If you are willing to take a few methodical steps every day, stay focused, remain flexible and refuse to give up, you can absolutely enter the workforce in less than 90 days. I don’t care if you have an ugly resume. I don’t care how long you’ve been unemployed or if you’ve never even had a job. And I don’t care if you haven’t got a degree and need a good job. If you identify your mission as getting into the workforce and you are willing to do what it takes, I’m going to make sure you succeed. Let’s get on it.
Day 1 Declare it.
I am a big fan of letting the world know what you are going to accomplish. There is no reason to keep the most important part of “you” a secret. Right now, call up 3 friends and tell them about your mission to enter the work force and land a great job. It doesn’t matter how far along the process you are. It just matters that you are committed. Be loud and proud. Scream it out to the world. Once you have taken the first step, we are ready for step 2. But please don’t go to step 2 until you have made those 3 calls.
Day 2 through 10 – Brain Storm
Make a list of all your skills, background, and work connections. Then list the things you might enjoy doing. That’s the easy part.
Now, on a separate piece of paper, jot down what you want to get out of your job. How much free time do you need? How much money do you need to make and by when? What other requirements do you have?
A friend of mine really needs to make $75,000 to support himself. Right now, he’s not making anything at all. But since he’s not broke and not desperate, he can afford to filter the job opportunities by those most likely to help him reach his goal.
In other words, he’s not going to interview for jobs that don’t have the potential. He doesn’t need to make $75,000 right now. It is better for him to hold out a little until he gets an offer that eventually will lead to the $75,000 a year. Of course he may stay in the unemployment lines a longer time but that’s better than getting stuck in a dead-end job for him right now.
He also knows he can work for a year before he really has to make that $75,000. As a result, he doesn’t care what he earns from the get go. All he really cares about is that he has a reasonable chance of making the money he wants to make within 12 months.
Think about this yourself. Assuming you aren’t broke, homeless and hungry, you have some time to develop your career. Before you accept dead-end jobs, make sure the position has potential to satisfy your needs long-term. If you do accept a job and later find out it won’t get you where you want to be down the line, start looking again. Don’t let the immediate paycheck influence your decision. You are doing this for the long-run. Don’t give in to your fear. Of course if your situation is more extreme you might need to find a job fast. In that case, take any job that will put food on the table but keep working the steps below to eventually land a job that will work for you.
Day 11 through 20 – Investigate
Make a grid that looks something like this:
Fill this in and try to get as many ideas down as possible. If you don’t have many ideas, talk to friends who know you. Talk to those who seem to enjoy what they do and have the kind of life they enjoy living. Interview them and get feedback. Ask them for ideas. They might have suggestions for you that you never considered.
If you have plenty of ideas but not enough information, that’s fine. This grid will tell you exactly what to do next. If you need more information about a particular job or career, the internet is a very efficient tool that will help get what you need.
If you find an idea that is perfect for you but you don’t have any contacts in the field, this is not a problem either. We’ll solve that one together in the next assignment.
If one or more of the parameters are less than desirable, you have to put your thinking cap on. If everything is great except the hours, for example, you have to ask yourself if you are able to compromise or not. But if the required skill level is beyond you right now, don’t waste your time. You might love to do to open heart surgery but if you haven’t gone to medical school yet, maybe you should pursue other ideas.
Keep in mind that you may become more or less flexible as you work through this entire exercise. In other words, you may be unwilling to compromise now but find that you might become more flexible on certain points later on. In other words, just make notes now. Don’t rule anything out permanently.
Day 21 Rank
Based on your research from the previous 10 days, rank the opportunities in terms of providing the best fit for your particular need to get back out there. You should have no more than 5 and preferably a maximum of 3 targets to pursue. Let’s start cracking.
Day 22 through Day 90 Create Interviews
Don’t waste your time sending out resumes. Nobody is going to respond. Instead, be proactive. If you have contacts in the industry, call them up and ask them out for a cup of coffee. But before you meet, create a list of 15 questions and get their input. They should include questions like these:
a. What is the best advice you can give to someone interested staring in this industry?
b. What are the challenges / opportunities the industry is facing right now?
c. Where do you see the industry in 5 or 10 years? Why?
d. What is the one thing you’ve done that has helped you be most successful?
e. If you could do anything differently, what would it be?
Come up with a few more questions and focus on the person you are interviewing rather than on yourself. Remember, you are networking. Before you leave, ask them to recommend others who you should interview. Then ask how you can help them. Make sure to look for opportunities to be of service to people who have gone out of their way to be helpful to you. It’s good Karma.
Your goal is to learn a great deal about the industry and to meet as many people as possible. Your mission is to do 3 interviews a week. If you don’t know anyone in the industry, ask friends who might. If nobody knows anybody you can speak with, just make cold calls.
Tell people who you are and what you want to do. Don’t ask anyone for a job offer. Ask for an interview. Just stay active and connected. But be ready for the miracle to happen. Sooner or later somebody is going to know somebody who will need a person like you.
Keep interviewing people and don’t forget to follow up. Let your “team” know what you are up to and how you’ve progressed. You want to stay top of mind for the people in the network you are creating.
If you want to enter the work force, get ready to do the work. It’s not going to be easy but if you follow the steps I’ve outlined above you will succeed. Less than 1% of the people looking for work go through the steps I’ve outlined above. When you do these things, you’ll demonstrate that you’re part of the 1% that gets it and is willing to go above and beyond. Employers are desperate for people who demonstrate that kind of commitment. If you put that kind of energy out there, it will absolutely pay off.
What are you doing to enter the workforce? What’s been working? What could you do differently?