What can Leonardo da Vinci and Will Rogers tell you about finding a job? Plenty, it turns
Read on for some new twists on timeless advice that might help you get hired faster.
#1 Men of lofty genius when they are doing the least work are most active. - Leonardo da
Does this mean sloth-like behavior can make you a productive job hunter? Not quite.
In fact, much work is done by your subconscious mind while the rest of your brain and body are
doing other things, like sleeping, eating an apple, or shampooing your hair.
Example: Remembering seeing the name of your target employer on the Facebook profile of a
guy you sat next to in 10th-grade history.
Inspiration can strike any time, anywhere, so be ready to capture ideas from the blue that
can change your job search rapidly. Two ways to do it: a portable voice recorder (there is
probably one in your cell phone) or a portable notebook.
Sure, most may ultimately fail, but you could be just one good idea away from a new job. You will
never know unless you test them out.
#2 You have got to think about big things while you are doing small things so that all the
small things go in the right direction. - Alvin Toffler
The average job search takes 29.1 weeks or 203 days according to Dec. 2018 data from the U.S.
Bureau of Labor statistics.
That means the First Big Thing in your life must be finding a job. And every small thing you do
each day must point in the direction of employment.
Any time you are not sure whether you should be doing something, ask yourself: Is this moving me
closer to a new job? If not, stop doing it.
Examples of small things to analyze with your employment goal in mind:
- Email. Do you really need to check it every hour? Are employers contacting
you that often? Would two or three email checks per day suffice instead?
- Errands. Yes, it is good to get out of the house, but could not you do
your banking or shopping after first having a networking lunch or coffee with a person in
your target industry?
- News from TV, print, or online. Do you really need to sit through 30-60
minutes of bad news on TV each morning and night? How will it make you more employable?
#3 When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. - Will Rogers
If you have been taking the same actions for months and not getting job offers, stop.
Examples of tasks that may not be working:
- Applying only for advertised jobs - instead of having business discussions
with decision-makers who can create positions for you or introduce you to other hiring
- Networking with a stale elevator pitch - instead of offering to be
useful to others - busy people will not take calls from desperate job seekers, but they will
take calls from folks who are helpful.
- Sending cover letters that read like IRS tax forms - instead of sending
sales letters that sell employers on the specific benefits they will enjoy by hiring you.
Still stumped on what to do? Ask five people who have great jobs what they did to find their last
three positions. Not only will you get 15 potentially useful ideas, but you will also be
networking with five successful people - not a bad use of your time.
#4 The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking
your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first
one. - Mark Twain
When it comes to writing a cover letter or a networking message to friends, few things are more
daunting than a blank computer screen.
Yet, to get ahead - and get hired - you have to get through some grunt work. If you can break
complex undertakings into smaller ones, you can get started - and get done - faster.
Example: Cover letters. They can be a royal pain to write.
But what if you start with a simple task first? Ask yourself: If I were on the phone with this
employer, what would I say?
Write down your answer, no matter how illiterate it may appear. Do not edit. Simply write.
This dictated cover letter may run for one sentence or three pages. But somewhere in it is
the main idea - the key reason you deserve the job. Find it.
Then, build the rest of your cover letter around that main idea, like a sculptor adding pieces of
clay to a wireframe, until a recognizable form appears.