[New Rules] Fortune Magazine’s “How to Find a Job” – What’s Working Now

This week’s April 13, 2009 Fortune Magazine (on newsstands now, online in around 10 days) identifies tactics that they believe work in the current job market. Many will sound familiar from readers of the nine-part  “Choose Me” Hire Me! series from the Life Back West blog.

Here are some of the job hunting actions Fortune identified that work:

  • Be thorough and methodical
  • Work your Rolodex
  • Target your search
  • Do your homework
  • Get the word out
  • (Be creative and) Get noticed and get your foot in the door
  • Build your network
  • Offer people intelligence on the competition
  • Fine tune your resume (include metrics and stats)

All of these ideas are really helpful and I think complement the type of know yourself, know your message, and build your network approached advocated by experts such as Richard Nelson Bolles . The temptation, though, is to view any of these ideas as a quick "get it done and forget about it" piece of work.

The reality of most job hunts is that while they might be a sprint, they might also be a marathon. Since this sort of schizophrenic reality exists it means that you have to be prepared for both: move quickly and take steps that will last you for the long haul.

There are two quibbles I have with the Fortune piece, which in the main I think is helpful. The first is the idea of intelligence sharing: while it’s tempting to swap secrets gleaned from one conversation to another, I would assume that anyone who shared secrets with me was just as likely to share parts of our conversation inappropriately with others. Tempting, but I’d avoid it at all costs.

The second quibble is the sort of "magic pill" sense to the piece. Job hunting should be seen as a lifelong vocation, along with your regular job. While there are times when you turn it up, or turn it down, the reality is that the average person (whomever we are) will change jobs something like 7 times in their lives. Doing things like taking care of your network, helping others, exploring options – all the while doing good work on your regular job – are now givens for anyone who wants to mitigate the bumpiness of job changes.

Fortune also has an idea for people with jobs who think they may need to job hunt. Many of them (surprise) are the same types of things covered in the "Choose Me, Hire Me!" series.

New Rules is an occasional set of writings focused on changes in norms, culture, or ways of navigating work and careers. More about executive and team coaching services can be found at the "About J. Mike Smith and Back West, Inc." sidebar .