MALELANE, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 09:  A tortoise crosses the fourth fairway during the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club on December 10, 2008 in Malelane, South Africa.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Who are you in job search?

The Tortoise or the Hare?

If you are in the middle job searching. I know exactly how you feel. It’s hard and time consuming. Hope this one can inspire you a little bit

There is a job search strategy for everyone. Here we have one for those more impulsive and one for the planners of the world. The only problem is that one works better than the other. Which one are you using? Are you really sure? This is an important question. Especially for job seekers new in their search or for folks who are three months in and still trying to figure out what they are doing right and wrong. So if you said “Hare” because you are a Type A personality and have pursued job search with reckless abandon, well, we need to talk. If you said “Tortoise”… you, like the tortoise in the fable, will find a faster route to your next job.

Now I guess I could be done with it here by saying: Be the tortoise. So since the hare and tortoise’s differences are part personality type and part skill set, how one describes those differences in the job Search world? Well, bullet points, of course! Here goes:

The Hare

  • So the hare is about bursts of speed. Especially early bursts. Ones that leave everyone else feeling slow and lazy. A disconcerting feeling, to be sure. “Should I be sprinting right now?”
  • The hare is also about complacency and over-confidence as early bursts may get them some early results that seem promising. But those early results risk being artificial. Supported by what can be a dangerous optimism.
  • If laid off at the same time as a hare, you might witness a flurry (I almost wrote “furry”) of early activity. A couple of days frantically throwing a resume together, e-mailing everyone in your network (if organized), calling 8-10 recruiters letting them know you are now available and blasting your resume to 50 or so hiring managers who have posted jobs on Monster.
  • The hare is less likely to network and, unfortunately, is less likely to help others. No time, right? Gotta go!
  • The hare will be less prepared to share their job objectives and would for sure not have a Watchlyst of their own.
  • The hare will not have a well-thought out elevator speech. They will meander and extend 60 seconds to 5 minutes, losing everyone in a swirl of career details.
  • Yes, the hare will burn out and fizzle. But only after finally realizing six months into their search that the tortoise had a suspiciously simple plan.


The Tortoise

  • So, despite the fuddy-duddy voice used and hapless expression typically placed on a cartoon tortoise, I am here to tell you something The tortoise is really smart. One might say intelligent. Especially in job search.
  • The intelligence comes as the knowledge of what to do, how to plan it and when to expend the energy to execute it. You see, the tortoise is all about efficiency. While the hare is racing around in impressive circles, the tortoise is preparing for a short, uneventful walk across the circle’s diameter.
  • The tortoise knows that preparation is key. That there is wasted effort in racing out the door before you are ready with your professional one sheet, business cards, and a really good sense of your job objectives. All those people that you meet (as the hare) will struggle in trying to help you if you can’t tell them who you are, what makes you different and what, specifically, you are looking for in your next role.
  • The tortoise is going to stop along the way and help someone by the side of the road. Even if it slows their speed to the finish line. They do this with the knowledge that 1 year or 5 years down the road, the situation may repeat. That network, nourished, will be needed once again!
  • The tortoise also plays the part of a strategic networker on Linkedin. Looking for real connections that will drive long-term relationships.
  • The tortoise has been building solid relationships with recruiters for years. They seek win-win friendships by helping recruiters find talented people in their network who might fit a search. They are rarely in a hurry when the call comes in.
  • The tortoise prepares well for interviews and knows how and when to follow up without looking desperate or winded. So, in the end, please know that job search is one part of a larger plan that requires an intelligent approach, continuous networking and the utilization of smart tools to build and maintain a successful long-term career. And I’ll tell you one other thing. You can be part tortoise and part hare. And still be successful. Here’s when. After all your preparation and smart planning, you will get a job offer. Once you have the offer in hand and calmly walkout to the car and drive home safely…


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