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.

5) Start Competing
Every game is a competition -- that’s part of the fun. How can you compete against yourself and/or others to find a job faster?

For example, if your neighbor John had a job interview last week, how could you schedule two interviews this week and “beat” him? (Never letting him know, of course!)

Who among your friends has an excellent blog or attractive resume, and how could you set about “beating” their efforts, one step at a time?

6) Celebrate Your Wins
Don’t forget to celebrate the “wins” in your job search. The bigger the victory, the bigger the festivities should be, right up to and including champagne when you get your new job.

Example celebrations: a cup of mocha or a walk in the park this afternoon if you schedule a networking meeting this morning; a cigar or bottle of wine for every job interview, etc.

For this and the other elements of the job-search “game,” you’re limited only by your imagination. Still stumped? Ask a five-year-old. Seriously. They’re experts on fun.

Remember: More fun leads to more self-motivation, which leads to faster results -- and faster employment.


Kevin Donlin is Creator of TheSimpleJobSearch.com. Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people. Author of 3 books, Kevin has been interviewed by The New York Times, Fox News, CBS Radio and others. His free report, The Simple Job Search Manifesto, is found at www.TheSimpleJobSearch.com


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