Breaking The Rules During Job Search

Sometimes in job search you feel a little hemmed in. Framed by a set of rules.  Rules that say how you should act.  How vocal you should be about the fact that you are looking for work.  How often you can communicate to your network.  And the like.

A few short thoughts today about breaking a few of those rules.

First let me tell you that the idea for today’s post came from my 10 year old daughter.  She came upstairs a few mornings ago, saw me brushing my teeth and said “But, Daddy, You haven’t eaten yet.”  Of course it’s true that you should not brush your teeth until after you’ve eaten.  She was right.  Lucky for me I was not hungry that morning, would not be eating, and therefore would not be a rule breaker.

We spend a lot of time teaching our kids about the rules and we shouldn’t blame them for being attached to them in this way.  But sometimes there are rules that are a bit too strict or were intended only for certain situations.

Sometimes in job search it feels like we are afraid to push against the status quo when it has to do with communicating with our network.  We have this feeling that Miss Manners will tell us to “shush” if we stray too far.

And that sense of making a mistake, often leads to a boring and uninspired job search.

Now I know that some of you will say “that’s not me”.  But consider where in your effort are you pushing or breaking a few rules?

Of course I will remind you that you can bruise relationships by going too far, but if you focus ONLY on the safe path, you may find yourself quietly being ignored in what is a very competitive job market.

And as I said earlier this week:  Stop being a chicken.

So I’m going to ask you to consider something today. Where are you playing it safe?

If you read the post 11 Keys To Successful Job Search Networking you’ll read about Staci’s aggressive but very respectful efforts with me.  Now, did she officially break any rules?  No.  But she did not ask me in advance to do any of the things I mention in the article.  She got creative.  She broke the status quo.

I’m happy to report, by the way, that Staci arrived at her new job.  She is now Marketing Vice President for a supplement company.  Cool.

Would you like an idea that breaks the status quo and pushes you out into the open sunlight?

If you’ve read some of the earlier posts here, you’ll know that I believe in getting everyone in your network informed about your job situation.  And I mean everyone.  That includes friends, family, neighbors, pastor, checkout clerks, softball team members, former vendors, former co-workers.

Especially those in your network who have a vested interest in you.

And not just informed about your situation.  But loaded with key details about what you are looking for in your next job.  Specifically, your job search objectives.  Many great tools to support that effort can be found on the free downloads page including the SoloSheet and the FlashCard.

So here’s the idea.  Organize a fun surprise party (Super Bowl, American Idol finale, World Series or just “because”). And it needs to be fun – to get people there and to set the right mood. Invite everyone you know.  Near the beginning of the party – once all have arrived – get everyone’s attention and say the following:

“Thanks everyone for coming.  You are here for two reasons.  First, because life’s too short not to have fun.  Second, because I need your help.  As you may know, I was laid off last week from XYZ company.  And while I want to use this time to re-connect with everyone and smell the roses, I need your help.  I need you to keep your eyes and ears open for me.  So, everyone here tonight gets a goodie bag.  In that bag you get four things.  A squirt gun, a bag of M&M’s, my one sheet and my networking business card.  If you hear of any jobs that fit my objectives or if you know anyone I should meet, will you let me know?  Oh, and by the way, if you see me getting the mail at 2:00PM while still in my pajamas, shoot me with the squirt gun.  Thanks.  Now back to the party and thanks for your help!”

So, of course, you need to keep it light-hearted and fun.  This is not a eulogy.  It is a fun, unexpected way to include the people closest to you in your job search effort. And people will want to be involved if it does not make them feel uncomfortable.

Now instead of:

“Oh poor Tim.  Did you hear?  He got laid off.  Oh those poor kids.  What will they do?”

You get:

“What a fun party.  Glad to know how I can help!  Honey, who do we know at XYZ corporation?”

A very different way of thinking.  And one that actively involves your network in the task of finding you a job.

Posted via web from AndyWergedal