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Planning and preparation are key to job search success

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The Harley Owners Group (or HOG) chapter to which I belong conducts several Long Distance Trips every year. Think 500 miles or more heading out, the same coming back, and a bunch of miles in between.

And what does that have to do with resumes and job searching? Actually, in thinking about the planned trips for 2014, I realized the two things have quite a lot in common.

When we go on a long distance trip, the members who are going prep their bikes carefully to make sure they’re safe and ready to go before we hit the road. Fluids are checked and topped off or changed. Cables are inspected; ditto for tires, brakes, and lights. Repairs are made as needed. This procedure, my friends, is akin to you checking over your resume to make sure it is as good as it can be before you send it out the door. No typos. Nothing important left out. Everything on it functioning as intended.

The next thing we do on our trip prep is to pack the bikes – and this takes skill, believe me. Room is in short supply, and you’re taking clothes, basic tools and bike supplies, rain and hot weather gear, and water and snacks for rest breaks. All of this is packed in a way that makes it easy to get at whatever you may need whenever you may need it… and this is usually done a few days before the trip, because last minute surprises are not very welcome. For the job hunter, the same applies for an interview. You need to prep your wardrobe and your grooming ahead of time, print out a few hard copies of your resume, and make sure you have two working pens and a notepad, because again… last minute surprises are not very welcome. In other words, finding out your suit has a grease stain on it the morning of your interview is not a good thing.

Next up? We review the details of the route we’re going to take, so that we know exactly how we’re going to get where we’re going. It may sound silly, but when going to an interview, you should do the same thing. Don’t assume you know how to get where you’re going; be sure you know. On top of that, you might want to research an alternate route or two in case of traffic or road work. Being late to your interview, no matter how good the reason? Bad idea.

What it comes down to is this: The things our chapter members do prior to one of our trips are meant to enhance safety and maximize enjoyment of the trip. You should think of your job search the same way – because proper preparation can keep your chances of finding a job alive. And yes... you might say landing one qualifies as enjoyable.

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