IT Leader Job Hunting Secrets

by drjim on February 11, 2009

You’ll Bag A New Job Quicker If You Know How To Hunt For One

You’ll Bag A New Job Quicker If You Know How To Hunt For One

It’s All About How You Use Your Time

So I like to talk about how to be a better IT Leader just as much as the next guy, but what are you supposed to do when your job has gone away? I’ve been getting a lot of email from IT managers who are finding themselves unintentionally “in-between jobs” for the first time in a long time. The first thing to realize is that no matter how long it takes to find the next job this is just temporary. The next thing to understand is that there are secrets to speeding up the finding of your next IT job…

The #1 problem that I see in IT managers that I’m working with who are searching for a new job after having lost their last one is that for the first time in a long time they don’t know what to do with their time. When they were working it seemed like they never had enough of the stuff. However, now that their job has gone away, they don’t know what to do with themselves.

The first thing that we all need to realize is that you’re going to need is some structure in your life if you want to hurry up the process of finding your next job. If you don’t have any structure to how you are spending your day, then you won’t be organized and you won’t be focused. This means that you won’t be able to get to where you want to go.

Job Hunting Is Like Having Another Job

When I’ve been between IT jobs, it took way too long for me to have this mental breakthrough: job hunting IS my job. When you have this understanding, a lot of other things start to fall into place. Just like any IT job that you’ve had in past, you need to structure you new job hunting job so that you have specific work hours and a schedule for getting things done along with deadlines.

The secret to making your job hunt a success is to treat it like a full-time job. This means that you’re going to have to do things like set aside some physical space for your job hunting work: that’s exactly what your home office was created for.

All too often immediately after having lost an IT job, we’ll sit down, sign onto Monster.com, and start applying for every job that we can find. Don’t do this.

Instead, go about starting your job search in the right way. The first thing that you are going to want to do is take some time to get well organized. This means that you’re going have to start off by taking the time to spend several days or even as long as a week to really get set up for your job search.

Getting set up means doing several things that are important to do, but not necessarily related to applying for any one specific job opening. Instead, you need to spend your time getting your resume in order, maybe creating some cover letter templates, even chasing down some good references would be time well spent.

The Three Bucket System

Face it, when you suddenly find yourself running a one person business in which you have to do everything, it’s pretty easy to reach a point where you just throw your hands up in the air and say “I give up!” Don’t do it. Julie Morgenstern a productivity author suggests that you view your day as being divided up into three separate compartments: preparation and research, meetings, and follow-up.

Her main point is that it is dangerous for us to spend too much time doing any one thing. What we need to do is to try to schedule a meeting every day (or at least five meetings a week). Instead of spending all of your time hunched over your laptop, this will help to keep you better connected to the outside world.

Julie also suggests that we end every day by planning the next one, plus the two days after that. This sets up a time horizon where we start to feel as though we know what’s coming up and so it’s not so scary. Face it, we are energized by getting things done and this will help us do that.

What All Of This Means For You

Losing an IT job is never good, losing an IT manager’s job is even worse. It’s all too easy to get lost in feeling bad for ourselves when this occurs.

The experts tell us that we need to sit ourselves down and realize that we have a new job: finding our next job. Getting organized and coming up with ways to divide up our days into productive segments will help us to get there.

The most important thing to remember when you are hunting for your next job is that you will find it. The only thing that you can’t control is how long it will take. Use these suggestions that we’ve discussed and that hunt will take less time!

Do you think that how well you are organized can reduce the amount of time that it takes to find your next job?

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