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Follow this Rule for Better Job Search Results

Are you stuck in a dead end job?  It’s ok. Most people face this situation at some point in their career.  The job may have seemed rosy during the honeymoon period, but after time, you have come to realize that this job did not live up to your expectations.  


When you are in this situation you usually find yourself with three choices:


1. Quit:  Call your brother up and say, “Hey bro… is it ok if I crash on your couch for a few months?”  Then, you can sleep on your brother’s couch rent free for a couple of months while you “find yourself.”  (If he doesn’t kick you out sooner)


2. Stay in the job: Instead of making a change, you can just put your head down and wait it out.  Maybe you will get a new boss, someday, that might make things better.  Or, you can have the life sucked out of you and end up miserable like Ebenezer Scrooge.  


3. Make a change:  During your lunch hour and at night, you begin a stealth job search where you look for opportunities, send out applications, and practice for upcoming interviews.  


Let’s assume that option 1 is a no-go because you would rather collect a paycheck then eat Cheetos all day at your brother’s apartment.  Option 2 would be ok, but you know that your current boss isn’t leaving anytime soon and the thought of wasting another year at this job sounds depressing.  The only alternative left is Option 3.  While it may sound a little scary at first, you know that finding a new job will be the best choice for your career and overall happiness.  


As you embark on your stealth job search, you may find the landscape confusing.  On one hand, you can find a plethora of great information online (like GovLoop, for example).  However, you have heard from your friends that you should “tap your network” to find out the juicy, insider information about specific agencies you are interested in.  


If you want to reach out to your network, please make sure that you follow this one rule:


Make it easy for someone to help you


While I’ve found that many public sector professionals want to help, they generally do not have much time to do so.  Given how vital their information is to you on your job search, you need to do whatever you can to make it easy for the other person to help you.  


Here is what NOT to do:


- You should NOT ask them to drive across town to meet you.

- You should NOT ask them to reschedule the meeting unless it is an absolute emergency.  

- You should NOT make it awkward for them to decline your meeting.  

- You should NOT ask them to write your resume for you.  


Instead, you should:


- Make the location as easy as possible for them.  Either you offer to meet at their office, or a coffee shop near their home.  Sometimes a phone call would be best.  Whatever the case, your job is to accommodate them, not you.  

- You should pitch at least three times/dates that you know you can make.  If none of those dates work and they propose an alternate meeting time, then you should move around your schedule to accommodate them.  For example, I’ve often taken a vacation hour here and there to accommodate someone’s schedule.  

- You should aim to do any work ahead of time, to the best that you know, and ask them to review it for you.  It is much easier and time effective to review a document than to start it from scratch.  

These are just a few tips that you should keep in mind as you conduct your job search.  The easier you make it for people to help you, the more likely they will.  


Is your job search stuck in a rut?  I often hear many people say, “I’ve applied to a dozen jobs but I never get a call back!”  If this situation sounds familiar, I may be able to help.  Please add me as a friend on GovLoop, mention this post, and let’s start a conversation.  


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Tags: career, job, network, networking, search

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Comment by Ryan Arba on February 3, 2014 at 12:46am

Great point, Andrew.  Thanks for adding to the conversation.  

Comment by Andrew Krzmarzick on February 2, 2014 at 9:45pm

Great post, Ryan. I just had a guy ask me to write a letter of recommendation - and he pretty much wrote it and asked me to tweak it. I *really* appreciated that as it saved me a bunch of time. Another guy didn't write it, but gave me some bullets of what he'd like me to cover. That was another excellent approach.

To me, that's just one more way to make it easy for someone to help you. Great advice. 

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