Is getting the job you want just a numbers game? Have you heard this – that if you just submit as many applications as possible, you’ll eventually get something? Maybe you feel you’ve already done that, maybe for a very long time, and it still isn’t working out?

If you feel you’ve exhausted all your options, done everything you can, are totally frustrated, and ready to give up – this episode is for you.

In this episode of The Career Rx we’ll discuss:

  • Why successful applicants aren’t playing ‘the numbers game’
  • Three things that are much more important than how many times you apply
  • The right and wrong ways to network

Today’s we’re going to be talking about why applying for the job you want is not the numbers game that you’ve been told. In fact, if you’re just blanketing the internet with applications, that’s among the very reasons you’re spending way too much time and energy doing the wrong things – the things that aren’t getting you the results that you want!

By the end of this episode, you’ll know how to play the job hunt game the right way. You’ll see how ‘long term’ thinking helps you take better actions in the short term. You’ll also be able to evaluate your current career transition plan, and see if you need to persevere OR press pause and make a totally new plan.

In this Episode:

[1:00] Wondering if you’ve sent out enough resumes, but running out of new places to submit an application? Start here.
[3:00] The fix if you’re feeling burned out, bored, undervalued, or stuck in a toxic work environment – for female physicians only – my retreat in Mexico
[6:50] Are you making one (or all) of these career transition mistakes?
[10:00] This ‘long term’ strategy helps you take better ‘short term’ actions to get the job you want
[13:30] Deliberate planning leads to deliberate results – tough love alert!
[14:00] Are you really out of options? I doubt it. But ask yourself these questions to be sure
[17:50] Stop playing the numbers game – follow this game plan instead

Links and Resources:

TransforMD – a life changing retreat for women physicians who want more from their careers and their lives – it’s time, right now!

Industry Insider – learn exactly how to land a rewarding nonclinical career without a new degree, connections on the inside, prior experience, or a pay cut

The Branding Rx 18 hours of CME, mastering digital strategies for advancing your career, building your business, and growing your professional brand



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Episode 70 – Stop Doing That! (It’s Not a Number Game)

Hey there. I’m Marjorie Stiegler and you’re listening to the Career RX Podcast, where we tackle the important things they don’t teach you in medical school. Like how to treat your career, like the business, it really is, with strategies to accelerate the kind of success that you want, because you deserve a career you love, and a career that loves you back. Are you ready? Let’s get into it.

Hey all, welcome back to another episode of The Career Rx. Today we’re going to be talking about a question that comes up so often when it comes to career acceleration, career pivots, whether that’s promotion within your organization or looking to move to a different organization or looking to do something totally different in a completely different industry. One of the things that comes up as a question to me all the time is, you know, is it just a numbers game? Have I not applied to enough roles? Or have I not put my resume out there enough? And usually, this question comes up, when people feel really tapped out already, they feel they have, in fact, reached out to as many people as they know, and they have submitted applications in as many places as they can think of. And they feel like they’ve done an enormous volume of work. And they’ve gotten almost no results. So if you have been thinking about a career transition for yourself, this might sound somewhat familiar.

And if it does, I’m going to help get you on the right path here. In this episode, today, we’re going to be talking about why maybe it is a little bit of a numbers game, but it’s probably not the numbers game that you’ve been playing, it’s probably not the numbers game that you thought it was or that someone else has advised you it is. And that’s the reason why you’re spending a lot of time and energy doing a lot of things that are not getting you the results that you want.

Now, I would be wildly remiss if I didn’t mention before we get into the content for today, about my annual retreat, which happens just once a year, it is for women physicians only. So I know some of my listeners, that’s not going to fit your demographic, don’t worry, I have other things for you. But this one particular retreat is called TransforMD. It is in Mexico in January, which is certainly a time we all need a little bit of fun in the sun for the new year. And it is a wonderful retreat for realigning your life. So if you’re in an untenable situation, in your work, or or in your life, that you just feel like you know, somewhat trapping, you are feeling sort of toxic, unsustainable, you’re feeling bored, unchallenged, underutilized, sometimes invisible, sometimes under appreciated, undervalued all of those sort of negative things, if you wake up, you know, when your alarm goes off, and you just think, “Oh, another day”, because these are some of the ways in which you feel your status quo is treating you, we are going to get you out of that.

So registration is open now. I’ll put the link in my show notes, it’s transformed.org to tell you all about the event, and to see videos, read reviews from other people who have attended in the past. Transformd.org come check it out, and, uh, know that it is extremely limited in size, we really aim to have just a handful of people at this retreat, it’s podium, free, there’s nothing big about it. It’s super, super small and intimate, and, and highly effective. So come check it out before it fills up. It’s at transform.org.

