When you have job leads out your ears and your inbox becomes harder to manage, streamline your job search with this simple mantra.
You likely began your methodically and with purpose. But over time, as multiple leads come in, as you write multiple resumes, and as you make multiple phone calls, both your desk and email inbox become filled with leads and questions. Your overflowing inbox is paralyzing.
As you weigh your options, you feel like you cannot neglect even the smallest task. Doing so prevents you from moving forward and getting anything accomplished at all. At this point of overwhelm, try instituting the Marine Corps maxim: Do it, delegate it or delete it. ( to tweet this idea.)
This simple mantra is all you need to follow up and follow through with greater efficiency. It’s the same idea behind the organizational tip of touching each piece of paper only once.
Procrastination kills confidence
Why is it important to follow this rule? Not only does it instill confidence in those around you, but it also helps maintain your confidence. The lurking knowledge that you’re is a confidence killer.
And in the same way, it’s hard to feel at the top of your game when you know you’ve left behind piles of laundry, an unmade bed and a sink full of dirty dishes. Likewise, it’s hard to present your best self at an interview or coffee meeting when you have an inbox overflowing with requests, complaints and exhortations.
1. Hone in on your “do” list
“Do” items include following through on all leads for all sources, be they be from or friends-of-friends introductions. You should research every company or connection.
While you may not follow through on every opportunity or lead, you need to keep the mindset that your job search is your job. Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked.
What, specifically, are you looking for? Any info on the company — their mission, their bestselling products or their competition — can help you. The more you know, the better you can align yourself as the candidate who can further their goals, enhance their status or plug holes using your own unique skill sets and ideas.
2. Know when and what to delegate
You might think you should have someone else do this background research, but this particular task isn’t the best use of delegation — a highly underrated skill set, by the way.
It’s far better to delegate those tasks you use as a form of creative procrastination disguised as “necessary” work. Do you honestly need to invest more time reformatting your resume, updating your website and even organizing your interview wardrobe? How do these tasks connect you with the right job or organization? The fact is, they don’t.
Unless you’re a designer or web developer, these tasks are generally best handed off to those trained in these skill sets. Not only will you give yourself time to focus on what only you can do, you’ll also end up with a far better looking document or site.
3. Delete the bad leads to focus on the good ones
Do you keep posting your resume on random job sites all over the Internet? Delete that task from your to-do list. Focused follow through on personal recommendations and with is far more likely to yield the results you seek.
You should also delete those leads you find via what I call “Internet daydreaming.” This generally looks like a job that was something you considered doing during your summers off in high school, which just happens to be in Hawaii.
You should still follow up on any personal ledes — don’t delete those. So when your child’s camp counselor suggests you get in touch with their cousin “because it seems like you have so much in common,” pursue it. Following through could reveal their cousin is the vice president of the firm you’ve been angling for a connection to for the last six months.
But regardless of whether these leads result in the outcome you want, you need to remember that personal leads are just that — personal. Thanking the person who offered them is mandatory to building the kind of effective, comprehensive network you will need throughout your career.
As you can see, adopting a “Do it, delegate it or delete it” policy gives you a framework for following up and following through during your job search. It’s important to be fully focused on dedicating your efforts to each day’s top priorities. This is a simple way to make sure your maximize your efforts to best achieve your goal: That perfect job.
Frances Cole Jones is a nationally renowned career expert, a top 5 speaker in Communication by Speaking.com, President of Cole Media Management, and the best-selling author of the new eBook Wow Your Way Into the Job of Your Dreams (Open Road). Connect with Frances on and at .