Seven Habits of Highly Effective Job Seekers
Many of you have probably read Steven Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1989, which was considered a pioneer in the career self-help genre. “This was one of the first books in recent times that was really directed at prioritizing the way you worked, so you could be more effective as an individual,” said Adrian Zackheim of Penguin Publishing. “It wasn’t about how to be a manager or how to run a company. It was about how to conduct yourself.”
Having reviewed Covey’s Seven Habits recently, I realized that much of my counseling to alumni owes something to these proven principles. Many alumni, after years of success in their careers, find themselves at a plateau where they’ve stopped learning or growing, or they are unhappy with what they are doing, or have been laid off. Often, at this stage, the next job is not just waiting for them – they must now conduct not just a job search, but a highly effective job search.
Covey’s seven habits for conducting an effective and rewarding life can easily be applied to managing an effective and rewarding job search:
- Be proactive. Throughout your career, it’s important to continually assess your skills, values, and interests in order to reach a clear career objective.
- Seek first to understand. Knowing where you truly fit in the job market is as important as knowing what you want to do, and only in-depth market research will help you to understand which employers you should focus on.
- Begin with the end in mind. Covey advocated creating a personal mission statement focused on values; that’s something you’ll need in order to communicate your value proposition to prospective employers. Highlight your skills, attributes, and accomplishments here. You must have a vision of the work that best suits you in order to find it.
- Think win/win. Coveys wrote that “Win/win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions.” A job seeker needs to shift his mindset from “I need a job” to “Who has a problem I can solve?”
- Synergize. You achieve synergy in a job search when your objectives are clear, you’ve identified your market, and your message is fully formed; that way, you can make the most of job postings, social media, and headhunters.
- Put first things first. Put first things first and balance your time by managing events according to the personal priorities you set by beginning with the end in mind. The vision you set will help guide your plans to reach your goal.
- Sharpen the saw. Covey’s Seven Habits culminates with the idea of continuous, balanced self-renewal in four essential personal areas: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. When a job search ends with a new position, you undertake a new beginning and the “Seven Habits” come in to play again: assimilating to a new environment, gaining new skills and accomplishments, and re-evaluating professional objectives.
For more advice visit Johnson Alumni Career Resources.