August 23, 2023

Save Time on Your Job Search

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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If you’re looking for a new job, it can feel like a tedious, never-ending time suck. In this episode, I’m breaking down the specific activities you’re doing that are not giving you your return on investment of time and those that will give you better results in less time.

Tune in to hear my fast and slow stream job searching strategy and how you can implement it to find the best job for you more quickly.

What you’ll learn:

  • My fast and slow stream job searching strategy
  • 3 ways you are wasting time in your job search
  • 5 ways to increase your odds of getting an interview

Mentioned in this episode:




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Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast with me, Melissa Lawrence. I’m a career and life coach with all the corporate credit and talent development and organizational psychology. I help women like you get extraordinary results by being more you, not less. I won’t just help you have a career experience worthy of you, but I will help you build your self-worth to shift what you think is possible and take the action that will create the career you’ve always wanted, whether it’s more meaningful work you’re passionate about, making more money, getting to your next level, or being more effective as a leader. We are shattering the glass ceiling here, the one that exists for women at work and the one we put on ourselves with our doubt and inner critic. Each week, you will get practical teachings grounded in neuroscience and effective career development strategies. You’ll experience deep mindset shifts and the perfect amount of woo. So you can run your career with ease rather than your career running you. You were born for more, and I’m going to help you get there with maybe a few dance parties along the way. Your up-level begins now. Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast.

Let’s start this episode off with a celebration. Today, I want to highlight one of my clients, Sonali. Sonali and I started working together earlier this year, and when she came to me, she was spending 20 hours a week searching for a job. She was exhausted. She’s a scientist who wanted to move into a project management role, or so she thought. Now, here is what she has to say about her coaching experience. When I joined coaching, I was in distress and was ready to jump and find a new job with a different job function. I had spent many hours on LinkedIn looking for one. While I did get some interviews, I was unsure of my decision or I was unclear of my path forward. With the coaching sessions, we did a deep dive on what the problem areas were in the current job and how those could be improved in the short run. We then did exercises to understand where my interest really lies and what my strengths are. It was a very holistic approach. I am less anxious, more positive, and overall more productive. Coaching helped me to get a good baseline level so that I could move to my next level, get my next job with more confidence and deservingly.

This positive attitude had a trickle effect. I started exploring other mediums and activities that instill confidence, happiness, and more balance like music, exercise, and time with my family. I would recommend that biotech companies and forums invite you as a speaker, and I think many people in the industry at all levels would like to get coaching from you. Thank you, Sonali. When we went through my process, what she actually discovered is that she didn’t want to move into project management. So she not only saved those 20 hours a week, but she saved herself from a decision that she would later regret. Instead, she got happy now, cut the stress out, is working less, building better relationships at work. We got clear on what she really wanted, and now she’s working toward advancement while getting excellent feedback at work. Some of the other wins she had are so important. Like she mentioned, more time with the family. She started exercising, taking on hobbies she enjoys. Overall, she has more happiness and is more confident in her life because she chose to work on her career. It’s so incredible what just a few months can do for your career and your life.

That is something that a lot of my clients tell me is they can’t believe how much their life has changed, that they will go meet people and they like old friends or old colleagues and they will say, Oh, my gosh, you’re so different. I can’t believe how different you are. They’re lighter, more confident, all because they chose to work on their career. It’s pretty incredible. Now, I wanted to share this because it really ties to what we’re talking about today, and that is job searching. I have this concept that I talk to my clients about and I want to share it with you. It’s fast stream and slow stream job searching. There are certain activities you can do that are going to have higher value and more return on your time and other activities that have a slower or less likely return on your investment. No one wants to spend more time navigating the tedious online job application process if they don’t have to. You want to at least make sure the time you’re spending is going to be worth it, right? There have been a lot of changes in the industry between reorgs, job changes, staff reductions.

I thought this would be a great time to talk to you about how you can optimize your job search. Now, first, let’s talk about the slow stream or low stream activities. I call this slow stream because I think of this as being on a lazy river. You’re getting your feet wet, you’re floating around, doing some things that are moving you along on your job search, but you’re not super active. You’re not playing volleyball, getting all wet, and making those dives into the water, right? You’re just making a little bit of progress. These activities are the slow stream activities, I think, of the lazy river, right? Let’s dig into what these slow stream activities are. One is searching online and applying to jobs that you’re qualified for. This is an obvious place that people go, but this is a time suck. You can definitely automate this. And what likely happens is you start searching and then you get distracted by someone’s post, or your phone, or an email, and the time that you’ve spent on there isn’t the highest quality of time. So although if you know what you want, yes, search online, apply to those jobs.

I’m not saying don’t, but I’m saying that the whole strategy is just not getting you anywhere good, not anywhere quickly. And because it tends to just be, let me scroll and let me see what’s available, let me see what I’m qualified for, and then spending a bunch of time applying to random jobs. And when I say random, I mean ones that you’re not really sure that you want, but you seem qualified for, you’re interested in. It just isn’t getting you ahead the way that you want to. Another slow stream activity is to wait or put all of your eggs in one basket when you get an interview. I see this pretty frequently. You can get really excited that you just got an interview at your dream job or when you’re really interested in it, and so then you just stop applying. You stop networking, you stop doing the things that you were doing. Then if the job doesn’t work out either because you decided it wasn’t a good fit for you or they decided you’re not a good fit for them, you’ve lost your traction. You’ve lost that time. Another slow stream activity is spending a ton of hours or money on your resume.

