Had the management given itself a little longer to work out the inevitable bugs before opening, your first impression would likely be much stronger. The restaurant's chances for your repeat business would also have been much stronger.
Career transitions are rarely easy, and there is a propensity to want to take shortcuts. Often new job hunters with great potential are in such a rush to get hired that they hurry the process, like the restaurant that opens its doors without ample preparation. You may be eager to apply to the first position of interest, but the effort is likely doomed without adequate planning.
When you think about what you need to do for any large project, it can become overwhelming. And when you do things out of order, one small mistake early on can have larger ramifications later. This is especially true for job seekers.
The key to laying an effective job-search strategy is understanding the various parts of a job hunt and putting them into place in an ordered fashion. It's not about writing down everything you've been responsible for and calling it a résumé, setting up a bare-bones LinkedIn profile or staying up late at night, applying to everything you see advertised on a job board.
For example, take this situation where things are not well-ordered: A job seeker meets someone at a gathering who might be interested in helping. "Can I see a copy of your résumé?" he asks.
A reply like, "I have to write it ... I'll get it to you when I can" immediately damages credibility, and it demonstrates little reason for the person to go out of his way to help. Here are five things you should do before applying for a job:
1. Figure out what you have to offer an employer. If you are in midcareer and simply want to do what you've been doing somewhere else, or you want take a step forward in a linear path, this may seem obvious. Still, it is well worth the time and effort to catalog your skills and achievements before you move on to crafting your résumé.
If you want to change your career altogether, or if you are just starting out, rather than saying, "I want to be a XXX," you may benefit by taking advantage of a variety of self-assessment tools such as the Myers-Briggs. Moreover, it makes a great deal of sense to arrange for informational interviews to learn more about your intended path forward from those who have already traveled it.
2. Figure out employers' needs. Think of this phase as the market research you need to do before you are ready to launch your campaign. Check out what openings look like for the types of jobs for which you have great interest. And, if you happen to find a job that excites you, take a breath and remember that speed doesn't necessarily trump the quality of your application.
Note the responsibilities needed to be fulfilled, the skills it takes to accomplish them and the specific experience employers seek.
3. Craft your marketing materials. Remember that the purpose of your résumé and LinkedIn profile is to draw people to you, not tell them all the things for which you have been responsible. Use these keywords and concepts you've learned above as you draft your résumé, LinkedIn profile and cover letters.
4. Dig in for the long haul. There is a tendency for newly unemployed people to express statements like: "I'm great ... I won't have any trouble finding a job." While it is important to maintain a positive self-image and sense of self-worth during what is often a depressing time, when you are overconfident, you set yourself up for a bigger disappointment when you don't gain traction immediately.
5. Don't reinvent the wheel. Collaborate. Find others who are going through what you are experiencing, and learn from each other. Practice you networking and interview skills in a safe environment before you take them on the road. Consider getting a coach, counselor or mentor who knows the ropes and can help you hone your message.
When you sequence your hunt properly, you'll be better able to capitalize on every networking opportunity with the knowledge and confidence it takes for success. You'll then provide employers with a carefully crafted, well-integrated message demonstrating how you are the answer to their needs.
By Arnie Ferti