So I’ve said this is not a numbers game, but a lot of people think that it is they’ve been told that it is. And so they have indeed invested a whole lot of effort in a certain number of metrics. So for example, you might have to apply to more jobs than you originally thought if you are looking for a major promotion or a significant career change. So that’s just the truth. In that regard, it might be a numbers game that you have to apply to more jobs than you previously thought. You might have to face rejection more often than you had expected, and especially for really highly achieving people. Like so many of my audience, that is unusual, and it’s uncomfortable.

And for physicians where you know, although the stakes are very high and positions are really, really competitive. There’s still sort of a pathway right from medical school, to residency, and even to your faculty jobs, so it’s not a big mystery. It is sort of easy to move along that train, you know exactly what you need to do to get a job. And assuming you’re a well qualified physician as you are, it’s not really that hard to get one. And so these numbers are perhaps a little bit unexpected for many job seekers to apply to more jobs than you hoped and to face rejection more than you expected. The other thing is you may have to do frankly, much more work. And it’s work that you don’t think You have the time to do it. And I totally get that you’re extremely busy. Everyone thinks they don’t have the time to do the important stuff.

But that’s really what we’re going to get into here. And of course, that’s because in their minds, they don’t perceive it as the important stuff. They think the important thing is, you know, to blanket the market with resumes for themselves, and that something will turn up. But that is, I mean, it’s almost just an entire waste of time. So when you think of all the time that you were investing to do, some of the activities that you’ve been doing, if they’re not getting you the right results, there’s a good chance, they’re actually the wrong things.

And so if you’re a numbers game is sort of hedging on the wrong things, then you will be wasting time, I mean, it’s all wasted, it’s a complete waste, it’d be far better, to spend less time or the same amount of time, just doing completely different things. And so it’s work, it’s work to do a transition, because there will be things you need to learn, and there will be assets you need to set up, there’ll be all kinds of stuff you need to do. And so by the time I hear about this from people, they’re often very, very exhausted, they feel they’ve exhausted all their options, they’ve done everything they can, they’re totally frustrated, and they want to give up.

And they also generally think that because they are so frustrated, and they’ve had to work so hard, and they’re not getting, you know, the responses that they wanted, or the offers that they wanted, or even the interviews or, or sometimes even just the replies the acknowledgments back that they wanted. They think that that must mean that they’re not qualified, maybe you’re thinking that as you’re listening that, you know, if you faced all this rejection, and you are playing the numbers game, and you’re not getting anywhere, that you’re not qualified, and therefore you have no chance of successfully transitioning to the non clinical career that you want, or to the leadership role that you want. But I am here to tell you, this is just absolutely not true.

The problem is usually one of a couple of things, which are actually really pretty easily fixed. Problem number one, is perhaps you are applying for your jobs the wrong way. And I mean this very literally. So you know, you’re more than likely actually going about putting yourself in front of the wrong people, or not getting in front of people at all, because you’re applying the wrong way.

Number two, perhaps you don’t know how to present yourself in a way that connects with the job opportunity. This part is incredibly important. And then number three, you are perhaps networking, either inefficiently, or inefficiently. And you know, you’ll see that a lot I hear people, people tell me and I see with my own eyes all over these sort of job advice boards, people, you know, will come and ask for advice for any number of things. And invariably, people will answer with sort of the one liner of you know, just network. And believe me, networking is absolutely essential. But the problem is that just to advise someone to network is is not sufficient, right?

That’s not really helpful advice. Most people don’t really know how to network in an effective way. And because they also don’t know how to do it with an intentional or deliberate way, it can be highly inefficient, which leads people to feel like, gosh, I’ve, I’ve already tapped out all my resources. I’ve called everyone I know that kind of thing and really to feel exhausted.

So you might be spending a lot of time effort and emotional energy on basically the wrong things. So when we’re thinking about that numbers game, and you initially may say, Yeah, I have absolutely been doing that. And I’ve been doing a lot of things, and spending a lot of time. And that might absolutely be true. However, if you’re directing all of it in the wrong way, then you’re not getting the results. And then that’s not a surprise. And why is that right? That people are kind of directing things in the wrong way. They’re not sort of doing it right. As I as I’ve said, most of the time, this is because people don’t actually know the inner workings of the industry, or the part of the organization that they want to join.

