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7 Day Job Search and Career Challenge

7 Day Job Search and Career Challenge

Ready to give your career search or professional development a motivating little kick in the pants? Join us for a short, seven-day “challenge” that should only take a few moments each day but yield some big results!

First, pick your path:

⇱ Professional focusing on skill development

↳ Job seeker focusing on job applications

↺ Any individual focusing on network building

Next, create a designated space for writing down your responses for each of the seven days. You can use a brand-new notebook, a “notes” app on your phone, a Word or Google document, or recycle a brown paper bag. You decide! The main thing is to use it solely for the purpose of writing your prompts. It’s also important to keep at it and do the prompt every day for the full week.

Lastly, decide on the time each day you are committing to (e.g. 9 a.m. each morning) and the amount of time (remember, 5-10 minutes) that you will devote to the challenge, settle down in a comfy spot, and complete the prompt you select.

We recommend you complete the prompts for one full work-week. Before starting use a day for preparation. At the end, use a day for reflection.

Professional focusing on skill development

Before you get started:

  • Determine 1-3 skills that you’d like to grow (whether short- or long-term). These are the ones you will be working on for the week.
  • Ask a manager or coworker to help you identify changes in your work performance as you work on these skills. It’s good practice to get their buy-in before you start, so let them know you are tracking your skill development and would like their feedback before you write their name(s) in the prompt.

The night before:

  • Identify one small action you will take the next day towards that goal.
  • The day of: Complete the action, get feedback, and fill in the blanks in your prompt:
The area of growth I focused on today was (insert skill here). During the workday, I consciously worked on my tasks in a way that used this skill by (describe what you did here). I asked for feedback from (name of manager or coworker) regarding any changes they noticed in my work during the day. They noticed (outline what they said here). While using ________ skill, I felt more (insert emotion/descriptor here: confident? intelligent?).

Job seeker focusing on job applications

Before you get started:

  • Read through several job descriptions. When it comes to applying for them, focus on quality rather than quantity.

The night before:

  • Think about how many targeted, personalized, and carefully crafted applications you will be able to complete the next day (at least two but no more than 7).

The day of:

  • Whatever number you've committed to, write it in the space in the prompt. Complete the job applications. Fill in the blanks of this prompt each day this week to identify common denominators about the jobs you are applying for.
Today I applied for (number) of jobs. With a focus on quality rather than quantity, I made sure my applications showcased the following three skills and accomplishments: (skill/accomplishment 1), (skill/accomplishment 2), (skill/accomplishment 3). The common factors I noticed about the jobs I am selecting are that most of them require (these types of skills and responsibilities) or have (this type of work culture). I feel (insert emotion here- confident? excited? insecure?) about the jobs I have selected. This tells me I should apply for more jobs like (insert job title/type of job) and less like (insert job title/type of job).

Any individual focusing on networking

Many people are apprehensive about networking. If that describes you, consider looking at networking as “information gathering.” Use the following prompt to gather information from people in your network.

Before you get started:

  • Identify 8-10 people you’d like to reconnect with or talk to from your network.

The day/night before:

  • Send an email to (or call) your contact with your request (information? coffee date? general check-in?)

The day of:

  • Fill in the blanks of the prompt. Note that there may be some lag time between your first point of contact and gaining the information you need to complete the rest of the prompt. Don’t let this discourage you! While you’re waiting to meet with your contact, read an article or do some research that will help you prepare for your meeting.
Today I spoke to/emailed (name of contact) and learned/asked about (something in the X industry or cause area, new development or trend, aspect of your contact’s career, etc). It gave me the idea to (take some type of action, such as- research an emerging cause area or trend, read a new article, sign up for a workshop, etc). I will follow up with (name of contact) in (days/weeks) to touch base about (topic) and any additional questions or comments I have.

At the end of the seven days, review your entries. Reflect on the exercise, taking note of any feelings of reinvigoration in whatever professional goal you are currently seeking to obtain.

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By Victoria Crispo

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