Shipping tasks is important when job hunting

I’m hoping to encourage you to slowly but surely ship stuff when job hunting.

Ship stuff

One trick that separates the amateur job hunter from the professional is the habit of “shipping” stuff.

This means ensuring that each and every day you are shipping something that pushes you towards the end goal. In this instance it’s a new job full of glory and reward, or something like that.

In order to hit your goal you need to break that goal down to a series of tasks and start rattling on through them. This is especially important as you juggle parenting and maybe even your current job too.

The breaking down of tasks can take some time initially though – so carve out an hour or so to really think about what needs to be done. Once you have a list of tasks try not to get overwhelmed as the list may be long. Very long.

Instead, try to create a nice cycle of task completion. Try to do something every day. That way you’ll keep up the momentum and you’ll see results sooner. The smaller the tasks the easier they will be to slip into a few minutes of downtime or when the children are sleeping.

You could ship a new CV, another application, a LinkedIn update, a new blog post, a new interview outfit, a phone call, an email or a new connection on LinkedIn. It doesn’t matter really as long as it’s heading you to your goal.

So go forth and ship stuff. And pretty soon you’ll have that job you’re after.

Until next time

Learn more about remaining relevant and employable as a parent in The Employable Parent Brain book.

60 Days Proof

A cool trick to make sure your doodles, notes and jots of information make sense, is to make sure everything you write down is 60 days proof.

What this means is that in 60 days time, if you were to reread your writing, it would still make sense.

How often have you found a scrap of paper, or a written note, or a digital note that simply does not make sense?

For example, let’s say you take some notes on a call to your service provider and you’re busy scribbling numbers, dates, people’s names etc. That same day it makes perfect sense. Then 60 days later when the bill is still wrong you can’t make sense of your notes.

60 days proof is a good concept, because it makes you think about each set of notes.

  • Do I need to add some more context to this?
  • Do I need to link these notes to others I have also made (i.e. a series of notes)?
  • Do I need to include some dates and times with these notes?
  • Will I know what these numbers are in 60 days time?
  • Do I need to know what these notes mean in 60 days time?

Until next time

Don’t be negative in an interview

When answering questions be sure to remain positive. Try to avoid being negative about people or work. Hiring managers want to be wowed, not depressed.

Hiring managers are looking for people who will bring positive energy to the business, not someone who will suck the life out of everyone.

If you’re feeling a little tired or low before an interview then try smiling stupidly at yourself in the bathroom or your car or somewhere private.

Try jumping up and down, listening/watching something funny or simply doing a power pose for 2 minutes

Try techniques to focus on the positive aspect.

Even the direst experiences often have positive angles if you look hard enough. Be as positive as you can as it makes a much stronger first impression.

Until next time


Use good email addresses when applying for jobs

One thing I see all too often is people using silly email addresses for submitting job applications.

You know, like bigdaddy1978 or bestmummyintheworld1827 or Daz732.

Every time you communicate you send messages and meaning to others. For most hiring managers, using an email like this, sends a very clear message – no effort.

Instead you want to wow them so use an email address that looks neat and tidy.

The best ones to use are clearly firstname.surname. These may often have been taken so no harm in using your middle name if you have one, or using initials. It’s also fine to use numbers on the end, just make sure it’s your full name so it sounds more formal.

I would also advocate using a Gmail or Fastmail address. Hotmail and Yahoo are quite spammy domains so best to stick to Google or Fastmail or something like this.

If you have your own domain then you can also then use your domain as an email.
For example i could use – which would be a good domain to use for applying for parent related jobs, but not so good for any other industry – hence I have a generic one.

Once you have a decent email address try to only use it for job related emails. This has a number of benefits such as:

  • Keeps spam to a minimum
  • Keeps your work and private life separate
  • Means you don’t get distracted when you log in to check job related emails. (three hours later you’re in the deepest corners of Mumsnet)

Until next time

Drawing isn’t just for kids – draw to explain in an interview

If you feel more comfortable drawing out an idea to explain it then go for it (assuming you have the facilities to).

When I have a candidate who uses visuals, or other techniques rather than verbal explanation, I’m deeply impressed.

I’m impressed because it shows they are able to walk through their thinking and explain it in ways that aren’t typically associated with interviews.

It shows courage to ask to draw, doodle or use other mediums. And isn’t that weird that we should feel embarrassed to ask to deviate from a verbal answer?