The Best Work Search Recipe

If you enjoy baking, and a challenge, as much as I do then the idea of attending a pastry boot camp is likely quite appealing. As a university graduation gift my husband sent me back to school by registering me for a one week Pastry Boot Camp at NAIT. For five very full 12 hour days myself and 6 other ladies had the privilege of working with an internationally trained , experienced, and award winning Pastry Chef. We baked, we ate, we laughed, and we baked some more.

I love to bake and to share my creations with my friends and family but as much as I love to bake I'm not sure that I want to bake all day, every day. Meeting the deadlines we were expected to meet and preparing the quantities of food we were expected to prepare for a celebratory buffet was stressful. Working in the large and unfamiliar commercial kitchen with ingredients I had never heard of and making pastries I had only ever seen, and rarely ever tasted, was foreign to me.

In the midst of my baking extravaganza I began to think about the many work searchers I have had the privilege of assisting over the years and how it must have felt for them to be involved in a work search which likely felt like a boot camp and that most certainly lasted longer than one week.

You know your favourite recipe, the one you go to when you are short on time, need something to take to a potluck, or are having your in-laws over for dinner? It is just like the work search recipe you used to get your last job, or last three jobs. You use the same recipe time and time again because it is tried and true. It is consistently delicious, you know how to make it, and you know it will be a hit.

If you got your last job through a friend you are likely to seek the assistance of your friends again. If you found your last job through a newspaper ad you are likely to seek out job ads through some sort of print media in the future. If you went door knocking and got offered a position that way you are likely to try door knocking again. Why? Because those techniques worked for you in the past and you have no reason to think they won't work for you in the future.

Is there anything wrong with using the same recipe time and time again? Absolutely not...unless that recipe stops working for you!

What would you do if you made your favourite recipe and it didn't turn out the way it always had, or you took it to a potluck and everyone turned up their nose at it? What if you could no longer get a key ingredient? What if you weren't able to use the same technique due to situation or circumstance? Chances are good you would make modifications until you got the result you were expecting...or abandon that recipe altogether in favour of a new one.

Your work search techniques are just as important to the success of your work search as your baking techniques are to the success of your favourite recipe.

Perhaps you have moved to a new community and no longer have a network of people who can help you.

Perhaps the company you are interested in now posts all of its positions online rather than in the newspaper.

Perhaps you are no longer able to do the type of work you are familiar with.

Suddenly your work search recipe may not be getting the same results it once did. What are you going to do?

When the ingredients change, you modify the recipe to fit the ingredients. The secret to work search success, much like the secret to your favourite dish, is adaptability.

"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." ~ Unknown

Technology is certainly changing the way we research, connect, and apply. Technology is not a replacement for personal connections, information interviews, and networking but it is an enhancement - a tool that provides quick access, comprehensive information, and real time connections. It is a work search technique. Sometimes it is a change in technique that makes all the difference.

If you haven't had to use technology for work search or for work in the past you might want to explore what kinds of technology would benefit you now and help you connect with information, resources, and people who can assist you in finding what you are looking for.

If you are very comfortable with technology and have used it extensively for work search or for work in the past you may want to walk away from technology periodically to connect with people face to face and to develop the relationships you formed online.

Perhaps using technology in a new way will expose you to new information, resources, and people, and ultimately to new opportunies.

People often ask me what the best work search strategy is or what one thing they can do to guarantee success with minimal effort. The answer is that there is no one activity that will guarantee success and that success is the result of effort. Just like your favourite recipe has a number of key ingredients, so too should your work search strategy. Every ingredient has a purpose. If you leave one out it won't taste quite right. Your technique may require some tweaking for the very best results.

The best work search recipe has a number of different ingredients (strategies) that are relevant to the industries and occupations you are targeting and the technique you use to will change over time. Spending more time doing the activities that are working and less (if any) doing the ones that aren't working as well (or at all) will get you where you want to go quicker, sooner, faster. Be adventurous and try something different if what you are doing isn't working.

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power." ~ Alan Cohen

Connect with Paula on LinkedIn or Facebook
You can also “like” Career Designs for Life from our website home page.

Please feel free to post your career and employment questions, engage in discussions and conversations about world of work issues, and share your experiences and resources – we want to hear from you!

For more information about Career Designs for Life services please feel free to contact Paula directly at or 780.589.2245.