What you can control in a job search. And what you can’t.

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Whenever I went to any sales-type training, one of the consistent subjects was all about “controlling the sale.” That somehow, the salesperson could extract dollars out of the buyer if all they did was “control the sale.”

I always had problems with that approach. After all, the buyer can always, always say no. Sometimes pretty loud while they were at it. Marc Miller over at Career Pivot makes the point that there are a LOT of things we can’t control in our job search either. It’s a good list:

Most of the time, when you are in job search mode, you are not in control. You cannot control when:

  • A position will become available

  • All of the interviewers are available so that one may be scheduled

  • The hiring decision will be made

  • A major decision maker becomes ill and is out for a full week

  • The recruiter you are working with attends a conference and is out of touch for a week

  • A hurricane hits a major facility and causes the company to incur steep financial loss

  • The hiring manager determines that he/she has not interviewed enough qualified candidates and starts the process all over again

  • There is a hiring freeze imposed during the interview process

  • Budgets get cut due to bad quarterly financial results

What you can control

Marc also offers some good ideas on what you can control during the job search and that you should focus on those activities. I thought I’d offer a few of the activities I think you can control while conducting a job search as an addition to his:

1. Refine your resume for each job submission – matching the resume as close as possible to the job description is a sure-fire way to improve your chances of getting the interview.

2. Continue to work with your business network – the hidden job market is real and the first place to find out about new positions opening up is through your business network.

3. Practice answers to your interview questions – you know you will get a bunch of standard interview questions. Or specific questions about your resume (why do you not have any work history between 2002-2003?). The absolute best way to prepare for those questions is plan your answer and practice delivering it.

4. Meditate – reduces stress, clears mind, allows unconscious come into play to solve problems. Yes, it’s woo. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

Job searches are stressful. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds with things you cannot control. So focus on what you can control. It will reduce your anxiety when the job interview comes and will help prepare for the interview in the best possible ways.

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