I have had several clients come to me and say, I just paid a resume writer a lot of money to write my resume and I’m still not getting the job. And so although your resume has some importance, it’s not as important as you might think it is. And what’s more important are some of these fast stream activities. And so if you’re thinking, what I really need to do is put my head down and spend a few hours on my resume or hire someone to write my resume, that isn’t the best use of your time or money. All right, let’s move on to the fast stream activities. So fast stream and high value activities, these are in the fast stream because they’re active, they’re proactive, they’re going to get you more into the hidden job market. They’re going to connect you with mentors, get you referrals, and build your career now and in the future. It’s like you’re in the pool and you’re diving headfirst into the water because it’s a very competitive, fun game of volleyball, okay? So the first fast stream activity is networking. Networking plays a pivotal role in today’s job market. It’s a powerful tool that can help you uncover hidden job opportunities, gain insider information, increase your chances of landing a job.

According to Schirm or Society of Human Resources Management, getting that referral can boost your chances of securing the job by 40%. In the pharma biotech industry, it’s even bigger. The industry is so well connected, you just can’t underestimate the importance of your network and those relationships. It’s said that up to 80 % of jobs are filled from referrals. So someone always knows someone. So, it’s better to spend time networking and building relationships than it is just scrolling. Now, another fast stream and high value activity is to update your LinkedIn. This is your digital brand. It’s your presence online. So although your resume is out there, most recruiters, most hiring managers, they’re going to look you up on LinkedIn and see who you are. People you’re interviewing with are going to look you up and see what you’re about. Having an updated LinkedIn that accurately represents who you are, that has a profile picture that is professional, that is showing your face, that has an accurate representation of your history, that maybe has a little bit of personality or story into it is going to help you stand out. Also with LinkedIn, when your LinkedIn is really up to date, you’re going to have more people reaching out to you, which is also why it’s a fast stream activity, so I didn’t mention that.

As it’s updated, when you’re standing out and you have a good LinkedIn online presence, then people are going to reach out to you more quickly and think that you’re a qualified candidate for roles that you don’t even know are out there. So one way to really prove this is if you go to Google and you type in your name, if you have a LinkedIn profile, it’s in most cases the very first link that comes up. So your LinkedIn profile is very present. It’s very relevant and visible. So if your LinkedIn profile isn’t up to date or isn’t consistent with your resume, then that’s going to be a red flag. All right, so the next fast stream activity is reaching out to your colleagues, past or present, ones that you actually liked working with, engaging with them. Set up a coffee chat, see if they want to get together. Send them a quick note on LinkedIn asking them how their summer is going. Demonstrate your expertise or share something that you’ve just done at work that’s really cool. Keeping that relationship warm, even if you’re not actively looking, is going to be really helpful for you, because you don’t want to wait until you’re looking for the job.

And then all of a sudden you’re like, here’s my resume. Do you have anything available for me? Instead, just connect as a person human to human. And I have other podcast episodes on networking on building relationships that you can check out. I know that you can feel really awkward doing that. And so I give you some great resources for questions to ask, how to do informational interviews, how to network, all of that you can find in prior episodes. Okay, so let’s see. The next fast stream activity is to be selective. So what can happen is that you can look at your resume, feel stuck and be like, What am I qualified for? Or what would make sense? And you start applying to a lot of jobs, right? And that doesn’t necessarily give you a very good reputation to potential hiring managers or employers. But when you know what it is that you want, the job search process is a lot less of a pain in the ass because you are focusing your search on specific companies and specific roles that meet a criteria that you know that you want. And so there’s going to be less you’re applying to.

It’s going to be like quality over quantity, okay? Now, the last fast stream activity that I want to mention is hiring a coach. So I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t mention that when you hire me, for example, you get clear on what you want and personalized strategy and mentorship to walk you every step of the way into your ideal role, better paid and working less hours. It’s what I do. It’s like a golden ticket or getting you on the fast track into a career that you actually love and want to have. So there you go. There are three things that are going to give you less return on your investment and five things that are going to give you a bigger return and better outcome for your time and effort. These are my slow and fast stream strategies. Now, a little note here. You should still apply to the jobs that you’re interested in and yes, put some effort into your resume, but don’t spend all of your time here. My point is that spending an hour researching could be spent reaching out to five connections on LinkedIn or attending a networking event, and that is going to be more beneficial for you now and in the future.

I have some additional resources on this that I will link to in the show notes on what recruiters are looking for, how to navigate interviews and prepare for them. There’s a lot of good stuff for you back on this podcast and other resources that I’ve put out. Now, before we end, I want to acknowledge and recognize the emotional journey of job searching. Based on your circumstances, this could be something that has a lot of urgency or something you’re just considering. Job hunting can be a roller coaster of emotion. There’s excitement, anticipation, disappointment, and of course, rejection. It’s vital to recognize and acknowledge these emotions as part of the job search process. Remember that you’re not alone in this journey, and it’s perfectly normal to experience all sorts of feelings. Don’t let these emotions hinder your progress. Take care of yourself in this process. Schedule time for job-searching activities and make your time count by identifying what you will accomplish in that time. Allow yourself breaks. Give permission to feel how you feel rather than shove it down or tell yourself that you should just feel differently. Don’t give up because it is part of the process.

Job searching in today’s market requires a strategic approach, an empathetic mindset to yourself, and resilience. But it does pay off, especially when you get into your ideal role that you’re energized by and love going to, making an impact, only you can. If you’re looking for more support on identifying your ideal role, I want you to look into Beyond the Ceiling. It’s a brand new group where I’m walking you through my process that I have been using for years with all of my clients like Sonali, who you heard about earlier on this episode. You can get all the details about this program. We are kicking off with a live event in October, but you can save your spot now and make sure that you are walking effortlessly into a role that you love and have the career that you really want. You get all of those details on my website at 

Have an amazing week.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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