Serendipity is one of my favorite words. It's both mysterious and delightful.
A job search can seem like such an uninspiring list of tasks. But when you think about it, serendipity plays a big role in many of our successful searches.
Did you find out about your job from someone unexpected? Were you the right person at the right time?
Did that lay off lead to something a lot better? Serendipity shows up all over the place.
To invite serendipity into our job search however, we usually have to take some kind of action. I'm sure someone out there has gotten the call about the amazing job after doing nothing but sitting on the couch paging through a magazine, but the rest of us need to get "out there" and do something.
This means you get out from behind your computer, put on your coat and go talk with people.
"Referrals from friends or business contacts remains the top way that most candidates find work", says Perri Capell in a recent CareerJournal.com article.
She quotes David Walker, managing director of a well-known outplacement firm:
"What happens a lot in job hunting is serendipity. One person introduces you to the next, and they introduce you to a third and that's the person you were supposed to meet."
I frequently advise my clients to take action that doesn't offer a promise of success. This is because frequently things don't go as we imagine (or fear), and if we do nothing, we generally get nothing.
I'm talking about:
- Applying for a job that requires more schooling than you have (It may not really matter!)
- Attending a professional association meeting (You never know who will be there and what you'll talk about!)
- Calling all your former co-workers and managers with whom you were friendly to let them know exactly what you're looking for, even if you haven't spoken to them in over five years. (Everyone likes to hear a friendly voice from the past, and there's no telling who they know now!)
- Cold calling someone in your desired field for an informational interview (People are generally flattered and generous!)
- Contacting your target company and introducing yourself (Who knows where this will lead!)
The list could go on and on. There is so much to gain and so little to lose by meeting and talking with people, or by simply expanding your comfort zone of activities.
Don't worry about jumping off the high dive just yet - just go one level deeper than you usually swim in the pool.
You could find it to be a serendipitous experience!
Posted by Heather Mundell
cross-posted at life@work