Before you start your job search in earnest, make a few decisions.  This post includes questions my clients pose on targeting their ideal job and resources for making some of those decisions.

Note that most of these questions are related to the daily tasks in the How to Get a Job in 90 Days Plan.  Get day-by-day guide to the perfect job search here.

The old saw, "If you don't know where you're going, how are you going to know when you get there?" was never so true as it is in this point in your search. Here's how to figure out "where you're going"!

1.  Decide where you want to live

Do you have an example of how to make this decision?
Yes, you can get your Where Will My New Job be Located? Decision Chart by clicking the button above.

Where can I find information to help me decide where to live?
[This is a list for 2015, but these lists are continually updated. So be sure you have the latest!]

Forbes:  Where the Jobs are in 2015
Willing to move (maybe to a colder climate?) More where the jobs are in 2015
CNN Money:  Where You Are 18 Times More Likely to Find a Job
CNN Money:  Best Places with Quick Commutes to Work
CNN Money:  Best Places with Most Affordable Homes
The 10 Most and Least Expensive States in the U.S.
The 10 cheapest towns to live in (over 50,000 in population)
Forbes Best Places for Business and Careers
Comparison of Cost of Living in Various Locations
Conducting a job search in a new location
Best cities for new grads
Learn all about any locationHow

est employment prospects for African-Americans
Jobs that are most prolific in each state

2.  Define your ideal working arrangement and office location
What are my options?
Here are some of the ways you can work today.
Which of these is ideal for you?. 
  • Full time in an employer's office
  • Home office, meeting with clients or customers
  • Home office, meeting with clients or customers in public venues or at an employer's office
  • Hoteling, mostly in the field, but "popping in" to an office to work at a desk designated for non-routine use
  • Telecommuting, regularly scheduled or full or part time work at home, typically within range of the office for easy drive in
  • Flextime, regularly scheduled periodic day off, such as every other Friday
  • 100% of the time in the field with clients or customers

Where can I find information on different working arrangements and office locations?
You can find lots of information to explore alternatives to in-office, full-time employment:

3.  Define your strengths, skills, interests, and experience
How can I assess my strengths, skills and interests? 
  • Discover your strengths and how to tap into them

Can I have an example of a Job Search Datasheet?

A Job Search Datasheet is a repository for data about yourself.  You'll update it, reflect on it, and refer to it throughout your search to recall the key skills, knowledge, and experience that you want to emphasize in your marketing materials, relationship-building, and interviewing. Think of it as a single source of data from which to make informed decisions.

You'll also add previous employment information for use in completing applications, just to keep everything in the same place. 

You can format your Job Search Datasheet however you like.  Some job searchers use Word, others PowerPoint or Excel.  Some prefer to compile the data in OneNote or even EverNote.  What should you use?  The application and format that is the most comfortable for you.  Here's an example on a PowerPoint slide.  Note that you may have several slides (or pages or worksheets) as you add to your datasheet.

4.  Define 1-3 potential job titles
What if I want to change careers?
These are my top three recommendations for exploring a new career:
     a.  Info interview people in the job (see below for how-to's).
     b.  Check out Virtual Job Shadow for great videos, etc. of various careers
     c.  Go to oNetOnline for everything you could possibly want about every career
          you could possibly imagine.

How do I conduct an information interview?

An information interview is a great way to find out more about an industry or role you are considering.  Here's how to line up information interviews. 

This article outlines how to conduct an effective information interview, one that gets the information you want and creates a positive relationship with the person you are interviewing.  If you do not conduct a full-blown interview, you can use one or two of these questions to learn more from your social media contacts. 

How can I get feedback on how I might fit into an organization?
See the question above for advice on getting information in an interview with someone who is in the role or organization currently.  But you can also try this technique:
  • Send an email to former colleagues and trusted advisors who know you and your industry/role well. 
  • From a list of potential titles you provide, ask them to rank a list of titles with #1 being the most likely next step in your career. 
  • Include choices that would allow them to indicate where they see you fitting into an organization: manager, director, junior, senior, etc.

