Job Searching is a Skillset

The problem with the job search is that we think of it as something we do and that's it.  We think of it as an effort, and an effort we hopefully get done with.  We're wrong.

A job search is applying a skill – the skill of doing an effective job searching.

Finding a job is a skill in itself, as sure as using a programming language to make a program is a skill, as sure as creating a spreadsheet to track finances as a skill.  Just like any skill some people are good at it and some bad, some are good at one part and not the other, but it is still a skill, and a unique skill, often separate from other skills we have.

Realizing the job search is a skill unto itself is a key to success in your career.  Realizing your job search is not something you do, but something you learn to do and can develop and improve is what will let you make your job searches successful.  When you realize something is dependent on a skill, you can improve it.

When you improve that skill, then you get better results.

If you want better job search results, you need to treat the job search as a skill, and improve it:

  1. Read books, blogs, and articles on improving your job search.  Even when happily employed it pays to keep up on the job search skills (and all the skills that it, in turn, is composed of).  This helps you improve your abilities in the job search – and gets you thinking of improving it as a specific skill.
  2. If you're searching for a job, track results.  When do you get more results or less?  Better results and worse?  What seems to improve your results?  Learning from your successes and failures helps you improve your job search skill.
  3. During your job searches, ask your recruiters, the people you talk to, even those who declined to hire you, what you can do better.  Actively seek improvement by getting feedback.
  4. Talk to people about their job search techniques, find their secrets, and get advice.  Learn actively.
  5. Know when to stop doing your job search; when to take a break, when to slow down, or when to actually rest on your laurels.  This rest lets you "come down" from using the job search skill and sets important boundaries – so you don't confuse the job search skill with others (confusing networking is one of the most common occurrences in my book).

To make the switch to seeing your job search as a unique skill, treat it as one.  Improve it, cultivate it, use it – and learn when to step away from it.  You'll find you're better at the job search, and you'll have the perspective you need on improving it – because you see it a skill something that can be cultivated and improved.

– Steven Savage