A Productive Job Search

Carry Out A Productive Job Search

Carry Out A Productive Job Search

Productivity is a necessity within all aspects of life. Whether old or young, employed or unemployed, productivity is key. That being said, for those seeking employment productivity plays an exceptionally important role. Having a high level of unemployment means that when a job opening exists, hundreds, if not thousands of individuals will be found applying for the same job. It should therefore be the objective of each applicant to ensure that their respective applications are set apart from all others thus securing them a place in the interview process and ultimately success in landing the job.

In the interim, ensuring positive results begins with a ‘productive’ job search.

A productive job search must be handled like a full time job, with schedules and varying strategies being adopted.  The process may be time consuming and a little stressful, but the end result will be well worth it as the objective is to ensure that the job seeker gets employed.

There are ten basic parts to a successful and productive job search. They include:

  • Networking; Maintaining current contacts and making new ones.
  • Monitoring of Online Presence; Most companies effect online searches on their prospective employees therefore it is important that your online profile exhibits a positive portrayal of yourself.
  • Searching For Jobs; An active effort must be made to constantly check listings and other avenues for employment opportunities and job openings.
  • Researching Companies; Be knowledgeable of the companies for which job openings exist. Ensure that you align yourself with the work of the company and its vision.
  • Updating Resumes; Your resume must be constantly updated to include new and relevant information.
  • Writing Cover Letters; Your resume must be accompanied by an eye-catching, well written cover letter. This document must articulate your potential as the right candidate for the job.
  • Applying To Jobs; Unwavering pursuit of employment must be evident in the approach to writing and dispatching job applications – remain actively engaged in this practice.
  • Following Up on Applications; Never assume that your application was received. Follow up with a short email or a phone call to confirm receipt.
  • Interviewing For Jobs; Be readily available when called upon for job interviews.
  • Following Up on Interviews; Always thank the organisation for having made the time to see you and enquire about the next stage of the hiring process.

Alongside the aforementioned, there are other strategies that aid in making the process of looking for a job more productive. For example, a job seeker should:

  • Make Plans

Allocate certain days for certain activities and stick to the schedule. For example make Mondays, and Wednesdays the days to follow up with networking contacts and Tuesdays and Thursdays the days to research new companies worth applying to. Fridays could then be reserved for following up on any job applications sent off the previous week.

  • Maintain a Spreadsheet of Activities

Information spreadsheets are a vital aid for jobseekers. They help by keeping them up to date and on track of where they are within the whole job seeking process. Included should be all information relating to all jobs applied to. Note down the names of the companies contacted, the date applications were sent off, the individuals contacted and the dates when follow up activities should begin. It is also advisable to have a networking spreadsheet which should contain all relevant information pertaining to all networking carried out.

  • Always Rework Resumes and Cover Letters for Specific Jobs

It may not be necessary to rewrite an entire resume and cover letter for every job, but certain keywords, the summary of qualifications, and the letter’s content should be updated for each job. This will take longer than sending out the same standard cover letter and C.V but applications will be much more targeted, making them more effective.

Anyone who has ever been unemployed would agree that when looking for a job, it can be disheartening when applications are continuously sent out with there being little to no positive feedback. However, the key is never to give up! Persistence coupled with a productive action plan will help bring about a productive output. One which will give rise to the right person being hired for the right position, within the right organisation.

Maintaining A Productive Staff

Maintaing A Productive Staff Does Not Have To Be Hard Work

Maintaining A Productive Staff Does Not Have To Be Hard Work

Every good business owner or successful supervisor works hard at giving their staff the encouragement they need for them to be productive.  This creates the right environment needed to support strong individual contributions and full team participation alike. Employees are then able to provide the best in service for clients.

That having been said, a conscientious manager is one who is also aware of the fact that employees fall into varying categories, each needing to be managed and held accountable to high standards. When individuals are not held to the same high standards as their colleagues, team morale is destroyed and productivity is weakened.

In his article ‘Getting The Best From Your Staff’, Ian Ferguson, contributor to the Bahamas Tribune lists the categories that employees fall into as being,

  • The Highly Motivated and Competent Employee
  • The Highly Competent and Discouraged Employee
  • The Hard Working and Dedicated, Yet Low Skilled Employee and
  • The Low Skilled, Low Productivity Employee.

The Highly Competent and Motivated Employee

These individuals are seen as being the prized jewel within any organisations crown. They give 100% effort, are self-starters and have a lot to offer. They enjoy their work and so they give their all when trying to achieve company objectives.

Even though this category of employee contains highly competent individuals, they should still be given the opportunity to grow through new assignments, expanded roles and positive reinforcement.

The Highly Competent but Discouraged Employee

The highest number of employees fall within this category. These individuals have a lot to offer, but their attitude towards work has become jaded. This has resulted in their resolve being to do the bare minimum.

There are many reasons why an employee might find themselves within this category. From disillusionment to boredom, the cases vary. Regardless of the reason, these employees must be identified and communicated with. Quick action can result in them becoming some of the most valued assets to a company. Strides must be taken by those in charge to re-engage them within meaningful tasks, with their efforts being applauded along the way.