How can I learn more about jobs I might like? 
                     Job Outlook with salary

Everyone keeps saying "Follow your passion!"  Is this the time for me to do that?
Maybe, but maybe not.  But it is the time to do some life planning.  Then you'll be able to see where "your passion" fits in.  This article will help you understand the variety of ways you can follow your passion and fulfill your other life goals. 

5.  Finalize your Ideal Work Situation Statements
How do I finalize my Ideal Work Situation Statements?
Just fill in the blanks and sit back and admire your hard work for a few minutes.  Then, figure out how you can best use your Ideal Work Situation Statements (including abbreviated, "talkable" versions). On the back of a business card?  As an "I'm available" ad on Twitter?  As a post on your Facebook page? To communicate with your Board of Advisors?

My ideal work situation is in [city, geographical area, country, my home, either ____ or ____] as a [full-time employee, telecommuter, worker from home, part-time employee, temporary or seasonal employee, contractor, consultant, project worker] in the [specific industry, any industry, or any industry except...] as a [title(s)]. 

My main task would be to [task that can be understood by anyone desiring to help you].

Not looking for a job? Share this post with someone you love who needs to find a job fast!
Just because you’re following the same How to Get a Job in 90 Days Plan as others doesn’t mean that your job search should look and feel like theirs.  No way!  Review the profiles below; select the one that is most like you. Then check out my thoughts on how you may want to adapt your job search so it reflects who you are.

So how would you describe yourself? 

The Hipster
Moving fast and taking advantage of every tech and trick in the book to keep up the pace?  You've got big plans.  Maybe you're a Hipster.

The Social Butterfly
Constantly connected to others?  Into sharing and helping others? Have you ever in your life met a stranger?  You thrive on interacting with others.  Maybe you're a Social Butterfly

The Traditionalist
Confident?  Are you just looking for someone to point you in the right direction and you're good to go?  You have some things to learn, but you have some things to teach as well.  Maybe you're a Traditionalist.

The Newbie
Uncertain, but not unprepared?  You know you can do the job, but need some help landing in the right place?  Is this your first rodeo?  You need guidance, not constraints.  Maybe you're a Newbie.

The whole point here is to follow the plan, because every step is critical, BUT do it your way.  Inject your personality.  Go with your strengths. 

Some ideas to get you moving...

Please share this post with someone you know who is looking to find their ideal job!
You'll be writing lots of emails throughout your job search. And the right one could seal the deal. Here's how to make your emails do what you want them to do.

  • Complete the "To:" field only after you have completed the email to your satisfaction to avoid accidental sending.
  • Write from a professional email address.
  • Identify the result you want from the email.
  • Address the recipient by name.
  • Write as a "real [professional] person" talks.
  • Refer to previous correspondence.
  • Use bullet points to create white space.
  • Use numbers to create order.
  • Minimize multi-syllabic, "hoity-toity" words. [See why?]
  • Clearly communicate the action you want the reader to take.
  • Review the email:
            1.  Did you follow a logical order?
            2.  Does the recipient know what to do next?               
  • End with a signature that includes contact information.

Bonus tip: Add an English teacher friend to your Board of Advisors to serve as your job search editor.

What I hoped you got from this post:
Emails are important communication channels.  Make your emails stand out from the rest and do what you want them to do.

Take action:
Act as if every email you send will be the one that will get you the job.

Please share this post with someone who is looking to find their ideal job!  Kat

Maybe you won't shave two weeks off your job search by composing and re-using a basic job search email, but you will save some time and a ton of "psychic energy".

Note that I'm not suggesting that every email you send is the same. I am recommending, however, that you create and adapt a sample email to reflect your personality (maybe you're an exclamation-point-type person, maybe you're not), and save it for re-use and further customization to fit the occasion.

There are only so many ways to say something and you might as well figure out how you want to say it once and be done with it.

By the way, the fact that a sample situation is included in the list does not mean that I feel this type of conversation should always occur by email. Phone or face-to-face contacts, when practical, are usually preferable to email. The exception? When it's important to have a record of the conversation and texting is too informal.

