We are bombarded by information all day long. Whether it is at work, on social media or our young children’s nonsensical rambling tales. Sometimes all that information stops me in my tracks and leaves me with analysis paralysis, what about you?
Personally, I don’t help myself out either, I don’t like to move forward until I feel like I have gathered sufficient information on a topic, like any good information gatherer! But that can get me stuck dreaming and not doing. Not the best place to be.
I know I’m not alone in being stuck in the dreaming phase. Too much time dreaming and thinking prevents us from moving forward in our lives. It is easier to stay stuck than to even think about all the things we have to do to achieve our goals. We have heard it time and time again not to take the easy road and that it isn’t worth it if we didn’t have to fight for it. Which makes us think it MUST be a complicated road to fulfilling our dream.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can simplify it, we just have to make that choice.
Now this applies to our whole lives, am I right? But it definitely applies to our careers. So today I wanted to get back to the basics of the job search, simplify it so that it doesn’t seem so scary and impossible. Here are the 5 steps to the Minimalist Job Search, one that is so simple that it does almost seem too easy but I can tell you that if you follow them that you are well on your way to fulfilling your career dreams.
1. Foundational Preparation
Honestly, this is one of the biggest time savers. Writing one master resume and cover letter that only needs to be tweaked. Doing one master interview prep that only needs to be reviewed and customized. It saves hours.
How? Start at what you want. Take a look at 3-5 job postings that are in line with your career aspirations and your interests, motivations and skills. There is probably a lot of overlap between them once you pay attention. Write down all the shared responsibilities and qualifications. Compare that to your previous jobs in terms of what you did, how you made a difference and what you accomplished.
Keep all of that in mind as your write your resume and cover letter.
Now don’t forget to highlight your accomplishments in your resume! When writing them out, use BAR (Background Action Result) to guide you. Taking this one simple step will help you get all the right details into your marketing documents.
Then once a job posting comes up that you are really interested in, all you have to do is review your marketing documents to make sure it lines up before submitting. That should only take 5 minutes!
Next up is your foundational interview prep. You already have some of it started! Your accomplishments written out using BAR are some of your stories making your life so much easier. Think about any other stories that you should think about such as “tell me about yourself”, your weakness, problem solving, etc.
Looking at the responsibilities and qualifications you will also see the overlap of certain job duties, skills and knowledge that you may need to have. Ensure you have some stories prepared that demonstrate your experience in those areas.
Finally come up with 3-5 questions that would make sense for these types of roles, ones that are specific but relevant to any company/industry.
Once that phone rings with an interview request all you’ll need to do is brush up on your stories, making sure they match up with the job description, do some company research, prepare for “why do you want to work here” and add some company/industry specific questions!
2. Get Social Media Ready
Social Media has become a vital part of the job search, and while you can go deep into using it as a tool, you can also take a simpler approach.
First, make sure they are all job search friendly, meaning professional and private. Second, get your LinkedIn profile set up to wow. Third, get your LinkedIn connections to a healthy number (ideally 500).
That’s it. Not too hard!
3. Reconnect with Key Network
This is going to sound hypocritical coming from me since I talk about networking ALL. THE. TIME.
But even networking can be simplified!
If you don’t have time or energy then don’t worry about extensive networking. Just focus on reconnecting with certain people within your network. Who those people are depends but the key is to engage the ones who are most likely to advocate for you or hire you.
Previous references and managers are the first priority, they usually hired you in the first place, they did your performance reviews and they know just what you can bring to the table. Ask them out for a coffee or lunch (with you footing the bill!).
Second would be anyone you know who works at a company you want to work at. They know how it works and with them vouching for you, you are more likely to get an interview. Ask to speak over the phone or buy them a cup of coffee.
Third would be colleagues you were close with and people who are natural matchmakers when it comes to people. These people can speak to your work or they are just the type of people who naturally connects their network. Ask to buy the a coffee or after work drinks.
4. Communication Templates
One major time saver is to write out email templates, similar to writing out foundational marketing documents. These are emails that you spend 15 minutes crafting and then less than a minute tweaking. That way you aren’t agonizing every time! These emails can be used for networking, informational interview requests, follow up after meeting someone, and thank you after an interview.
5. Create a Plan
One of the easiest way to simplify your job search is by having a plan in place. Deciding how much time each week you want to devote to your job search and then splitting up your time accordingly. Then planning out each day to make sure nothing slips through the cracks! A successful path to a new Career is often dependent on the little things (like following up on a job application) that you can easily forget.
You can use an online calendar to track setting up appointments as reminders, an app like Trello creating a Job Search project.
Me, I’m a paper and pen gal! There is something about writing things down that just makes things more real and I’m definitely more likely to remember.
That is why I designed the Dream Career Planner pages, three free printables that definitely will make your job search simpler!
Click here to download yours today.
The Minimalist Job Search may seem like it is too good to be true, but these 5 steps all work together. Some have you putting in some work up front to save you time later while others have you be laser focused on where you put your time and effort. But all will get you on the journey towards your dream job. It is time to stop spending your life dreaming and start living your dream instead.
Sara Curto, Career Management Specialist. Working with you towards Career and Job Search Success.
Dream Career Planner
Click HERE to download