Recently I had a “master gardener” in my home, and I took advantage of the opportunity to walk through my yard to ask him his advice.
I expected to get a lot of advice, and have a lot of tasks to accomplish.
But when we were done, I realized he had consistently shared just one thing:
I need to go to the local landfill (aka, dump) and get some compost from them, and then mix the compost into my dirt.
I need to do that every year.
I was surprised nothing else was a “need to” task. Not even putting in fertilizer or manure.
As I’ve thought about his advice since then, I’ve realized his focus is on providing the best possible environment for plants to grow, and that all starts with the right soil.
I wonder, then, how right your soil is for your job search?
I can list 20 different tactics you can do today in your job search, but if your foundation (or soil) is not strong, and healthy, and appropriate, then you might fail miserably.
Here’s a gardening example: If I plant tomato plants in clay, what will happen? Eventually they will die. If I have prepared the soil, though, as he directed me, they have a much better chance of thriving.
Here’s a job search example: If you make 10 calls a day, and say all the right things, but have the wrong attitude, what will happen? People on the other end of the phone will feel your negativity drip through the phone line and will be anxious for the call to be over. If you have prepared yourself, though, and have a positive attitude, and don’t reek of negativity, you will have completely different results. Same words in both examples, but different results, right?
What is the foundation for you?
It could be your attitude, as I mentioned.
It could be your marketing materials, including business cards and resumes and cover letters.
It could be the way you dress, or other characteristics of your personal appearance.
Different people will need to do different things to prepare their foundation… I can’t tell you what yours is, but you need to figure it out, prepare it, and then do the other (more tactical) things.