Selecting the appropriate communication channel is all about the situation, the people involved, and, just as often, gut instinct.

Final note before you review the basic email: Clearly identify the purpose of the email so that your email can include a clear call to action. Use a brief version of that call to action as your subject line.

What is it that you want recipients to do? If you don't know, they won't know.

Let's assume that email is your ideal venue and that you have identified what you want to achieve. Here's a template that should meet your needs for any situation.


Likely recipients:
Friends and family
New contact with whom you are building a relationship
Former colleagues who have moved to a new company
LinkedIn connections or group members

Subject:  Ex. Request for introduction to [Name and title] at [Company]

Hi [contact name],

I hope you are [enjoying your new job / keeping busy / relaxing this summer / anything that indicates you know them and care].

As you know, I'm actively searching for a new job as a [desired role / abbreviated version of your Ideal Work Situation Statement].


If your purpose is to ask someone to introduce you to an employee with a prospective employer's company:
I've discovered an ideal match for my skills and experience: [position name with link to job posting] at [company name]. If the person knows you well enough, you could add here: I hope you'll agree.

My goal is to locate an employee in the company to [transmit my resume and cover letter directly to [the recruiter / Human Resources / the hiring manager / learn more about the company culture / fill me in on how their IT department works / tell me more about the hiring manager]. You’re connected to [target name title, and company] on LinkedIn OR You've mentioned [target name] as a [friend / colleague / fellow basketball team member] previously.

If you feel comfortable doing so, would you introduce us and request contact information, noting that I'll be in touch shortly?
If your purpose is to gain information regarding a prospective employer on your Target Company List:
I'm putting together a list of prospective employers in my area and would like to include any companies you think might be a good fit for my role and credentials. Do you have any suggestions?
I see where you are an employee with [company]. I'm in a job search and have added (company) to my Target Company List. Would you have a few minutes to talk with me about your experience as an employee? If so, please provide a time that would be convenient for us to meet by phone.
If your purpose is to add a person to your Board of Advisors:
I'm organizing a virtual Board of Advisors to provide specific job search advice or suggestions on my approach. I would anticipate this help would take no more than 10-15 minutes weekly, if that. Your [overall business acumen / familiarity with my role / industry/ expertise in career strategies] would be helpful to me and I would value your contribution. May I add you to my group?

I’ve attached my [resume / bio / addendum] to update you on my credentials.

Thanks in advance for your support of my job search. As always, I truly appreciate your help!

If applicable, add a personalized thank you:
By the way, if Tuesday evenings are still good for you, let's meet at Harry's around 5:30 for a "thank you" drink.
I'd like to [write a recommendation for you / endorse you] on LinkedIn. Is there a particular skill or experience you would like for me to emphasize?
I've attached an article I spotted recently on [the best fishing holes in your area / your industry or role] and thought of you. Let me know if you have any luck!

[Your name]
LinkedIn email address

Attachments: resume

(Adapted from an article by Alex Cavoulacos: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-ask-for-a-referral-an-email-template)

There are, of course, other types of emails you'll be sending as your job search progresses. We'll cover these in future blog posts.

What I hoped you got from this post:
Avoid dithering over an email with a basic template that you can adapt for each communication situation.

Take action:
1. Write your basic email with all of the possible iterations and save it to drafts in your email account.
2.  Adapt as needed.

3.  As you adapt, save a copy of each version in your drafts to save even more time

Please share this post with someone who is looking to find their ideal job!

7:00 - 7:59am
Grind out 45 min. on the treadmill. 
Eat a healthy, hearty breakfast.
Big day ahead of you. Start out right.

8:00 - 8:29am
Take a good look in the mirror.
Note your skills, knowledge, and experience.
Match them to an appropriate position (or two).

8:30 - 8:59am

Write Your Ideal Work Situation Statements.
Sum up your desired location, working environment, position, industry, and major tasks in two easily articulated sentences.  Research a typical comp package. 

9:00 - 9:59am
Create a variety of marketing materials ready for distribution.
The magic word is alignment - alignment between your assets, the desired position, your resume, cover letter, and interview stories.
10:00 - 10:29am
Target desired employers.
Who do you need to know in each company on your Target Company List? 
Jump in! Apply for jobs that match your Ideal Work Situation and set up search agents.