The Hard Working yet Low Skilled Employee

Many leaders make the mistake of confusing hard work, commitment and dedication with efficiency and competence. Some would actually argue that it is so rare to find people with good work ethic these days that once found these employees should simply be rewarded for their efforts. This is not always the best approach. A hard working dedicated employee who is low skilled should be encouraged continuously to improve on their competency. An individual such as this is indeed a credit to any organisation, but imagine how productive a worker they would be within the company if they were fully trained within their role. These employees must be inspired to engage in talent development initiatives and supported along the way. This will bring about a proficient and well-rounded employee.

The Low Skilled, Low Productivity Employee

There will always come a point in time when a business owner or supervisor will find this individual under their directive. It often baffles onlookers as to how these employees have been allowed to continue within their role without reprisal. The fact is that their lack of productivity is noted, yet many in a leadership role believe that it is only fair to give them the chance to improve on their performance. Opportunities given are seldom ever taken however.

Ferguson states’

‘Companies must make the sometimes difficult yet necessary decision to release such employees, once every effort has been made to build capacity and provide training and learning opportunities for them.’

Keeping this type of employee on as part of any working team often leads to a drop in morale amongst other more productive and committed members of staff. It would be wrong to ever let this happen.

Differing personalities make up the staff of any given company or organisation. Each has within them their own level of dedication to the organisation and as such they each deliver a varied level of service. By knowing the staff that work alongside them on a day to day basis, their personalities and their skills, a good manager is able to motivate each individual in the right way. This in turn bringing about a high level of productivity from all in employ.


Are you a planner, prioritizer, visualizer or aranger

Are you a planner, prioritizer, visualizer or an arranger

It takes a lot to be a competitive company within the global marketplace. From focussing on customer values, to being innovative with new processes, services and products. It is hard work maintaining a competitive edge! To remain ahead of the competition, supervisors must be attentive to all aspects involved in making the company a success; continuously assessing how each facet functions.

An element that continuously needs to be assessed is that of the company’s staff. The presence of a variable, competent and capable staff can at times make or break an institution.  Many a time, it is the way in which staff carry out their day to day tasks and implement innovative ideas that guarantees success. However, not all staff members are the same. Individuals often have their own work style and it is an amicable mix of these work styles that often gives a business its distinct competitive edge.

Within her article ‘Your Team May Have Too Many Prioritizers and Planners’ in the Harvard Business Review, author Carson Tate lists the four types of workers needed in a successful company. They are planners, prioritizers, arrangers and visualizers.  Planners and prioritizers can be described as individuals who are analytical, linear and data and detail orientated. They pride themselves on their ability to be undoubtedly organized, precise and committed to honouring deadlines. Whilst arrangers and visualizers are supportive, expressive, and emotionally intelligent big-picture thinkers. They generate ideas and take risks.

In a recent assessment conducted by the Harvard Business Review over 46,000 people were evaluated to identify their personal productivity style. Specific questions were asked to help people to self-analyse and recognise how they think, learn and communicate best. On evaluating the results certain trends were found. Forty-seven percent (47%) of participants were recognised as Prioritizers, whilst thirty-seven percent (37%) illustrated the traits of Planners. These work styles align with the expectations and key drivers of performance in many of today’s leaner, more streamlined organisations, therefore they are a necessity. Easily recognisable for their abilities, prioritizers and planners are usually the most likely to get promoted.

Only 19% of those assessed turned out to be Arrangers, whilst 18% demonstrated Visualizer tendencies. However, companies need people of all types. Due to this Arrangers and Visualizers also have their importance. Think about it, if companies are unable to connect with their customers offering break through products and services, no amount of prioritizing and planning will ensure the long term viability of the company.

Managers and supervisors as leaders need to know and understand their own work style and those of their employees ensuring a balance of thinking and approaches. Realistically, most organisations probably won’t have a team in which Prioritizers, Planners, Arrangers, and Visualizers are all equally represented. However, new people or outside experts can be brought in to bridge the gaps. In preparation for this it is important to find out what work styles the workers in the workplace presently exhibit. By giving each person a new project to work on, their work style can be determined. On receiving information about the new task each staff member will have questions of their own pertaining to it. The questions asked will give some indication as to what category they fall under.

Faced with a new project, for example, Prioritizers would ask:

  • What is the goal?
  • What is the deadline?
  • What data or facts are necessary?
  • What metrics will be used to evaluate success?

Planners would ask:

  • How will the project be delivered?
  • How will the project be completed? Is a project plan necessary?
  • How will information about the project be communicated?

Arrangers would ask:

  • Who are the project stakeholders?
  • Who else needs to be involved?
  • Who can support you in achieving the goals of the project?

Visualizers would ask:

  • What are the gaps between where you are today and where you want to be at the end of the project?
  • Why does this project matter to the team and the organization?
  • What barriers can you foresee that will need to be addressed as you implement this project?

If you’re leading a team that is heavily weighted toward one or two work styles, recognize the value in rebalancing it. Work style diversity is the making of a productive team that will focus on all aspects – the big picture and the details, ideas and execution and purpose and profits.