Sorry for the confusing title but wanted to outline two very distinct ways to look for job opportunities. Most people do a hybrid of both techniques which is also fine.
Decide First: This technique is for the person who wants to craft what they are going to do next in their career. You don’t have to be an analytic-type to conduct this activity but your first inclination is to start to put a plan together on what your next job will be. You may like your work but hate your boss or the company you work for or the hours and pay you receive but generally want to plan the next step down the path you have started.
This idea of analyzing and planning you next career move provides you greater control of the direction you want to go in and helps to minimize the “bumps” in the road. Some people who practice this technique do so to create busy work so they can delay getting started. This mini procrastination can become a major problem if not kept in check.
Decide Later: This technique if for the person who doesn’t really know what they want to do next. Their first inclination is to just get out there and see what happens. After they find an interesting job title or opportunity they decide if it what they want to do. This change many times is a 180 degree change in career and many times this type of person handles change and the unknown best; they actually thrive on the unknown.
This type of search provides much less control and more reliance on outside influencers to guide or direct their efforts. Some of the people who gravitate to this technique are optimists who just dig in and get the job done. Their down side is they are not very patient and can miss opportunities if they would just give some time. In addition, this technique lends itself to proceeding down a direction that other people think or believe you should.
What do you do??? Glad you asked. I believe you should use both techniques while job searching. If you are out of work and need the income, find whatever you can to pay the bills. Once the bills are being paid, start exploring options you like and others like for you. In addition, start talking to people you know (and those you don’t) about your hunt and see where the conversations take you. Using both techniques can really be fun and add some unknown directions to consider.
Let’s Get Started!