Saturday, January 15, 2011

#3: The length and scope of your campaign

Well, there's no rocket science involved here folks.  It plain out takes a long time to find a job for most people, and certainly takes time to find one that matches what want to do in terms of employment.  The job is very rarely going to find you, so just as you might prepare for the mission that takes you downrange and you conduct some pre-combat checks and inspections, you should do the same on yourself.

It is important to organize your campaign into easily referenced areas.  You might purchase a binder that allows you to organize your notes, resume samples and cover letters, and response letters from employers.  If your campaign is going to take you across varied terrain, and involve headhunters, a large group of network contacts, and expenses incurred from attending training, interviews, and such, you might need to buy a bigger organizer or segregate the materials into smaller organizers.

The PDAs of my day when I first got out aren't what they are today, and if you have any of the various smartphones, you'll be able to stay more organized with little effort.

If you bought a copy of Knock 'Em Dead (KED) 2010 like I recommend, you need to dedicate time to reading it from front to back, and following the guidance within its pages.  There are no shortcuts in this business of finding a job, and though you might think that pre-formatted resumes and templates will save time, I have found (as I do with all correspondence) that writing a resume from scratch will take you through a more deliberate and critical process.  This in turn should allow you to get it into the style and flow that you want the first time around, and preclude a lot of editing.

And don't plan on your first couple of shots at a resume allowing you to call it a day.  You will need to put it down, walk away from it for a few days, and come back for a close review.  You'll need to let others read it, read it aloud to yourself, and yes, maybe even to your dog or cat.  All this takes time, so plan your campaign around these facts.  I would say that in order to realistically produce a tailored resume that will satisfy most of the basic rules from KED, it will take two weeks, assuming you are still going to your job on a daily basis and only have weekends and weeknights to apply to the work.  Add in the need to draft a tailored cover letter for each job listing that you are after, and you start to accumulate more time.

The good news if that you are starting the effort at least six months to a full year out from your end of service, you are in good shape.  Many larger companies will not even seriously consider you as a bona fide applicant until a minimum of six months away from the day you begin terminal leave.  Some are looking at prospects who are no more than 90 days away.  Don't let time creep up on you though.  If you are accustomed to an established workout routine and track your accomplishments, this will be easy, but you should chart a minimum of a weekly plan and then record what you actually did towards your job hunt.

There are a number of research and organization software tools out there that can be used to assist you.  I can't recommend any one in particular, as I haven't tried too many.  MS OneNote is, however, one application that I have used (it was bundled with my issued laptop when last deployed) and it allows you to do a lot through a fairly simple interface.  I have probably only tapped into 25% of its potential.  Download the trial version and give it a go.

Okay, I'll close this here.  Remember to comment on what you want to see discussed, or what elements of a rule or two need elaboration.

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