Getting Offensive On The Job Search

We all know the classic line “The Best Offense is a Good Defense.”  I of course believe the opposite is true many times and sometimes you’ve got to go on the offense as a form of protecting yourself.

I also believe that a job search and career plan can be both Offense or Defense.  The “offense” job search/career plan involves aggressive planning, moving forward, and following plans that lead to various goals.  The “defense” job search is one where you preserve what you have, plan “horizontal” moves to escape bad situations, and in some cases just take any job.  I’m sure we’ve all done both.

However, I meet a lot of people doing “defensive” job searches (indeed I’ve done them myself).  Based on my experiences I think the “defensive” job search and career planning predominates as we have an unstable, unpredictable, economy.  It’s understandable, of course – but I’m thinking it may be taken too far.

I see so much defensive job searching, that I’m thinking far, far too much time is spent in defense mode.

When you’re defensive, you’re not planning ahead (usually).  You’re responsive.  You’re protective.  This may make sense, but when the economy is in such a shambles there may be no defense, there may be no protection.  In a state without sanctuary you need to build one – you need to get defensive.

After all, when you go “on the offense” in your job search you’re planning, you’re moving forward, staking out territory, making things happen.  You’re not letting the crisis define you – you’re doing your own definition – and you may even be redefining the crisis.  You’re also not letting yourself be defined by the situation.

How many of us are being defined by a situation?  How many of us are just responsive?  How many of us have no grounding and are really just preserving what little we do have?

I think it’s time more of us go on the offensive:

  • Preemptive low-level job searches may be great – but get an eye toward career advancement.
  • Keep your career plan moving forward, with training, coaching, looking at new positions, etc.
  • Make that new business of yours anyway – even if its part time or erratically.
  • Keep your career plan going and chart it.  Even if it’s delayed, you know where you’re going.
  • Define yourself.  Don’t’ let someone else or something do it.

Let’s try to ramp up the career plans and the job search. Let’s go on the offense.

But how did it get that way?  Well that’s for the next column . . .

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at