Go back to Job Search Prep Syllabus.
A Quality Event needs to have a purpose, a goal, and an object. The object should be conducive to success: it should be challenging, achievable, and it should provide ongoing feedback on progress.
For example, when skiing, Jason’s goal is rarely to have a great day, because that’s often too much to manage. So he breaks it down, and create mini-objectives like trying a new run, or different technique, or stringing 20 turns together through the bumps. Sometimes, it’s just to get around the next one bump, or something else that is small and challenging, yet controllable.
Objectives can also change moment to moment. For a job searcher, objectives might be: Make 30 calls this hour. Research 3 companies before lunch. Meet with 5 new people by the end of the week. Work out before lunch. Read 4 blogs and make 3 comments today. The objectives themselves are not important. What is important is that they meet the following criteria:
Your objective needs to be something you can do. If your last job was as a server in a chain restaurant and your objective is to get hired as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you may be overreaching a bit. To help make sure that your goal is realistic, here are a few guidelines to consider: With bigger goals, avoid dates as much as possible. Look, we get it, if the rent check is due, the rent check is due. There’s nothing we can do about that. But as for the stuff in your control, avoid the “I will have a job by New Year’s” type lines in the sand. Does it really matter if the job comes on December 31st or January 2nd? Focus on milestones.
If you can achieve your objective with anything less than your absolute best effort, it’s not tough enough and won’t yield the rewards you’re after. It won’t feel like a win.
You need to be able to objectively ascertain progress along the way. More than that, you have to be paying attention to the feedback and using it appropriately; we will explore this topic at some length in the Clarifying Event section.
Quality Events require objectives (aka goals), and goals need to meet certain criteria. Specifically, they need to be realistic, tough, and they need to provide feedback on how you’re doing. What goals don’t have to be is big. In fact, Quality Events often come faster and easier when the goals are small. When Jason was skiing, sometimes his goal was simply the next turn. It’s amazing how, when trees start whizzing by, you start thinking small; you stop admiring the beauty of the mountain and you start to focus exclusively on the five or six feet of snow in front of you. A stressful job search is not too different.
This may sound simple, but you will likely find it a bit challenging once you dive in: create a job search plan that is made up of a series of discreet, linked objectives that are each tough, realistic, and that provide feedback on progress. If you do this right, you should end up with something that loosely resembles a flow chart where along the way, you have opportunities to receive feedback and — if necessary — take a step backward to make an adjustment. The plan will also go from tight and focused to more general as we move forward in time, because the number of unknowns we must work with grows as we project further into the future.
Post your plans in the comments section below… we may not be able to get to everyone, but we will review and provide you with critical feedback. You’ll also get a chance to exchange insights with your peers this way.
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