Lessons About Job Hunting from Painting

Over the past week, my husband and I tackled the task of refinishing our deck. Oddly enough, I found quite a few similarities between the work involved with that chore and job hunting.

There are 10 lessons about job hunting that were learned from painting. Because the post was getting lengthy, I’m breaking the lessons up into manageable segments.

1. Gather all the necessary equipment

It’s not like we could just grab a couple paint brushes and a can of stain.

The deck is on the large side, so we needed to make sure we had enough stain to complete the project, a paint sprayer, cardboard to protect the house from any stray sprays, paint brushes to get in any tight spots, a roller to smooth out the stain sprayed on the floor of the deck, and so on.

It ended up being more involved than some of your easier paint jobs. Getting everything we needed required planning and forethought.

Preparing for your job search should be no different. You need the staples of job searches past — résumé paper, envelopes, a computer, a printer and ink, a well-crafted résumé and cover letter, references — but you also need to:

  • have or develop a network (now, more than ever, a network is a necessity)
  • develop your presence on social media if you have not already done so
  • create a plan to chart how you are going to proceed (you don’t want to waste your valuable time going along in a haphazard manner; there should be a purpose and a direction to your search)

2. Make sure you know what you want.

In looking at the paper from the store that had all the little swatches on it, we decided on a color for our deck that was slightly darker than a cream color. I ended up being the one who was dispatched the next day to get the stain so we could begin the job.

While I was waiting for an associate to help me, I noticed the display that showed the colors as they looked on wood. This was a much more accurate representation of the color than we had gotten from the piece of paper.

Much to my horror, the color we were planning to use was decidedly more, um, pink. A pink-ish deck? Definitely not what we wanted.

Fortunately, the store was busy and I had enough time to analyze the other color selections that were close to the original shade but not so girly. A little bit more brown. Definitely brown.

Ahhhh, yes. “Taupe” looked just like what we wanted. It turned out to be the perfect color.

Should you be that particular about finding a job that is right for you? In the short-term, you may have to find what you can to get by. That’s just what you may have to deal with right now.

But long-term? Yes, you should take the time to find that good fit. Know what you want in a position and in a company. If you take the time know yourself and do the research necessary to learn about a company, you’ll be a lot happier and not in a job that doesn’t match your skills and interests or with a company that doesn’t hold the same values as you.

3. Read the manual.

This would have been a disaster if my husband and I had plowed ahead without looking at the instructions! Using the paint sprayer was a little trickier than either of us first imagined. It took a lot of dealing with glops of stain spewing forth before it was spraying a nice, fine mist.

Job hunting has changed a lot over the years. Even if your last job search took place five years ago, you wouldn’t have had access to some of the tools that are available now (like Twitter).  Companies are Googling people, looking them up on LinkedIn, even asking to temporarily friend them on Facebook, all in an attempt to obtain more information than can be gathered from reading your résumé or in an interview.

Given the high-profile of social media, you owe it to yourself to read the instructions so you can start using social media to the fullest. It will enhance your job search.

Lessons 4-10 will be coming in future posts, so stay tuned!

Does this article resonate with you? Imagine what could happen if I was working for you and your career!

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