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Friday
Jan092015

Stay the Course or Try Something New

I’m writing this newsletter on the eve of Election Day.  Like most national elections, the current one is being presented by many as a referendum on the party in power and what they have been doing in recent years – if you are happy with the way things are going, you are urged to stay the course, while if you are unhappy, you are told you should throw the bums out.

That may or may not be good political advice, but deciding whether you are happy with the way things have been going can be a good idea if you are looking for a new job or new clients.  If you look back on how you have found jobs or clients in the past, you may find that there is a common theme or pattern.  For example, one client of mine found all of his jobs through classified ads in the Boston Globe, and another had only taken jobs that fell into her lap without effort on her part.  And a colleague found almost all his clients through personal referrals. 

Find the pattern in your past job or client searches, and decide whether to stick to the pattern or break it.

Once you’ve found your pattern, you can decide whether it is working for you or if you need to change course.  If your method has always been effective for you, or you just can’t see yourself changing, then you should put your energy into making your usual approach to finding a job even more effective. 

Waiting for a job to just fall into your lap is not a terribly effective search strategy, but I could tell that my client who used that approach simply wasn’t going to change – her personality was simply too resistant to more conventional search strategies.  So rather than attempting to change her, I helped her find ways to increase the chance that her usual pattern would be successful.  By improving her networking skills, joining professional organizations, and making sure that all her friends and acquaintances knew precisely the kind of job she was looking for, she made it more likely that information about a job would come to her.  And sure enough, she soon had two strong leads on jobs, one through a professional organization, and the other through a friend of a friend.

On the other hand, my colleague who found his clients through personal referrals was unhappy with his pattern.  Although they brought in a steady trickle of new clients for his business, referrals weren’t generating the volume he needed to meet his goals.  So he realized that he needed to break his pattern and try something new.  After considering various approaches to marketing his business, he decided to start giving speeches and workshops, and the increased exposure markedly increased the rate at which he found new clients.

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