How to make your job search fun

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: September 7, 2011 - 9:17 AM

If you're looking for a job, here's an odd question: How much fun are you having? Not much? Well, you might want to change that.

This is the advice of former Minnesota Viking Fran Tarkenton, who suggests you try to find the fun in every task: “If it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right,” he says.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you were as motivated to write your resume tomorrow as you were to play Little League or skip rope as a child?

While I can’t promise to make it as much fun as a trip to Disney World, there are ways to make job hunting more enjoyable by making it more like a game.

In fact, here are 6 ways to do it …

1) Use a Scoreboard
Grab a whiteboard, bulletin board, or a large piece for paper.

Then, start “keeping score” of your vital job-search activities, such as networking calls and jobs you’ve applied for.

Think baseball here. Score every voicemail you leave as a single, a phone conversation as a double, a networking meeting as a triple, and a job interview -- that’s a home run. (What will your double plays be? Stolen bases? Walks?)

Remember the advice of top sports agent and author, Mark McCormack: “When the day is done, make one more phone call.” Then score it.

2) Become Your Own Agent
Speaking of sports agents, almost all pro athletes -- the people who get paid to play games -- have one.

Why not become your own agent? Then you can have some fun with the two most-important things any agent does: promotion and salary negotiation.

First, to promote yourself, join Toastmasters. There you'll meet local movers and shakers with connections to hiring managers. And you'll polish your communications skills in the process, something that can only make you more employable.

Another way to promote yourself is to start a blog. Then, promote your blog -- which promotes you! -- via Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook, and by posting intelligent comments on the high-traffic blogs of others.

Second, every agent must know how to negotiate. Do you? Your local library and bookstore are full of books on interviewing and salary negotiations. If you haven’t read at least one book on the subject in the last 30 days, get going -- today.

3) Join a Team
There's nothing like the camaraderie of playing with others against an opponent. It probably dates back to the first team of cavemen who brought down a mastodon.

Why not inject some teamwork into your job search? Simply get on the phone and start “drafting” like-minded people to join your team. Can’t find three or more people to build a team? Visit area job clubs and join them.

The important thing is to team up with folks whose company you enjoy, and leave the negative people to themselves.

4) Keep Stats
How could you measure your performance, like a batting average or a quarterback’s passer rating?

I suggest you track the following numbers each week: networking phone calls, resumes sent by email, resumes sent by snail mail, people added to your network, networking meetings attended, and job interviews.

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