Create a Winning Job-Search Game Plan

Learn from Your Former Errors

Create a Winning Job-Search Game Plan

By Carla-Krystin Andrade, for Yahoo! HotJobs

Microsoft founder Bill Gates said, "It's fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure." In other words, even our worst job search errors are the training ground for greater success.

With that in mind, try this exercise: Draw four columns on a blank sheet of paper. Use the following four questions to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back into the game with a winning plan.

Column 1: Last Year's Misses

Without pausing to analyze, make a list of your actions that you felt hindered your career last year. Remember to examine every area of your job search, including: interviewing, networking and your resume.

Column 2: Hit or Miss?

Now, take a step back and look at each of your actions from an outsider's viewpoint. Did it really derail your job search or is it just something you feel bad about? For example, your lingering embarrassment at spilling your coffee during an interview doesn't mean that this is an error you need to fix, unless you repeatedly spill your coffee.

On the other hand, not knowing the meanings of buzzwords you used on your resume is something you need to correct. Go through each item in Column 1. If it truly requires a change, then jot "change this" beside it in column 2.

Column 3: Can I Fix This?

What is in your control to change? Be realistic. You can change your habit of turning up late for interviews. You cannot change the fact that you got fired from your last job because of a personal conflict. Increase your chances of success by focusing your attention on the things that you can change. And put a check mark for each of those in column 3.

Column 4: My Hits for This Year

Here is the turning point. Review the list of things to change that remain after questions 2 and 3. Identify a positive behavior to replace each of them and write these in Column 4. For example, do you arrive at interviews inadequately prepared? Then identify a more positive action to take and write a measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based objective to guide your change, such as, "Starting this month, I will spend at least an hour preparing for each interview." 

Now, make this plan work for you. Circle the three positive changes from Column 4 that are most important to you. Write them on a cue card or some other place where you can easily review your turnaround plan every day. In addition, give a copy of this list to someone you trust and ask him to hold you accountable for making at least one change by the end of the year.

Then watch your hits add up.

[Since 1989, Carla-Krystin "CK" Andrade has helped job hunters achieve their career goals through her Web site, books and seminars.]