Pick up job search ideas wherever you find them.
Every November my friend Kim participates in a crazy event called NaFiWriMo, short for National Fiction Writing Month. There is a non-fiction version too. Participants write an ENTIRE book in the month of November! This event has few rules. The book does not have to be published or any specific length or even particularly good. The writer just has to finish something.
Kim has been writing an entire book every November for 15 years!! Isn’t that awesome? She loves the discipline and the adventure. Someday one of her books will be published but in the meantime she sees her skills improve every year. I love the dedication to a personal goal. I am mostly intrigued with the commitment and structure needed to accomplish something hard like writing a book in a month.
What does it take to make this happen? I looked into the concept and found that tackling NaNoWriMo or the non-fiction version NaNonFiWriMo requires the same skills as finding a job!
Let me unpack this a little using one of the encouraging emails from @Nina Amir at WNFIN Challenge, How to Structure Your Nonfiction Blogged Book. Nina’s suggestions to aspiring nonfiction writers can be converted to help you structure your job search. Check this out:
1. Find a model: Find people on LinkedIn who have the job you want. How do they structure their LinkedIn profiles to describe their experiences in the most positive light? What phrasing do they use? What information do they include that makes them look great? Use that structure to upgrade your LinkedIn profile and brand.
2. Stick with the basics: Job search basics these days are more than the traditional outreach through applications and networking. Make sure your basics include making yourself searchable and accessible to people who are searching for candidates with your talents and skills. The new basics require you to be findable on the Internet through great profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and other social media sites.
3. Consider adding special features: Understand what makes you different and special then highlight those special features so companies can see what you offer. Add presentations or additional information to your LinkedIn profile or SlideShare or YouTube.
4. Front Matter and Back Matter: Books begin with a great cover to attract attention and references at the end to support the content. Job seekers can have a great picture on their social media sites and recommendations to support your claims.
5. Mind Map First vs Structure First: Before starting your job search understand what you want and why you should have it. This is like a mind map. Mind maps begin with the overall concept then branch off with the ideas that support the concept. What is your overall main concept or goal? What are the accomplishments and experiences that support your overall concept or goal? Once you understand your overall concept you can more effectively structure your job search.
6. Extras to consider: Take your job search to the next level by considering how you can use what you know to help other people. You can share what you know by blogging, sharing articles, writing your own articles, participating in LinkedIn Groups, volunteering your time. What other ideas can you think of to get your name and energy out in the world so someone will notice you? Giving back is a great extra way to expand your job search.
7. The final step: Now that you have your job search organized, set daily and weekly goals for actions to make more contacts and use your contacts to move your search forward. This is a game of numbers. You need a lot of contacts to get a few meetings to get a few interviews to get a job offer. The final step is actually the first step to organizing an effective job search!