10:30 - 11:59am
Implement a strategy for creating and deepening relationships with potential supporters.
Connect with family, friends, mentors, former colleagues, recruiters, and desired contacts through: F2F, phone, virtual and local networking events, email, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Alumni groups.  (Great point in your search to demonstrate your creativity and tenacity...)

12:00 - 12:59pm
Meet for lunch with Charlie, former colleague and new hire at JonesCo, a target company.
Talk about old times. Communicate your Ideal Work Situation. Talk about new times.

1:00 - 1:59pm
Practice and debrief an interview with a member of your Board of Advisors.
You did create a Board of Advisors, right?
Practice responses to questions about those sticky issues. Again. And again.

2:00 - 2:29pm
Write a new “Manage That Project” blog posting.
Project management skills are your edge on the competition. What better way to deepen your knowledge and snag some "street cred" than to research and write a blog on it?

2:30 - 2:59pm
Charlie came through! Email customized cover letter and resume to JonesCo hiring manager.
Send a thank you note to Charlie and include the exact location of your previously top-secret fishing spot.
Research JonesCo, noting questions to ask in the sure-to-follow interview.

3:00 - 4:29pm
Interview with Susy Adams of JonesCo.
Looking sharp in your best suit, and armed with your portfolio and warmest smile, you aim to make a friend. You:
  • Focus on three points to communicate, listen attentively, and converse thoughtfully and confidently.
  • Ask a few previously prepared questions and a couple that evolved from the discussion.
  • Communicate your interest in the job.  

4:30 - 5:59pm
Receive the offer graciously, negotiate an industry-aligned compensation package, and accept.
Sure, it all happened fast. But you got this!
With your Ideal Work Situation and culture and comp research done, you compare notes, make the case for some added "bennies", and call it a GO!

6:00 - 9:59pm
Thank everyone who supported you.
Update your supporters, share how their efforts ensured your success, and commit to helping them to achieve their goals.
Diplomatically decline any outstanding offers.

Still up? Time for bed. You’ve got a job to go to tomorrow!

What I hope you learned from this post:
It's going to take more than a day.  But it will take fewer days if you follow an organized, comprehensive plan. 

What you should do after reading this post:
Act you like you have one day to get a job.  You'll know what to do.

Please share this post with someone who is looking to find a job fast!

This is the second of a three part series of blog posts with
20 five-minute tasks listed per post…

Some job search tasks require a little time to complete. For instance, it will take more than five minutes to create your Job Application Summary and your Job Search Datasheet. Other tasks, however, can take just a few minutes. The fact that these tasks can be completed in a short period in no way diminishes their importance. And while each task doesn’t require a lot of time, each task does demand intense focus. 

Job search stale and lacking meaningful activity? Each of these tasks has the possibility to truly jump starting your search. Be prepared to spend some time following up with the activity you will generate!

The time you take to complete any one of the five-minute job search tasks on this list could be the most important five minutes of your job search.

How to make this list work for you
Here is the list. Most of the tasks are appropriate for any point in your job search. No task on this list should take more than five minutes (unless you decide you want it to). There are as many ways to use the list as there are personalities and priorities. (Most should be repeated throughout your search. Keep this in mind as you develop your strategy.) Here are a few tricks my clients have used:
  • Set a daily appointment to complete your five-minute task on your Outlook calendar. Call it "Huddle with New Employer".  Categorize it the color green for money.
  • Before you sign off on your job search tasks for the day, do one five- minute task.
  • Give one of your kids the job of alerting you to do a five-minute task each day.  Make it fun.  Rule:  when your kid says go you have to stop whatever you are doing and complete the task. 
  • Do your 5 minute task at 8am today, 9am tomorrow, 10am the next day, well, you get the picture. 
  • Challenge yourself to complete your five-minute task in 4 minutes or 3 minutes.
  • Completed your five- minute" task?  Announce your success on Facebook or Twitter.  Introvert?  Record it on an Excel spreadsheet, journal, or Outlook calendar.

