Advice: Stop Being Creative in Your Job Search

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: May 23, 2011 - 9:21 AM

"Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things." That's according to economist and Harvard professor, Theodore Levitt. And that's absolutely correct. Especially in job hunting, where too many people think too much and do too little.

"Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things."

That's according to economist and Harvard professor, Theodore Levitt.

And that's absolutely correct.

Especially in job hunting, where too many people think too much and do too little.

Want proof?

According to surveys cited by David Wessel in The Wall Street Journal, "The unemployed in the United States spend 40 minutes a day looking for work and 3 hours and 20 minutes a day watching TV."

This may explain why the average job search in America now lasts 37.1 weeks, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics data from February 2011.

Thirty-seven weeks -- more than 9 months -- is the longest it has taken Americans to find work in the history of this monthly survey, which dates to 1948.

Obviously, if it takes 9 months for the average person to find a job, something is seriously wrong with what average people are doing (or not doing) to find jobs.

Can you afford to be average? I mean that literally: Do you have 9 months of savings in the bank to sustain an average job search?

If not, you need to go beyond the average and start doing new things.

You need to start innovating.

While there's no recipe for innovation that works for every job seeker, here's helpful advice from author and radio show host Mel Robbins: "Innovation is about very small tweaks. It's about taking a step to the right or left; it's about experimenting."

With that in mind, here is a three-step process to produce new ideas in your job search -- and act on them, because action is the key ingredient in innovation.


1) Think: Write down everything you have done that has produced at least one interview. (If your answer is Nothing, call people until you find one tactic that led to a job interview in the last 90 days.)

Do: Use that tactic on three employers today. Track your results, tweak your actions (if necessary) and try again on three new employers in 48 hours.

2) Think: Write down everything you have done that has produced no job interviews.

Do: Tweak or stop doing those things, today.

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