Small Actions BIG Outcomes

by Sharon Lynch

14 July, 2010

I’m often asked by job seekers “how do I do a job search?”, “how do I get started?”, etc. Before I give out a laundry list of action steps, I want to first have job seekers and career changers consider the significance of all their actions to give some meaning to the list.

Small actions can often lead to big outcomes and have a large and very significant impact on our lives. For example, one “small” action of putting my resume 6 years ago in the Monster database so I could be “found” by prospective employers was the seed planted that eventually led me to this awesome role at The Arland Group, and in my personal life, to the house and city where we chose to plant roots and have a family. Never would I have thought that such a “small” action could be responsible for so much. Perhaps the action was not so “small”?

To connect the dots, my resume was “found” by Monster itself where I was introduced to Jason Wood, one of the founders of The Arland Group. At Monster I also met a colleague who told me, while we were house shopping, about a house for sale near her. I didn’t know much about the area but the house and location seemed right. As it turns out, we have 2 ponds and 4 parks within walking distance, our daycare is 2 blocks away, all errands from groceries to Target to the mall to awesome restaurants and theatres are all within 10 minutes. And we have great neighbors.

If you think back to how you got where you are regarding friends, where you live and where you work, think of the actions you first took, the first seed you planted, to retrace your steps and connect the dots. Purposeful, conscientious actions that might appear “small” can lead you to great things so be mindful as you choose “small” actions of the amazing impact they can have on your life down the road and for years to come. It will most likely not be clear when you first plants seeds what the fruits will be exactly but eventually with many quality seeds the garden you see blooming will be one that gives you joy.

In a job search, first, leave no stone unturned. Use every contact you have because you never know where it will lead you.

1. Make a target list of friends/contacts and send them an email with a personal note about your background and what types of jobs and companies you are interested in and why/how you can benefit them. Give them tangible information that they can plant in their minds to help you and take specific steps on your behalf. To tell people “hey, let me know if you hear of anything” does not give people a clear path toward helping you.

2. Make a target list of employers that are of interest to you.

3. Make a target list of employers that need your skills the most.

4. Make a “contact plan”, a personal marketing plan, to how and when you will methodically contact everyone with a “1-2 punch”: an email and phone call. Then maintain regular (monthly atleast) contact to keep yourself top of mind and be there when the opportunities arise.

5. Identify and attend all possible networking events.
Online, put your resume in all possible databases that fit your background. Some employers subscribe to many or just one so join them all to be “found” for your dream job.

6. Set up search agents on all relevant websites and search engines (Indeed, Simply Hired).

7. Immerse yourself in resources (books, websites, blogs, etc) that provide more detail on career management websites, search engines, networking sites, cover letters, resumes, interview skills, etc.

Once you take these actions and plant these seeds, the responses will come, the momentum will carry you on your job search which will officially be started and well on its way. All of the above may seem “small” -and each takes minutes to do- but it will be these “small” actions individually that collectively lead you to the next chapter in life and potentially your own blooming garden and hopefully a dream job.