So it’s because currently you don’t speak the corporate language, you don’t know the nuances of their hiring process. You are not connected to the right people. Maybe you don’t even really fully understand what the job posting says. Or maybe your idea of what that role encompasses is a little bit different from what the people in the leadership positions who would be hiring you actually want from that person? You know, these are very common. And honestly, you know, of course, you don’t know that. This is not a criticism of you, it is completely expected. You’re not in that industry or you’re not in that kind of role. It is kind of behind a closed door. So this is not a criticism of you. It’s completely common. It’s totally expected, but it is part of what’s holding you back. So all of this stuff can all be remedied and it is absolutely not even all that hard.

Now one of the most important questions that you can ask yourself about what you’re doing is whether or not it has a long view in mind. I’m a big believer in the long view, I think you can fast track your results. Obviously, that’s what this entire podcast is about getting you where you want to be faster with more ease. And I wholeheartedly believe in that. And I also believe in sort of the long term view when you’re thinking about the types of activities that you’re going to engage in. And so when you’re trying to decide what you ought to do, just remember that thinking in the long term helps you to make better decisions in the short term.

And that means that you know, figuring out what should you do today, or this week or this month, to try to get you where you want to be, should not just be what comes to you on a whim, today, or this week, or this month, it ought to be something that you have thought through, that has an actual impact for you, outside of the immediate time frame. So you know, sometime this year, or sometime next year, or sometime in the next five years. And if you get really clear on, you know what it is that you want to do, then it’s easier to prioritize, and to find the times and everyone thinks they don’t have time, you can go take a time management course, obviously, or read any time management book, and they’ll all basically tell you the same thing, which is that if you are planning, if you take the time in advance to plan, you will have, you know, multiplied your results.

If you take that one minute to plan, that’ll save you 10 minutes in the future, if you spend 10 minutes planning, you’ve saved 100 minutes or almost two hours in a day. So if you spend the time to plan upfront, you will get the results that you need, and you will get them much much faster. Most people do not do that.

So it’s really important that your future intention, you know, where you want to be, needs to come front and center. And and you need to like every time you do anything throughout the day, you need to ask yourself, how does this fit in to my goal to be in you know, x position within y amount of time, whether it’s, you know, as soon as possible, or just this year or within the next five years, every activity that you do every single day should at least be held up against that objective, right that that goal, that long term goal, so that you can decide what it is that you want to actually be doing. And you can make a plan and activities that support that. So I’ve taken a little bit of a detour on like time management, but the concepts are the same.

So if you’re feeling like you know, you are losing the numbers game, you’re tapped out, you’re exhausted, you’re spending all of your efforts. Ask yourself if you’ve been spending those efforts in the right places, and in the right way. And if what comes to mind for you right now is that you’ve kind of just been taking stabs in the dark sort of guessing, asking a couple friends and then just kind of going out there and trying to do something, do anything, do it quickly, then you already probably know the answer to that question, which is that you may not be spending your efforts and the right places or in the right ways. A successful job transition really requires very deliberate action. And it requires intention, and consistency.

And a lot of people don’t like to hear this, consistency on a regular basis, you can like just hope that a opportunity comes along or that somebody you know gives you a chance. But a much better plan for success is to have an actual plan. And it should be an informed plan. And it doesn’t need to be a hard plan doesn’t need to be a difficult plan. But it needs to be a deliberate plan. And again, it will save you all that time, save you tons and tons and tons of time and heartache and effort and energy. So think about the answers of these questions. So pull out a piece of paper and get ready to hit the pause button, I guess on this podcast, because I’m going to write or I’m going to speak faster than you can write. But I’m gonna give you just a few questions for you to ask yourself to help you understand whether or not you are indeed tapped out and at the end of the road or not.

So question number one. Are you working from a specific plan at all? Right? So even forget whether it’s a good plan, or the right plan? Do you even have a plan? And be quite honest with yourself here? Don’t just answer it kind of verbally or in your in your head. You know, listening to me, you know, save this for a time you can sit down and take just five minutes to answer this question. Do you have a plan? In your mind right now? You’re saying “Yes, I do.” I would love for you to write that plan down. You don’t need to share it with me. But you know, prove to yourself that you have a plan by by articulating what that plan is because most people think they have a plan but they don’t.

Then question number two, is it an informed plan? And by that I mean where did you come up with this plan? Right? Did somebody who really knows the the goal, the industry, the organization, the corporation that you want? Someone who knows how to get there? Have they helped you? Or is it something that you’re figuring out on your own, you’ve done some Google searches and asked a handful of people. And I’m not suggesting you can’t get success that way, but I would not call it an informed plan. So, I am asking you question number two is to, to appraise whether or not if you have that plan, is it a truly informed plan? Or is there a possibility that there is a blueprint out there, that would be better for you, right, that someone could just tell you how to actually do this without the guesswork.