Got five minutes? Do this!
[See a previous blog post for the first 20 five-minute tasks.]

21.  Review, and update if needed, your email signature.  

22.  Google “how to use Twitter to get a job”. List three actions you could take now.

23.  Contact a recruiter in your industry.

24.  Develop an email response to welcome anyone who follows you on Twitter.
       (You will get new followers from all those re-tweets.)

25.  Research local job search groups, events, or other “face to face” opportunities to meet others.

26.  Send a lead to another jobseeker.

27.  Sign up for a free online course to fill a gap in a technical or soft skill.

28.  Research volunteer opportunities. Focus on ones that would fill a skill or experience gap
       or use your skills to help others.

29.  Search YouTube to create a list of learning opportunities. 

30.  Find your groove.Create a weekly job search schedule. Experiment with focusing
       on certain tasks on designated days or times of the day. 

31.  Read an industry news article.

32.  Call a supportive friend focusing the call solely on ways you can support their efforts.

33.  Send a role or industry-related article to former colleagues, interviewers (where you
       didn’t get the job), recruiters, or new contacts.

34.  Search for 10 new connections on Linkedin (ex. industry or role recruiters, thought leaders,
       recommendations for your current connections).

35.  Invite members of your groups to connect on Linkedin.

36.  Research Twitter to locate Linkedin connections and “follow” them to deepen the relationship.

37.  Google “how to use Linkedin to get a job”.  List three actions you could take now. 

38.  Sign up for helpful online newsletters such as Lifehack Daily and The Simple Dollar.

39.  Review your check register to see if there are places you could reduce expenses.

40.  Search Linkedin profiles to learn from the career paths of those in your desired role.

Look for the next 20 five-minute tasks in this series next week...

What I hope you learned from this post:
You can get a lot done in five minutes.  What you do in those five minutes may be more critical to your job search success than tasks that take considerably longer. 

What you should do:
Take advantage of small amounts of time to accomplish big results.

Please share this post with a job searcher!

This is the first of a three part series of blog posts with 20 five-minute tasks listed per post…

Some job search tasks require a little time to complete. For instance, it will take more than five minutes to create your Job Application Summary and your Job Search Datasheet. Other tasks, however, can take just a few minutes. The fact that these tasks can be completed in a short period in no way diminishes their importance. And while each task doesn’t require a lot of time, each task does demand intense focus. 

Job search stale and lacking meaningful activity? Each of these tasks has the possibility to truly jump starting your search. Be prepared to spend some time following up with the activity you will generate!

The time you take to complete any one of the five-minute job search tasks on this list could be the most important five minutes of your job search.

How to make this list work for you
Here is the list. Most of the tasks are appropriate for any point in your job search. No task on this list should take more than five minutes (unless you decide you want it to). There are as many ways to use the list as there are personalities and priorities. (Most should be repeated throughout your search. Keep this in mind as you develop your strategy.) Here are a few tricks my clients have used:
  • Set your phone alarm for 55 minutes after the hour. Complete one five-minute task when    the alarm rings. Re-set the alarm for 55 minutes after the next hour until you have finished   for the day.
  • Allocate an hour one day a week to complete and check off 10 tasks a day. (“Five Minute Friday” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?)
  • Print the list. Cut it in strips of fifty tasks. Place the strips in a jar. When you have five minutes, pull out a strip and complete that task. (The kids will love this if you have a Job Jar for their chores!)
  • Got swim practice duty? Do a couple of tasks on your phone or laptop while waiting for the kids.
  • Create reminders in Outlook or on your phone at appropriate time(s) of the day or week.   
  • Reward yourself with a game of computer solitaire for every one you complete.

Got five minutes? Do this!
1.  Read an article on trends in your industry.

2.  Google “recruiters for [your industry]”.

3.  Search Linkedin for groups related to your industry or role.

4.  Brainstorm topics for your blog.

5.  Draw a picture of the ideal person for the job you want.  Label it with attributes,
      skills, knowledge, and experience.  Compare it to yourself.

