Well, I finally got it. I’ve been fighting off this “change of seasons” cold for weeks, trying everything I could think of. I guess even my mom’s chicken soup recipe couldn’t ward off this one.
Yet I have a to-do list a mile long, and time-sensitive stuff for my clients that just can’t wait. So, while I was going through my day yesterday, I thought how this might be a very relevant topic for job seekers to be thinking about as well. How do you continue your job search on days when everything isn’t just “perfect?”
Because, let’s face it, if you only work your job search when the stars all align, you’ll probably get nothing done. This is another way of just sitting back and waiting until life or that next job just come to you and fall in your lap. Several years ago, that might have worked. Not anymore.
No, your job search IS your full-time job. And you can’t call in sick every time you get the sniffles or you have a bad hair day. You HAVE to keep going. You HAVE to continue to trudge through that to-do list. You HAVE to show up.
So, my tips for dealing with your job search when that seasonal cold hits:
1. First off, take a shower. Don’t sit in your grungy pajamas because that is only going to make you feel worse. And sitting in a steamy shower is a great way to break up all that gunk in your head.
2. Do the self-care business. Drink a large glass of orange juice. Make the homemade chicken soup in truckloads; prepare a huge pot of hot tea, and alternate sipping large quantities of both. Take whatever over-the-counter or prescription medicines are appropriate, and don’t forget the zinc and echinacea and a good multivitamin. Have a large quantity of Kleenex handy and a small garbage can to throw them in. Pull out the hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes.
3. Finally get your calendar, to-do list, and your computer. Let’s check out what you can get done today in the safety of your home. Unless you can be reasonably germ-free and not sound like a foghorn, today might not be the day to do a lot of in-person networking. People will NOT appreciate being sneezed on in the height of H1N1 season. And that is not how you want to be remembered, either!
The only exception to the rule would be for an interview. Even then, with the current scare of H1N1, I would personally evaluate my ability to mask/hide my symptoms for an hour, and then call the company. Give them the option of interviewing you anyway when you are not at full-par, or rescheduling if possible for later in the week.
So, let’s get back to that to-do list. Yesterday, I had two calls scheduled that I couldn’t change, so I made sure to take an extra dose of meds right before my calls. I also worked my way through a pile of computer work that had been ignored: responding to contacts on LinkedIn, reviewing a client’s resume and making notes, searching online for new “out-of-the-house” networking opportunities for next week (doubling up since I won’t be able to get out much this week), working through the email inbox, and doing some administrative paperwork that I hate doing that was weeks late in being done. I busted my bum on getting all of that computer work done, and today I was able to start with a much cleaner slate and a much clearer head.
Think about how this can translate to your job seeker to-do list. Check out your marketing materials – do you have your resume, one page bio, and your SMART stories up-to-date? Have you been neglecting your online brand (LinkedIn, web portfolio, blog)? Can you order those business cards online? Do you have a pile of industry articles and magazines that you need to catch up on so you can stay up to date or use for fodder for white papers or that blog? How about your networking calendar? This is a great time to fill your calendar in the upcoming weeks with coffee meetings for informational interviews, or association/group meetings and networking functions. You can do quite a bit of research online for your target companies. You can check out who’s hiring on the job boards, and research which recruiters are active in your field. Perhaps you can finagle a couple of phone interviews that will turn into in-person interviews next week as well.
Do you get the picture? Even if you are locked up in your house for a week with the sniffles you should have PLENTY to keep you busy. Watching soaps and “The Price is Right” all day long is not going to help you get a job. But working your job search strategy plan, even when things aren’t ideal, will.
Plan your work, and work your plan. No matter what. That’s what will get you the job.
And get to bed early! Nothing helps a cold like some extra sleep!