Conducting a Lean Job Search

No doubt, you have heard the terms “lean manufacturing” and “5S” used to describe a set of tools and principles that help companies increase productivity and efficiency, reduce waste and streamline operations.

Over the years, many of these tools have also been adapted by non-manufacturing companies because of their common sense applicability. In fact, the term “lean office” has grown in popularity as service and distribution companies, and even non-profits look to make dramatic changes to the way they do business.

After attending a recent workshop on Lean Transformation, it got me to thinking that many of the same concepts can be adapted by today’s job seeker to help make them more effective and productive, especially in the areas of allocating time and reducing waste.

Now that the holidays are upon us and we are winding down 2009, it is an opportune time to evaluate where you are in your search, what’s working and what isn’t. But most importantly, you need to take a critical look at your process.

Borrowing from the 5S framework, you should consider these points:

oSorting – go through all your marketing materials (résumés, cover letters, etc) and make sure they are the right tools; everything else should be discarded.

oSet In Order – allocate your time on the tasks (networking, direct mail, job boards) that will produce the greatest return.

oSystemic Cleaning – constantly review your progress and solicit feedback to determine what needs to be changed.

oStandardizing – develop a repeatable process and discipline, create a plan and then follow it diligently.

oSustaining – as you make changes regarding the previous 4S’s, it’s important to maintain focus on the new way you are conducting your search and not fall back on old habits, stay positive.

Conducting a job search that will produce the desired result is based on preparation, process and attitude. These same attributes can be found in companies that have successfully implemented lean and are experiencing dramatic results.

Given these economic times and the amount of competition fighting for each position, if you want to land the job you desire, you need to go LEAN!