When it comes to strategy and job search (or career advancement), many of those needing it the most are deaf to the subject. I'm referring to folks challenged by background problems. I'm tempted to say they're the worst but that's not only unfair it's probably flat out untrue. In any case, strategy implies taking steps that usually don't happen for this group unless there's an epiphany or some form of intervention.
Here's how I see it when it comes to job search, not only for people burdened by background baggage, but for anyone really. One group in particular that comes to mind are young people because they have limited work experience and just like the challenged group, need to get a foot in the door in order to begin moving ahead.
It starts with a mid-range goal. I like to work with 5 years. Simply put, the goal is - what do you want to be doing, where do you want to be doing it, and what kind of person you'd like to be as you do it - in 5 years. Simple right? Of course not, just ask someone you know between 20-30 and ask them to sum it up giving you a one or two sentence succinct response.
Next comes the plan - define this in terms of route or path. The key question - which specific highways will you take on the road trip to achieving your goal?
Note - Defining the goal and coming up with a route requires that you work backwards from the goal (a location and a date) to the present (location = where you are RIGHT now, and date = today, this week).
Now we get to strategy(s), your plans of action. The strategies selected need to align with the goal (the prize) and the plan (the route). If they don't, you'll waste time, energy, and resources. This is pretty much a black and white issue - strategies must conform to goal and plan or else they become liabilities. Period.
And that leaves action - doing. Getting up on the horse and riding out of town en-route to achieving your goal.
What's harder, determining the goal, plan, and strategy -or- doing the do? It depends on the person.
But here's the thing. Action is good, however pro-action linked to goal, plan, and strategy is far better.
For those challenged by background issues, the easiest thing to do (going with the flow, being reactive) is the worst possible choice. If I was into it, I'd have this tattooed on my forehead, so that every person and group I spoke with got a walking, talking, message board on the subject.
Being pro-active is so important it literally cannot be overstated.
John Jeffrey Lundell