Bridging the Gap to a New Job

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: December 1, 2008 - 2:33 PM

Let’s say you’re looking for a job, as an administrative assistant, for example. But you're working part-time in an unrelated position. Or you have no job at all. How do you bridge that gap, the one between where you are and where you want to be?

Try gap analysis.

It's used by Fortune 500 companies to produce multi-million dollar results.

Why not use it yourself to produce a new job?

As defined by Wikipedia, gap analysis is a way to compare the actual with the potential. It’s based on asking two key questions about a business: Where are we now? Where do we want to be?

In your job hunt, ask: Where am I now? Where do I want to be?

If you're unemployed or under-employed, try not to fret. As long as you know where you want to be, your search becomes a simple matter of bridging the gap from here to there.

Having a clear blueprint to build that bridge can remove fear and anxiety, freeing you up to be more productive and happy.

So let's start building a bridge to your new job using gap analysis ...

A) First, ask yourself: Where am I now?

Write your answers on paper. Do NOT try to analyze your employment situation in your head -- that's like juggling cats.

To find out where you are now, you must answer several sub-questions:

a) What is your job title, if you're working?
b) Your income?
c) How many weeks have you been looking for a job?

Then, examine what you’ve been doing each day:

d) How many resumes have you sent by email?
e) How many resumes have you sent by snail mail?
f) How many web sites have you uploaded your resume to?

You should be able to answer these questions rapidly. If not, get organized. Because you can’t improve what you don't measure. A good resource for that is JibberJobber.com, a free service that puts all your tasks and communications in one place.

Now, here are the final questions to answer:

g) How many resumes have you hand-delivered to hiring authorities or people in your network?
h) How many networking conversations have you had by phone?
i) How many face-to-face networking meetings have you had?
j) How many new people have you added to your network?
k) How many job interviews have you been to?

If you're like most of the thousands of job seekers I've spoken to since 1996, your answers to the people questions (g through k) will be smaller numbers than those to the process questions (d through f).

This is human nature. It's easier to zap your resume off by email (question d) than to make a phone call (question h) or meet someone (question i).

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