Prepare to be taken aback.
My students and career center colleagues at Duke’s Fuqua School of
Business know to expect this from me by now, but others may find my
I happen to think that there’s a best way to do everything in the job
search. Not a general best way, but a specific best way—a recipe, in other
words—that different people can follow to create similarly tasty results.
This is a surprisingly uncommon perspective in the job search world.
For example, think back to the last job search article you read. Did it give
you actual instructions to follow? Or did it suggest general tips that you’d
have to convert into a plan of action yourself? I see way too much of the
latter and basically none of the former. Tips are job search junk food—
satisfying in the moment but lacking any real nutrition, repackaging
conventional wisdom you’ve heard before into a slightly different format,
making it seem new but adding no real value.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Instructions for your job search are possible and frankly should be the
norm. Aren’t job search experts in a better position to curate all of their
tips into a usable format than overwhelmed job seekers conducting their
first, second, or even tenth search?