlessly. Rather, it’s a skill set -- that anyone can learn. Would you walk into an operating room and expect your natural gifts to present themselves? No. You would learn from the best, practice, and then perform.
Lastly, you should have no fear of financially investing in support, because the best of the best always offer a money-back guarantee - and often help you land a raise 5-10x your investment. I do this for my LYDJ and private coaching programs, as do other programs I heartily recommend (including Adrian Klaphak’s A Path That Fits and, if you’re an independent learner, Nicholas Lore’s The Pathfinder).
Because as a job seeker, your time and dollars are precious, and you deserve to find the best, fastest, no-risk route to employing your greatness in the right place.
Don’t get me wrong…
Oftentimes I wish we were all just placed into the best positions that match our skill sets and passions.
But it doesn’t work that way (yet!). And in the meantime, you deserve to have some of the fear and struggle taken out of this very human and very flawed process.
And whichever path or timeline you choose, don’t forget: landing a new job is a big goal. But it’s one you can achieve. If you follow the above and keep your sights set on what you truly want, your new job is just around the corner, as are many other great things to come in 2019.