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Get Proactive – What Does It Really Mean?

For major part of my career, the only way I knew to get a job was to send my resume and wait for reply.   At times, I used to slightly modify my resume adding some keywords that were asked in the job description and send across.  That’s all I did.
There were always one or two key motives that used to drive my job search – either higher salary or better role. I never did anything beyond sending my resume and praying for success.  The results were just ordinary like what all my other average friends used to get.  I was fed up with this and wanted to try something else.

Getting a job is a difficult process, so we often try to delegate that responsibility to recruiters and friends.  It’s easy to send resume online or to a friend, who we expect would forward it to the right people and bring us fortune.  Most of us think that others need to help us get our job.  We think our responsibility is just to send a resume. We even feel productive applying for multiple jobs in a day, but end up getting poor response later.

I observed that it requires a lot more work if you really want to get your dream job.  You need to assume complete responsibility and do whatever is required to grab your dream job quickly.

So everyone says ‘Get Proactive’, but what does it really mean?

Getting proactive is about taking control in every stage of finding your job.  It’s your job and you need to take responsibility right from understanding what you love to do, where it is available, whom to approach and how to get it.  You don’t depend on flood of opportunities drive you what you apply and follow through.  You take control in finding what you love.  You approach recruiters in person, not just wait for them to respond.  You need to know how to take control in interview, not just answer their questions and wait for them to decide.  You need to know how to take control on the negotiation table.  Sending resume is just a part of finding the job you love, often insignificant part of it.

There are so many ideas to unpack here and most of them are totally obscure.  How do we take control?  I have taken each of these ideas and tried multiple approaches to find what works for me.

The idea of taking control is a paradigm shift in my approach to find my dream job.  It puts a lot of responsibility on my shoulders, but also gives an opportunity to learn this game better.  This is a skill of lifetime.  Once you master it, you can apply it again and again to chase your dream job.

However, taking control is just an approach, but doesn’t actually tell us what to do exactly on the ground.  We need more understanding about what’s going on there, what works, what backfires etc.  That’s where my other two paradigm shifts – building systems and testing – come to help.  These approaches guided me in taking control of every step in job search process.  Stay tuned till I unpack them soon.

In the meanwhile, I would like to know what proactive steps you have taken to find your job.  Were they successful? If not, why?

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