Are you playing offense or defense in your job search?

I am in the middle of listening to a follow up podcast from Chris Sacca on the Tim Ferriss podcast.  Chris @sacca talks about “getting down to business” at the 14 minute mark.  This also rings true in the job search.  Caution for those with sensitive ears, there is some big boy language.  How often do you get sidetracked or distracted from your job search?  I bet a lot.

First, the reasons behind it…  I have not met anyone that likes the process of looking for a job.  It is like cold calling for sales people or looking for a first date with someone.  Yes, sometimes the hunt can be fun but that is once you find the tracks or you find the person you want to ask out.  Looking for the tracks or looking for that person, not so much.

Secondly, it does not feel productive.  You are probably looking at the entire elephant that you need to eat.  AKA finding THE JOB.  Notice I say, THE job not A job.  If you only have the job offer as your only goal that finish line may be weeks or months off and makes the day to day toil of the job search tough to endure.  You need to knock that goal into smaller pieces.  You need to start doing a job search journal to track your goals.  More on that later this week.

Thirdly, we are wired for distraction these days.  You need to figure out how you work and focus best.  Some people need a quite place.  You may need noise cancelling headphones or ear plugs.  Or as Chris Sacca does, play one song on repeat to help you focus on your task at hand.

On to the solutions…

Create digital space

You need to turn off all digital distractions.  Chris Sacca @sacca suggests a software solution: Rescue Time @rescuetime.  It helps by not only preventing some distractions but it helps by tracking where your time is spent so you know where to INVEST your time.  Chris goes on to say that you need to turn off the notifications on your phone and other devices while you focus.

Are you on offense or defense?

Offense is when you are doing things that you assign yourself.  Defense is when you are doing things to please others.  Offense is what you GET to do and defense is what you HAVE to do.  It may just be as simple as making that mental shift from what you MUST do to what you CAN do.  Who is writing your to-do list?  Yes, it is a good idea to check the job boards but all the signs point to the fact that job boards may be one of the least effective uses of your time.  That is not to say don’t use them, just plan your time and set a limit.

Playing offense is tougher.

You can’t win by just playing defense, you must get some points on the board.  But guess what?  Offense it tougher and takes more planning.  Defense is primarily reactionary.  You need to not only plan and set your goals but you need to plan the execution.  HOW are you going to get it done?  What are your priorities?  Are you waiting on jobs to come open or are you seeking out opportunities?  What are you doing to make things happen?

So take a few minutes today and ask yourself… “am I playing defense or offense in my job search?”

Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient strength; attacking, a superabundance of strength.
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

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