written by Kathy McAuliffe (originally posted on September 28, 2015)
It’s Monday! Yes!
Monday. Time to get back to the job search after a great weekend. You feel refreshed, restored and ready to go. A whole new week! Five whole days to get stuff done and find your new job!
Sound familiar? I thought not.
Many of us, frankly, hate Mondays — or at least, Monday mornings. Let’s face it: it’s not easy leaving behind the weekend and all it means: sleeping in, being with family or friends and feeling accepted; spending Saturday outside in the sunshine, enjoying weekend meals together, going to a great movie, reading a great book, having some down time — you know, all that stuff that we can enjoy on Saturday and Sunday that we don’t have time for during the week…
Then comes the sudden forced shift from 3rd gear back to 1st, from coasting to powering up. It’s not easy getting up at the normal M-F time again. It’s a pain to suit up and show up for appointments with strangers.
It’s hard to get motivated as a job seeker, making it happen on your own. The lack of structure or a set schedule can make your job search feel even more difficult. You need to build networks of contacts, meet new people and give your elevator speeches over and over. You have to write and rewrite resumes, and then send them out; worse, you hear a different opinion from everyone you meet regarding what makes a good resume.
But if you want to succeed, you need to do all these things and much more.
You need to have a job search plan, and then make it happen.
Planning Your Work
The source of the adage “plan your work and work your plan,” is unknown, though Margaret Thatcher and many other notables have often promoted the idea. And, even making a plan requires that you take action. You need to plan what you have to do to get where you want to go; plan how you are going to do it, set your deadline; decide whether you need help (you probably do), and plan where to get it.
Your job search plan doesn’t need to be complicated. To begin with, it can be as simple as setting these daily and weekly goals for yourself:
- Identify appropriate jobs to apply for
- Customize your resume for each job
- Submit an application and/or resume for each job
- Keep a log of the jobs you’ve applied for
- Identify opportunities for networking in your area (to get started, download a list of area networking groups from the Resources page on our website)
- Set and follow a weekly schedule of attending networking groups
- Sign up for a fun activity or volunteer at a charity
About having a plan, even noted French author Victor Hugo said it back in the 1800s: “He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.”
So, basically, know what you need to do, know how you’ll do it, and then get going – now. Today is a new day and the start of a new week. There is no other way to look at it.
Working Your Plan
To get motivated to take action, you have to, well, take action! Yes, it’s hard. Sometimes you will feel foolish doing what you have to do. Sometimes you will sense nothing works. But, you still have to make yourself follow your job search plan. How?
This may sound silly, but it’s actually a pretty simple concept. Talk to yourself. Yell at yourself if necessary. “Do it!’ Believe it or not, once you start “coaching” yourself, you will get on that proverbial roll and it will become easier. You will even begin to enjoy it. And, you will actually find yourself making progress.
Woody Allen said years ago, “90 percent of success in life is just showing up.” At first glance, this might seem a bit of a passive approach. Look further, though, and you will realize that a lot of action goes into “showing up.” You have to push those buttons, shift those gears — from the relaxed weekend to working your plan; from the casual Saturday approach to actually taking concrete steps toward landing a job. You have to start treating your plan as an assignment of which you are proud; that pride will spill over into your interview when the employer asks the often dreaded question, “So, what have you been doing?”
The Simple Secret
It all really does start with showing up every day, and then taking consistent, steady, verifiable steps toward your goal of landing a job.
Set your plan. Take action. Do the work. There is no other way.
Woody Allen was asked in a Collider.com interview of 8/15/2008: “What life lessons did you learn as a little boy that still serve as a strong source of inspiration for you even now?”
“I see people striking out all the time,” he responded. “It’s not because they don’t have talent, or because they don’t want to be, but because they don’t put the work in to do it.”
“I also had a very strict mother who was no nonsense about that stuff,” he said. “She said ‘If you don’t do it, then you aren’t going to be able to do the thing.’ It’s as simple as that.”
The success of your job search lies within you. Today, right now, as you struggle to get motivated this Monday morning, ask yourself, “What step can I take right now toward landing a job?”
Then take it!