Then question number three, are you sticking to your plan with intention? And by that, I mean, you know, whatever your plan involves, are you doing it on a regular basis, doing it consistently, and doing it like fully, because a lot of people cut corners, and they cut what are frankly, the most important corners, of course, they maybe don’t realize that but you know? Just as an example, if you are submitting your CV, on an online job portal, you are 100% doing it wrong, and you are cutting the important corners, if you’re doing that. So you may play the numbers game doing that, and it will likely not get you very far. And if that’s what you’ve been doing, and those are the results you have, I’m not surprised by that at all. And you shouldn’t be either, you know, so, you know, I applaud the effort that goes behind that, but it’s not the right way. So I’m just putting that out there for you.

And then number four, this, the final question is, have you connected the dots between the skills that you have, and the job that you want? This is your job, right? As the candidate, this is your job to connect the dots between what you have to offer and the job that you want. Because you’re going to need to communicate that clearly in all of your job search assets. What’s the job search asset? It’s your resume, your cover letter, your verbal pitch, right, what you say when you’re in front of a hiring manager, or a recruiter or even just a person who you’re networking with. And it also includes your interview prep.

This is an area where a lot of people feel like, well, you know, my CV speaks for itself, or people ought to know that I can do X, Y, and Z and like, maybe they ought to know, but they don’t. And even if they could, with a little bit of effort, try to figure all that out, comb through your CV and figure out all your awesomeness. Don’t leave that to chance and don’t make it their work to do that’s your job to do. And if you do that really, really well. And you put it in front of the right people in the right ways, then absolutely, you will get results from that.

So those are the four questions, right? Do you have a plan at all? Is it an informed plan? Are you sticking to it with intention? Or are you cutting corners? And then Have you done the work to connect the dots between what you’ve got to offer and where you want to be? So sit down, answer those questions. If you’re coming up short on any single one of those, then you should stop playing the numbers game and you should turn around, you know, make a U turn and go back and make your plan. Make it a good plan, do the work upfront to understand what your plan should be, how to successfully navigate what it is you’re hoping to do. So you can stop wasting a bunch of time doing the wrong stuff that is not helping you.

I was listening to a talk or somebody again, a time management kind of thing. I love that stuff. I’m sorry that I don’t know who actually said this quote, it’s definitely not my quote. But the saying is, “do first things first and second things not at all.” Kind of sounds like Stephen Covey, but I’m not sure. And how amazing is that? Do first things first, second things not at all. So if you’re doing any of the things sort of that were not on my list of four things, those are the second things, those are the things you should probably not be doing at all. There are some exceptions, of course, right? This is just a short podcast episode. But generally speaking, if you’re not getting the results that you want, and you’re not doing those four things, then you are doing the sort of the second things you’re not doing the right things.

And so you’re not doing first things first. And don’t feel bad about that. Because if you haven’t, if you haven’t been given the right guidance, and you haven’t reached out for the right kind of help, of course, like you wouldn’t be expected to know how to do this stuff. But I just I’m putting it out there because one would think this is sort of an obvious, but but this is actually what underpins so many of the people who take my courses, who asked me for coaching, who come to my retreat, come to transformed is all about this kind of stuff. So I thought I’m just gonna go ahead and put it out there. Maybe it’s not so much common sense. Or maybe it’s the kind of thing where when you read it or listen to it, it sounds very common sense. But if you really, really look at your life, right and the way you’re approaching your change management, it doesn’t actually line up with those principles.

So if that’s the case, if your, you know, “numbers game” revolves around anything except for those, you know, something that’s directly related to that list of four that I just put out there. Your plan. your informed plan, sticking to the plan and connecting the dots. Then I say stop doing it, stop doing it, stop doing it, push, pause, turnaround, get help, and start doing the right things. When you start doing the right things, you will start getting results and you’ll get them so much faster. With so much less stress, so much ease. It’s just a matter of making a plan and being intentional. And I want to make sure that you know, even if you felt discouraged up until now, you can do it, you can absolutely do it. So don’t be discouraged. Get rid of that now, throw in the trash and realize that you just may need to go back to the drawing board with a much better plan.

If you need help with that plan, you’ve let me know, come check out TransforMD, you can come check out my course. I will also put a link in here I think to a free webinar that I give on transitioning into non clinical careers that will give you more details around what some of this looks like. But you know whether you get your help from me or from someone else, stop wasting the time and doing the second things. Get back to basics. Get a plan first things first, you can do it. Bye for now.

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