6.  Review your Job Search Datasheet and create a list of your skill or experience gaps.

7.  List 10 new people to follow on Twitter.

8.  Write a recommendation for a former colleague on LinkedIn.

9.  Endorse some people from the
LinkedIn prompt.

10. Update your status on your LinkedIn profile.

11. Post a discussion question in one of your LinkedIn groups.

12. Comment on a discussion question in one of your LinkedIn groups.

13. Re-tweet something that inspired you.

14. Comment favorably on a blog post that inspired or educated you.

15. Catch up on one of your professional organizations’  websites.

16. Clean out your email inbox.

17. Move applications over 30 days to the Inactive section of your Application Summary.

18. Clean up your documents folders, ensuring you have a folder for each application.

19. Update your Board of Advisors.

20. Google “how to use Facebook to get a job”. List three actions on your To-Do List.   

Look for the next 20 five-minute tasks in this series next week...

What I hope you learned from this post:
You can get a lot done in five minutes.  What you do in those five minutes may be more critical to your job search success than tasks that take considerably longer. 

What you should do:
Take advantage of small amounts of time to accomplish big results.

P.S. Sharing is good.  It just might get someone you love a job!

It’s not difficult to understand the principle of “The 10th Thing”. Unfortunately, however, it is difficult to do “The 10th Thing”.

In fact, that is the whole point. “The 10th Thing” is the thing that when you have breezed through the first nine things, you don't want to do.

Why don't you want to do it? Maybe because it takes too much time or energy or seems unimportant to you (this is the most common, and most deadly!).  Maybe because you find it difficult physically or mentally.  There are lots of reasons why not.  But the reasons why you don't do "The 10th Thing" are not nearly as important as the fact that you have the opportunity to step up to the plate and do it now. 

When you do “The 10th Thing” you will earn rewards that come only to those who do more than the things that most people are willing to do.  [Look up the Michael Jordan story if you doubt me on this.]

Meet Susan, the Super Star
Let me give you an example. I had a client, Susan, who was a top producer in sales. She was such a star that the only reason she was job hunting was that she had moved to a new location with her husband. Susan was an ideal candidate. She had an engaging personality and an uncanny ability to explain a complex product in simple language. She was fearless in the face of customer objections. 

The problem
Every job seeker, no matter how talented and experienced, has a challenge that seems to be uniquely his or hers.  Susan’s challenge was this:  she would ace the interviews, consistently ending up in the final group or pair of candidates, but would fail to land offer after offer. For a person who excelled at closing the deal, this was particularly frustrating. 

She needed to figure out what was going on. We reviewed her search process. Powerful resume? Check. Customized cover letters? Check. Solid networking?  Yes. In fact, Susan had a surprising amount of local support considering she was new in town.

The solution
Since we were not able to identify the problem, I recommended that Susan request feedback from the recruiters of the companies that had interviewed her. I explained that it is commonplace these days to ask for such feedback when you make it to the final selection, but fail to receive an offer. I told her this was a good idea in those cases where you have a good relationship with a forthcoming recruiter. If a candidate has befriended one or more of the interviewers, she can generally receive some type of constructive feedback from them, personally or through the recruiter. (See my blog post on “The Purpose of the Interview is to Make a Friend.) 

Oops, Not so fast…
Susan balked. She just did not want to do it.  She felt it would be awkward.  She didn’t think she would get any feedback.  Moreover, even if she did, she believed the feedback wouldn’t be honest. Eventually Susan admitted she just didn’t like criticism and was afraid of any feedback she would receive. She worried that if she did receive negative feedback, it would “get me down and I need to stay up”. 

Susan’s 10th thing, the thing she just couldn’t make herself do, was to ask for constructive feedback when she “failed to make the sale”.  No doubt, many people would agree with Susan.

Eventually Susan snagged a great job, although it took several more months for her to do so.  Even as we celebrated over lunch near her new office, I knew that her protracted job search would remain a puzzler for me.   Why did it take so long for such an attractive candidate? With her record, I thought her job search would be a “slam dunk”. 

