Don’t Just Ping Away!

There was a scene in the movie The Hunt for Red October where a naval officer is talking to Jack Ryan regarding the Soviet fleet’s search for the renegade submarine. The exchange went something like this:

Davenport:   They’re pinging away with their active sonar like they’re looking for something, but nobody’s listening.

Jack Ryan:    What do you mean?

Davenport:   Well, they’re moving at almost forty knots. At that speed, they could run right over my daughter’s stereo and not hear it.

——–

I think many in job search today could be in a similar situation. You are ‘pinging away’ but moving so fast that you are forgetting to focus on the details and make the most of every opportunity.  A successful job search is a process that depends on doing every step to the best of your ability. Some areas where you might want to slow down and check your execution might be:

Do you have a Written Plan?  Good things usually don’t happen by accident. You need to have a plan of action in your job search where you identify target industries, target companies, networking goals, salary research, etc.

Training:  Are you studying and learning about improving your job search skills and strategies? Are you moving your job search skills and knowledge from “Poor to Good to Great!”. If you are not, just know the competition is.

Are you Really Networking? A LinkedIN connection is not networking. You have to have a personal connection by phone or face-to-face to be networking. PLUS – if you don’t have a networking strategy and specific goals for each networking meeting then you are trailing your competition on that front as well.

Adequate Follow-Up:   If you feel you had a definite chemistry in the interview, what are you doing to follow-up after the thank you note? Even interviews that end in a rejection letter – are you following up to get feedback or additional networking contacts?

Are you Researching?  You are competing against candidates that can quote annual reports and press releases and offer valid strategic feedback on customer markets, marketing literature and positioning strategies.

Are you Making it Personal?  How are you making them remember YOU? I recently received an email from a job seeker telling me that an interviewer was so pleased with a handwritten note that he showed it around the office and called it “Old World Professionalism”. I’m liking that guy’s chance to make the next round.

Are you a Polished Interviewer?  Practice, Practice, Practice. If you can’t google ‘interview questions’ or pick up a book on interviewing and not be surprised by a question that you haven’t prepared for and rehearsed to perfection, you are lagging the top notch competition.

Your LOOK:  First Impressions matter. Your hair, your clothes, your glasses all tell your story before you open your mouth so make sure that story isn’t “Clueless” or “Out of Date”. Also, networking can happen ANYWHERE… in the store, at the ball park, at the ChuckECheese with your kids… when you are in job search – you should always dress professionally.

The difference between sucess and failure in anything is found in the details. Job search is no different. In this environment, you do need to step up the “quantity” aspects of your job search but you have to keep an eye on the “quality” aspects as well. You need to find that balance.  Your competition is.

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