I usually try to avoid talking trash about people, but one of the government employees I work with is a fat, lazy bastard. He shows up late to his office every morning, then wedges himself in behind his desk until it’s late enough in the afternoon when he can sneak out early. In the meantime, he doesn’t leave his chair. Lunch is a bag of Doritos, tipped up so he doesn’t get his hands dirty by reaching into the bag, and I swear he must pee into a bottle under the desk or something because I’ve never actually seen his walk down the hall to the bathroom. I’m not quite sure the guy could actually make it that far without having a heart attack. But this guy hasn’t been fired, and he probably never will be, simply because he still manages to get all his work done. See, whenever he has appointments, he just makes people come to his in his office, so he never has to leave.
You could learn a lot from him.
Think about this for a second: If companies need your services so bad, why are you the one who has to go out and spend your valuable time looking for a job? Why should you be the one who has to constantly scour the internet and pound the pavement, searching for job openings? Why not sit back at home with your feet up on the desk and a bag of Doritos balanced on your stomach, and let the jobs come to you?
Now of course, I’m stretching the truth a little. I want you to stay in shape, and it’ll always be your responsibility to stay on top of changes and trends in the industry. I’d never suggest that you hole up in your bunker and wait for the knock on your door (although I know a few people who are there already). What I am suggesting is that you re-think the way that you’re looking for a job. Instead of searching far and wide on the Web to each company’s website, and then applying to an openings for a single posted job (which may not even have won the contract award yet), switch things up a bit. Specifically, see if these tactics will work for you:
Once you’ve got a killer resume, submit it to all your target companies for general consideration, instead of to a specific vacancy. That way, they’ll have your information on file even during the planning stages of future projects. The biggest push to bring new hires on board is during the initial contract award, when the company’s under the gun to put butts in seats. This might mean taking the long-term approach to finding a job, but remember that your ultimate goal should be to build your career.
Use email search agents whenever possible. Bigger companies allow you to enter a string of search terms for their job openings, and to have the results emailed to you weekly or monthly. I recommended subscribing to their news RSS feeds as well. Once those contracts are awarded, the initial award staffing blitz is a huge opportunity for new hires to break into the industry. You’ll notice that job postings for new contracts are much more likely to say “candidate must be able/eligible to obtain a security clearance.” If you see this language or something similar, that means the company will sponsor the cost of your clearance. Jump on these opportunities, since having a clearance will make you much more money over the long run. Also, make sure to act fast! In a few months, you’ll notice that the language on the same job postings will change to “candidate must hold active security clearance”.
Most importantly, start building your network of professional contacts. You’re not going to get any job offers unless people know you exist, and know what skills you have to offer. Remember to stay professional and to stay in contact with as many of your co-workers as possible. They’ll help keep you in the loop when new job openings are coming down the pipe. Do your best to get along with everyone, even if you can’t stand them. Whenever my employees bring me referrals for open positions, I always make sure to ask them if they’d want to work with that person again. You’d be surprised how many people say no, but that they’d promised to pass along the name. Those resumes get pushed back to the “has pulse” file, and probably won’t get called back.
Remember, there’s no substitute for hard work when you’re trying to find a job, but there’s nothing wrong with working harder AND working smarter at the same time. So put your feet up, grab some (low-fat) Doritos, and see what happens to your job search when you get a little fat and lazy.