Mystery solved
Susan was in her new job for almost a year before I solved the mystery. An HR event provided the opportunity for me to speak with two internal recruiters who remembered Susan well. In separate conversations, they told me the same story. Hiring managers were attracted by Susan’s record of success with complex sales and she was their first choice. However, with a spouse who could easily be transferred again, they worried: “Would Susan stay with the company long enough to bring in the really big deals, the ones that require deep relationships and years to finalize?” They wondered about this, but did not feel free or even comfortable asking Susan about her plans.  So they went with the other candidate. And Susan lost out. 

When I thought about it, I realized their concern made sense.  Sadly, Susan could have easily eased their minds by volunteering information.  She and her husband had made the decision to accept the transfer only because they had family in the new area and good schools for their preschoolers to enter. Susan and her family are not going anywhere anytime soon, a fact she would have shared readily had she known it might be a factor in a final hiring decision. 

But Susan didn’t do “The 10th Thing”.  She failed to ask for feedback because it was uncomfortable for her to do. And it cost her.  Given Susan’s earnings record, a two months’ hiring delay cost her over $15,000.  

Other examples of “The 10th Thing”
You may relate to Susan’s hesitancy to ask for feedback.  But there are many versions of the “10th thing”.  We all have a “10th thing” and you’ll probably discover it in your job search. With a little luck and self-awareness, you’ll recognize it, overcome your hesitancy, and do it anyway.

“The 10th Thing” feels boring, repetitious, unnecessary, or too hard to do for many.  You may recognize yours in these tasks that have challenged some of my clients:

1.   Establish an ideal work situation before jumping into a job search.

2.   Quantify the results of their accomplishments.

3.   Review job postings to identify the key skills to stress in marketing and interviews.

4.   Engage a team of supporters.

5.   Seek out contacts in their target companies to transmit their application to HR.

6.   Identify companies in their geographical area that actually hire people in their role.

7.   Translate a complicated job description into words that can be understood and
      repeated by those who want to tell others about their credentials.

8.   Maintain relationships with recruiters and hiring managers from previous interviews
      in which an offer was not made.

9.   Provide more than “lip support” to others in exchange for help.

10. Exchange computer time for human interaction.

11. Schedule information interviews to learn more about their role or industry.

12. Complete a practice interview and debrief; complete a second practice interview
       and debrief.

13. Identify personal “sticky issues” and address them in marketing and interviews.

14. Adapt their communication style and content to that of their interviewer.

15. Compare their job offer to their ideal work situation.

Frankly, I've barely warmed up here, but you get the picture!

It’s funny until you stop and think about it
One of my favorite jokes drives home the point I want to make here. 
Two campers, Jim and Sam, were preparing to take a trip into bear country.  Sam’s wife lamented, “Sam, honey, I’m worried that if you encounter a bear, you won’t be able to outrun him.”  Sam wasn’t worried and responded, “No problem, dear, I don’t have to outrun the bear.  I just have to outrun Jim.” 

Do one more thing than your competitors and you’ll get the job. 

What I hope you learned from this post:
Every step in your job search won’t be easy or come naturally to you. It's in completing those difficult steps when you show what you are made of.

What you should do:
 “The 10th Thing”. Recognize it, understand why it is difficult for you, and do it anyway.

Please share this post with someone who is looking to find a good job fast!

The path to gainful employment can be nerve-wracking and a little crazy-making.  But people just like you get jobs, good jobs.  To drive home that message at a time when you may really need to hear it, I'm going to post some stories about my clients' job searches. Like the other stories I'll be sharing here, every word is true (although some names or details may be changed to protect the identity of the hero or heroine).  But I wouldn't blame you if you had some doubts about the truth of this one...
While I was the Managing Consultant of the Houston office of Drake Beam Morin (DBM), we acquired 65 new clients who lost their jobs when their oil and gas exploration firm was purchased by a larger energy-related company.  The new owner wanted the assets of the firm, but did not want the personnel. 

