A lean job search is what everyone wants, but are not willing to pay the price. It is similar to what people expect out of losing weight. Both have simple solutions. It’s the drive to achieve is complicated. Managing the many components is difficult.
Tell someone who asks what did you do to lose weight, and you say cut out sugar and processed food, eat more vegetables, protein, and healthy fats and they will likely ask, “What’s your secret?”
I want to tell the world that I lost 32 pounds since August 2013. I rather tell you that it is fat loss that I’m after, but a tangible and visible gauge is weight loss. I also want to tell you the job search and fitness have similarities you might not have thought of yet. And there’s likely things you won’t accept.
The fit issue.
Yes, I know you are looking the best job fit, but I am talking fitness. For some, it means losing weight, and for others it means regular activity to maintain good health.
Job search could look busy, but lack production. It may lack results. As you would want to lose fat, not muscle. In both cases, it is about fit. You want to fit smaller clothes as a job seeker desires to fit in the right company. Both are tough orders to carry out, but can be done.
What does a lean and fit job search look like?
An unproductive job search means no interviews. No meaningful business conversations (informational interviews). No new friends to connect you or contacts to enlighten you. I see very little interaction with current or former coworkers.
All are signs of a lack of job search effectiveness. Relying on job boards, filling out tons of applications, blindly emailing companies to see if someone will respond, begging contacts on LinkedIn to refer you to jobs (you’ve done this publicly) are unproductive strategies.
Just as looking fit could mean that you are exercising, but is that your only goal – to look fit? If no one has asked you what your goals are, people reading will assume that fitness means losing weight. It’s an anomaly. A lot like your job search, you want to look the part.
I’m 53, and the difference between complacency and contentment is a mind shift. Complacency is bad, and contentment is good, when I want it to be that way. Ultimately, when it comes to health, contentment is not good, but it is not the worse. Your job search should have that same shift of mind.
The mind shift.
The mind shift I realized that occurred was that I could work out two or three more times a week, and look 10 pounds over the next 2 months. But, I could not sustain working out five times a week to maintain the 10 pounds over the next year. Losing 32 pounds over 10 months takes more patience, but it was something much easier to sustain. It fits my lifestyle.
Your job search should fit your lifestyle. The people you meet, the new information you obtain, and the job you target should complement the lifestyle you desire. Any disruption of that is just not sustainable over a long period. You may need to look for six months or more for a job, especially one that fulfills your expectations because of your degree, certification, experience, or industry’s dissolution or shift.
What does that have to do with your job search?
Oh yeah, the fitness and job search parallels. As a former certified personal trainer, there are several signs of an efficient fitness plan that I notice and relate it so well to the job search. I think that personal training helped me be a good career consultant because the observations, in some ways intersect and are parallel. This would vary in what your fitness goals are as some it’s more aesthetic than it is to improve health benchmarks such as high blood pressure, or lowering cholesterol or blood sugar:
- A positive and healthy outlook on life in general that minimizes stress and embraces challenges. If you are overcoming many of the physical challenges, then the mental ones will seem smaller, lighter, and bearable. There is a mental attitude that people find refreshing. People want to know your secret. Small goals or baby steps, like a pound a week, or one more available notch on your belt is comforting and spirit lifting.
- Increased mobility and flexibility. You thought I was going to say weight loss, didn’t you. Well, not yet. That’s coming but not as important as this moving and shaking. If you work with a personal trainer, and I mean a good one, you should feel more flexible, pliable, and with an increase quickness (well many times, but not always).
- Increased energy. Being able to move without pain or stiffness motivates more movement.
- Clothes are fitting differently for the better. Losing weight is the sexiest thing to say, but the difference in the fitting of clothes is the one I appreciate the most.
- Losing weight is important, but it doesn’t guarantee good health. I have been down the road of what looks good, as to the goodness I should feel. There is a difference. It is an improvement, but does it address the bigger issue in your life.
A great job search may have similar characteristics in its own way:
- A positive outlook and how you handle stress increases your attractiveness to employers. Being friendly is an easy way to show positivity and personality. It has to be intentional, and with everyone in your current environment. If you pick and choose, it will be a turn-off to someone.
- You’re mobile and flexible. It’s tough not to carry baggage from one job to the next. You don’t reconcile and resolve differences and dirty laundry from your former employer, it’s likely you’ll smuggle in your issues for everyone to run from. When your baggage is minimal and light, then you’ll feel the freedom as it becomes a career asset. Deal with the baggage and feel the emotional weight lighten. Your job search will be easier and find purpose and focus.
- Calls for interviews will energize you. You feel productive and useful, and more than ever motivated to ready yourself to close the deal.
- More money is nice, but fulfillment is greater, sexier, physically tangible, and it’s something everyone wants the most. But it is a trap of meaningless self-worth gauge if money is the focus.
- Forget fast results. Rapid responses to your application or resume doesn’t guarantee a fulfilling opportunity. In fact, you should be more suspicious if it is. Ask more questions and use “why” and “no” as a filter.
- Dealing with debt will also lift the weight from your search. It is a very painful process, but a needed one. It will purge the desperation out of your current situation.
- I can help you with your mind shift and your job search. I’ll even throw in some fitness suggestions. What is keeping you from yielding meaningful results? Let me know. By the way, there is a part two coming up in a couple of weeks.