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  • Writer's pictureBetsy Kent

JOB SEARCH PLAN STEP ONE - BE A KINDERGARTNER!



Want to get started looking for a new job, but everywhere you look there is a ton of advice about what you should do first, like getting your resume ready, perfecting your LinkedIn profile, and creating your “story”?


Is planning when and how to get these things done feel overwhelming?


Is knowing your whole job search process before you begin really necessary?


While these things may need to be done, EVENTUALLY, a group of kindergartners proved that planning (aka overthinking) is detrimental to getting the best job done in the shortest amount of time.


Researchers (originally Peter Skillman and then popularized by Tom Wujec) conducted an experiment that proved just that!


They gave some pasta, marshmallows, tape and string to a group of kindergarteners, to a group of MBA students and to a group of CEOs. They told each group to build the tallest possible tower in 45 minutes.


Here are the results:


  • Kindergartners: 26 inches tall on average

  • CEOs: 22 inches tall on average

  • MBA students: 10 inches tall on average


Surprising? I thought so too!


The main reason the kindergarten students won is that they spent their limited time learning as they tried, failed and iterated rather than planning.


The takeaway is that when you are starting a task with a ton of possible solutions, the strategy that will get you the best results the fastest is experimentation and iteration, based on the data from each previous attempt.


This is not to say that the CEOs and MBAs may have done better if they had more time. There is certainly a place for strategizing in advance and random action is not always the best strategy.


Note that the researchers only gave the groups 45 minutes to build the towers.


So the lesson here is that, in short amounts of time, the experimentation/failure/iteration process gets the best results.


What does this have to do with your job search?


Give yourself a short amount of time, maybe a month, to be a kindergartener at the beginning of your search. Try doing everything you can think of to land a new role and see what works and what doesn’t and then use that information to iterate and do more things, see what works and what doesn’t, then iterate. Rinse and repeat.


This process will get you started quickly. It will allow you to give yourself permission to skip the paralyzing overwhelm stage of planning from a place where you have no actual data.


At the end of the month you will have A LOT of data that you wouldn’t otherwise have if you hadn’t taken massive action.


THEN, and ONLY THEN, based on where you got traction, what you enjoyed doing, how much effort it involved and anything else that is important to you, make a plan and strategize how to maximize the results you got in a way that makes sense for you.


BUT, make sure that your plan includes more kindergarten time if, in another month, your results aren’t what you want them to be.


PLAN TO NOT PLAN FOR A BOOST OF QUICK, MEANINGFUL RESULTS.


OH, AND YOU MIGHT JUST HAVE FUN!


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