What a successful job search looks like!

A number of years ago I worked with an outplacement company that specialised in supporting people, largely corporate professionals, whose roles had been made redundant.

Every couple of months, the company would invite in a few graduates (people who'd been through the program and now established in a new role) to address a lunchtime audience, largely made up of people who'd recently lost their jobs. The graduates spoke about various aspects of their experiences between redundancy and their new role, and shared advice on what they'd done, and what they wished they'd done, during this period.

These sessions offered lots of fresh and encouraging insights into managing emotions, using the services provided and hooking into their networks. However, amongst all this 'new', there was a common experience that nearly all the presenters shared - that being the hollowness they felt after hearing they'd not got a job they'd interviewed for (and presumably wanted).

One of the most profound insights I heard at these sessions was from the graduate who realised an important truth on his second day of outplacement, when he found a ball of paper on his desk. Curiousity prompted him to open it up and read it, which he did, and then he threw it away. About an hour later, he retrieved the paper, smoothed it out and taped it to the inside of his 'job search' notebook. He said the note was a daily prompt to keep many balls in the air, to maximise his options and not get waylaid or dependant upon a specific opportunity. He did this right up to the day he received the signed letter of offer from his new employer.

He held then held up his journal so we could all see what had been written - here's a typed up version of what he'd found: