Seeking employment? 5 things you need to stop NOW!

by Tim Tyrell-Smith

Black woman office

 Once you have a consistent message on paper and online, spend your time instead delivering your message to the right people. 

The job search to do list feels endless some days.  And to feel proactive toward our job search, we stay busy all the time.  Playing the numbers game.  It assumes eventually – if you stay busy – something will fall in your lap.

Kind of like shaking the apple tree.

But I’m here to tell you something: shaking the tree just leaves you with tired arms.  And picking apples one by one is a much smarter way to go.  Even if they are not the low hanging type.

So if we stop shaking the tree, we’ll also receive other benefits during transition.  Like more time with family or opportunities to pursue a passion, a business venture or cash-generating consulting hours.

The reminder of a “stop doing” list came from G. Michael Maddock and Raphael Louis Vitón in a Business Week article.  Their article called “The Stop Doing List” kicks off with a quote from Warren Buffett: The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say “no” to almost everything.

So what should you be saying “no” to in your job search?  Here’s my list for you:

Say “no” to mailing resumes to companies where a job does not exist. 

And start with “no” for posted jobs where your qualifications are close but not quite.  Especially in this market, you are a lot more interesting than a piece of paper. It takes a couple of hours to adapt a resume, write a cover letter, mail and follow-up.  Why are you consuming your day this way?

Say “no” to resume re-writes, re-jiggers and re-formats.

Find a resume template to show off your unique talents in a crisp and clean way.  Or hire a really smart resume writer to get one written for you. Then stop relying upon the resume to tell your story.  Once you have a consistent message on paper and online, spend your time instead delivering your message to the right people.  Instead of creating version #12A of your resume.

Say “no” to starting from scratch on cover letters

Cover letters are often not read.  Most of the time they are scanned for context or other introductory purposes.  While you are no longer applying to 20 jobs a week (following the advice above), you still don’t need to kill yourself on a cover letter. Again, consider a well thought-out, customizable cover letter template. Although some will say a template is bad – suggesting if the job is important, you will write a heartfelt and well-thought out letter to the CMO or CEO.  But in my view, it’s not necessary and simply takes valuable time.

Say “no” to over pursuing the job market

If you are filling up the in boxes of recruiters and HR teams for weeks after a first meeting or interview, you are likely adding to the chaos.  One strong follow-up says “I’m confident and I’m interested”.  Beyond a strong single follow-up and you risk looking desperate and needy.  Not a characteristic being sought after for an executive marketing position.  In all possible cases, even in a tough job market, you want to be the pursued.  Not the pursuer.

Say “no” to networking without a purpose

Networking without a purpose is called socializing.  And it is a time waster.  Fun to do but hard to justify when you and the family are looking for results via meaningful tasks.  So pick events to attend where the right people are networking.  Create a target network profile to establish specific names of people who may actually hire you. Or influence your hiring.  And once you have freed up more time, you can use more of it to help other people.  Which feels good.


Read this article on Tim’s Strategy


Tim Tyrell-Smith is the creator of Tim’s Strategy, a ground-breaking online job search and career strategy tool. As a blogger, Tim has been a regular contributor to U.S. News and World Report, was featured in USA Today, interviewed twice on NPR and is the author of two career books (“30 Ideas” and “HeadStrong”).


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

One comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail