“Leave it all on the field.”

“Twice the sweat for ½ the return.”

“Yesterday’s ‘A’ game is today’s ‘C’ game.”

These are just some of the quotes I’ve heard recently about today’s economy. By the way, these weren’t from job seekers – they were from business people that are just as challenged today in selling their products and services.

Good quotes to think of and remind us that we’re not alone, and that those that are persevering in this market are going above and beyond to stay alive. Many companies have downsized significantly, and in some cases shut down plants or entire business units. Becoming more efficient quickly was the name of the game in 2009 and now it’s still challenging and no one is ready to shout, “Mission Accomplished!”

So, in your job search, how are you exemplifying the above quotes? I do see some people doing things differently today than they would have a few years back. Networking has become even more critical in finding a position in today’s market, but people are still having to get even more creative than just meeting the right people.

I recently corresponded with a member of the McDermott & Bull Executive Network that landed a new, senior executive position with a company he’s very excited to join. When I asked him if he could describe this search compared with job searches in the past, he sent me a graphical matrix that listed things like number of networking meetings per week, number of meetings with company executives, number of referral meetings, etc. It looked like a weekly report I’ve become accustomed to seeing from our newer search consultants to let us know if they’re on or off track, based on activities. It also reminded me of the weekly reports I used to complete in my sales jobs in my prior life. This guy developed a plan, worked the plan, and then measured his success against that plan. I’m sure he went above and beyond in other areas too, and I hope to report on those unique things he did that helped him land his job.

While I know most people in transition can say this time is different than all their previous transitions, are they really doing things so differently, or in such greater quantity today than they would have in the past to overcome today’s heightened challenges? Although I’ve definitely seen signs of this and I’ve also seen people talk about the differences, but not as many adjusting their plans accordingly to find success in the “new normal.”

My prior posts have discussed Special Reports, making a great first impression, going above and beyond in the search process, and staying clear of head trash. I think all those are great concepts that can be incorporated into your search. But now, put your company hat on. If you were the SVP of _________ (let’s fill in the blank) at XYZ Company, and your objective was to ________, but the economy was really handing it to you, would you continue doing what you’ve done in the past, or would you make dramatic changes to your process, in response to the heightened competitor you’re now facing – the economy? Most people will make incremental changes, but I’m talking about revolutionary changes to your process.

I just spoke with this senior executive that has multiple job opportunities in front of him. He has been to the finals a few times, but hasn’t yet been picked. He’s in a good position and hasn’t taken a job just to have a job, and in fact he’s turned some down that weren’t right for him. What’s his secret to having so many opportunities? He’s increased his activity, he’s reconfigured his plan to focus on those activities that are giving him the highest rate of return, and he’s measuring everything he does so he can continue to adjust his execution.

Build the plan, work the plan. Just make sure today’s plan takes into account today’s reality, and if you’re not sweating, not leaving it all on the field, and if your “A” game today doesn’t look far better than yesterday’s, you might have to rethink it.

Please feel free to share your comments and what you’re doing differently and how you’re sweating more to find the right next job, and let’s get the best ideas out to our readers.