The Sales Manager Technique

Procrastination is the greatest enemy to your job search.

You have probably heard the saying before—if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Although I won't be giving you the long and boring goal-setting speech that you have probably heard at least a dozen times, I will reference the basic principles. If you are to succeed in your job search, you need to have specific goals and an overall plan in place.

Start by drawing up a master plan for what you will be doing between now and graduation to find a job. Then break it down into monthly segments. Then break it down into one-week segments. Then break down each one-week segment into your daily planning. Then take the next step that will ensure your success—hire a "sales manager." Not a real sales manager. Just someone who is willing to work with you in helping you reach your career goals. Find a friend, roommate, career counselor, or parent willing to work with you. Parents are usually the toughest—but also the best, since you likely share the common goal of you not moving back home after college. Make a copy of your weekly plan, give it to your sales manager on Sunday night, then have them check your progress both Wednesday night and again the following Sunday. A new week, a new plan.

A good sales manager is more than just a nag—a good sales manager should have your best interests in mind and seek to keep you motivated. If you are afraid of asking your parents to assist you (because you are afraid of failure?), you might consider reciprocating with a fellow student by serving as his or her sales manager. But be careful—if one of you lets down in your responsibilities, it's easy for both to fall back.

The key is that you have set out an actual written plan with attainable goals in place. Don't worry if your master plan has to be modified and updated along the way. That is part of the job search process. You will need to invest at least five hours of work per week in your job search to be truly effective and may find yourself spending as much as ten to fifteen hours per week when things get rolling. Spend the fifteen to thirty minutes it takes to properly plan your week's activities at the beginning of each week so that you are operating at peak efficiency.