Use Personal Kanban to Manage Your Job Hunt
A job hunt is a big and complex project. You need to decide what to do and when. Who do you interview with? Is it time to iterate on your resume? Do you have enough references? Are you networking “right”? Add the fact that your emotional well-being is affected by your search, and—well, it’s a recipe for low self esteem.
One way to manage this complex project is to use a project management approach that fits the problem. The best way I know is to use personal kanban. Personal kanban allows you to take everything out of your head, get it down on sticky notes so you have the transparency, and then see it move across the board to get to done. You have a way to limit the work in progress and a way to corral those call-backs with the Pen.
As you can see from the picture above, it’s a simple system to start. I used a notebook and just drew a few lines to create a personal kanban. It’s great if you can use a wall, a refrigerator, or a flip chart because those are larger surfaces, but if you can only manage a notebook, you can still use a personal kanban. You can tweak the method in other ways to make it work the best for you
. You're "supposed" to organize tasks in queues, but if you prefer, you can simply make a list—it's your kanban, so do what you want with it.
When you start adding your to-do's, put the sticky notes in the Ready column on the left. As you work on them, move them to the In Progress column. When you complete them, move them to Done.
If you have call-backs about job offers, you move them to the Pen, where you corral them. I suggest you create a WIP (Work In Progress) limit for the Pen
. Otherwise, you can imagine
that you have all these potential call-backs when the reality is different.
I recommend you plan and execute your job search project in one-week iterations so you can retrospect every week. If you reflect that often, you have a chance to change what you are doing. You can iterate on your resume. You can decide if your activity on LinkedIn is adequate or not. You can rethink your networking online or in-person. You have options.
Personal kanban might not necessarily help you get a job faster, but it will help you get organized and provide you with the transparency to see where you are with your job search. And that’s the first step.