One of the three vice presidents was cleaning out his desk the next evening when the janitorial service arrived.  As she entered to clean his office, he greeted Gisela as he had done many times before. Since neither spoke the others' language,their pleasantries were mostly nods and smiles. Tonight, seeing the boxes he was loading, she looked at him sympathetically, and asked, "You go?"  Yes, he nodded. Before turning to dust the plant, she looked out the window, pointed to an office in the next building and said, "Here everybody go, there everybody come." 

Yep, you guessed it.  He scouted out that company across the way, aced an on-the-spot interview, and snagged the job.  The next week, he happily thanked Gisela for her help as he unloaded boxes and she dusted the plant in his new office.  He's not sure she understood exactly why he gave them to her,  but he is sure that she enjoyed the bouquet of flowers.

What I hope you got from this story: 
You never, ever know where or when you are going to receive the referral, the name, the number, the email address, or the insider tip that will lead you to your job. That magic person doesn't have to be your friend, know your industry, or even understand fully what you do.  They don't even have to speak your language.

Take action: 
Tell everyone you meet that you are in transition and looking for a new opportunity.  Your Gisela is waiting out there to help you.

I'm ready to start applying for jobs.  Do I need to stop and do this now? 
Knowing where you want to live will help you complete most of the job search tasks you'll encounter over the next few weeks. 

Having identified your desired geographical location, you can target prospective employers and select key words for creating search agents on job posting sites. 

How will my decision as to where I want to live impact my job search?
The more open you are to living in a new place, or an "out of the way" place or a less popular place, the more quickly you should find a job because, in casting a wider net, you will have more opportunities. Additionally, employers will see you as “easier to work with” and more agile.

What if I don't have the flexibility to move?
Many people have important reasons to stay put.  If this is your situation and prospective employer choices are not abundant, get creative (think virtual, home office, or telecommuting).  You may also have to increase your desired percentage of travel or daily commuting time. 

What if I’m open to moving, but can’t afford re-location? 
Even in a down economy, many employers will pay for re-location.  Some will do so even if you are moving across the country.  Others limit this benefit, or the amount they will pay for the benefit, to new employees at certain levels. 

Even if the employer does not pay for the move, you may be able to negotiate a cash amount on hiring to help defray your moving costs or living expenses until you can afford to move your family to the new location.   Some employers will also pay for “exploratory visits” to help you select a new living location even if they don’t pay for the re-location itself.

If you feel there is any possibility that a new employer will pay some or all of your moving expenses, it might be wise to hold off moving until you get a job offer in the new location and know the situation.  Few employers will be interested in reimbursing you for a move you have already made. 

What if the job posting says “local applicants only”?  Can I still apply even if I don’t live locally?
Yes.  Unless the employer feels you need to know the area to meet the minimum job requirements, the prospective employer is actually saying, “We won’t pay for you to travel to the interview or for your re-location.”  If you are willing to pay for your travel to the interview and your re-location should you be hired, you should apply.   If the employer really wants to hire you, he or she may reimburse you for interview travel expenses as part of the offer. 

Think about:
Are there ways you can meet your (and your family’s) personal needs and objectives AND build more flexibility into your ideal work situation?  For instance, if you have a child who is a high school senior, could your family join you in a new location after graduation?

If you plan to make a move and want to make sure that you know all of your options when deciding on a new living location, here's a trick you can use:

Remember that compass you learned to use in grade school?  Find it, or tie a string to a pencil, copy a map of your desired location, draw a circle that represents a reasonable commuting distance. 

You'll probably learn that most locations have, within a reasonable distance, a living situation, urban or suburban, large city or small town, that works for you.  And you're ready to start selecting prospective employers to target.  You can also use this technique to explore wider options if you have decided to stay in your current location.

If you are undecided, you may want to create a chart using criteria that are important to you - good schools, local university, major employers in your industry, etc.- to compare possible living locations. 

What I hope you got from this post: 
Knowing your ideal location is part of developing your ideal work situation.  It's one of those tasks that may be a pain now, but you'll be happy you did when you are making a decision about a job offer.

Take action: 
Identify your ideal situation, but stay flexible. 

Sharing is thoughtful.  Someone you care about may need a new job.  You can help him or her
find a new job faster. 

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